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Regional Youth Summit Menoken Southeast Asia 2021: A Meeting of Indigenous Youths from Indonesia and the Philippines


Posting Date
Community activities during Menoken in Tana Tomor. (SAMDHANA/Anggit)

Bogor, 18 November 2021. Hosted simultaneously in two Southeast Asian countries, namely Indonesia and the Philippines, this latest Menoken event will be held from 19-21 November 2021. Unlike previous Menoken activities, which took place in a single location but involved several communities, this iteration will involve communities in seven locations in the Philippines, along with nine communities throughout Indonesia. In Indonesia, Menoken activities will be hosted by communities in Central Java, West Java, South Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, Bali, Jayapura, Merauke, East Nusa Tenggara and Flores. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Menoken activities will take place in Calamianes (North Palawan), among the Calamian Tagbanwa Indigenous Peoples; in North Mindanao, with the Higaonon, Talaandig, Bukidnon and Menuvu tribes; in Kidapawan with the B'laan, Manobo Tagabawa and Maguindanaon; in Surigao, with the Mamanwa and Badjao; in Tandag, among the Manobo; and in Maguindanao, with the Teduray and Lambangian tribes.

The Menoken event, which is entitled Regional Youth Summit, Menoken Southeast Asia 2021: A Meeting of Indigenous Youths in Indonesia and the Philippines, aims to provide opportunities for all indigenous youths, both in Indonesia and the Philippines, to reconnect relationships that have been disrupted by issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as mobilisation, distance and various other restrictions on activities. This Southeast Asian Menoken event therefore aims to build or renew social relations between various indigenous youth groups through cultural exchanges, experiences, sharing of concerns regarding the pandemic situation and formulation of plans for the reunification of indigenous youths.

Menoken activities are generally held in interesting locations close to nature, such as in mountainous areas, around rivers or lakes, and of course in customary (adat) areas. With the concept of camping out or spending the night in a tent, Menoken events become a medium for participants (or ‘nokeners’) to get back in touch with themselves, with other people, with nature and with their ancestors.

At each location where Menoken activities are scheduled to be held, communities have prepared a variety of unique and interesting activities. Youths who are members of Indigenous communities in both Indonesia and the Philippines have designed their own activities and programmes, with various discussion topics identified by working groups in each community. These topics include discussions around the rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically in relation to environment and climate, culture and tradition, traditional food, coding applications and internet technology, recycling activities, tree planting programmes, exchanging millennial agricultural experiences, learning sign language, film- making, and entrepreneurship.

In addition to a series of dialogues covering these various topics, there will be numerous cultural interactions through dance, singing and games that have been prepared by indigenous youths with the aim of sharing the cultural heritage of each Indigenous community. Gambusuk, which is an abbreviation of ‘Gowa Traditional Art & Music’, traces ancestral cultural values through Dayak Kanayatn music, combined with traditional dances from Pangkur Sagu and Tana Timor; with various songs and inclusive music performances, these are some of the traditional art performances that will characterise Menoken activities in the Indonesian region.

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