Ammatoan Indigenous Religion and Forest Conservation

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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This article is concerned with the indigenous religious-based forest conservation of the Ammatoans of Sulawesi in the eastern part of Indonesia. It explores the Ammatoans’ religious ideas of social actors that extend beyond human beings. Ammatoans understand that the cosmos is inhabited by not only human but also other non-human beings such as the land, forest, plants, animals, and so forth. Non-human beings do not only live together but also share the life with human beings in this world. Both human and non-human beings are equally perceived to be persons/subjects constitutive of intersubjective relationships. Such religious perception of intersubjective relations governs Ammatoans’ everyday behaviors and practices, including those of forest conservation. Ammatoans’ forest conservation practices include sets of regulations and punishments that are strictly enforced. Ammatoans’ religious ideas and practices of forest conservation illustrate what scholars have called “religious ecology.”

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