Lunggi Randa, “Ratu” (Queen) of the Wundut Indigenous Forest Defender

Lunggi Randa (63 years old), is a Marapu traditional leader. Besides being a Marapu traditional leader, Lunggi Randa is also a farmer in Kambata Wundut Village, Lewa District, East Sumba District, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia.

Marapu is an indigenous religion practised by some local people of Sumba Island who base their beliefs on the spirits of their ancestors. In Marapu belief, Lunggi Randa is a Queen or Spiritual Leader in the indigenous community. As a Queen, Lunggi Randa has the responsibility of regulating the pattern of relationships between members of the indigenous community, both the relationship between fellow citizens, the relationship between the indigenous community and the Creator and the relationship between the indigenous community and nature.

Lunggi Randa and other members of the indigenous community are preserving the Matawongu Customary Forest in East Sumba District. For Lunggi Randa, the customary forest is a buffer for the survival of the Marapu indigenous community, because the forest they protect provides various needs needed by the Marapu community: wood for the construction of traditional houses, food, vegetables, spices, prey to medicinal plants, providing water for all life upstream and downstream. For the Marapu indigenous people, in utilizing the forest, the community is prohibited from taking or exploiting the forest beyond the needs that have been determined in customary deliberations, so that the sustainability of the ecosystem can be maintained.

In the concept of maintaining the sustainability of the customary forest, Lunggi Randa and the Marapu Indigenous People will perform Hamayang Kacua Utang, a traditional ritual aimed at maintaining the forest. According to Marapu beliefs, this ritual aims to call back the souls or spirits of all plants, animals, birds and all living things that make up the forest ecosystem that has died due to forest fires, logging, poaching, etc. After the spirits are called back, the forest will return to its original state. After the spirits have been summoned, then through traditional rituals, they will be sent back to the Creator.

Lunggi Randa hopes that their good practices can become local solutions in contributing to global climate change.

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