Tribal Leaders Perspective : Local Curriculum and Its Impact on Preventing the Silence of Culture in West Papua

Agustina Fitriyanti Thesia, SIT Graduate Institute


The domination of internal and neo-colonial education systems and policies over the existence and preservation of indigenous knowledge, culture and language has been disregarded and is detrimental to cultural survival all over the world. This phenomenon of colonial powers is broadly influencing and shaping cultural genocide, deculturalization and assimilation and denial of relevant cultural education. Since Indonesia took over the Papua territory in 1963, there was a transitional colonial education system from the Netherlands to Indonesia affecting the levels of 276 tribes’ rights and the struggles on not only their cultures and languages but also affected their economic situation and the natural resources settings. This research generally describes the ongoing impact of the colonial education system on the survival of tribal cultures and understanding the tribal leaders’ perspectives on the effects of local curriculum in preventing the silence of culture in Papua. Seven individual in depth interviews representing elderly and tribal leaders in West Papua were conducted. In addition, four tribal leaders were interviewed in a group discussion. All interview questions were loosely structured and open ended. My findings uncovered a multiplicity of tribal leaders’ perceptions on Indonesia’s education system and local curriculum. I also discovered a story of insights about deculturalization and future expectations of educational philosophy and cultural rights of the participants.