Saturday, September 24, 2016

Notes on the History of Territorial Categories and Institutions in the Rajadom of Sikka

Notes on the History of Territorial Categories and Institutions in the Rajadom of Sikka

Portuguese Missions and Administrative Territories Created by the Dutch

The earliest European presence on Flores was that of the Portuguese, who established missions around the contemporary town of Larantuka at the eastern end of Flores and on the islands of Adonara and Solor. Not long afterward, at least seven Portuguese mission stations were established on the island of Ende and on the coast of Ende Bay. Between Larantuka and Ende, the Portuguese presence was sparser, but Visser (1925: 292) locates two stations on the north coast of central Flores, at Dondo on the western end of Maumere Bay and at ‘Krove’ on the north coast near contemporary Nebé. According to Visser, the station at Krowé was founded between the years 1561 and 1575.
In addition, Visser cites evidence that Paga in the south-western reaches of Kabupaten Sikka and Sikka Natar itself were the sites of such stations on the south coast. While there is only a vague tradition among the contemporary people of Sikka Natar that their village was the site of a Dominican mission station, as Visser reports, it is possible that the village was, if not a Dominican station, then at least a place visited more or less regularly by Dominicans embarked on the Portuguese ships that passed along Flores’s south coast. Visser’s source identifies the station at Sikka as a ‘parochie’ bearing the name Saint Lucia, and as a congregation numbering 1,000 souls in 1598.
The earliest mention of Sikka I have found in the literature is that in an unattributed description of the first Christians of the islands of Solor and Timor, which de Sá includes in his compilations of documents from the period 1568-79 relating to the history of Portuguese missions in the Orient:

Map 1: Dominican mission stations on Flores, Adonara and Solor in the 16th century (after Visser 1925: 292)

On this island of Larantuka, there would be fifteen leagues between the main settlement, that is referred to by the same name [i.e., Larantuka], and another that is further ahead on the island, called Siqua [Sikka], and another called Pagua [Paga]. Ende is another fifteen leagues beyond. All are Christian settlements, of one thousand firearms, and the majority, in addition to many other Christians and pagans, are our friends, having the aforesaid weapons.
Just how frequent and intense was the contact between the Sikkanese and the Dominicans in the 16th and 17th centuries is an important question for which I have no answer. But it is likely that the contacts, and thus the direct influence of the Portuguese on the locals, were mainly on the coasts. Having said this, surely some Portuguese must have ventured inland from time to time (as from Krowé south into Tana ’Ai?) and surely people from the interior must have travelled to the coasts, if only to have a look at the foreigners—no place in east central Flores being more than a day’s walk from the north or the south coasts. Evidence for at least indirect Portuguese influence in the interior is strong. For example, a small number of not-too-mangled Portuguese words turn up in transcriptions of ritual speech I recorded in Tana Wai Brama in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Dutch acquired Flores from the Portuguese in 1859 but it was some years before they became sufficiently interested in the region of Sikka to send a government official there. When that happened in the 1870s, the official settled not in Sikka Natar, the Village of Sikka on the south coast and the home of the rajas, but at Maumere on the north coast. Maumere was then a low-lying, hot, malarial place, sodden in the rainy season and smoky and dusty in the dry. It has since grown into one of the largest towns on Flores, a centre of education, and, with its excellent harbour and landing strip, a major port of entry for Flores and a commercial centre.

According to Dutch records and the hikayat of Kondi and Boer, much shuffling of allegiances and shifting of local negeri (villages, but in the hikayat, clearly the Malay equivalent of tana, ‘domains’) between the two (and for a while, three) rajadoms of Sikka went on in the two centuries before 1925. One effect of the shifting of negeri (each of which was probably a tana with its own tana pu’ang) and the rise of Sikka as a secular polity under the rajas of Sikka was to erode the importance of what the early Dutch records call tana pu’ang-schappen (tana pu’ang-ships). Once this process of incorporation into the rajadom and erosion of the tana pu’angs’ authority was complete—by about 1950—the local tana pu’ang retained respect in their communities, but no longer exercised any real power.

