Many prohibitions for some people in Papua are actually to protect their natural resources from any threats.
These bans can have various names, such as Samson for Matbat ethnic of Misool Island, or sasisen for Biak people, or rajaha for Maya people of Salawati Island, and Tepera people of Tablanusu village call it tiaitiki. Even though they have many different names, it contains the same meaning and purpose that is not to let people utilizing the natural resources within a certain time. This is to provide opportunities for certain flora and fauna to renew and duplicate as well as to maintain and multiply the population of their surrounding natural resources.
Fafanlap Village, which is located in Misool Island, Raja Ampat, recognizes a prohibition law or katilol in their local language. Katilol is closely related to the prohibitions applied in the sea and the land. Further, the application of this rule cannot be separated from the role of the customary leaders of kings who have authority in Misool Island, especially Fafanlap Village.
Katilol, according to customary leaders –as quoted by Jubi from Sasi Katilol Masyarakat Kampung Fafanlap Distrik Misool Selatan by Windy Hapsari et.al, Papua Cultural Value Preservation Office, the Education and Cultural Ministry—told firstly, is regarded as people tradition. Secondly, it is regarded as customary law, and the third, it is regarded as an order or a prohibition from a leader or a king.
Especially for Matbal tribe, who are the majority of Fafanlap villagers, this law has been descended from their ancestors and present generation continues to defend it to preserve the environment. The prohibition is applied to both areas of sea and land. To separate it, they call it katilol and katile for the rules who apply in these areas respectively.
These prohibitions are usually determined on an arrangement, but interestingly, it can also be done unintentionally. The first is usually done based on necessity, for instance by considering the decrease of sea or plant harvesting. While the latter is done because of external factors such as climate or seasonal calendar applied by villagers.
If sawi or east wind season comes, there are usually big waves and windy. As a result, fishermen are fear to going fishing. They have to wait until the weather turns friendly, then they go to the sea. This season occurs for almost six months before altering with moropat or west wind season that also endures for the same period. However, the climate and season could be different in some villages. It depends on the geographical location of each area.
Katilol and katile are included in the seasonal calendar of Fafanlap villagers by considering the presence of natural phenomena, especially for katilol, which related to the prohibition in the sea. Sea phenomenon can be seen through low tide or in local language meti and tidal or mos.
There are several types of prohibition laws, including religious and customary laws. Religious prohibition law is usually applied to religious need. For example, people are prohibited to harvest coconut trees. It will be ended for religious event or construction of worship building. Meanwhile, customary law has been rarely to apply since 2001. However, each clan still applies it according to their customary areas.
Currently, the implementation of sea law has been decreased for several reasons. The first reason is the role of the customary government is decline. Another is a conflict between these leaders. However, the sea law prohibition is still applied in Fafanlap Village that led by a kapitla. Kapitla is actually the abbreviation from kapitan laut or sea commander.
A kapitla of Fafanlap village comes from Soltif clan. As a traditional leader, he is assisted by sgaji, marin, and sawo. Marin is a messenger who is responsible to deliver an order from kapitla. A marin in Fafanlap village comes from Wainsaf clan. (*)
Reporter: Dominggus Mampioper
Editor: Pipit Maizier