Indigenous Celebration Press Release


Indigenous Celebration Review

Updated comments by David Metcalf and Emmanuela Shinta – May 17, 2018

Press Release

May 17, 2018

The Indigenous Celebration staged at the Arma Museum in Ubud, Bali on May 11-13 built creatively on the sense of connection between the Indigenous people from Indonesia, the Pacific and India, including Odisha and Nagaland. There were 34 tribes represented. These included Gayo Aceh, Antoni from West Timor, Dayak Punan, an Australian Aboriginal group, Dayak Kenyah, Marind from Papua and a New Zealand Maori group. In all, 200 Indigenous people gathered in Bali for this inaugural event - from rivers, jungles, small villages and larger urban settlements.

The Celebration provided a unique opportunity for participants to reinforce their indigenous identity. They shared their ideas, knowledge and wisdom, and staged performances that resonated with ancient rhythms, songlines and sacred dances.

A moving opening ceremony was led by the elders of the Dayak Maanyan community. It included a prayer ritual which sought permission from their ancestors for the celebration and sought their help in guarding Arma’s sacred ground during the event. It involved ancient chants accompanied by the sprinkling of rice and holy water. The 3-day Indigenous Celebration continued this tradition of honouring the visible and invisible world. Other themes pervading the festival also included artistic excellence, collaboration, unity strong inter-cultural relationships, friendship and respect for nature.

Along with spectacular evening dance performances on a beautifully tribal-themed stage with a stunning light arrangement and on-cue choreographed mapping (visual imaging),  there was intimate storytelling by tribal elders and solo poetry recitals.  On the closing night, a live demonstration of hand-tapping, a traditional tattooing technique by the masters of two different tribes – the Mentawai and the Dayak Iban, enthralled the audience. There were also 29 daytime workshops, which for example included weaving demonstrations by West Timorese, tattooing by the Mentawai and Dayak, and Iban demonstrations and sound healing by the New Zealand Maori. All these activities attracted an audience of 2,500 over the three days.

The event was initiated by David Metcalf and Shinta Emmanuela. David, is a photographer and author focusing on indigenous documentation in Indonesia, and Shinta is the founder of Yayasan Ranu Welum, Central Kalimantan. Support was provided by the New Zealand Embassy and partners including Arma Museum, Green School, event organisers Antida Music Production and others.

All contributed in different and important ways to bringing the elements of performance art, education and culture together for the celebration. The 34 Indigenous groups were handpicked by David and Shinta in consultation with AMAN (Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago).

Emmanuela said, "This celebration event was a showcase for our Indigenous identity, strength, and diversity.” According to David, “The collaboration between Indonesia and other indigenous peoples created a platform for dialogue and exchange and allowed for ideas to flow, similarities to be found and bonds to be formed. By adding storytelling and poetry reading to dramatic evening dance performances, we further encouraged genuine sharing of the elders’ wisdom. It was essential to Shinta and I as co-founders to create awareness of traditional wisdom, show it in a new light”.

A 2-day educational programme at the Green School followed on May 15 and 16 and involved Adat leaders and elders from the tribes meeting the young students in the classrooms.   It finished with a panel discussion between seven tribal groups including Odisha, India and the Atoni tribe of West Timor.

The Indigenous Celebration is to be an annual event and have pledged to plant one tree in Kalimantan for each ticket sold in 2018.

Next year the committee  are hoping more embassies and corporate sponsors who have a genuine commitment to supporting indigenous cultures will come on board. The committee are seeking partners to work in a spirit of cross-cultural collaboration. It is the vision of the committee  to expand the Celebration’s role of recalling and reinforcing solidarity with nature, tribal traditions, and cultural preservation  and honour of the diversity of the archipelago that reinforces the identity of Indonesia and the world. Contact David Metcalf for sponsorship support for 2019

Please watch the show:  A download link of  the 3-day performance event, which features 15 hours of music, dance and performance, is available online through the Indigenous Celebration website

Contact: David Metcalf –

Tel:+62 811 1331 255

Emmanuela Shinta Ranu Welum -

Tel: +62 857 5170 0880

100% of proceeds of the Indigenous Celebration go to support Indigenous Community Development Programs in Indonesia - Yayasan Ranu Welum  

Press Release     Dated:   20 March 2018


Unify. Collaborate. Connect. Celebrate. Honor. Inspire. Share

11 -13 May 2018 at The Arma Ubud – Bali, Indonesia  


Bali will have a new event on  May 11 – 13 this year, titled Indigenous Celebration 2018. This will be the first ever gathering of indigenous people in Bali, from Indonesia and abroad in a spirit of dance, music, wisdom, education, unity and connection. As a sacred island and also the heart of culture in Indonesia, Bali is the ideal place to hold this important event.  

The event involves more than 20 different indigenous groups from Indonesia and also other tribes from various countries such as Aboriginal from Australia, Maori from New Zealand and Nagaland tribes people from NE India. In total 7 countries are represented and 32 different indigenous groups. Indigenous dancers, musicians, storytellers, elders and youth leaders will come together to learn from each other, at The Arma Museum & Resort an ideal location. This will be followed by a 2-day cultural educational event at the Green School, May 14 and 15. This is a private event, however schools from all over Bali and Indonesia have been invited.

This event is presented by Ranu Welum Foundation, an organization based in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, which stand for culture, humanity, environment and the rights of indigenous people. This organization works through media and a combined approach of the new and old ways to mobilize indigenous youth, especially the Dayaks, the indigenous people of Kalimantan Island. Emmanuel Shinta, a Dayak woman who is the founder of Ranu Welum and also co-founder of the event said, “This is an opportunity to honor our culture which we inherit from our ancestors, and to celebrate our identity as the first people of the land with all the wonderful gifts that we possess. There are seven Dayak groups from different areas of Kalimantan that will come. I am so proud that Dayak people who used to be labeled as ‘jungle people’ or ‘scary headhunters’ now leading the youth indigenous movement to be recognized by this country and an international audience. This is the time to give room for indigenous people to be accepted not only with our beauty but also with our struggles, and to walk together with non indigenous in a spirit of unity and collaboration.

David Metcalf, also co-founder of this event, has spent many years of his life supporting indigenous communities in various places. His love for culture and indigenous people has led him into taking the step of initiating and conducting this huge event. “Through this event, I hope to combine youth with the “wise ones”, the older generation who hold so much wisdom and knowledge but is often buried away and can be lost forever. We simply cannot let that happen. I am so happy to see more young indigenous leaders rise up with incredible power to build their communities and preserve their culture. This stage is all for them!”

Over 180 indigenous performers will celebrate and share on the stage. Some come from the rivers, villages and communities and most have never been to Bali before.  Many of the groups will blend a mixture of youth and older generation so that the culture is passed on to the younger generation. With Antida Music Productions as the organizer, David and Shinta hope to attract more sponsorships to support the indigenous groups to join and hope that the Bali community support this event by coming along and participating. This is non-profit event, and money left from the ticket sales and sponsorships will be donated to registered Indonesian Yayasan and charities that preserve the culture and environment of indigenous communities. All schools are welcome to attend the daily workshops at The Arma and Green School educational session, which is free of charge by arrangement.

Tickets are very reasonable for an event like this with tickets for the nighttime performances from just Rp 250,000. Three-day tickets can be purchased from 600,000 and students are half price, children under 12 free.


Daytime events include cultural workshops and merchandise and food booths.

Please contact Antida Music Productions for more information.

Official website:

Antida Music Productions:


Phone:  Pranita in office hours: +62 361 285 196 

             Mobile:   0818 0533 6699

David Metcalf: