Friday, August 31, 2007

Pampang 4: Culture Tourism and the Indigenous Struggle for Development

Guidebooks to East Kalimantan encourage tourists to visit Dayak villages, but most villages are farther inland. Many tourists make their way to the Benuaq Dayak village of Tanjung Isuy, where they can also see dances performed and stay in simple lodgings. But a trip to Tanjung Isuy usually requires at least an overnight stay. Pampang's strategic location vis-a-vis Samarinda is thus a critical element of its attractiveness as a tourism venue. In Samarinda there is already a range of hotels-including upscale ones with telephones, hot water, and western-style baths-available to accommodate tourists who seek that level of comfort. Private cars can be easily hired to take visitors to Pampang and back in an afternoon.
In the present era of Indonesian identity politics, Dayaks, like many other minority
groups, have realized that much may be gained by working together to solve shared problems and by fostering a common Dayak identity. However, developing a common identity is no easy challenge for members of various subgroups. To facilitate their struggle, some Dayaks have established nongovernmental organizations that crosscut subgroup loyalties. One example is the East Kalimantan Dayak Association (Persekutuan Dayak Kalimantan Timur), the province's largest indigenous interest group. That association was founded in 1993 in response to a perceived need for an organization that could foster a broad sense of oneness among Dayaks. Nevertheless allegiances to subgroups remain strong, and a growing number of organizations now raise funds and propose development projects on behalf of particular subgroups. As many consider tourism a phenomenon of great economic promise, different subgroups are working to ensure that "their" people and traditions find representation in the industry. Incipient competition between groups has already led to informal debates over who has the most "interesting" dances, who has "lost" their culture, and, in some cases, to the redesign of "traditional dress" in ways to make it more spectacular than that of other subgroups. During an open-mike session that followed the swearing in of a group of new subdistrict heads that I attended in the district seat of Melak in 1999, one Dayak man seized the opportunity to ask the governor to finance the construction of a longhouse, "like the one they have in Pampang," to attract tourists to his region.
In Pampang, the traditional law chief remarked to me proudly that he envisioned his village as a place where all Dayak traditions would someday be represented and pointed out that performers had already begun to incorporate non-- Kenyah dances in the culture show. Yet other Dayaks are now floating proposals for establishing their own culture villages which, if they come into being, will be located even closer to Samarinda than Pampang and able to compete with the Kenyah for the tourist market. The irony, of course, is that all of these new "culture villages," Pampang included, will be located far from the Dayaks' home communities upriver.
Writing of the development of tourism elsewhere in Indonesia, Kathleen Adams (1997:174) has noted that an unanticipated consequence of tourism promotion has been intensified interethnic competition, rivalry, and suspicion among some South Sulawesi groups. She argues for the importance of attending to regional political boundaries in researching Indonesian tourism. Given the recent bloodshed between Dayaks and migrants to Kalimantan in the west and central provinces, her point is well-taken. In this regard, too, I mentioned earlier that non-Dayak people living close to Pampang have established carving shops on the road into the village. On one occasion, I spotted a member of another ethnic group attempting to sell Kenyah-style beadwork to tourists at Pampang's longhouse. Although tolerated at present, these kinds of entrepreneurial activities may ultimately sour relations between Dayaks and migrants in the environs of Pampang. Further, in addition to the consequences of tourism for interethnic relations, I would suggest that it is important for scholars to examine how tourism development might lead to intragroup rivalries that ultimately influence whether and how ethnic identities, such as a pan-Dayak one, can develop and be sustained in turbulent times.
The establishment of Pampang Culture Village offers some indigenous peoples new opportunities to participate in a development scheme that may, with careful planning, garner benefits for themselves and for their community. However, fostering tourism in areas associated with traditional societies involves confronting a host of structural and cultural challenges (Brown 1999). As one official has already noted, "care is needed in cultivating Dayak cultural arts as a tourist object, because, on the one hand, the Dayak tribe has to progress, and, on the other, Dayak traditional culture is a tourist draw. In developing tourism in East Kalimantan, especially as it relates to Dayak culture, both of these concerns must be equally addressed" (Kaltim Post 1994c:8).
A similar concern was voiced nearly a decade ago, when Kalimantan's Parade of Roses contingent returned home from California. One of the delegation leaders was queried about whether the experience had exploited Dayaks and was merely another example of "letting them remain 'primitive' only because of the desire for authentic culture." The delegation leader, herself an indigenous activist, replied: "What I have seen happen to the Dayak Tribe is an inclination to exhibit their physical characteristics-the long ears and the tattoos-- without raising their [human resources] quality. Like teaching them how to dance, how to carve, and other skills. [What is needed] is the development of human resources, not the exploitation of their bodies" (Kaltim Post 1994b:8). She called the interviewer's attention to Pampang specifically, asking "Is what the government means by human resources development only to take them to Java or outside the country or to invite tourists to look at their dances?" Many indigenous observers would ask the same question today. Whatever the answer, it is clear that residents of Pampang will continue to insist that the management of their foray into tourism remains in indigenous hands, preventing non-Dayak local elites from capitalizing on Kenyah "otherness" (van der Berghe 1995). Too, they will work to ensure that their culture show, which they consider a means for artistic expression, maintenance of tradition, and economic advancement, never degenerates into mere show culture.

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*)Anne Schiller is associate professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University. My research in East Kalimantan was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Award. I would like to thank the people of Pampang for their kind assistance throughout the research period, in particular Dra. Djalung Ule, and Drs. Rina Laden for access to her newspaper archives. My previous field studies on related topics among Dayak peoples were funded with grants from the National Geographic Society (1996), the Wenner-Gren Foundation (1982, 1991), the Association for Asian Studies (1994, 1991), the Sigma-Xi Scientific Society (1982), North Carolina State University (1995), and a Fulbright-- Hays Doctoral Research Abroad Award (1982-83). All translations from Indonesian language texts are my own. I am grateful to Sarah Banks for suggestions concerning comparative sources during the preparation of this manuscript.

Source: Pampang culture village and international tourism in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo' Human Organization, Winter 2001 by Schiller, Anne

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