The Jurukalang Women’s Organisation is the only indigenous women’s organisation in Bengkulu. It was formed on the initiative of Jurukalang indigenous women and then facilitated by Akar. This organisation is in the Jurukalang indigenous community and administratively is in the district of Topos and Rimbo Pengadang, Lebong Province, Bengkulu which is one of the regencies under Act No 39, 2003 concerning the establishment of Lebong and Kepahyang in Bengkulu. Currently Lebong has 11 districts and 105 villages.
Administratively the Jurukalang indigenous women’s organisation is located in two districts, Topos and Rimbo Pengadang and has indigenous female members from Talang Donok Bawah village, Talang Donok Village in Topos and Tanjung and Bajak village.
Physically the Jurukalang indigenous area is located along the Upper Basin and the fertile slopes of Bukit Barisan which is the Buffer Zone of TNKS (Kerinci Sebelat National Park). It is classified as part of the Bukit Range which is at an altitude of 500-1,000 asl and geographically located at 3º40’-3º60 S and 100º20’-104º30 E, with an area of ± 43,300 Ha and a population of 12,767. It is bordered by;
– North: TNKS and South Sumatra
– South: Bermani Ulu District Rejang Lebong Regency
– East: TNKS and Rejang Lebong Regency
– West: TNKS and Lebong south district, Lebong Regency
The population in Lebong regency is 91,142, consisting of 46,063 males and 45,079 females. Of these, 10,352 are in Rimbo Pengadang province (Jurkalang indigenous community area), spread over an area of 459.52 ha. (BPS Lebong 2009).
Looking at the historical background of the Jurukalang Indigenous community which now is in the Rimbo Pengadang administrative area, it is thought that they descended from several villages of the Rejang people. John Marsden, English Resident in Lais (1175-1779) told a story of the four Petulai Rejang, one of who was Joorcallang (Jurukalang). Dr. J. W. Van Royen in his report “adat-Federatie in de Residentie’s Bengkoelen en Palembang” said that the name Jurukalang is the perfect unity of Rejang.
This perfection is still visible to this day, exemplified in the behaviour of Jurukalang residents who still bow and show respect for traditional customs, while territorially the area governed by them is in a protected area, that is TNKS and Rimbo Pengadang protected forest.
The people of Jurukalang are largely Islamic, close to 100%. Out of 10,352 people only 14 are of another religion, and the main place of worship is mosques. There are 14 mosques and 4 surau/langgar (small mosques). Those of other religions worship in the main city of Lebong regency, Muara Aman.
In the 2009 elections there were 24 polling booths in the Jurukalang indigenous community area with 9 Village Election Committees and 24 Voting Station Officials, and 7,993 people eligible to vote. In terms of educational facilities, the Jurukalang indigenous area has a public high school and two junior high schools, as well as 8 primary schools scattered in the area, while for higher education the Jurukalang people usually go to the capital of the province or another province.
Information on Social-economic conditions
The indigenous area is at the furthermost point of East Lebong Regency, 75 km from the main city with the only village lacking electricity, Bandar Agung village. With the fertile mountainous plains the Jurukalang people rely on the forestry sector with traditional strategies and patterns of farming, combining coffee fields with cinnamon, Ginger plants, patchouli and rice. (Staff Data Base and inventory Data Foundation AKAR, January 2010).
There are even some residents that collect non-timber forest products like rattan and honey for use and sale. In this forest area there are also several forest plants known for their as-yet-undocumented medicinal properties, rarely appearing in formal market transactions.
As part of the Rejang Indigenous community the people hold firmly to the “bersendi syara’ bersendi kitabullah” tradition, and are aware of the division of area or space into residential areas (known as Sadei, Kutai), farming areas (known as Talang) and forest areas (known as Imbo) Occasionally the people visit Pasara Village to sell the produce from their harvests and buy basic necessities for the family.
Knowledge of the boundaries of traditional areas is passed down orally through generations and refers to certain natural boundaries (pacang balei-balei, kestages) such as rivers, springs, and certain kinds of wood such as suluang abang and pinang. Residential areas are marked with ancestral graves and other natural signs (gais pigai).
Some communities are fully aware that their lives are dependent on nature, for example, cutting the honey tree (Sialang) is considered equivalent to the loss of human life. The restriction on premature cutting of trees and cutting trees along the kiyeu celako river is a strategic kind of wisdom for maintaining natural resource sustainability.
