Indigenous women traders in the negotiation of space, place, and identity in the Merauke regency, Papua Province, Indonesia
Kanem, V. T. (2018). Indigenous women traders in the negotiation of space, place, and identity in the Merauke regency, Papua Province, Indonesia (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12104
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12104
This research focuses on Indigenous women traders in Merauke regency, Papua Province, Indonesia. Indigenous women traders, known as Mama-Mama, are group of women who play a very important role in distributing local produces from rural area to the market as well as the role as a family food provider. They are also involved in maintaining and strengthening the existence of traditional knowledge. In the last four decades, the presence of Indonesian traders at the market has exceeded the number of native traders. The market which is vital for the Papuan community has become dominated by Indonesian traders. The first issue faced by Mama-Mama is the development of concrete stalls at Wamanggu in a way that did not consider Mama-Mama’s needs. Furthermore, Mama-Mama experienced high competition in selling their traditional goods because of their lack of skills and limited access to resources as compared to Indonesian traders. Lastly, a mega project in 2010 set up by the Indonesian government called MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate), which aimed to overcome a food crisis in Indonesia, has led to massive deforestation. Deforestation has, in turn, reduced the population of sago trees in the forest. Sago is one of the indigenous traditional foods which also represents the cultural identity of Merauke’s local tribe, the Marind tribe. Another concern appeared when the distribution of sago flour at the market declined slightly. This affected sago consumption among the local people because rice was available as a substitute meal. The shrinking of sago production has also affected Mama-Mama’s daily earnings. Several times, with assistance from Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian Keuskupan Agung Merauke (SKP-KAME) and Lembaga Advokasi Peduli Perempuan (eL-AdPPer), Mama-Mama have been tried to speak up for their rights. They have tried to convey their problems to the House of Representatives (DPRD), but they found it difficult to penetrate the government hierarchy. Mama-Mama’s voices almost never been well followed up by the member of the House of Representatives, while their problems have been used by a certain candidate as one of political campaign issues to win the election. This study explores the presence of Indonesian traders which affected Mama-Mama’s access to adequate stalls, trading opportunities and their roles in reproducing and maintaining the production of traditional knowledge. Further, this study also analyse how power, space, and place are interconnected in dealing with the market complexities.
The University of Waikato
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