Book Review by Joji Cariño: 'Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement' and 'Pancur Kasih Credit Union'

Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement
By
Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement

Book Review by Joji Cariño: 'Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement' and 'Pancur Kasih Credit Union'

Aware of the historical value of documentation, the Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement (GPPK) records the experience of its 30-year work to serve as learning for present and future generations of GPPK, as well as activists and organisations of indigenous peoples elsewhere.

- Milestones in GPPK Work in Response to Problems of Dayak Community (1981-2011)

Introduction

The Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement (Gerakan Pemberjayaan Pancur Kasih/ GPPK) is a social movement of indigenous Dayak peoples in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, which during the last 30 years has worked to gain recognition for the existence, identity and dignity of indigenous peoples who have long been marginalised by governments, corporations and the mainstream Indonesian society. 

This year, GPPK completed 2 auto-historical books titled Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement and Pancur Kasih Credit Union Movement, which were launched in Pontianak, Indonesia, on 2 September 2013. The books can be viewed here: http://www.tebtebba.org/index.php/content/241-pancur-kasih-publications 

By publishing these 2 books narrating the birth and growth of their social movement, the Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement have empowered all their readers to understand and celebrate contemporary self-determination of indigenous peoples, as it is practised and visioned by the Dayak peoples of West Kalimantan.

Certain books are able to convey fundamental and detailed aspects of an idea and a vision, thus deepening and changing one’s own thinking and awareness. These books have succeeded in deepening my understanding about Indigenous Peoples’ empowerment and self-determination, not as an end to be reached in the future, but as a conscious constant effort to overcome marginalisation and oppression, an attitude and active 

way of being, which GPPK describes as “moving by learning.” Reading these books promotes reflection about one’s own experiences within indigenous peoples’ movements, using them as a yardstick or mirror to measure successes in other locations and arenas of struggle.

It is a story about overcoming historic colonisation, structural discrimination and modern developmentalist impositions through a dynamic process of committed doing, learning and reflection, always sensitive to the cultural, political and social context and opportunities of their local realities and position in the world. The spirit of its founders and the wealth of Dayak intellectuals are evident through the various chapters of the book, just as they have animated and guided a living and vibrant social movement for identity and dignity.  Manifesting the openness of indigenous social movements to positive ideas and influences, GPPK describes its philosophy of empowerment as a synthesis of Dayak philosophy, Catholic social teachings, and modern science and technology.

Addressing the economic challenges for our times, the discussion about the “Seven Fortunes and Seven Calamities” confronting indigenous societies today in navigating economic development choices, while respecting culture and identity, is very relevant. The underlying principles for living a good life, based on the Dayak’s traditional cultural values are those of sustainability, collectivity, naturality, spirituality, process-orientation, domesticity and locality. These are contrasted with prevailing modern values — productivity, individualism, technology, rationality, efficiency, commercialism, and globalisation — that have become predominant principles in present-day social and economic development but  can undermine a balanced human-nature relationship. The ensuing chaos is seen as cultural poverty, defined from a Dayak perspective as arising from the inability to practice customary principles and values, and to live a good life.

This cultural foundation of GPPK’s work makes the Dayaks a leading example of dynamic social movements of indigenous peoples, who are addressing 21st century social and ecological crises facing humanity today.  GPPK has expanded and refined its vision and mission through the years, crossing ethnic/tribal, cultural, religious and regional boundaries, and even countries - embracing ‘Dayak’ society and marginalised society in general, to manage their lives in solidarity and love, in order to achieve economic independence, be culturally dignified, and politically sovereign. 

Pancur Kasih, translated literally as “fountain of love” has given birth to remarkable institutions, affiliated 

organisations and significant outcomes for the Dayak communities. Its core programmes covered in the various chapters of the books include education, cultural revitalisation, popularising people-based economy, nurturing nature, effecting change through media, political participation and advocacy, and GPPK’s position in social movements in Indonesia. Institutions, including the Saint Francis of Assisi Junior High School and Senior High School, Pancur Kasih Credit Union, Institut Dayakologi, Kalimantan Review, Mitra Hasih Printing, Bela Institution Banua Talino (LBBT), Community Radio for the Voice of Indigenous Community (RAMA) and RUAI Television have all been created as a result of the Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement and serve as  significant service institutions for the community.

At each stage of the GPPK’s 30-year history, core problems were clearly identified, along with the corresponding institutional programmes to address these problems, these becoming the milestones in GPPK’s journey. GPPK, together with other indigenous peoples in Indonesia, was central to the birth of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), the country-wide alliance of indigenous peoples, whose members throughout the archipelago lead community struggles for land rights and recognition.  

These books will surely have similar lasting impacts, as have the numerous institutions and programmes GPPK has launched and sustained through its 30-year history. 

 
Pancur Kasih Credit Union Movement
By
Pancur Kasih Empowerment Movement