About the Author(s)

Christar A. Rumbay Email symbol
Department of Theology, Faculty of Theology, Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Pelita Bangsa, Jakarta, Indonesia

Department of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology, Theological University Apeldoorn, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands

Harol Lumapow symbol
Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Manado State University, Tomohon, Indonesia

Philoteus E.A. Tuerah symbol
Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Manado State University, Tomohon, Indonesia

Elni J. Usoh symbol
Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Manado State University, Tomohon, Indonesia

Viktory N.J. Rotty symbol
Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Manado State University, Tomohon, Indonesia

Jeffry S.J. Lengkong symbol
Department of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Manado State University, Tomohon, Indonesia


Rumbay, C.A., Lumapow, H., Tuerah, P.E.A., Usoh, E.J., Rotty, V.N.J. & Lengkong, J.S.J., 2022, ‘Embracing mapalus traditional management values for Christian religious education’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 78(1), a7986. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7986

Original Research

Embracing mapalus traditional management values for Christian religious education

Christar A. Rumbay, Harol Lumapow, Philoteus E.A. Tuerah, Elni J. Usoh, Viktory N.J. Rotty, Jeffry S.J. Lengkong

Received: 02 Aug. 2022; Accepted: 05 Sept. 2022; Published: 22 Dec. 2022

Copyright: © 2022. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The relationship between religion and education in the Minahasa community still receives inadequate attention. One part of local wisdom that has experienced degradation of its noble values over the years is the mapalus culture. Therefore, it is imperative to construct and manage Christian religious education (CRE) in Minahasa because of its ability to properly accommodate religious values and issues or local culture. This study tries to determine the right management values in mapalus culture that can contribute to CRE development in Minahasa. Data were descriptively collected from articles, books and interview information from community leaders. The result showed that solidarity and discipline management are elements of mapalus that have the potential to be synergised with CRE management.

Contribution: The main contribution of this research is to offer mapalus values to the CRE management development. This finding could be a formula for other contexts and future agenda that could bring together education, religion and culture.

Keywords: religion; culture; mapalus; management; CRE.


The two ancient philosophies of the Minahasa tribe are essential dimensions of social life, namely that humans exist to work together and with God (Turang 1997). This perspective expresses solid religious values and communal labour. The Minahasa tribe is a community that had its cosmological system long before the influence of Western culture and religion. For example, Rumbay (2021) and Rumbay et al. (2022) state that their belief system is no stranger to the existence of ancestral spirits and the Almighty. Presently, various Christian religious practices result from acculturation, where religion uses cultural expression as a tool to reach local communities (D. Pinontoaan [Wawancara Pribadi di Tomohon] pers. comm., May 2019). This is the reason why various religious studies are often confused with Minahasa cultural values.

The essence of humans working together and with the Almighty is also accommodated in the tou philosophy. The literal meaning of tou is a human who has a relationship with God, nature and themselves (Sodakh 2002; Lolangion 2021:42). The Minahasa people are considered ideal based on their ability to conquer nature by working together and with God. The element of cooperating with humans and God fulfils the idea of tou philosophy. The Minahasa community is promoted by collectively carrying out work activities as demanded by nature and in the public’s interest.

One of the traditions handed down by their ancestors, which depicts religion and cooperation, is mapalus. According to Umbas (2011a), this practice displays elements of solidarity, mutual assistance, reciprocal ethos and regularity in work. Cultural foundations with an agrarian demographic character have become part of social capital for communities in building trust, solidarity, integration, synergisation and harmonisation. Pangalila et al. (2019a) states that religion in Minahasa has taken over the practice of mapalus, specifically during religious activities or holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Eid al-Fitr, etc. In practice, Muslims tend to coordinate their members to guard the church during Christian celebrations and vice versa. That is the reason why mapalus is inseparable from religious values and communal society.

Salaki (2014) states that mapalus has shifted from its true value, and the younger generation’s lack of understanding promotes excessive openness to foreign cultures but undermines the local custom. Therefore, it has the potential to be excluded from the civilisation of the Minahasa people. Mapalus is one of the cultural identities that has a significant religious education. Its association with government policies through the Ministry of Education and Culture ensured that the 2013 curriculum and independent learning command accommodated local culture as a teaching resource. Christian religious education (CRE) should be built based on religious dogmatics and local cultural wealth. It is necessary to have good CRE management, thereby ensuring both religious and cultural values are involved in its elements.

