Kendari, SE Sulawesi (ANTARA) - The Bajau Tribe in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, plays an important role in maintaining the local biosphere reserve, according to an official at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology.

The ministry's Director of Cultural Development and Utilization, Irini Dewi Wanti, said on Wednesday that the Bajau community has a proven record of preserving the sea, based on the archipelago's rich maritime traditions.

"Many narratives depict the Bajau Tribe as the guardians of the sea," Wanti remarked while opening a focus group discussion (FGD) with the Bajau people. "We hope to ensure the continuation of these traditions."

She emphasized that people who understand marine preservation and biosphere conservation are typically those who possess the knowledge and live near the sea.

"The Bajau people have this knowledge inherently, as their lives are centered around the sea," she explained.

The role of the Bajau people as "sea guardians" must be sustained to ensure the preservation of all marine life, both on the surface and below.

"We are opening a discussion about the Bajau people's role in the biosphere reserve and whether they remain the leading community in preserving marine sustainability," Wanti stated at the FGD.

She noted that the Bajau people made significant contributions, not only by sharing their physical experiences but also by offering valuable insights based on their local wisdom and artistic expressions.

"We must ensure the survival of both the Bajau tribe's way of life and their culture," she said.

She stressed the importance of passing down knowledge to the next generation of Bajau children, starting from elementary school to senior high school.

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Translator: Saputra, Kenzu
Editor: Anton Santoso
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