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Preserving the Asmat Tribe’s Local Wisdom as a Form of Empowerment

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DEVELOPMENT – Community empowerment in Papua has an obligation to maximize the prosperity of Indigenous Papuans (OAP) including the tribes and culture inherent in them. One of the oldest and largest tribes in Papua, namely the Asmat tribe, also has potential which is related to local wisdom in accordance with the customs and culture they adhere to. From there, there are other potentials that can support the lives of the Asmat tribe so that they can survive the onslaught of time and remain sustainable. Such as the potential for tourism and handicrafts that are typical of the Asmat tribe, namely sculpture and carving. As a tourist destination, Papua can provide this opportunity to the Asmat tribe and also maximize its existing potential so that they are prosperous and remain sustainable by maintaining what they have.

Empowering the Asmat tribe does not mean exploiting their community. In fact, this is the highest form of honor so that the Asmat tribe continues to exist and survive. The outside community needs to know how exotic and beautiful the customs and culture of the Asmat tribe are. Including forms of handicrafts which are even said to be the origin of their ancestors, originating from statues. Some of the steps needed to empower the Asmat tribe include:


  1. Involve the government and private sector who are capable of becoming investors to support the needs of the Asmat Tribe. The existence of Special Autonomy that applies in Papua means that the freedom of local governments is guaranteed by law in managing what they own, including the Asmat Tribe. When empowerment involves this, the Asmat tribe is also helped because its sustainability is guaranteed by the government..
  2. Documented and distributed as widely as possible. It is true that the Asmat tribe is already well-known in the outside world, but there needs to be some kind of documentation in order to understand more about the potential that exists in the Asmat tribe and how it is sustainable. So that many people will be interested in getting to know and even visiting the areas inhabited by the Asmat tribe.
  3. Developing existing skills, one of which is quite difficult is the marketing process. The Asmat tribe is famous for their sculpture and carving skills. The next generation of the Asmat tribe should be invited to continue to learn and inherit this art. When it is related to life’s needs, the empowering party should be able to provide a place to study and also be able to help market the skills of the Asmat Tribe so that they can get money to support their welfare.
  4. Creating natural tourism that is adapted to applicable customary laws. The educational values in natural tourism can also be an attraction, especially when discussing the customary laws of the Asmat tribe. Tourists will also get satisfaction because they can travel and learn more directly about the Asmat tribe and the local community will be helped because the nature they protect remains sustainable after tourists are given education about customary law.
  5. Sustainability in economics and the environment. The Asmat tribe of course still relies on their surrounding environment to survive, such as farming, gardening and being fishermen. However, empowerment should be able to create sustainable values, namely what the Asmat people take from nature, in balance with what they give. In the economic sector, the same is true, maximizing the use of nature to support the economy and welfare of the Asmat people, however, there is still a need for nature conservation as a form of awareness formed from empowerment.

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