Efforts to include religious dogmatics in CRE do not pose a significant challenge because its main development is Bible-oriented. The involvement of culture during its construction is perceived as a challenge. The fact that civilisation eroded mapalus can lead to the loss of the Minahasa ancestral cultural heritage. Furthermore, CRE management becomes rigid and the sole tool for missionary theology because it is centred on Christianity and ignores cultural existence. Previous studies did not show any interest in exploring and discussing the correlation between culture and CRE. For example, Widjaja (2019) explored the plurality and missionary challenges associated with CRE, Harmadi and Jatmiko (2020) analysed its relationship with millennials and Hasugian et al. (2022) constructed a contextual CRE, which was framed by Lasut et al. (2021). Academic studies also failed to bridge the gap between these two. The exploration of religion concerning culture does not yet focus on the mapalus theme. Rumbay (2021) and Rumbay et al. 2022) researched the culture and the philosophy of state leaders in Minahasa associated with Christianity. In fact, mapalus was explored by several studies (Lolangion 2021; Lumantow, Tampi & Londa 2017; Lumintang 2015; Motto & Ngangi 2020; Pangalila 2013; Pangalila, Mantiri & Umar 2019a; Pantow, Sambiran & Kimbal 2019; Sumangkut, Mumu & Goni 2021; Tangkulung, Rumate & Rotinsulu 2021; Wantah 2018), although these do not have any relationship with the religious science field, specifically CRE management. Serious analysis is still far from being expected, whereas mapalus is enriched with values that have the potential to contribute to the development of CRE management.

Adam in 1976 through Sumangkut et al. (2021:9) formulated the ‘mapalus management’ although it had not been accepted and was even rejected by the community. It simply proves that this tradition has managerial elements, and the need to explore its values portrays the development of CRE as a promising job. Finally, this study determined the various ways the mapalus cultural values can contribute to CRE management in Minahasa.


This qualitative study adopted a descriptive-analytic method. Various scientific references such as books, local and international journals, articles and other academic sources served as the basis for describing the main concepts. The developed construct, which received serious attention, was analysed. Information was also obtained from resourceful persons, specifically community leaders in Minahasa. Interviews were conducted to gain knowledge and insight about the noble values of mapalus. Furthermore, academic literature was the main reference used to obtain information regarding CRE management.

In the first step, the practice of mapalus receives serious attention. This article will show how mapalus is being practised and implemented among the community, based on interviews and local articles, articulated descriptively. Furthermore, the following section displays the flexibility of mapalus as an object of interdisciplinary discussion. In this section, local journals and articles are the leading construction and are presented descriptively with serious analysis. Christian religious education values will be presented to see its core elements that could be discussed in relation to mapalus knowledge. Eventually, by using critical analysis and description, this article will conclude and describe mapalus values that could be integrated into CRE management.


Mapalus: Its practice

Indonesia is known as a hospitable country where gotong-royong is part of the local knowledge that is alive among Indonesians. Literally, gotong-royong means mutual coorporation or assistance. In Minahasa, mapalus, as the ancestors’ heritage, shares similar values as gotong-royong. It displays the character, attitude and world view of Minahasans. In other words, mapalus is the miniature of how social relationships among Minahasans are constructed. According to D. Pinontoan ([Wawancara Pribadi di Tomohon] pers. comm., May 2019), the main elements of mapalus are unity, prosperity and togetherness. The word mapalus is produced by ma, which means active process, while palus refers to sharing energies, efforts and belongings with others based on mutualism.

