July 7, 2020, 07.15 PM
Baduy elders prepare a letter to President Joko Widodo requesting their lands be off limits to tourism IstimewaBaduy elders prepare a letter to President Joko Widodo requesting their lands be off limits to tourism

LEBAK, KOMPAS.com – For people going off the beaten path in the Indonesian province of Banten, the traditional Baduy or Kanekes people and their age-old culture might be high on their itineraries.

But soon the Baduy may have to be stricken off tourism itineraries. 

The group’s Traditional Council sent a letter to President Joko Widodo and other officials requesting that their lands be taken off the province’s tourist circuit.

The Baduy designated a number of trusted outsiders, among them Gadjah Mada University sociologist Heru Nugroho, to deliver their letter dated July 6, 2020 to the government.

“The Baduy considered taking this step last April when their lands were closed to the public because of Covid-19,” said Heru, who earned the Baduy’s trust through his years researching them.

Also read: Stranded and at Home: British Family Spends Four Months in Bali as Covid-19 Rages

“[Inner Baduy village headman] Jaro Alim and his fellow headmen, among them Jaro Aja and Jaro Madali, consulted me over the matter," Heru said on Tuesday, July 7. "It was then that we agreed that the Baduy lands should be taken off the list of tourist sights.”

Fallout from tourism

Heru added that the letter was prompted by the grievances of the Inner Baduy, or more traditional faction of the group, against the excesses of tourism.

“The Inner Baduy has been particularly offended by the effects of large number of tourists on their land, especially those who do nothing but gawk at them.” 

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