Here we encounter the limitations of the scarce historical sources on the early culture and history of Sikka and a peculiarity of the voluminous later manuscripts written by Sikkanese authors. Briefly, the problem is this: the authors of the first texts written by a few men of the first or second literate generation of Sikkanese were all officials in the government of the Rajadom of Sikka. The two major texts from that era, one by D.D.P. Kondi and the other by A. Boer Pareira, treat the history of Sikka in detail, but from the distinctive point of view of Lepo Geté, the ‘Great House’, the Royal House of Sikka. Since the people of Lepo Geté are, according to their own myth of origin, immigrants to Flores and by no means indigenes, their history cannot be taken to be the history of the indigenous Sikkanese peoples, which remains a subject about which we know very little. Furthermore, even the main outlines of the internal divisions of the Sikkanese people into communities is obscured, firstly by the Dutch, who created the administrative districts of the rajadom, and then by the early Sikkanese authors, who were little concerned with explaining the territorial categories and institutions of the indigenous social landscape but were concerned centrally with the creation of the Sikkanese rajadom and the legitimation of its rule.

Although information about early Dutch activity in Sikka is sketchy at best, we can get at least a general idea of what was going on in the old rajadom between about 1860 and 1942. Indeed, the picture becomes a bit more detailed once the Dutch, with their penchant for archiving the memories van overgave of their officials, arrived in Sikka.

The Dutch administrative divisions of Flores, which must quickly have become territorial categories in the minds of the Florenese (‘I am of Ende’, ‘He is from Sikka Maumere’, ‘They are Larantukans’), changed often in the years from 1879 until 1942, when the Dutch flag over Flores was replaced briefly with the Japanese rising sun. From 1879 to 1907, these were the administrative divisions of Flores (Map 2):

Map 2: Dutch administrative divisions of Flores, 1879-1907

Note that this was before the Dutch had adjusted administrative boundaries to coincide with the rajadoms they later recognised on the island. Manggarai in the west was part of Gouvernement Celebes en Onderhorigheden (Government of Celebes [Sulawesi] and Dependencies) while the rest of Flores was administratively part of Residentie Timor en Onderhorigheden (Residency of Timor and Dependencies). Within the Residency of Timor, South Flores (Zuid Flores), which included Ende, most of Nage Keo and some of Ngada, was part of the Division (D: Afdeling) of Sumba and Dependencies while the rest of Flores was the Division of Larantuka and Dependencies. Larantuka was divided into the subdivisions or districts (D: Onderafdelingen) of North Flores (which included Sikka and Maumere, which the Dutch had made the administrative centre of the subdivision), East Flores, Solor and Alor. This administrative division of the island did not work too well, as a brief glance at the map might lead us to suspect, and so, in 1907, the lines were redrawn as follows (Map 3): 

Map 3: Dutch administrative divisions of Flores, 1907-09

In these years (1907-09), Manggarai remained part of the Government of Celebes, while the rest of Flores was the Division of Flores and was included in the Residency of Timor. South Flores was removed from the Division of Sumba and made part of the Division of Flores, which was divided into the Subdivisions of South Flores, North Flores, East Flores and the Solor Islands. This arrangement should have worked all right, except that, in 1908, an administrative division between West Flores and East Flores was created. The new division crosscut South Flores and North Flores and must have been the source of innumerable headaches for the officials assigned to the island. But those headaches lasted only two years.
In 1909, the divisions of the island were shuffled once again, in such a way as to bring the administrative divisions into accord with at least some of the rajadoms on the island (Map 4).

