via Jakarta Post, 17 October 2019: An exhibition at the National Museum in Jakarta explores the question of nativeness through DNA studies – a refreshing look at the science instead of “race”.
For generations, Indonesians have discussed the dichotomy between pribumi, or native Indonesians, and “non-pribumi”, which historically has been used to distinguish those whose ancestral roots originate within the archipelago from those of “foreign” descent.
But in a culturally diverse country with hundreds of ethnicities and languages, questions arise every time the term pribumi is used ─ including in political campaigns ─ who are native Indonesians exactly?
Science, however, suggests that no Indonesians are truly native as newly released research on genealogy mapping has found that Indonesian people have mixed ancestral roots from different geographical origins in their DNAs.
The study, conducted in collaboration with history magazine Historia.id and the Education and Cultural Ministry from July to September, took DNA samples from 16 respondents from across the country for a series of tests.
Among the respondents were public figures such as television journalist Najwa Shihab, the lead vocalist of rock band Noah, Nazril “Ariel” Irham, and film director Riri Riza, as well as politicians, including ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto.
The DNA mapping results are available for public viewing at the Asal Usul Orang Indonesia (The Origins of Indonesians) exhibition at the National Museum, Jakarta, which will run from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10.