Initially, the practice of mapalus related to agriculture. Each mapalus group contains 10–50 persons and is bounded by a consensus. However, it is a transformation; mapalus is not limited to agriculture but may also apply to a funeral, weddings, birthday festivals and others. For instance, in agricultural activities, the community will help work on the plantation fields of certain community members. The support could be hoeing the soil, preparing plant seeds and opening new land, while a woman will prepare meals for the workers. In the future, people who have been helped will help those who have helped them. This activity will be carried out in turn by the community. Further, during the funeral ceremony, the community will help the grieving family by constructing a ward, preparing drinks and food for visitors and being responsible for all the funeral costs. In rotation, each family in the community will share help and support. At the wedding festival, the particular family will prepare fruits, while others will be responsible for the rice and meat. Even more, a specific group will be appointed to manage the kitchen, cooking and preparing the food for visitors in the festival, while other young men construct the tent.

In a modern sense, the community is united in a specific mapalus group. The sharing and help are implemented by donating funds regularly to the elected treasurer. Group members who experience grief or planning for a festival could utilise assets from the mapalus group, such as chairs, tables, tents, tableware and others. Further, funds collected can be given to group members who have events. In some sense, Minahasans call this model arisan (Tangkudung & Senduk 2017).

Indeed, local people have no written law or agreement regarding its practice, but it is alive among the people. There is a moral punishment for those who do not perform mapalus as agreed by the community. The person will be ostracised from the community, excluded from regular activities and discriminated against. The practice and system of mapalus is alive and implanted among the people. The current government attempts to conduct or practise such a tradition in governmental activities (Mulyawan 2015; Muyu, Langkai & Tangkau 2018).

Mapalus: An object of interdisciplinary conversation

Minahasans maintain several traditions that are closed to any cross-knowledge conversation. By doing so, Minahasans protect their ancestral heritage in the proper way. Over decades, the purity and originality of such practices and beliefs had been protected from secular influence. For instance, Karundeng (pers. comm., June 2022) shares an experience regarding how a walian or priest bridges the divide between the real and spirit worlds so that people can interact with ancestral spirits, even with evil spirits. In doing this, most walians neglect strangers’ participation in part to guide the practice away from secular experiences. On the flip side, mapalus contains knowledge that brings possibilities for extended discussion. Furthermore, Wawointana and Rantung (2020) share mapalus from an anthropological perspective, where it is rooted in the local wisdom of Minahasans. Mamentu, Kamagi and Maru (2019) compare mapalus to Emile Durkheim and offer a sociological dialogue. Tulung and Wowor (2020) explore the relationship between mapalus and church. They adopt mapalus as a local paradigm to reconstruct a church mission in Minahasa. Mawikere and Hura construct local theology by inviting Minahasans’ traditions, including mapalus, in a harmony discussion. Indeed, theological, anthropological and social perspectives frequently involve contributive dialogue with the mapalus tradition. Therefore, mapalus is one of the many options that offers an open dialogue for interdisciplinary conversation, including CRE management.

Adam (1976) states that the main basis of the mapalus practice is that human existence is centred on work and asking the Almighty for blessings. These two are carried out simultaneously; for example, farmers or landowners usually involve other communities to engage in communal labour on plantations, and the proceeds tend to be distributed equally. This is carried out alternately between fellow farmers and landowners. When one of the families loses someone, the local community voluntarily provides assistance in accordance with the principle of manggenang-genang by helping each other. This is also known as pinaesaan, which continues until the kumaus or 1 week after the event. However, at a wedding party, the family members of the married couple ask for help from the community in the form of rice, fish or other necessities. Cooperation and mutual assistance in this context are also called marurup. In the future, when the people who were initially asked for assistance to finance a wedding party conduct their own wedding, previous beneficiaries should be willing to assist (Sumangkut et al. 2021:8–10). This pattern of mutual assistance is similar to that being practised in the Minahasa community.

By analysing the mapalus practice, it can be understood that the Minahasa community refers to their local cultural heritage as the basis for social construction. Pangalila et al. (2019a) state that mapalus is open to cross-disciplinary conversations, touches all dimensions of social life, as well as the main basis for guiding attitudes, social behaviour and educational values.

