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Sasi Nggama: An Indigenous Tradition to Preserve the Environment in Kaimana, West Papua

This article is taken from an incative website


Sasi Nggama


Indigenous peoples in Kaimana District, West Papua, have a unique tradition of preserving the environment and natural ecology both on land and sea, called Sasi Nggama. That is also applied to maintain the environment in the waters of Kaimana.


Conservation Area and Policy Management Manager in West Papua Province Conservation International (CI) Indonesia Alberth Nebore said the local wisdom is owned by a number of tribes in Kaimana. This tradition is a form of traditional conservation that has been preserved for generations as a form of local wisdom. Kaimana Water Conservation Area is an asset of Kaimana community and local government. This tradition of Sasi Nggama aims to ensure sustainable fisheries management in order to be utilized for the welfare of the community.

The tradition is also carried out as an effort to promote the tourism sector of the waters. Sasi Nggama is a cultural identity. In the past, Sasi Nggama used by the ancestors of the community to regulate the utilization of natural resources. This local wisdom that protects nature and natural resources in the area. Sasi Nggama is a traditional ceremony to protect an area from exploitation. This tradition has to be obeyed by every community within a certain period of time before the specified territorial status is revoked.[1]

On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the local government of Kaimana Regency through the Tourism and Culture Office of Kaimana Regency held a process to open Sasi Nggama. The event was attended by various customary figures, religious figures, community leaders, government institutions and conservation institutions such as Conservation International Indonesia.

Because of to the tradition of Sasi Nggama an area will be maintained its natural resource management system in a controlled manner because it is protected by customary law. Protected areas are free to be determined by customary heads and can be opened. While the opening of Sasi Nggama means to re-open the sea area to be utilized its resources after several years forbidden to be exploited. This activity has become a tradition for Kampung Kayumerah, Namatota, Nasaulan, Adijaya, Kambala and other villages in the Kaimana area. The opening on November 11th was conducted on Nawarum Island located in Siawatan village after four years ago performed Sasi Nggama ceremony.

“Kaimana residents fully support the management of natural resources with the Sasi system. People understand that Sasi aims to maintain the sustainability of natural resources, “said Assistant II Regional Secretary Kaimana, Martinus Furima.

Sasi means protection or prohibition against biota that can be done both on the land and in the sea.With the custom of Sasi, the existing natural resources will be given an opportunity to recover, grow and multiply. When custom is done, a place will be a place of pamali which means that there is absolutely no activity. Sasi has been a part of the formal law in customary law since 2016. So that every offender Sasi will be given sanctions such as paying custom fines or social sanctions such as prohibited to be involved in the opening ceremony and harvest results. The Sasi Tradition is proof that Papuans have understood the importance of a conservation effort to conserve and preserve the resources that exist in the region.[2]

Keywords: West Papua, Papua, Sasi Nggama, Kaimana, tradition, local wisdom, environment, sustainable development, tourism, natural resources

Sakhiyatun Kamilah (MaCDIS Researcher)

[1] Mengenal Sasi Nggama, Tradisi yang Menjaga Lingkungan Kaimana, diakses dari laman

[2] Bagus Ramadhan, Adat Sasi, Tradisi Adat Penjaga Kelestarian Alam Turun-Temurun dari Papua, diakses dari laman