Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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How Development and Conservation Interventions May Both Exacerbate and Mitigate Marginality: Shifting Power Relations on the Lindu Plain, Central Sulawesi
Greg Acciaioli

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 709
Date: 2019-07-23 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


Among the development interventions of the Indonesian government in its first decade of independence was a program of dumping fish spawn of the usually pond-cultivated species Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), locally known as mujair or nila, into numerous lakes across Indonesia. This paper traces the chain of consequences across decades of this fish’s introduction in Lake Lindu in highland Central Sulawesi beginning in 1951. Initially, this intervention did not provide the enhanced livelihood opportunities to the Indigenous Lindu people intended by the government. Instead, Bugis migrants, IDPs from sectarian conflict in South and Central Sulawesi in the 1950s, used gill nets to intensify harvesting of the species and established a fish marketing system to the Palu Valley and beyond by recruiting kin and clients through chain migration. However, when the Bugis depleted the stock of tilapia in the early 1990s, the Indigenous Lindu people struck back, having been re-empowered by their successful resistance to a hydro-electric scheme (PLTA) at Lindu and by their emergent partnership with the Lore Lindu National Park park authority and the park’s co-manager, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), recognised through community conservation agreements. Once the lake had been reseeded, the Lindu customary council forced Bugis to adhere to customary ombo restrictions on fishing as part of reasserting control of the lake and surrounding resources. This emergent role has also given the Indigenous Lindu some control of further in-migration to the Lindu plain, further countering the socioeconomic dominance of migrants. This process of power reversal was also facilitated by the widening of the trail to accommodate the use of motorcycles by the Central Sulawesi Integrated Area Conservation and Development Project (CSIACDP) and the availability of cheap credit for motorcycle purchase in the early 2000s, which facilitated motorcycle purchases by Indigenous Lindu families and greatly lessened the role of Bugis intermediate marketers for transport of produce from the plain.

Keywords: Development, Power Relations, Bugis, Lindu, Protected Areas