Women's role crucial in struggle of indigenous people: AMAN

Women's role crucial in struggle of indigenous people: AMAN

A screenshot of secretary general of AMAN, Rukka Sombolinggi, during the opening of AMAN III Women's National Meeting, which was monitored virtually from Jakarta on Friday (April 16, 2021) (ANTARA / Prisca Triferna).

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Women play an essential role in the struggle of indigenous people, especially in fighting for their customary rights, the Alliance for Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) has said.

"If women are weak, the village will definitely fall into the hands of enemies," said secretary general of AMAN, Rukka Sombolinggi, during the AMAN III Women's National Meeting, originating online here on Friday.

However, Sombolinggi sees there are still many areas, including areas where indigenous people live, that ignore the role of women.

Indigenous women are still often marginalized, stigmatized, discriminated against, and even become targets when problems occur on customary lands, she observed. The aim of using women as targets is not only to hurt them, but also to bring down the fighting spirit in the village, she explained.

Therefore, AMAN believes that women play a very important role in the struggle of indigenous people, Sombolinggi said. The alliance, which was formed in 1999, was declared a branch of the Perempuan AMAN organization on April 16, 2012, she added.

"That's one of the reasons why Perempuan AMAN was founded as a wing organization, it is to provide opportunities, roles, places, organizations for indigenous women to be able to form alliances and consolidate," she added.

During the same discussion, AMAN Women’s Expert Council member Arimbi Heroeputri said many indigenous women do not realize that they actually have a power called “collective rights”.

She said she still sees many knowledgeable individuals among the indigenous women. Unfortunately, the knowledge they have is often ignored and disrespected, she pointed out. However, they are determined to maintain their traditional knowledge, she added.

"Hence, I would like to appeal to indigenous women to try to find and revive this knowledge. Then, the existence of indigenous women can radiate from behind their calm," said Heroeputri. (INE)

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