For example, mapalus tends to boost the economy, which was proven by Motto and Ngangi (2020:454), which described the economic impact caused by farming groups that still maintain this practice. This cultural construction is maintained and synergised with other modern traditions to retain its sustainability. The study even promoted the development of mapalus in a more open direction. This showed the spirit of economic and business values, and in principle, the practice of mapalus is closely related to the agriculture sector to fulfil certain common needs. The economic value and togetherness are another opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion. According to Wantah (2018), mapalus has a significant impact on economic growth and educational values; hence, it improves the economic status and welfare of coastal communities. Tangkulung et al. (2021) state that mapalus indirectly reduces poverty levels and economic difficulties and increases welfare through solidarity (Lumantow et al. 2017). Society as a unitary social community practises symbiosis or mutualism, in which each provides economic benefits to the other. It was concluded that mapalus as an object of conversation tends to promote economic values.

This wealthy and valuable practice is not limited to cultural, ethical and economic aspects; rather, it includes the development of physical construction such as regional buildings. Research on community participation for sustainable development in rural areas by Akib (2014) illustrates that mapalus has a significant effect on development. Lumantow et al. (2017) state that this practice indirectly correlates with development, which indicates that the more the community participates in this cultural practice, the greater the physical development in the countryside. This means that mapalus plays an essential role in development.

Mapalus, as the main philosophy of the Minahasa community, is concerned as an object of interdisciplinary communication. It contains values that guide people on how to think and act in a heterogeneous society (Pangalila et al. 2019b). This is one of the main references in establishing tolerance between interfaith and cultural communities. It is also the basis of social life and ancestral cultural heritage that plays a role in character building (Salaki 2014). This is because mapalus is not only limited to the philosophy of the Minahasa people but also acts as a guide for them to be able to interact with immigrants or foreign communities. Pangalila (2013) states that the cultural value of mapalus boosts the students’ tolerant attitudes and needs to be included in the school curriculum. According to Karepowan (2014), their discipline is closely related to applying this practice. Based on this, it was concluded that the mapalus value has a strong character expression on social attitude. Its wealthy values serve as an alternative contribution to CRE management, because previous studies reported that this practice has various dimensions that are the object of cross-disciplinary conversation. Specifically, mapalus has educational values, such as moral management, ethics, discipline, character, economy, community empowerment, etc. Other disciplines, including CRE management, tend to utilise these social competencies to collaborate and generate renewable academic ideas. A description of CRE management principles is needed to ensure its interaction with mapalus culture is met in the right space.

Christian religious education: Its values

Christian religious education is offered at the senior secondary education level. Senior high schools (SMA) and vocational high schools (SMK) are required to include lessons on religious and sociocultural values as part of their curriculum. The content is largely focused on religion rather than cultural values. Although the Ministry of Religion and Culture Regulation number 37 (2018:340–345) states that CRE lessons should have spiritual and social attitude competencies, such as discipline, solidarity, responsibility and others, cultural values are still declining today. Additionally, offering education promotes the implementation of community-based education which adheres to local social and cultural customs (as outlined in Law Number 20 of 2003, article 55). The government’s ‘free learning’ education initiative has relaxed the assessment standards for determining learning design to give teachers more freedom to select basic and core competencies in a more straightforward manner (Circular Letter of the Ministry of Education and Culture, number 14 of 2019). It is vital to utilise all available opportunities to ensure local cultural values form part of the CRE elements. Although various studies showed that religion is not necessarily superior to culture, the former is dominant in CRE syllabus, and there has been little effort to incorporate local culture into the country’s construction. Tobing (2020) explains that the CRE curriculum emphasises Christian values, aiming to spread the faith with Christian attributes. The main focus of this subject is on developing Christ-like character. Tubulau (2020) argues that the primary aim of CRE is to ensure that everyone becomes a disciple of Christ. This emphasises the religious aspects while ignoring the local culture. Mapalus values should receive a special place in the heart of CRE. It requires proper managerial attention to induct cultural values into CRE. However, the main elements of CRE, based on the Ministry of Religion and Culture Regulation number 37 (2018) concerning kompetensi inti and kompetensi dasar, state that discipline and solidarity should be involved as prior knowledge that is derived from both religious and cultural values. Unfortunately, CRE tends to focus on grasping the knowledge from Christian teachings instead of cultural heritage and worldview. Therefore, it is significant to explore any cultural values from mapalus practice and philosophy that could be integrated into CRE with proper managerial attention.

