1000 Trees of Indigenous People

Nagasaribu (03/02) – Since yesterday, Lake Toba has been visited by a special guest, namely President Joko Widodo, with the intention of his arrival being to inaugurate several new tourism locations such as the Free Beach in Parapat, Kab. Simalungun. The next day, became one of the important days for the struggle of the indigenous peoples around Lake Toba because the 5 decrees on customary forests were brought by President Joko Widodo like souvenirs from Jakarta. While giving the decree, on the other side of Lake Toba, the Nagasaribu community also planted 1000 trees in their customary territory which they had been fighting for. The planting of 1000 trees was the community’s response to the arrival of the President at Bakti Raja who also planted trees. This activity wants to show that indigenous peoples can also carry out reforestation/planting of trees, because it was their duty from the start to preserve their nature. Pak Mala said, “We will preserve this nature, our customary land (by planting Australian Macadamia seeds) which has been destroyed by PT. TPL”. The planting of 1000 trees was carried out in an area that had previously been planted with Eucalyptus belonging to PT. TPL, but along with the struggle, the community has reworked the land. The previous night, when community members gathered and discussed, they agreed that the decree that would later be handed over to them would be meaningless if the land could not be controlled by them. Therefore, the action of planting trees is very important. In other places, the traditional community of Pomparan Op has also done the same thing. King Nasomalo Marhohos Natinggir. Planting these tree seedlings symbolizes resistance to companies that have been working on their customary lands. Unfortunately, on this occasion, when the President came to Tano Batak, the Natinggir indigenous community had not yet received a Customary Forest Decree from him. However, the Natinggir indigenous community is not afraid and continues to plant tree seedlings in their customary territory. It is hoped that other indigenous communities that have not received souvenirs from Jakarta will be followed up by the government, both the local government and the central government. For local governments, it is hoped that they will immediately issue a Decree on the Recognition of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Territories, and continue with the issuance of a Decree on Customary Forests from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Apart from all government advocacy schemes, indigenous communities must also remain solid in fighting for their customary lands, remain critical of those who have received SK, and continue to oversee the struggle for land rights.* -KZ

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