Mobilising indigenous youth: peacebuilding and resistance
Birgit Bräuchler (Monash University)
Paper short abstract:
Indigenous youths in Indonesia build strategic alliances with artists and peace activists to fight capitalist intrusion. Involving local cultural identity markers and the global rhetoric of human rights and environmentalism, they negotiate their indigeneity through physical and ideational mobility.
Paper long abstract:
Capitalist intrusion into indigenous peoples' lands has had disastrous impacts on their livelihoods, settlement patterns and the environment. Indigenous people often do not have the means to resist or the older generation's worldview does not allow them to speak out. This contribution looks into how indigenous youths manage to translate between different worlds and fight for their rights. A huge plantation project threatens indigenous people in Maluku, Eastern Indonesia. Indigenous youths mobilised the older generation, joined hands with peace activists, artists and youths from the broader region and successfully ousted the investor. Moluccan society had been torn apart by a so-called religious war for years and indigenous tradition was promoted as bridge builder. The peace process in Maluku and wider decentralization processes in Indonesia provided the setting for a thriving youth culture and arts scene that includes indigenous youth, draws on indigenous knowledge and enables mobilisation for resistance against government plans and outside forces as well as everyday peace. Both conflict and neoliberal capitalism have set the context for translocal re-articulations of indigenousness and triggered the translation between different knowledge regimes. I am interested in the strategic alliance of indigenous youths, artists and activists and how they involve, at the same time, the global rhetoric of human rights, environmentalism and indigeneity and local cultural identity markers. The paper analyses the merging of global protest aesthetics, negotiations of indigeneity and authenticity, and local cultural realities, and thus aims to show how indigenous youths negotiate their indigeneity through physical and ideational mobility.
Youth and indigeneity on the move: mobilities, transcultural knowledge, and sustainability