Indonesia has a population of around 237 million. The government recognizes 365 ethnic and sub-ethnic groups as komunitas adat terpencil (geographically-isolated customary law communities). They number approx. 1.1 million. However, many more peoples consider themselves, or are considered by others, to be indigenous. The national indigenous peoples’ organization, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), uses the term masyarakat adat to refer to indigenous peoples. A conservative estimate of the number of indigenous peoples in Indonesia amounts to between 30 and 40 million people.

The third amendment to the Indonesian Constitution recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights in Article 18b-2. In more recent legislation, there is an implicit, though conditional, recognition of some rights of peoples referred to as masyarakat adat or masyarakat hukum adat, such as Act No. 5/1960 on Basic Agrarian Regulation, Act No. 39/1999 on Human Rights, MPR Decree No X/2001 on Agrarian Reform.

Indonesia is a signatory to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Government officials argue, however, that the concept of indigenous peoples is not applicable, as almost all Indonesians (with the exception of the ethnic Chinese) are indigenous and thus entitled to the same rights. Consequently, the government has rejected calls for special treatment by groups identifying themselves as indigenous.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, The Indigenous World 2011

The impact of climate change on language loss

No Better Time for Indonesia’s Indigenous Communities to Reclaim Land Rights

Jokowi grants first-ever indigenous land rights to 9 communities

We're fighting for our lives

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.

independent uncompromising indigenous
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License