The Jurukalang people recognise strengths beyond natural abilities that must be respected as part of the oneness with nature known as tuweak celako. Until now traditional ceremonies connected with this are still performed, such as Tala Bala Prayers (Kedurai Agung) ceremonies to do with rice plants (mundang biniak), opening fields (mengeges, kedurai), building houses (temje bubung) and so on.
The Jurukalang people’s system of government is known by the term begilia (taking in turns to lead) which is based on the bejenjang kenek betanggotu’un philosophy in the village government system. This pattern is part of the strategy of government intervention through Act No 5/1979, replacing the begilia system with elections.
The results of the Akar Foundation’s assessment of Jurukalang women’s behaviour in the domestic and public sphere show the following:
Family Member Time Allocation
Allocation of family member time for the Jurukalang people is seen by the general trend of activities undertaken by husband, wife, sons and daughters in daily life. The family members described are considered to represent the general trend of families in Jurukalang Indigenous communities; There are 5 family members, made up of husband, wife, oldest daughter, middle and youngest son. The husband and wife work daily as farmers while the daughter and sons are primary school students (Bandar Agung Primary School) and the youngest child is one year old.
Daily activities of this family are calculated over a 24-hour period which begins at the time of waking every day in the summer and rainy season. Usually the wife wakes up (4:30am) before the other family members to do housework such as cooking and washing as well as showering and preparing breakfast.
The husband usually wakes up (5.00am) a little later than the wife, drinks coffee and then has breakfast together with his wife and children. Starting around 7:30 the wife and husband usually get their tools ready and leave for the fields where they work until around 11:30 -12:30. They then rest and eat and then continue working until they return home around 5:00 pm.
The husband usually baths immediately, drinks coffee and then rests; while the wife cooks, baths, takes care of the children and rests. Sholat Maghrib is performed from 6:30 am and 7:30pm and the wife prepares the dinner and then the family members eat together. After that, from around 8:00 pm until bedtime there is time to relax, chat, visit neighbours, watch television, or listen to the radio. Usually the wife stays in the house resting and taking care of the children until she goes to sleep (8:30pm) earlier than the husband (10:00pm)
The sons and daughter’s time is allocated according to the daily routine; because they usually help their mother cook and wash, so girls wake up (6:30am) earlier than boys (7:00am) who immediately shower, eat and study at school until 1:30 pm. After that girls spend their time playing, caring for younger siblings and eating lunch until 4:pm.
While boys, after getting home from school (1:30pm), change their clothes and eat lunch, then play until 5:00pm; then bathe, help take care of younger siblings and play at home until 6:30pm. Daughters help their mother and clean the house and bathe. From 7:00 pm, after dinner, boys usually review school lessons a little and do their homework then watch television until bedtime (9:00pm). While girls, after eating dinner, usually spend their time relaxing, reading and writing or watching television until bedtime (9:00pm)
Analysing roles within the family
Some activities within the home are predominantly done by women (wife and daughters), while the part performed by men (husband and sons) is more of a helping role. Whereas activities outside the village (in the market) are more often performed by men (husband).
In farming activities in the field more is usually done by men (husband), particularly in anticipation of pests leading up to the harvest and the wife at that time usually has a helping role, but the role of the wife is also an integral part in field activities; while planting, grazing, and harvest activities are usually performed together (husband and wife). Household decision-making is viewed from the role of each family member, family agreements being made about the need to continue school and determining the children’s marriage.
In terms of educating the children to a higher level (outside the village) the parent’s role is to consider the availability of funds and the need for the child to take care of the family. Husband and wife have an equal role, greater than that of the child, but also taking into account the child’s opinion. When the child is determined to continue school parents usually go along with the desires of the child. Next is the matter of marriage; parents usually give more freedom to the child to determine their own life partner, while they take on a role of planning, preparing and implementing the marriage. But the decision is based on the needs and desires of the child.
Analysing the People’s Social Roles
In other positions in the field of community organisations, there are organisations such as farmers groups, study groups, youth groups, RISMA, and PKK. From all the organisations mentions above except the PKK, the Jurukalang people who take important roles and make organisational decisions are men (men/youth), while women are only listed as members. Organisations designated for women such as PKK, are not yet educational, because the organisation’s activities are merely ceremonial, not containing any educational or strategic elements within the public sphere (law, politics, and information).
In other positions Jurukalang Women organisations are just starting to educate in politics, law and knowledge of the right to receive information, because there is consent in the local economy, the economy being domestic in this context.