Involving cultural elements in the construction of CRE demands the concept of projective education management. Jonathans et al. (2022:26–28) argue that the government’s ‘freedom learning’ programme provides new opportunities for educators to manage their schools and curricula more effectively. Additionally, the programme promotes collaboration between educators, leading to more innovative and effective educational practices. This means that the CRE management should be open and flexible to accommodate religious and cultural values. Although the cultural elements are not well represented, there is expectation that this will change in the future, especially since mapalus values as cultural heritage in Minahasa could be integrated to CRE management.

Christian religious education management: Open to religion and culture

Ordway Tead’s definition of management was adopted from the book written by Dr Rosyidi (1984), entitled Organization and Management, stating a leadership process directed towards carrying out the duties of an institution to achieve common goals. Similarly, Prof. Oie Liang Lee’s definition, quoted from Manulang (2005), reported that it is the coordination and supervision of human resources to achieve common goals. Both opinions emphasised achieving common goals with a certain pattern of coordination and regulation. Management is a series of coordinated actions that moves and directs people to ensure the institution’s goals are achieved (Gie 1980). Terry (2006) states that it is the art of completing work functions using human resources, including typical processes such as actions, planning, organisation, mobilisation and control, to achieve common goals. In line with Terry, Dr Siagian (1994), in the book titled Philosophy of Administration, defines management as the ability and skills needed to achieve results by utilising other peoples’ power.

The main essence of management is the existence of coordination and arrangement to achieve common goals by utilising human and natural resources. This idea is in line with Drucker (2012) that it is an ability to realise a set vision and mission and make decisions related to the achievement of common goals. In synergy with CRE, then, management is a coordination and regulation activity that achieves its goals by utilising resources, including culture, as objects to fulfil the desired results.

However, CRE scientific studies have shown more interest in articulating religious dogmatics than national and social discussions. For example, Asmat Purba (2019) proposed that the concept of discipleship should be included in its curriculum. This emphasised that it receives special attention because of its limitation to religious values. The majority of studies were centred on religious teachings and dogmatics. Jura (2017) carried out a study on soteriology based on a CRE approach, and then Yulianti and Santoso (2020) explored the relationship between Christology and CRE. However, various studies were carried out by focusing on dogmatic activities that cause controversy between social beings in the diverse educational environment. Missionary activities contained in CRE penetrate the Christianisation movement, resulting in an educational dichotomy. According to Mubarok (2014), this caused students to become exclusive because its management promotes the development of subjects towards dogmatics and compliance with the central government policies.

Christian religious education teacher guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture state that the scope of the discussion refers to the biblical doctrine and problems encountered daily. In other words, it is based on a ‘Bible-oriented’ development. The values of other Christian teachings should be accommodated, thereby making it seem like the main element of learning in the classroom ([AQ1]2013 Curriculum and CRE Subject Teacher Guidelines 2014). The biblical orientation exclusively promotes the development of education towards religious teachings that do not align with approaches employed to tackle problematic social issues. This disorientation can cause this curriculum to be perceived as dogmatic and anthropocentric. Gener (2018:50) states that the constructed values of CRE teachings result from the Western world because they do not analyse local issues encountered in society. Christianity is focused on issues of Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, eschatology, etc. It fails to pay attention to local themes such as the relationship between education and equity, poverty, radicalism and early childhood, as well as religious education and indigenous culture. This contradicts the principles of the K–13 curriculum that CRE should include the problematic issues of life. The dialogue built is based on reality, and contemporary issues are the main object of these academic activities (CRE Guidelines 2014:16, 17, 39). The two main dimensions of this curriculum are biblically oriented towards religious dogmatics and the exploration of social issues.

Therefore, local sociocultural values need to be accommodated to approach contemporary issues. In the Minahasa context, cultural identity has begun to fade. For example, Sumangkut et al. (2021:12–13) and Rumengan and Zulkarnain (2016:53) state that the practice of mapalus has been degraded, although it still leaves traces. It depicts mutual assistance that supports the achievement of goals in particular and, generally, the spirit of education in Indonesia. Christian religious education management oriented towards problematic cultural issues should be adequately realised. Its development in Minahasa is entirely subject to technical issues, and an example is the use of a syllabus oriented towards the modification of the central government (CRE Guidelines 2014:24). In educational institutions, it does not display cultural characteristics and uniqueness because local values are not included.

