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Oil Palm Free Islands

© Joel Redman

From outsiders to political representatives, the indigenous struggle in the Mentawai islands is a 20 year struggle to be heard. The project looks at the villagers, shamans, newspaper & radio stations that unify these threatened islands as they fend of conflict palm oil.

The Mentawai Islands are situated just off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia and are home to a proud indigenous community who value the rainforest deeply as it forms an intrinsic part of their daily lives.

Palm oil companies operate though out Sumatra and have their eyes set on these Islands. Local politicians and the Mentawai people are determined to keep them at bay. The locals have set up a local radio station “Radio Sura Mentawi” as well as a newspaper titled “Puailiggoubat,” these two mediums as well as the Islands word of mouth keep locals abreast of any political or environmental issues that could be of concern to them. This information then leads to political protest and or strong action from the communities.

Being a small group of Islands separated from the mainland has allowed the people of the Mentawai Islands to view how Palm Oil companies have taken over huge swathes of land and destroyed communities on the mainland of Sumatra. Therefore allowing the Mentawai people to learn from these mistakes made by their brothers and sisters firsthand.

More information about the islands and this project can be found on the IF Not Us Then Who

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