Understanding Austronesians, Indonesian Ancestors

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Ronnie Hatley at UNAIR
RONNIE Hatley delivers lecture at Adi Sukadana Room, November 28. (Photo: Fadhila Inaz Pratiwi)

UNAIR NEWS – Have it ever crossed your mind, how did the indigenous population originate so that they had diverse ethnicities? Why do 50 percent of the inhabitants of Java and Mainland Southeast Asia share the same genetics and at a glance the people of Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) resemble Papuans? How do our ancestors intelligently sharpen their farming skills, utilizing the available resources? What is the origin of our archipelago language framework?

Answering these questions, Universitas Airlangga Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) held a guest lecture on Wednesday, November 28 in Adi Sukadana Room, Level 2, Building A FISIP. Ronnie Hatley, Ph.D was appointed as lecturer on “Tracing Indonesian Ancestors from Taiwan, Papua, and Champa Beach 1500–4200 years ago”. The guest lecture was attended by around 72 people from various educational institutions.

“Ronnie Hatley is an American professor who is concerned with Indonesia. Ronnie actually is an emeritus (a retired professor, ed), but he is still active writing and researching, especially in tracing Indonesian ancestors and contributing ideas about Indonesia, based on archaeological evidence, “explained Dra. Myrtati Dyah Artaria MA, Ph.D as Vice Dean III FISIP UNAIR.

In Ronnie’s presentation, Mrytati also shared that the origins of Indonesian people are not only from one place. Indonesia has a strategic location, it is at the crossroads of trade and international routes. This made it possible for many foreigners to visit Indonesia in ancient times.

One of the ancestors that dominated Indonesia was known to be Austronesian. Indonesia has become one of the Austronesian tribal destinations after navigating the country of Taiwan, along the coast of Southeast Asia (Champa coast), then to Indonesia, and Madagascar.

The Austronesians became the ancestors who brought the forerunner of Indonesian culture and language. The Austronesians also contributed to advancing the land agriculture at that time. They have advanced irrigation technology such as swales and terraces.

Austronesians spread and settled almost throughout Indonesia, except in the eastern region, such as Papua, NTT, Maluku. The impact, can be seen there are ethnic and racial gaps. That is why the population of western Indonesia at a glance looks similar to the population in Southeast Asia, in contrast to the eastern region of Indonesia.

“I hope that the material presented by Ronnie Hatley can inspire participants to get to know the history of Indonesian ancestors more closely. At least you understand the development of Indonesia so it can be like this today, “concluded Dra., Myrtati. (*)


Author: Tunjung Senja Widuri

Editor: Feri Fenoria Rifa’i

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