Cornelis to the Dayak Community: Don't Pawn Your Land!

Cornelis: preserving land and customary rights.

Cornelis emphasized on Monday, June 10, 2024, "Losing customary land means losing our nature, deforesting Kalimantan, and consequently, losing the Dayak identity. Remember this!"

This warning reiterates what the Dayak leader conveyed during the early 2024 Legislative Election campaign.

"Never pawn your land!" Cornelis delivered this warning to the Dayak community.

The risk of losing the Dayak identity

During a gathering in Pahauman, Landak Regency, on January 21, 2024, Drs. Cornelis, M.H., a legislative candidate from PDIP for Electoral District 1 of West Kalimantan, addressed the vital role of Dayak traditional leaders in safeguarding cultural identity and customary rights.

Kalimantan: Native land that existed first, and was inhabited and occupied by people before the presence of the State.

The risk of losing the Dayak identity took center stage in Cornelis's speech, who had previously served as the Governor of West Kalimantan from 2008 to 2018.

Cornelis depicted the significant risk faced by the Dayak identity due to the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) project, which could lead to the loss of customary forests, Banua Talino, and consequently, the essence of the Dayak identity.

Preserving land and customary rights

The importance of land and customary rights wasn't just highlighted but formed the core of Cornelis's message.

Kalimantan: Native land that existed first, and was inhabited and occupied by people before the presence of the State.

In a fervent atmosphere, he raised awareness about the urgency of defending Dayak lands and customary rights, especially amidst the vigorous implementation of the NCICD project. With firmness in his tone, Cornelis reminded, "If we, the Dayaks, don't safeguard our lands and customary rights, we perish!"

Cornelis didn't merely voice a warning but also provided tangible encouragement for the Dayak community to take action.

With fiery enthusiasm, the man often addressed as "Pak Uda'" urged every individual in the Dayak community to actively engage in planting and preserving the sustainability of the environment around them.

The ambiance of the meeting: an early warning from a true leader.

"Land doesn't multiply. Don't sell an inch of your land! Land will become more valuable later on. This is our active participation in embracing the NCICD. Don't sell the land; it means we are investing. Only sell some later when its price soars," he passionately expressed among the attendees.

Land in the context of the IKN Project

In the context of the IKN project, Cornelis plainly stated that defending land and customary rights isn't just a form of dedication to the Dayak identity but also a strategic step to safeguard the survival of the Dayak community amidst rapid change.

"Don't let go of your land. Plant! Plant! Once again, Plant!" a simple yet meaningful admonition from Cornelis became a call to action to collectively preserve land, uphold identity, and protect the customary rights of the Dayak community.

Cornelis's message wasn't only local to Pahauman but universal for all Dayak people. He emphasized that land is a valuable asset not only owned by individuals but by the entire community.

Land as an investment

Cornelis viewed preserving ancestral land and customary rights as a collective duty to protect identity, customary rights, and the continuity of the Dayak community in changing times.

With hopes that this message could inspire Dayak people wherever they are, Cornelis left his reminder as a collective call to unite in ensuring the sustainability and existence of the Dayak indigenous community in this ever-changing era.

"Not selling land is actively embracing the IKN," Cornelis clarified. 

"Later, when land prices double, then selling some is also considered an investment,"  Cornelis added.

-- Rangkaya Bada

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