When viewed from the educational policy’s perspective, its management can flexibly accommodate cultural values because both are under the same ministry. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education and Culture Regulation Number 37 of 2018 on core and basic competencies of K–13 curriculum lessons accommodates social aspects which contain cultural meaning (Republik Indonesia 2018). Christian religious education teacher guidelines explicitly provide space for integrating the values of Christian education and the dimensions of local culture. The K–13 curriculum seeks to improve the standard of living and sociocultural values of the community, contributes to the customs, synergises with cultural values and is oriented towards local issues (CRE Guidelines 2014:1, 5, 6, 16, 17, 24-27, 39, 69). The formulation of this management process failed to encompass the culture of the community during its implementation and actualisation. Therefore, it is limited to educational and cultural rhetoric and then degrades local identity as well as displaying an exclusive CRE with dominant religious values without embracing the local cultural heritage. There is a need for inculturation, acculturation and contextualisation efforts to reproduce a management that accommodates, integrates and collaborates with Minahasa culture. This leads to the infusion of cultural identity into its construction to produce insightful educational guidelines and touch on problematic local issues.

Mapalus, as one of the local cultural heritages, not only boosts the economy, development and other social sciences, it also contains strong educational values and is used as the main reference in the development of CRE management. This indicates that the main characters of mapalus need to be explored in order to obtain original ideas that contribute to the formulation of the local context.

Mapalus: Solidarity and discipline management

The first value drawn from the mapalus practice is solidarity management. Tumenggung (1971) states that jobs need to be collectively carried out in a friendly manner to achieve set goals for the public interest. Cooperation is needed between the 10 and 40 employers and external parties through CRE management. Every individual involved in this process needs to prioritise the principle of solidarity to achieve organisational interests. Its management does not need to be centred on certain groups or individuals, but it should be more distributive, enabling all parties to work together to achieve set goals. Furthermore, solidarity promotes everyone to take turns participating in the arrangement and coordination of every aspect of CRE. Kalangi (1971) reports that the implementation of mapalus contains the value of togetherness driven by feelings of cooperation and mutual assistance. Solidarity with respect to this management fails to emphasise the coordination of specific individuals or organisations but expresses cooperation and mutual assistance. This means that its implementation needs to empower all resources, including teachers, religious and community leaders, students and other competent people for proper development.

Mapalus reflects a social necessity where human beings need each other and there is a reciprocal relationship based on obligations and social solidarity, which is inseparable from its original philosophy. Every party associated with CRE benefits from each other; therefore, the principle of solidarity requires attention. From a religious perspective, Christian doctrine occupies a place in the learning process. Meanwhile, the heritage and values of the people’s social life in the Minahasa community can be maintained and even developed based on the cultural and religious perspectives. For example, religion can use it as a place for religious teachings, while it can be utilised by culture as a medium for preservation. Students who are guided at school have strong religious and cultural awareness through the combination of the reciprocal solidarity dimension. Siwu (1986) states that the mapalus solidarity principle is oriented towards balance and harmony. The implementation of CRE management should pay attention to balance or proportionality. The involvement of individuals during its formulation needs to be fair, because all should need to receive a proportional share. The central and regional governments, including regional education offices and CRE teachers, need to collaborate to ensure that cooperation leads to the achievement of common interests. This is also related to its curriculum, which should pay attention to the balance between religious and cultural values.

The mapalus solidarity dimension encourages the Minahasa community to be more open in cooperating and offering mutual assistance. In accordance with the changing times, Lumintang (2015:77) states that mapalus is practised in the agricultural sector and for other activities such as weddings, burials, joyful and sorrowful events, and other regional festivals. That is why the idea of its solidarity contributes to the implementation of CRE management. This practice is not limited to cultural discussions; rather it is escalated in the field of education management. Mapalus solidarity system is inseparable from the philosophy of si tou timou tumou tou, which Sam Ratulangi initiated. Sumangkut et al. (2021) state that some cooperative systems and techniques are contained in implementing this practice. Cooperation should be based on mutual assistance, and humanising others is the essential core of si tou timou tumou tou, which is directly practised in every mapalus activity.

