Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Indo Project at The Holland Festival

The Indo Project will have a booth at the Holland Festival in Long Beach on May 29. I have met them at other events, and other editions of this event. Their booth will definitely be worth a visit.

The Indo story is largely unknown. Their recent history fell between the cracks of narratives by those who were either for independence in a way that forgot the past, or colonialism. Indos have been around since the Age of Discovery, and the Project is making their instructive history available to everyone.

The following post was forwarded to me by Director of Development, Jan Krancher. I mentioned the project on March 6, 2010, and I linked to some of his work.

The post was written by Co-Founder Priscilla Kluge McMullen, who was at last year's event. It will remain up through July 2.


Only a small percentage of the English speaking world know who or what a Dutch Indonesian is, or Indische(n),or Amerindo, or Indo, and you can go down the list of names that we prefer to call ourselves. The non-ending discourse on this topic is an example of the reason why. I wonder why it is that we cannot be united in what we call ourselves? Ourselves, meaning we who have roots in the former Dutch East Indies. I can understand why we would want to differentiate our own particular family history since most of us have that unique mixture, an intermingling of race, culture & nationality.

However, let’s think of the bigger picture, far into the future, how will we be identified in the history books of the world. Will we be known as a fractured people with just as a fractured description known by different labels? All because we cannot agree on what we want to call ourselves? Or do we let others label us? We continue to confuse people outside of our community by these different names we apply to ourselves.

I, who was born in Indonesia and have German/Dutch/Indonesian blood, and currently maintain dual citizenship (Dutch & USA), have “captured” the word INDO as that is how I want to describe myself in my personal and professional life. I want the English speaking world, that I come in contact with, to know me as an Indo. Of course, first and foremost I am an American but I want people to stop guessing my heritage. I am “taking claim” of the word Indo as my own because the beauty of the word Indo is that it is a shortened form of Indo-European, meaning exactly that! It encompasses everyone in our community. Not only people of Dutch Indonesian descent but also individuals who are descendent from any mixture of Indonesian and European blood. Whereas the term Indische Nederlander or Dutch Indonesian is exclusively of Dutch Indonesian descent.

We cannot be exclusive, we are a dying culture. We need to be inclusive --and rather than bicker about what we want to call ourselves why not go into the world and raise awareness about our history, culture and values. It is my hope that in the far future when my children and grandchildren say that they have Indo roots, the rest of the world will know exactly what Indo means… a proud, strong, and united people that had their roots in the former Dutch East Indies.

1 comment:

  1. I came across this page by accident. I'm Dutch, both my grandfathers fought in the "Politional actions" and I've also read the age of my father :P