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Story Publication logo November 12, 2022

The Story of the Shamans Who Protect the Remaining Forest on Bangka Island (bahasa Indonesia)

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On Bangka Island, the forest is only left in the hills, which is the last "moral" of the people on...

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This story excerpt was translated from Bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Mongabay Indonesia. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


  • Bangka Island, which covers about 1.1 million hectares, has a denudational landform dominated by granite hills. Hundreds of years of tin extraction and monoculture plantations such as palm oil have left only the hills as the remaining forest.
  • The destruction of the hills will not only harm the lives of the Jerieng Tribe, in Pelangas Village, Simpang Teritip Sub-district, West Bangka Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands Province, in the world, but also their spirituality.
  • The Jerieng tribe is an old Malay subtribe spread across 13 villages in Simpang Teritip sub-district, West Bangka Regency, with an area of about 62 thousand hectares. Penyabung Hill in Pelangas Village, which is about 300 meters high, is the highest area, as well as a sacred area for the Jerieng Tribe.
  • Every year, in the month of Muharram, the Jerieng tribe performs the "mountain taber" ritual on Peyabung Hill. The essence of the meaning of the ritual is as a form of gratitude for natural products, as well as praying to the Almighty to be kept away from all diseases and disasters.

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Bangka Island, which covers about 1.1 million hectares, has a denudational landform dominated by granite hills. Hundreds of years of tin extraction and monoculture plantations such as palm oil have left the hills as a remnant forest, which has long been a sacred area for a number of Indigenous peoples on Bangka Island.

"The destruction of the hills will not only harm our life in the world, but also our spirituality," said Janum bin Lamat [58], the Customary Chief of the Jerieng Tribe, in Pelangas Village, Simpang Teritip Subdistrict, West Bangka Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands Province, mid-September 2022.


For hundreds of years, the spot used by shamans as a ritual location is now the last remaining forest on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

The hills on Bangka Island, considered a sacred area, are threatened by anthropogenic activities. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabayay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Janum bin Lamat, the village shaman of the Jerieng Tribe in Pelangas Village, Bangka Regency. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Makmun, a village shaman in Gudang Village, who still often performs rituals on Kepale Hill and Nenek Hill, South Bangka Regency. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Damion and eight other village shamans still perform rituals at the top of Mount Maras, Bangka Regency. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Mang Kalu, the seventh descendant of Mount Mangkol who no longer holds rituals. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Rituals are interpreted as a form of gratitude for natural products, as well as a collective effort in maintaining the landscape. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Unstoppable tin mining activities are one of the consequences of the loss of rituals and the fading of the community's relationship with nature on Bangka Island. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

The riding forest area, considered to be the link between every hill and village on Bangka Island, is cut off by the palm oil landscape. Image by Nopri Ismi/Mongabay Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

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