Myth, resistance, and identity in Timor-Leste's Nino Conis Santana National park

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Journal Article
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014, 45 (2), pp. 153 - 173
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Since the end of the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste in 1999, a significant revival of local cultures and identities in public life has been occurring. In this article I discuss aspects of identity and culture among Fataluku-speaking people in relation to the recent establishment of the Nino Conis Santana National Park over much of their homeland. Today Fataluku cultural and historical stories provide a basis for their status as an autonomous and sovereign cultural group, as well as a legacy of intercultural negotiation and alliance that arguably reflects regional patterns of migration and social change over thousands of years. With the park's 15,000 residents continuing to rely on its forests and reefs for subsistence, recent restrictions on hunting have highlighted the need for increased local community support if the park is to achieve its conservation aims. I argue that long-standing traditions surrounding the negotiation of social and political change within Fataluku society provide a potential basis for cooperation with the new nation-state and for developing community-oriented park management policies. Copyright © The National University of Singapore 2014.
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