Aleta Baun

Activist Type

Aleta Baun, an award-winning Indonesian environmentalist known as the Indonesian Avatar, led peaceful “weaving protests” with villagers to protect Mutis Mountain’s sacred forests on Timor Island, earning the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize. Born into a family of farmers, Baun was raised to honor the environment as a cornerstone of spiritual identity and livelihood. Known as “Mama Aleta,” she became a community beacon, sharing her traditional knowledge. Her activism made her a target, facing threats and an assassination attempt, after which she hid in the forest with her infant. Despite these challenges, she expanded her movement, leading 150 women in a year-long silent protest by weaving traditional cloth at mining sites. This persistent peaceful protest pressured marble mining companies to cease operations by 2010. In 2011, Mama Aleta earned a law degree to further aid West Timor communities in defending their land rights and managing natural resources, focusing on water security and indigenous rights.

Artwork by
Grace Song

The illustrated portrait of Aleta Baun depicts her wearing a traditional headwrap, set against a vibrant red background of woven fabric. The high contrast, bold lines, and strong features highlight her strength and determination as an award-winning Indonesian environmental activist who fought to protect the environment and her community. The background of the portrait symbolizes the importance of traditional textiles in her culture and the connection to her activism, specifically her role in leading "weaving protests" to protect sacred forest land on Mutis Mountain.


Indonesia Flag
August 17, 1945
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