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Reportagem Publication logo Novembro 29, 2022

Shamans' Ritual To Protect Bangka Island's Remaining Forest (bahasa Indonesia)

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a man blow a torch in a forest
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On Bangka Island, the forest is only left in the hills, which is the last "moral" of the people on...

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This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Project Multatuli. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


In a unified landscape, the hills on Bangka Island play a vital ecological and spiritual role for the shamans and the community. For hundreds of years, they have used the hills as ritual points that have an impact on the preservation of the surrounding forests.

"The task of the village shaman is heavy, because his responsibility is not only to take care of humans, but also other living things, animals and plants," said Janum bin Lamat (58), Customary Chief of the Jerieng Tribe, Pelangas Village, Simpang Teritip District.


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Janum bin Lamat is the seventh descendant of the inner mountain. As a leader in the Jerieng customary system, the batin acts like a village shaman. He has the ability to heal as well as connecting and maintaining the balance between humans, nature and other creatures.

"In the past, there were a number of groups of people who considered me heretical. Fortunately, there are still community leaders who support and explain, so that people can again accept the position of shaman in this village," he continued.


Janum bin Lamat, one of the shamans of the Jerieng Tribe, leader of the mountain taber ritual which has been actively practiced again after a hiatus. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The forest in the hills that was the ritual point for shamans for hundreds of years is the last remaining forest on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A number of residents walk through the forest to reach the ritual point at the top of Penyabung Hill. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Rituals are interpreted as a form of gratitude for natural products, as well as a collective effort in maintaining the landscape. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The peak process of the mountain taber ritual led by the village shaman. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

During the ritual, people bring a number of garden products, in the form of rice which is made into sticky rice, lepat, etc. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A silat performance concludes the ritual procession at Penyabung Hill. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Nugal padi, one of the annual activities when entering the land rice planting season. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A resident washes pepper, one of the leading commodities on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The disease that hit many pepper plants, according to the shamans, was caused by the loss of a number of rituals as a form of gratitude for natural products. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Stone breaking is the profession of the majority of the Jerieng Tribe in Pelangas Village during the famine. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The hilly area is one of the sources of pure water on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A picture of the ancient rock on Kepale Hill. This area is protected because it is used by local residents as a ritual point. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A corner of the forest in the prohibition area filled with preserved vegetation. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Some prohibition areas are rich in medicinal plants. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

One of the large durian trees in the oldest kelekak area around the foot of Mangkol Hill. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The unstoppable tin mining activity is one of the consequences of the loss of rituals and the fading of people's relationship with nature on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The river flow around the foot of Mangkol Hill which is eroded by tin mining activities. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Various anthropogenic activities that damage the forest landscape on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Mining activities on a number of hills have produced sand waste that forms sediment. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A number of ritual tools used by the community at the foot of Mount Maras. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Agarwood, one of the ritual materials for indigenous people on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

One side of the dried-up forest on Mount Maras. For shamans on Bangka Island, the Mount Maras area is the strongest spiritual point. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Riding forest, the link between villages and hills on Bangka Island, is now cut off by monoculture oil palm plantations. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

The difference between a garden hut in the middle of a palm oil plantation and a garden hut at the foot of a hill on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Palm oil is one of the crops that threatens the living space of people on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

A number of people on Bangka Island are forced to farm in the middle of oil palm plantations. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.

Residents pass in the middle of an oil palm plantation on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Project Multatuli. Indonesia, 2022.