Sasi, The Local Wisdom of Papua for Natural Conservation

Naturally, mother nature is a sovereignty that can be your best friend, but can also be an enemy that might pose threats at any time. It all depends on how human behave in the environment. In order to avoid natural hazards, regulations to control the natural sustainability and balance are been made. Sasi, is the Papuan local wisdom to preserve the nature. It is believed that those who violate it will receive bad karma! Is it true?

It is Sasi, a local wisdom that has been carried out by the people of Papua and Maluku. As cited from budaya-indonesia.org,  Sasi, is a Papuan local wisdom that bans the exploitation of certain natural resources.

This local wisdom was made to limit the exploitation of natural resources in a certain period of time. The aim is not only to balance the quantity of natural resources in the environment, but it is also to maintain the quality, such as the formula of rice harvesting. It is better to be harvested when its time.

In Papua, there are lots of water teritorial, thus Sasi is more prevalent to conserve the sea natural resources, like in Folley Village, Raja Ampat region. This village is in the the Misool Marine Conservation Area, where in 2013 they have successfully harvested sea cucumber with a value of 50 million rupiah.

According to a traditional leader of Folley village, Yohanes Fadimpo, the abundant sea cucumbers is the effect of Sasi in 82 hectare of conservation area. As cited from tempo.com, he said that he is satisfied with the harvest because since 2011 the local people has been taking actions to preserve the marine resources by implementing Sasi.

“We are still maintaining this tradition in order to keep the marine resources abundant,” he added.

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In the water territorial of East Misool village, there are 6 clans that implement Sasi. Those clans are Falon, Fadimpo, Fam, Mjam, Mluy and Moom. The six clans have their own schedule to enforce or revoke Sasi on the sea.

The Chief of Falon clan, Marthen Falon, said that his clan has been allocated to revoke Sasi in the end of November until April. “The Sasi is revoked for one week only. If Falon revoked the Sasi, not only Falon, but all clans can take the respurces too,” Marthen said as quoted in detikTravel.

The length of Sasi it self is different from one another based on the agreement. According to the Traditional Chief of Maya Tribe of Raja Ampat, Kris Thebu, the discussion with the locals could take one year, and the rules would be applied for a year.

“Before exactly one year prior to revoking Sasi, there will be a tradition discussion, where locals are gathering and discussing about the quantity that can be harvested, what tools are allowed, and the price set. After they are fix about the price, they will arrange what can the people harvest. How long it will be revoked, 1 week or 2 weeks. After everyone agreed, in written, then Sasi is revoked. Usually there is a ceremony whether traditional or in church,” said Kris when he was asked about Marine Sasi in Jakarta.

The Law of Karma

A wise man once said, “those who sow wind, will harvest storm”, or we may also know the saying of “what we sow is what we reap”. Both have a more or less similar meaning, what we do on to others will affect ourselves. This applies on Sasi. Even though it is not stated in a state regulation, it is binding and for anyone who violates it will get karma. Is that true?

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It is not so much as logic as common sense. Hence, the people of Papua and Maluku believe that anyone who violates Sasi, will one day receive karma, as explained by Kris Thebu.

He said, the karma for violating the local wisdom of Sasi varies, such as illness and even death.

“Just recently, there was someone from Sailolof being taken by a crocodile. It caught him. Turns out, he has violated Sasi. He shouldn’t do it, this happened because he has violated it on purpose,” said Kris.

Those who receive karma are usually mischievously violate the local wisdom of Sasi. However, Kris did not deny that sometimes some people do violate the marine Sasi. They took particular sea biota that have been agreed upon not to be taken, hence karma happened.


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