7 Most Marginalized Indigenous Religions of Indonesia

The first principle of Indonesian political philosophy, Pancasila, demands Indonesian to believe in one God.

However, it is only limited to six official religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

Other than those big religions, especially the indigenous religions of Indonesia, are often marginalized. 

Facts about the Indonesian religion recorded the indigenous religions of Indonesia have experienced discrimination. The people do not get basic rights in Indonesia.

It increased when the colonizers and traders from abroad came to Indonesia. They introduced new religions.

For example, Europeans familiarized Protestantism and Catholicism, while Hindu traders incorporated Hinduism during the trading.

Are you curious about the most marginalized indigenous religions of Indonesia? So, here is the list!

1. Malim 

malim

Let us start from the west of Indonesia. It is Malim, the local religion from Batak, an ethnic group from Sumatra.

Other religions may believe that Adam and Eve were the first inhabitants on earth. 

However, parugamo Malim or Parmalim, the people of Malim believe that Ihat King and Boru were the first human beings inhabited on earth.

They came from Pusuk Buhit, a little volcano in the west of Samosir Island, the island in the middle of Toba lake. 

In 2010, it was recorded that Parmalim was only 5,000 people. The name Malim or Parmalim is rarely heard even by the people of North Sumatra, where this religion was born. 

2. Sunda Wiwitan

Sunda Wiwitan

Jump to another island, the West Java also has an indigenous religion named Sunda Wiwitan.

This religion has been embraced by the people for hundreds of years ago even before Hinduism and Buddhism were introduced in Indonesia. 

Nowadays, Sunda Wiwitan can only be found in Kanekes (Banten), Kampung Naga (Cirebon), and Cigugur (Kuningan).

This religion is animism, they believe in their ancestors and worship one God named Sang Hyang Kersa.

As time passes by, Sunda Wiwitan also gets influenced by Islam and Hinduism.

3. Kejawen

Kejawen

Kejawan is a kind of belief that has been practiced since a long time ago.

This religion is unique because, after the exposure of new religions in Indonesia, some people consider this as a tradition, even for the people of Kejawen themselves.

They still undergo their primary religion like Islam, Protestantism, or Hinduism, but they apply Kejawen’s way of life.

People who have possessed Kejawen as their religion could not fill the identity card since it has not been registered as an official religion in Indonesia.

The discrimination had its peak in 1974 when the Communist Party of Indonesia brought terror to Indonesian people.

They would be labeled as a communist, which was bad for them since they were not the people of the official religions. 

4. Kaharingan

Kharingan

Moving to Borneo island, there is Kaharingan that becomes one of the most marginalized indigenous religions of Indonesia.

Dayak people, the natives of Borneo, have adhered to this religion before the official religions are approved by the Indonesian government.

Kaharingan people believe in an entity named Ranying which is equal to Tuan Yang Maha Esa. 

Kaharingan has become the sub-religion of Hinduism since they were considered having the same ceremony.

However, Kaharingan people still keep the unique Indonesia activities that are different from Hinduism, such as how they call their place of worship as Balai Basarah instead of Pura, a place of worship for Hindus. 

5. Aluk Todolo 

Aluk Todolo

In South Sulawesi, there was a religion named Aluk Todolo that Tana Toraja people have embraced before Protestantism was introduced. In 1970, this religion was protected under Hinduism. 

This indigenous religion was derived from the word “Aluk” which means the way of life, and “Todolo” means the ancestors. Therefore, Aluk Todolo means the ancestors’ way of life.

Aluk Todolo believes that Toraja people come from the Sky. Not only do the human beings who travel from there, but also do the rains, buffaloes, chickens, iron, cotton, and basically all elements on earth. 

6. Tolotang 

Like Kaharingan and Aluk Tadolo, Tolotang becomes part of the history of Hindu religion in Indonesia even though they are completely different religions.

This religion is believed by a community which consists of 5,000 people named Towani Tolotang in Sidenreng Rappang regency in South Sulawesi. This religion is inherited from generation to generation.  

Some sources stated that the former of this indigenous religion is La Panaungi.

Tolotang people believe in the mystical entity named Dewara Sewae (The One Almighty God) that has a title Patotoe (Destiny Determiner).

7. Naurus

Naurus

Naurus is one of the indigenous religions in Indonesia that is embraced by the ethnic groups Manusela and Nuaulu in Seram Island, Maluku.

They inhabit the North Manusela mountains and the west of Manusela sea. 

At first, Naurus has a strong connection to animism, but it gets influenced by Hinduism and Protestantism as time passes by.