By Pares L.Wenda
Jayapura, 27/3 (Jubi) – The designation of Ir. John Rende Mangontan to be part of the Wenda clan is an insult and an attempt to destroy Baliem culture. It has created a new conflict new conflict zone in the name of tribal chiefs/big men. In the region of Central Baliem, there are two big men of Wenda clan origins. One oversees the Magi/Makki area and the other dominated the area of Beam.
The chiefs inherit the confederation of Wenda-Kogoya and Wenda-Wanimbo in addition to the other big men in the confederation within other areas of Central Baliem.
Some natives’ intellectuals have advised the name of Central Baliem when they proposed it to become the New Autonomous Region under the recommendations of John Tabo, the former regent of Tolikara Regency and support from Jayawijaya and Lanny Jaya regencies.
As a Baliem native and a Wenda, I strongly disagree with his designation as a Wenda.
Here are some reasons why I oppose giving the Wenda family name to John.
Was there a consultation to give designate the Wenda family name to a stranger? Has it been consulted with all intellectuals of the Wenda clan in Papua? Was he an adopted child, or growing up in the Wenda’s family? Has he contributed to the Wenda’s family?
In Lani culture, those who have the right to use the Wenda family name were children from another clan or abandoned children during tribal wars who were adopted by the Wenda families.
However, Lani culture never acknowledges the practice of selling the birthright, the honor of Wenda’s clan.
The only two clans originating in the region of Baliem are Wita and Waya clans or Wenda and Kogoya clans, from which other clans emerged when they joined the confederation in the villages of Baliem.
When Agus Wenda struggled to present the Baliem Center Regency, people of Central Baliem appointed him as the Tribal Chief or Big Man. It was fair because the position was traditionally appointed by people because he defended the struggle for his people. He has right to be a big man in his entire life and in local dialect of West Baliem it was called Dumma. The terminology is different from the commander of war.
But the way he persuaded people to vote Ir. John Rende Mangotan, a candidate for Indonesian Parliament, to represent Central Baliem Center Regency was wrong. It puts him and his family in danger because in Baliem’s tradition, the clan’s name is sacred. I am asking Mangontan to return the clan’s name to its rightful owner because the way he won it was not fair. He made them sell the birthright and dignity of Baliem people.
Once born Wenda, it is impossible for me to turn into a Kogoya, Tabuni or someone else. I will remain Wenda until I die. I think the current political campaign has damaged Papuan cultural heritage in particular the Wenda clan.
It could create a new conflict within the Wenda families because without the democratic poll of ‘one man, one vote’, 80 tribal chiefs have given their vote to represent Central Baliem to Ir. John Rende Mangotan as a legislator in Indonesian Parliament. I questioned the position of Penesina Kogoya and other Baliem Center natives who are members of Gerindra Party. I also asked other native candidates. Because it’s against campaign regulation. It started from Central Baliem and will spread to other highland areas, I assume.
Let’s get involved in politics but we should do it in a polite, elegant, sympathetic, and human way. Be respectful of human dignity. Be respectful of heritage of Wenda’s people.
Only Wenda’s clan are able to develop themselves, others only exploit, place blame and take advantage. As educated persons, we should avoid this. To be developed, we don’t have to beg and sell out our dignity. It kills the character of the Wenda clan and that of Papuans. Are there no indigenous people who can fight for their human rights in this country?
Writer is the Deputy Chairman of the Intellectual Association of Papua and the Secretary of Baptism Voice / rom