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The Mentawai Future: Inappropriate Housing

Indonesia, earnestly pursuing the status of “developed” nation, seems unaware that modern does not always mean better. Expertise that has developed over time in an area is often more functional and efficient there than newer technology. In tropical climates, four walls topped with a zinc roof make a better steam bath than a home. The zinc corrodes quickly, cracks, leaks and requires frequent—and expensive—replacement.

Traditional Mentawai houses are well ventilated and insulated with thatch roofs that are entirely waterproof and last for more than 20 years. Elevating each home on stilts helps prevent insects and frequent flooding from damaging their homes. All necessary construction materials grow in the jungle, facilitating quick inexpensive replacement. Most important of all is the traditional uma communal house, the setting for all of the clan ceremonies and rituals and the cornerstone of Mentawai society. Without umas, the Mentawai cannot avoid assimilation. View our project to build new umas and help clans move back to their ancestral land.

EXPLORE MENTAWAI CULTURE

Challenges the Mentawai face:
Introduction: Change or Vanish
Social Structure
Modern Clothing
Schools
Religions
Costs of Relocation
Inappropriate Housing
Malnutrition & Epidemics
Fighting Back

NATIVE PLANET WORKS

Protect the Mentawai Culture and help the Mentawai People empower themselves

See how Native Planet helps preserve what remains of traditional Mentawai culture as we aid its re-establishment.

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