June 2006
(Volume 9, Number 3)
ISSN  1449-2091

Michael Michie

Tiwi designs by Jennifer Coombs
Munupi Arts & Crafts Association,
Pirlangimpi, Melville Island, NT






The Natural Wisdom from Mountain Kendeng

Ely Djulia, Medan, Indonesia

As part of cultural tourism the traditional Kanekes village located in West Java Province of Indonesia has been visited by many people for various purposes. Some common people want to get a blessing from the honored leader called Puun. Some students want to get first-hand knowledge about the village society. Even some anthropologists want to investigate more deeply about the traditional life of the Baduy people who live there.

It was hot work in half a day. We reached the kampong (village) of Cicakel after walking for three hours, passing through three other kampong called Keduketug, Balingbing and Gazeboh. It was very hard though for newcomers to reach that place. Surprisingly, it was very different when we saw some children quickly running happily through the forest. That was their habitual life, moving in and out of that village unexhausted. Walking around the village we found it quiet with only a few people there. Most people were working in the unirrigated rice fields at the time. Because we spoke different languages we couldn’t talk, only smile at each other.

On our first visit we decided not to continue our walk into Cibeo, a kampong in the heart of their lands. We didn’t have the energy to continue and it would be better to postpone our journey for the time being. Six months later, on our next visit our guide chose another easier way to reach the kampong of Cibeo. We found a better way to pass comfortably through a kampong called Kaduketer, while the rest of our walking was through tropical forest.

A row of rice barns at Kampong Kaduketer (outer Baduy) before arrival 
at Kampung Cibeo (inner Baduy)

After four hours walking, we reached the edge of the kampong, hearing running water from the river beneath the Ciparahiyang bamboo bridge. It was very fresh, clean water, free from any pollutants. Nobody here is allowed to use any chemicals, not even soap, shampoo and so on. A charismatic man with a torn white cloth and curly-hair welcomed us very kindly.

 “He is Jaro Sami, and we will visit his home soon”, said our guide as he introduced us to him. We’re not allowed to use any electronic tools like camera, handycam and so on in this place. They called it a “traditional ban” even though they neglected to tell us its reason, only its consequence.

Coming to Cibeo kampong is just like entering story land. There’s a row of wooden houses of the same size and shape. Here there are 85 houses. People have kept the natural contour of the land, using supports of bamboo to adapt to the contours, so there are long and short bamboo supports. Not only are their houses all the same size and shape, the Baduy people also dress alike with black or broken-white, sometimes dark-blue clothes.

In his house, Jaro Sami, the leader of Cibeo kampong welcomes us with a drink of water and granules of palm sugar. His neighbours also arrive soon afterwards.

“This is special for guests”, Jaro Sami said.

The drinking cups are made out of bamboo and hang on the wall of the house. They usually use traditional utensils to eat and drink and they are all made of bamboo. We talked to them for almost two hours.

According to Jaro Sami, Baduy people can build one house together in one day by helping each other. All the tools for the house are usually made from bamboo and wood and are prepared beforehand, without using metal tools. They are not allowed to cut wood every year.

A rice barn at Kampong Gazeboh in Outer Baduy

Most of their ritual ceremony is connected with rice and the activities in the unirrigated rice fields. The ancestors have convinced the society that planting in the unirrigated rice fields is an obligation accepted from generation to generation. People are not allowed to sell the rice as it is kept for daily needs. They manage the unirrigated rice fields by only using rain water, not by irrigating their field. They use organic fertilizer by combining some medical plants such as small trees, the roots of which produce dyes (e.g. Morinda, calamondin), not by using pesticides.

They are not allowed to cultivate avocado, coffee and cassava. They believe these plants would have unexpected effects on them. There are some fruits from trees of Tamarindus sp (tamarind), Durio zibethinus (durian), carambola, mango, papaya and tomato that they are allowed to consume. Sometimes they grow incidentally. The forest is their natural heritage given by the ancestors, so there is not reforestation here.  Certain people are organized who have responsibility for managing the forest.