Map 4: Dutch administrative divisions of Flores, 1909-31
Manggarai was removed from the Government of Celebes and made a subdivision (onderafdeling) of the Division of Flores. The old divisions of South Flores, North Flores and East Flores disappeared and were replaced by subdivisions (onderafdelingen) that took greater account, though roughly, of the linguistic, social, economic and, perhaps most important, the political realities of the island. These were (in addition to the Subdivision of Manggarai) the Subdivisions of Ngada (including Nage Keo), Ende (including Lio), Maumere, East Flores (including Larantuka) and the Solor Islands. The subdivisions were further divided into districts (landschappen). Most of the names of the districts corresponded with the names of socio-linguistic groups on the island. The new district and administrative arrangements were comparatively rational, since they took account of the native rajadoms the Dutch had either recognised or created in the previous 50 years. In particular, the three rajadoms of the District of Maumere, Sikka, Nita and Kangae, were clearly demarcated. This arrangement of administrative divisions survived until about 1930, when some of the rajadoms were amalgamated.
Joachim Metzner has given us the following reconstruction of the political divisions of eastern Sikka towards the end of the 19th century. This would have been some 20 years after the earliest entries in the Dagboeken van het Controleuren van Maoemere, which were kept, more or less faithfully, by the posthouders assigned to Maumere, beginning in 1879, but before the dispute between the rajas of Sikka and Larantuka over Tana ’Ai was settled (Map 5). 

Map 5: Political divisions of Sikka towards the end of the 19th century and before Dutch intervention in the border dispute between Sikka and Larantuka

 Map 6: Political divisions of Sikka in the early 20th century after Dutch intervention

More certain are the political divisions of the District of Maumere after the boundaries established by the Dutch after they settled the Tana ’Ai dispute at the beginning of the 20th century. The settlement placed Tana ’Ai within the Rajadom of Kangae (Map 9).

Here we see plainly the way the Dutch, by 1904, recognised the indigenous polities of the Sikka region, which were ruled by the Raja of Sikka, the Raja of Nita and the Raja of Kangae. The Raja of Kangae ruled a region created by the Dutch when they could find no other way to control the subversive and overtly hostile activities of one Raja Nai against the authority of the Raja of Sikka. These boundaries—around what the Sikkanese called kapitan-schappen—correspond roughly to the kecamatan into which the kabupaten is divided today.

By 1929, the Dutch acceded to the amalgamation of the Rajadoms of Nita and Kangae into the Rajadom of Sikka, whose raja, Mo’ang Ratu Thomas Ximenes da Silva, ruled the whole of the region of Sikka until his death in 1954. The dissolution of the Rajadom of Kangae, which had been born of a rebellion against the Raja of Sikka in the first decade of the 20th century over a question of taxation, followed the enforced settlement by the Dutch of the dispute between the rajas of Sikka and Larantuka over sovereignty over Tana ’Ai, which became firmly part of the Rajadom of Sikka. The Rajadom of Nita, whose rulers were kinsmen of the Raja of Sikka, was also dissolved and its territory placed under the rule of Sikka, partly as an administrative convenience for the Dutch but also in response to the political activity and persuasiveness of Raja Don Thomas, the last of the Sikkanese rulers.
After 1931 and until the beginning of the Japanese occupation in 1942, the administrative map of Flores was as depicted in Map 7:
Map 7: Administrative divisions of Flores, 1931 to early 1950s

These boundaries were those of the rajadoms of Flores within the Division of Flores. Under the government of the newly independent Indonesia, the rajadoms were abolished in the early 1950s, after which the old divisions, and their boundaries, were retained as kabupaten in the new system of government.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ritual Adat Congko Lokap, Rumah Gendang Leda, Ruteng – Manggarai - Flores, Indonesia

Ritual Adat Congko Lokap, Rumah Gendang Leda, Ruteng – Manggarai

Suku Manggarai berada di bagian barat pulau Flores yang menjadi wilayah terbesar didaratan Flores, Suku ini tersebar di tiga wilayah kabupaten yaitu Manggarai Timur, Manggarai barat dan Manggarai, yang merupakan kabupaten iduk sebelum Manggarai barat dan timur terbentuk.