The strong solidarity value of mapalus has been imbibed in members of the Minahasa community as well as becoming a distinct style for local culture. Mutual assistance promotes active participation and lightens the burden in terms of achieving set goals. Irrespective of the fact that the authenticity of mapalus has shifted and undergone some transformation, the pure values can be maintained by animation. The arrangement and coordination of this practice is a value that contributes to the development and implementation of CRE management. A proportional arrangement based on mutual assistance tends to develop CRE and accommodates all its interests. That is why the mapalus solidarity principle is perceived as an alternative for its management.

Furthermore, mapalus comprises a discipline formation dimension. Karepowan (2014) states that its activities closely correlate with boosting community discipline. In coordinating or regulating CRE, a high level of discipline is required. Cooperation without discipline does not promote maximum achievement. Nelwan (2020:25) states that the mapalus principle contains 11 ethical principles, such as reciprocity, participation, solidarity, responsibility, mutual assistance, good leadership, transparency, equality, trust and discipline. Nelwan even added elements of religion and considered that love, plurality, social justice, faith and deliberation are other dimensions of its work ethic. The scope of mapalus was limited to agriculture, social, economic, government and health fields, even though it is synergised with the CRE sector. It is important to note that discipline was one of its major dimensions during the implementation process. Arrangement and coordination accompanied by a highly disciplined work ethic enable CRE management to achieve common goals involving local cultural values effectively.

Rumengan and Zulkarnain (2016) state that absolute discipline is applied to mapalus practices related to farming, fishing, money, marriage, mourning and other rural activities. Therefore, every group involved needs to comply with the applicable regulations. The determined rules should be treated as a single regulation, and all community members need to be fully submissive to achieve set goals. In practice, community leaders enact moral sanctions for violators, encouraging members to develop an excellent disciplinary level. In an interview with a Southeast Minahasa community leader, J. Abuno ([Wawancara Pribadi di Hotel Sutan Raja Amurang] pers. comm., September 2021) stated that in Lobu Village, violators of the monetary mapalus rule, better known as artisan, are usually canned if they do not fulfil certain obligations. Examples include undisciplined actions, lateness and negligence for no apparent reason. Several previous studies, such as Umbas (2011b) and Nismawati and Nugroho (2021:47), have stated that one main element of mapalus is the ethos of discipline.

This reality shows that apart from the solidarity dimension, mapalus has the potential to contribute to the ethos of discipline. The progress of civilisation in the education system significantly impacts local culture. The adoption of external academic elements can lead to the degradation of local contents and Indonesian cultural identity. Furthermore, the practice of centralising education, where CRE management relies on the central government and its formulation, causes local issues related to sociocultural activities. The existence of mapalus, which has the potential to be degraded, can be preserved by adopting the philosophy or ideas to be synergised or applied as part of CRE design. Its adaptation to mapalus does not eliminate the main goal of CRE but is able to make a constructive contribution and preserve its culture through CRE management. This is a reciprocal relationship that is mutually beneficial. Mapalus culture is passed down to every generation in Minahasa. A combination of mapalus and CRE can lead to management based on solidarity and discipline under the mandate of the 2013 curriculum and independent learning.


The 2013 curriculum and independent learning mandate promotes CRE to explore religious and cultural activities. Participation of local cultural wisdom can be realised through mapalus values that contribute to the development of CRE management. Mapalus solidarity and discipline are managerial elements that have the potential to contribute to CRE, the preservation of local culture and the fulfilment of curriculum demands. The results promote further investigations of local cultural heritage in Indonesia and align it with religious studies.


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions

C.A.R. contributed to the main draft and idea, constructing the manuscript’s outline and working with the primary references. P.E.A.T and E.J.U managed project administration and supervised the research. H.L. and V.N.J.R. provided insights into validation and feedback, including the software. J.S.J.L. was responsible for the validation of the data.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards for research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.


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