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Salamat Sianipar, Raja Patik (traditional leader) for his clan, Nagasaribu, Indonesia

“We have managed this traditionally-owned forest since the Dutch colonial times. To this day, we still practice the traditional law that has been passed on by our ancestors. Traditionally-owned land is tuduh anak tuduh tuduh tano, or in other words, ‘for us to care for on behalf of our children.’ Let’s protect our traditionally-owned land so that in the future our children can also live off and protect the land. The land is our life.”

Answer

Over 30 years ago, land was taken from Indigenous communities and given to pulp and paper corporations with the promise that it would one day be returned. To this day, many Batak Indigenous communities continue to demand that the government and corporations return their traditionally-owned land which is inextricably linked to their cultural survival.

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