Dalam suku Manggarai terdapat beberapa ritual yang dilaksanakan tahunan yaitu Penti dan suatu acara besar lainnya adalah Congko Lokap.
Congko Lokap merupakan sebuah upacara khusus sesudah rumah adat “Mbaru gendang” dibangun.

Congko berarti pungut dan Lokap berarti kotoran atau sisa-sisa kotoran Kayu atau kotoran lainnya selama rumah adat dibangun, dalam konteks budaya Manggarai, kotoran yang dimaksud juga perbuatan atau tingkah laku warga yang kurang baik, dan mesti harus dibersikan melalui upacara ini.

“Poka Kaba Congko Lokap” diartikan sebuah tradisi membunuh kerbau untuk membersihkan sebuah kampung pasca rumah adat Gendang dibangun.

Ada beberapa tahapan dalam ritual adat “Poka Kaba Congko Lokap” yang harus dilalui:
1.     Ritual “Barong Lodok”, ritual yang dilakukan di sudut persawahan dan perkebunan milik komunitas warga dengan ayam jantan sebagai lambangnya.
2.     Ritual “Barong Wae”, ritual yang dilakukan di mata air dengan ayam jantan sebagai lambangnya.
3.     Ritual “Teing Hang Ata Tua”, atau ritual memberikan sesajen kepada leluhur di kampung tersebut.
4.     Ritual “Tudak Ela Penti”, merupakan ritual berterima kasih dan bersyukur kepada leluhur sebagai perantara rahmat dari Sang Pencipta.
5.     Ritual” Ela Pantek”, ritual mengundang leluhur untuk masuk di rumah adat gendang.
6.     Ritual “Barong Rapu”, ritual meminta leluhur di pekuburan untuk sama-sama menyaksikan upacara adat di kampung tersebut dan dilaksanakan pada malam hari.
7.     Ritual Ela Wee, ritual mengundang seluruh warga Kampung dan sekitarnya untuk sama-sama menyaksikan dan memeriahkan ritual “Poka Kaba Congko Lokap” yang diselenggarakan pada esok harinya.

Puncak dari berbagai rangkaian upacara adalah Ritual “Poka Kaba Congko Lokap”, atau ritual membunuh  hewan kurban kerbau bersama sejumlah babi jantan besar dan kecil di tengah-tengah kampung.
Ritual ini diyakini sebagai bentuk rasa syukur dan terima kasih kepada leluhur atas bantuan mereka sehingga rumah adat bisa dibangun dan mengucapkan terimakasih kepada Sang Pencipta.
Kemudian ritual adat Poka Kaba Congko Lokap ditutup dengan  ritual Congko Laca.
Congko Laca merupakan  ritual membersihkan rumah adat dan halaman kampung dari berbagai kotoran hewan atau membersihkan sisa-sisa kotoran hewan yang ada di dalam rumah maupun di sekitar rumah.
Ini merupakan ritual penutup dengan lambang seekor ayam jantan berwarna putih.

Photography : Leonardus Nyoman –

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Flores History, Ethnic and Languages, East Nusa Tenggara Province. Indonesia

Flores History, Ethnic and Languages

Flores is part of Indonesia’s Eastern Islands. It stretches snakelike between the longitudes of 118°–125° E, and between the latitudes of 8°–11° S.
The fascinating, strikingly beautiful island is blessed with plenty of natural attractions. There are white sandy beaches and deserted islands, soft-shaped hilly landscapes with beautiful rice field vistas, interspersed with mountainous areas. The island’s distinct rugged landscape with its complex v-shaped valleys and knife-edged ridges was formed by an impressive, young volcanic mountain range which spans over its approximately 400km length. Fourteen of the volcanoes are still active; others, like famous Mount Kelimutu in the Ende district, are extinct but nonetheless impressive with their crater lakes and calderas. Until not so long ago, this challenging terrain was hardly penetrable – a fact that contributed to the preservation of Flores’ extraordinary cultural diversity.
Flores can be visited all year around. Be aware, though, that the access to some of the mainland attractions during the rainy season (December – February) may be quite challenging or even impossible. Due to elevated sea levels, diving may also be restricted to certain sites.

