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KAMORO ECOLOGY - CHAPTER II.

© Kal Muller, 2004. (Bahasa Indonesia)


01. The village of Iwaka consists of some 101 houses strung out along the central street. The houses are of wood with tin roofs. These houses, along with a church and a school, were built by Freeport as compensation for using Iwaka-owned lands for the company town of Kuala Kencana. While transmigration sites and lumber companies have also used Iwaka lands, no restitution have been made to the Kamoro.

02. Riverside kapiri kame hut. The traditional materials are pandanus (of a species called kapiri in Kamoro) leaves used for walls and sago leaf roof thatching. Plastic tarpaulins are coming into wide-spread use. Most of these temporary shelters house several families.

03. The kapiri kame is a traditional activity, but there is no reason not to enjoy the toys of modern civilization while away from home. A battery-powered tape recorder fits well with the pandanus leaf walls and sleeping mats. There are no formal partitions on the long, elongated, temporary hut.

04. Fish are often smoke-cured in front of the kampiri kame shelters. While the prices at the Timika market are much higher for fresh fish, there is now way for most Kamoro to obtain the ice necessary for chilled preservation.

05. Salt, sugar, drinking glasses, hot sauce in a bottle, chili peppers and condensed milk figure among the many items brought from the villages to the foraging camps. Jungle products are taken back for home consumption and sale.

06. The recent introduction of the use of goggles for spear fishing produces good results but only during the drier periods when the water becomes clearer. After a heavy rain, underwater visibility drops to zero in the rivers and creeks.

07. Parents paddle their dugout while their daughter rests under a Freeport umbrella shading her from the hot sun. Single families travel back and forth to the kapiri kame sites which are shared with friends and relatives.

08. A kapiri kame settlement far up the Kamora River, about a day's paddle from Iwaka Village. Each of the clans (taparu) making up Iwaka have defined ancestral rights which can be shared through marriage. Outsiders can obtain permission to use the resources, usually in return for a part of the products gathered.

09. Two mangrove crabs and a mess of catfish wait on a dock for transport to Timika. While the crabs can survive several days, the dead fish must be either iced right away or taken to the market a few hours after being caught. Fish is often sold smoke-cured, which brings a lower price than fresh fish.

10. The New Guinea Ground Boa, Candoia aspera, bears an unfortunate resemblance to the highly venonous death adder. This particular snake, nocturnal like the others of the same species, was flushed out while grass was being cut in Iwaka Village. While almost all Kamoro are deathly afraid of snakes, there is always someone in every village who enjoys handling these animals - and scare the beejezuz out of his companions.

11. The rapid urbanization of Timika and its surrounding transmigration settlements have created the greatest problem for the local ecosystems. The people of Iwaka are especially resentful as they have received practically nothing when large chunks of their land were taken over for transmigrants.

12. The boom-town of Timika is the fastest expanding one in Indonesia, having increased in popultion for a few individuals in the early 1970s to some 50,000 inhabitants some 30 years later. The town is built on traditional Kamoro lands.




  © Copyright UNIPA - ANU - UNCEN PapuaWeb Project, 2004.

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