at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

History, Memory, and Cultural Change in the Bajo Communities of Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia


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November 2, 12:00 p.m.
Presented by Lance Nolde, M.A. Candidate at the University of Hawai′i at Mānoa

The Sama-Bajau are a semi-nomadic, sea-centered people who live in small communities throughout the littorals of Eastern Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Southern Philippines. While it is clear that they were integral to the growth and success of many great early modern maritime polities in the region, the histories of this ethnic group are, for the most part, still relatively unknown. The speaker’s research is an effort to increase our historical understanding of the Sama-Bajau people of Indonesia. Largely based on interviews with communities in Southeast Sulawesi conducted between May and August of this year, this talk will try to locate articulations of Sama-Bajau identity in the histories and memories of the period between the 1930s until the present, as well as in religious and cultural practices. It will also explore Sama-Bajau experiences with national development, creation of national parks, and environmental conservation efforts.


Lance Nolde is currently a Master’s student in the History department at University of Hawai′i at Mānoa. His research focus is on Southeast Asian history, specifically Indonesia. He has recently completed fieldwork for his Master’s thesis which will explore the history and memory of the Sama-Bajau people of Southeast Sulawesi. His publications include “West Papua: An Exception to Unity in Diversity.” I.D.E.A.S. Journal: 3 (2004).