Baduy people recognize the beginning of the first month of their new year as leaving kidang when the kidang star emerges. According to their knowledge, new year must be at that time when the sun is located to the north or tending to move to the north. At that time the soil has been cold and is ready to plant. They usually plant rice in the unirrigated rice field at a certain time following these phases. Their Calendar system is also strongly related to the sequence of planting activity in the field. The first process of preparation in the field is known as narawas and establishing new field is called as nyacar and held on the fourth month. The new year of the Baduy people is also in this month.

Table 1. The Phases of Traditional Planting in the Unirrigated Rice Field






Finding new field



Cutting grass, bush, small trees, so that soil can get enough light



Drying grass, leaf, branches, to be dry matter. It usually takes three weeks.



Burning all dry matter



Selecting and planting seed


Ngirab sawan

Keeping the soil free from gulma



The first process of harvesting is conducted by the leader of traditional community



Harvesting activity followed by all the society



Transporting the harvests from the field to the barn



Celebrating the harvest by consuming the newly harvested rice



Transporting the rest of the harvests back to the barn as thanksgiving for their success.



The ceremony to produce laksa, a spaghetti-liked food made from flour of the newly harvested rice, cooked by women. It is as a symbol of respect to their ancestors for providing a safe environment. Ngalaksa activity is a sign of finishing field activity of the year.



Presenting gifts to the head of the County, conducted by men.

Planting in the unirrigated rice fields becomes a process of direct education in nature for their children since they are young kids, even when they are still a baby, then as teenagers until adult.

When we asked one of kids there, ”Do you go to school?”, his father answered: ”He learns in the field.”

Baduy people bring their kids to the field from when their baby is still one-month-old. They also give their five-year-old kids a tool to collect wood for household needs. They usually go home at 4 pm with their mother and arrive at home at 6 pm.

They are prohibited to use some metal tools during cultivating activities. Some animals like cows and sheep are also not allowed to pass their fields. This is to keep away from their field from animal disturbance. Beside Baduy people have deeply agricultural experiences of planting seedlings and formulating organic fertilizer. This is proven because grain harvested in the unirrigated rice field is relatively longer than those planted in irrigated rice field. By learning and practicing this from generation to generation they traditionally conserve rice from cultivating rice in the field until transporting the harvest to the barn.

Acknowledgement: I thank Martina A. Napitupulu and Yaya Rukayadi for critical suggestions to improve the manuscript

(The location of Baduy Village can be seen by visiting this map of West Java. A previous article on Indonesia's indigenous peoples by Ely Djulia was published in the October 2005 issue of the Indigenous Science Network Bulletin.)

Australian Government: Education Media Releases post Budget 2006

Please see below Media Releases from the Minister for Education, Science and Training specifically related to Indigenous Education and Universities post Budget 2006.

Title: Budget 2006-07: Education, science and training - investing in our young people
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - Tutorial assistance for Indigenous vocational and technical students
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - A sporting chance for Indigenous youth
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - Community Festivals for Drug Prevention and Education
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities -  Year 9 Indigenous students encouraged to remain at school
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - New secondary college welcomed by Tiwi Islands
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - Help for remote Indigenous youth affected by petrol sniffing
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Strengthening Indigenous Communities - Targeting ABSTUDY to boost employment for Indigenous students
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Growing our universities
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: 2020 new higher education places to boost the health workforce
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:
Title: Moving towards a national system for assessing research quality
Please follow the link to view the latest media release or speech:


Southeast Asian and Japanese Cultural Influences on the Understanding of Scientific Concepts

The Proceedings of this conference on language-culture incommensurability can be downloaded as a pdf file from There was a report on the conference in the ISN Bulletin for December, 2005.

Aboriginal Studies Press Newsletter 2006 - issue 4 (Australia)

Aboriginal Studies Press publishes outstanding books that promote a greater understanding of Indigenous Australian culture. Here's information about two exciting new titles (archaeology and history), and advance notice of two stand-out titles (politics and jurisprudence).
          Inspection copy

Indigenous Astronomy

An illustrated article by Paul Curnow entitled "Night skies of the 'Dreaming'" appeared in the March/April issue of Sky & Space, an Australian astronomy magazine. It may be still available at newsagencies, or you can e-mail Paul for a pdf version.

An article entitled "The southern night sky" written by Dianne Johnson appears in Arthur & Morphy (2005), Macquarie atlas of Indigenous Australia, Macquarie Library: Sydney. Dianne Johnson's previous book on Australian indigenous astronomy is entitled "Night skies of Aboriginal Australia: A noctuary" (1998).

Scientific American Brasil: Etnoastronomia 

According to John Morieson, the only problem is that it is only in Brazilian Portuguese, otherwise it is a great overview of some significant ethnoastronomy from a number of locations. Two local journos used the Boorong material (from north west Victoria) and their graphic artist did an excellent rendition of the Boorong constellations.

(Website in Portuguese:


Ethnoornithology Study & Research Group (ERSG) Newsletter

The first edition of the Ethnoornithology Study & Research Group (ERSG) Newsletter will be published and available at: The ERSG is a web-based international group of indigenous people, practitioners, students and academics interested in research into and the practical application of indigenous bird knowledge.

Inter-Networking Communities (INC)

Michael Christie from Charles Darwin University (Australia) recently co-presented a seminar on his recent project, Inter-Networking Communities. You can visit the website at

Library and Knowledge Centres

Martin Nakata (Junbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney) recently did an evaluation of the Library and Knowledge Centres in NT, which covers a range of areas including ICTs, IP, etc. that may be of interest to readers. See:


Multimodal Texts and Multiliteracies: Semiotic Theory and Practical Pedagogy

The 2006 National Conference of the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association in collaboration with the Northern Regional Council of the Australian Literacy Educators Association. 27-29 September, 2006. University of New England in Armidale, NSW, AUSTRALIA

Please visit our conference website -  You can view the list of accepted abstracts and also register online [secured site].  Early Bird Registrations close on 1 July!

Confirmed Plenary and Keynote Speakers include:

o Professor Theo van Leeuwen, University of Technology, Sydney
o Professor Jim Martin, University of Sydney
o Professor John Stephens, Macquarie University
o Professor Peter Freebody, University of Queensland
o Dr Mary Macken-Horarik, University of Canberra
o Associate Professor Jane Torr, Macquarie University
o Dr Louise Ravelli, University of NSW
o Dr Clare Painter, University of NSW
Dr Angela Thomas, University of Sydney
Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Griffith University

 Science Revolution in Minority Communities: What Progress Have We Made?
Tampa, Florida
26-29 October  2006

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) provides unparalleled conference activities for students, educators, administrators and researchers in science.

SACNAS continues its tradition of working to increase Native American and Chicano/Latino presence in the scientific community. The SACNAS Conference offers a national forum for investigation of questions related to the theme and the development of a new generation of leaders who will be instrumental in shaping future directions and applications of scientific research.

Policy and Practice in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning in the Elementary Grades
Le Meridien Commodore Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon
8-10 November 2006

Call For Papers
The Science and Math Education Center, in the Department of Education, at the American University of Beirut (AUB), in partnership with the Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project will host an International Symposium on Policy and Practice in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning in the Elementary Grades November 8-10, 2006 in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Symposium is organised by Dr. Marjorie Henningsen of the AUB: with support from SMEC faculty and Dr. Madeleine Long of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA, in cooperation with Professor Fayez Mina, Ain Shams University, Cairo, and Dr. Alan Rogerson, - joint coordinators of the Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project.

