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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“Can We Get Hak Ulayat?”: Land and Community in Pasir and Nunukan, East Kalimantan

  • Author(s): Bakker, Laurens;
  • et al.

This paper is a case study into the effects of hak ulayat (indigenous land rights) claims on policies in the local districts of Nunukan and Pasir, East Kalimantan, after the collapse of the New Order regime in Indonesia in 1998. Nunukan has recognised hak ulayat, while Pasir intended to do so but abandoned this plan after popular protest. Whereas Indonesian law has undertaken considerable steps to define hak ulayat, studying district government considerations of ulayat claims through a strictly legal approach is too narrow to be of much actual use. The influence of local conceptions of hak ulayat and the stance of local authorities on the subject can be better understood through the inclusion of social, political and power relations which bring other interests to the fore. Such an analysis shows that not only is the law not the only authority in regulating hak ulayat, it is also caught in an inconvenient split between aspirations to nationwide applicability and the demands of local diversity.

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