In Flores you will find plenty of beaches. Black, white and even pink sandy beaches, blue pebble beaches, beaches with mountains in the background, or just the jungle behind. Those untouched, beautiful coastal strips with crystal-clear water are spread all around the island.Besides the beaches, there are several small islands which are great places to relax in idyllic surroundings.
Around Labuan Bajo,West Flores, are the secluded islands of Kanawa, Seraya Kecil and Bidadari. They can be easily reached by one of the local excursion boats or by a chartered fishing boat. All of these islands are blessed with white sandy beaches and turquoise water. Take a swim, snorkel or lay back and just enjoy your pristine hideaway.
Around Maumere (East Flores), there a plenty of easily accessible islands. The chain of islands includes, among others, Besar (‘Big’ in Indonesian), Babi (‘Pig’ in Indonesian), Pangabatang, Sukun, Palu’e, Pemana Besar and Pemana Kecil. Due to the small distances, chartering a boat and hopping around the islands is the best option for exploring all the idyllic beaches.
Before you dip into any of these tropical waters, reassure yourself that they are free of strong currents, and pay attention to tidal changes. Please be aware that – except for the islands that are frequently visited by tourists – it is considered inappropriate for women to wear just a bikini. If you do not want to attract too much attention, it is highly recommended to wear a t-shirt and shorts for swimming.

Flores is abound with great forests. They range from lush, green mangrove forests in a healthy coastal ecosystem and bamboo forests (around Bena Village) to vast areas of tropical rain forests.
Mbeliling Forest in the West Manggarai district consists of two types of tropical rain forest ecosystems and is rich in limited-range bird life and endemic bird species. Furthermore, it serves as a critical watershed area for nearly 33,000 people who live in the area.
Besides Mbeliling, which offers great hiking opportunities, there are several other tropical forests that may be explored on foot, e.g. the mountainous forest of Mount Ndeki, the isolated mountainous scenery of Wae Rebo Village (both in the Manggarai district), or the forests of Kelimutu National Park (Ende District).
The Mount Ndeki is one of the best places to observe tropical species of birds while wandering in the pristine wilderness of the mountainous forest. The forest is also home to green vipers camouflaging themselves as dry branches.
Most of the forests can be perfectly combined with a cultural visit to the nearby villages; for example, to visit the village of Wae Rebo, there is a pleasant hike through a dense rain forest along a narrow path to reach the village. This forest is one of the biologically richest areas in Indonesia.
The surroundings of the Kelimutu crater lake, belonging to the famous Kelimutu National Park offer lush forests full of birdsong. These forests are blessed with rare flora, such as pine, mountain fig, and red wood.

The current geological formations found in Flores and throughout Indonesia were predominantly shaped by dynamic geological transformations during the early Pleistocene period (1.8 million years ago). These transformations included significant tectonic movements with corresponding volcanic activities and extremely high sea-level fluctuations.
A craggy mountainous landscape reflects the island’s turbulent geological history in the midst of the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’, a geologically unstable hot-spot. Flores is part of a volcanic belt which stretches from Sumatra through Java and Bali to the Banda Sea. The island’s highest, still active volcanoes are Mount Egon (1703m) in Maumere and Mount Inerie (2245m) in the Ngada district. However, the most famous volcano is Kelimutu with its tri-colored crater lakes, shimmering in green, turquoise, and black-red. Although many of the volcanoes in Flores are not classified as active, they display a number of post-volcanic formations worth seeing, such as calderas, basalt columns, and volcanic lakes.
The volcanic activity is strongly linked to the island’s position in a subduction zone, which is a tectonically active spot where a number of different tectonic plates – the Eurasian, Pacific, Indian-Australian, and Philippino plates – collide. There, the heavier oceanic plate sinks under the lighter continental plate, where they melt in the heat of a layer of liquid asthenosphere. The emerging pressure, friction, and melting processes at the edge of these plates often cause volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Flores is very prone to these natural powers that sometimes cause major disasters: in 1992, a strong earthquake, followed by a massive tidal wave, claimed the lives of 3,000 people and destroyed the town of Maumere and its surroundings.