The major goals of the International Symposium are: (a) to share innovative, unique and creative solutions for enacting reform in the areas of elementary mathematics and science teacher preparation and development, school organization, policy, and classroom practices; (b) to document and widely disseminate ideas presented at the symposium; (c) to initiate new and creative solutions to endemic problems; and (d) to initiate discussion of a grant proposal to enact and study the enactment in international "hothouse" school settings of some of the innovative ideas presented in the Symposium.

All Symposium events will be held in the Le Meridien Commodore Hotel. The Opening Plenary and Welcome Reception will take place on the evening of November 8. Other symposium sessions will take place all day on November 9 and 10. Participants are also strongly encouraged to submit proposals for the Tenth Annual Regional Science and Mathematics Educators Conference (SMEC) to be held immediately following the Symposium on November 11-12, 2006 on the campus of the American University of Beirut (see the Call for Proposals attached or at Concurrent with both events there will be a Publishers Exhibition held on the AUB campus.

The Program Committee for the International Symposium invites science and math education university faculty, and science and math teachers, coordinators and administrators from all countries to submit proposals to be reviewed for possible inclusion in the International Symposium Program. Proposals are sought in the following areas:

  • Teacher preparation and ongoing development
  • Policy initiatives
  • School organization
  • Classroom practices

Completed proposals are due no later than June 1, 2006. Acceptance notifications for proposals received on time will be completed by June 15, 2006. Late proposals may not be considered for inclusion in the program. All accepted proposals will be eligible for inclusion in the written proceedings. However, only the six most unique and creative proposals from each of the four areas above will be selected for live presentation in the symposium sessions. [Accepted proposals not chosen for live presentation in the symposium may optionally be presented in the 10th Annual Science and Mathematics Educators Conference to be held on November 11-12 on the AUB campus.]

Symposium Themes and Session Formats
The focus of all sessions is on innovative, unique and creative practices and solutions to the problems we face as we try to have a positive impact on student learning in the context of worldwide reform in mathematics and science education in the elementary grades. Four half-day sessions will be divided into two phases each: (1) Sharing ideas and (2) Discussion and Idea Development.

All presenters will be given a maximum of 15 minutes to describe their innovative practice(s) and highlight how it has worked in their respective countries and professional settings. Each presentation should be structured as follows: (1) Statement of the problem or obstacle that spurred the innovation; (2) description of the solution/innovation; (3) description/evidence of the extent to which the innovation was successful with respect to the targeted problem/obstacle; and (4) possibilities for transfer to different environments. After individual sharing is completed, there will be open discussion facilitated by a session moderator. 


We strongly encourage participants to also register below for the SMEC Conference which immediately follows our Symposium. The conference will run all day both days, roughly 8:30-5:00pm.
The SMEC Registration Fee for the two days is 30US$ (but is free for those who are presenters, see the Call for Proposals) Please include the 30$ fee if you wish to attend the SMEC Conference and make sure you have also booked the hotel for the nights of November 11-12. Those who are chosen as presenters later will have their 30$ fee refunded. The SMEC fee includes access to all sessions, two light snacks and drink breaks, name badge, official program packet and participation certificate. Full details of the SMEC Conference Programme will be available later this year at or by emailing Marjorie Henningsen at

Symposium & SMEC Conference Registration Form November 8-12, Beirut 2006
Use email Reply to send or attach the completed form below to

MOE-NIE-STAS International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2006 
22 – 24 November 2006
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616
Details and forms available at

Asia-Pacific Ed Research Association Conference 28-30 Nov. 2006, Hong Kong

We are very pleased to inform you that The First International Conference of Asia-Pacific Education Research Association (APERA 2006) will be held on 28-30 November 2006 in Hong Kong. This is our 2nd Call for Paper Submissions. (Deadline for paper submission: 31 June 2006) ( )

We would like to warmly invite you to attend and submit papers to this exciting APERA 2006 conference. It is a great international conference organized, co-organized and sponsored by 19 national and international organizations, with numerous educators, researchers, change agents and policy-makers from the Asia-Pacific region and different parts of the world. Research students are also welcome.

