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Lake and Land at Lindu: Imposition, Accommodation and Contestation in the Revaluation of Resources in Upland Central Sulawesi

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This article examines how non-local frameworks and interventions have set the parameters of the local exercise of agency in regard to the use and valuing of resources in the upland valley of Lindu. Exploiting opportunities opened up by contemporary interventions, the indigenous To Lindu have revitalised their local custom (adat) as a community resource management system under the aegis of furthering conservation. This move has elicited various reactions from the migrants who have settled in Lindu in the last five decades. While largely accommodating their practices to customary regulation of fishing in Lake Lindu by the indigenous Lindu adat councils, these migrants have nevertheless continued to contest the imposition of customary restrictions on land ownership and limits on individual cultivation of land. These strategies of imposition of customary regulation by the indigenes and corresponding accommodations and contestations on the part of the migrants are also embedded in divergent definitions of Lindu as a locality, including whether resources should be governed on the model of a commons or open access regimen. The balancing through negotiations of these various valuations of Lindu and its resources — as customary territory, as open access land for development, as an enclave within a national park — will depend not only upon local initiatives, but also upon such external interventions as impending agrarian legislation that may grant national recognition to customary land. However, such external interventions will be complemented by local strategies of imposition, accommodation and contestation in forging new senses of locality.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Western Australia


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