The theme of the Conference is "Educational Research, Policy, and Practice in an Era of Globalization: The Asia Pacific Perspectives and Beyond" and 14 sub-themes covering a wide range of research areas in education. The aims are to contribute to vision creation, knowledge advancement, and policy-making in such a way that reform efforts and education practices for our students’ future in the new century can be rationalized, substantively and instrumentally.

For the details of the conference and submission of papers, please refer to the Conference website


This is mostly a summary of upcoming conferences. More details may have been given above or in previous bulletins. A web-based contact is usually included.

June 2006

9-10 June 2006: Symposium on Technology, Knowledge and Society, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. (Feb06)

12-15 June 2006: 6th International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, New Orleans, USA (April06)

15-17 June, 2006: "Traditional knowledge: Indigenous indicators of Well-being: perspectives, practices, solutions", at Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand. Try the website at (April06)

16-18 June 2006: Social Capital Foundation Conference at the American University in Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. For more information please go to (Feb06)

28-30 June 2006: (Re) Contesting Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Studies Conference 2006, Gold Coast Marriott Hotel, Surfers Paradise - Queensland Australia, (Dec05)

July 2006

5-8 July 2006: Australasian Science Education Research Association conference, Canberra ACT.  (August05)

9-13 July 2006: CONASTA55: Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association, Adelaide, SA (August05)

12-14 July 2006: Sustainability of Indigenous Communities 2006. Murdoch University, Perth WA, (April06)

18-21 July 2006: International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, University of the Aegean, Island of Rhodes, Greece, (Feb06)

30 July - 4 August 2006: XII IOSTE Symposium: Science and Technology Education in the Service of Humankind, Penang, Malaysia. (Dec05)

August 2006

4-8 August 2006: Garma Festival, Nhulunbuy, NT (April06)

September 2006

3-8 September 2006: 12th Gender And Science And Technology (GASAT12) International Conference. University of Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom. Email (Dec05)

27-29 September 2006: Multimodal Texts and Multiliteracies: Semiotic Theory and Practical Pedagogy. National Conference of the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association in collaboration with the Northern Regional Council of the Australian Literacy Educators Association. . University of New England in Armidale, NSW, AUSTRALIA

October 2006

4-6 October 2006: Australian Association for Environmental Education conference, Bunbury, WA. Pamphlet available at (April06)

26-29 October 2006: Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Science Revolution in Minority Communities: What Progress Have We Made? Tampa, Florida (Jun06)

November 2006

1-3 November 2006: 2nd Desert Knowledge Symposium, organised by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and Desert Knowledge Australia, Alice Springs NT. (April06)

5-9 November 2006: 10th International Congress of Ethnobiology (ICE): "Ethnobiology, Biodiversity and Community Development", Chiang Rai Province of Thailand. (April06)

8-10 November 2006: Policy and Practice in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning in the Elementary Grades. Le Meridien Commodore Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon (Jun06)

22 – 24 November 2006: MOE-NIE-STAS International Science Education Conference (ISEC) 2006, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637616. Details and forms available at (Jun06)

27-29 November 2006: 4th National Indigenous Education Conference - Getting on with the job: Indigenous Engagement in Education, Newcastle NSW  Australia (April06)

28-30 November 2006: APERA 2006, the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference 2006, Hong Kong. (Oct05/June06)

December 2006

1-3 December 2006: ANZCIES 2006: Global Governance, Educational Change, and Cultural Ecology, Australia National University, Canberra. (April06)

April 2007

14-17 April: National Association for Research in Science Teaching annual meeting, New Orleans, (  (still being advertised as here on the website)

July 2007

8-12 July: World Conference on Science and Technology Education (ICASE/CONASTA56), Perth WA. (August05)


World Indigenous People's Conference on Education (WIPCE 2008), Victoria, Australia

Last updated: 1 June 2006