Since very early times, the Florinese have been confronted with people from many parts of the world. Some of them came with purely economic intentions, others with ideas of power and belief. Whatever their interest in Flores might have been, it is certain that these outside influences left their footprints and contributed to the already manifold social and cultural diversity.
Flores has had its own history long before the first traders or missionaries arrived. However, as ancient Florinese societies shared their history through oral tradition, little is known about the origins of many of them. The first foreign visitors to Flores probably encountered dispersed, independent settlements consisting of several lineages which descended from a common ancestor. By that time, political authority was locally limited.
Before the first Europeans reached Flores, Makassarese and Bugis seafarers from Southern Sulawesi came to Flores for trading and slave raiding, and took control of some of the coastal areas. While the eastern coastal areas of Flores were under the authority of the emperors of Ternate in the Moluccas, West Flores was prominently ruled by the sultanates of Bima in Sumbawa and Goa in Sulawesi.

Colonial era
A Portuguese expedition crew reached the island in the early 16th century and named it ‘Cabo das Flores’, which means ‘Cape of Flowers’. The island became an important strategic point for the economic activities of Portuguese traders. However, Flores itself was neither a source of valuable spices nor sandalwood. After a long period of struggling with other trade powers, the Portuguese were finally defeated and withdrew themselves to Dili in East Timor in 1769. They renounced all their spheres of influence in Eastern Indonesia and sold their remaining enclaves on Flores to the Dutch administration.
Even though the Dutch administration was eager to expand its influence in Indonesia, it hardly interfered in local political issues at the beginning. When the Dutch administration decided to increase Flores’ potential as a source of income for its state treasury, systematic measures were taken to improve the island’s infrastructure and educational system. Being increasingly challenged with rebellions and inter-tribal wars, the Dutch army launched a massive military campaign in 1907 to settle the disputes. After being subdued in 1909, the island was provided with a new administrative system, dividing it into the five major districts of Manggarai, Ngada, Ende, Sikka, and Flores Timur. Each of these administrative units was headed by a local leader who was appointed by the Dutch colonial government.
Except for a short period of Japanese occupation during World War II, the Dutch remained the dominating colonial force until Indonesia became an independent nation state in 1945.

Nation building
The main focus of Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno, was the building of a national identity for the new-born state and the preservation of its fragile unity. Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesian independence on 17th August 1945. After four years of bitter armed struggle and international pressure, the Netherlands formally recognized Indonesian independence. On 17th August 1945, Soekarno proclaimed a single unitary Republic of Indonesia. He also elaborated the idea of Pancasila, Indonesia’s five pillars of national unity, as an attempt to incorporate the many different religious and ethnic groups into an independent nation state.
President Soeharto, who followed Soekarno after a period of violent takeover in 1965, aimed to lead Indonesia from its rural condition into the modern industrialized world. An important political issue under his so-called New Order government was the economic development and growth of Indonesia. Therefore, the government launched many health care, education, economy, and infrastructure programs and projects with the idea of bringing modernity to the remotest villages. After a long period of governing Indonesia in a rather authoritarian way, President Soeharto was brought to fall in 1998.

Flores today
After the Soeharto regime, Indonesia was turning into a more democratic and decentralized state. The positive effects of these new policies for Flores were limited: the majority of the Florinese people could not directly benefit from the increased local autonomy and decentralization, and remained to be among the poorest inhabitants of Indonesia. Most families on Flores still struggle with the educational system. They cannot afford to pay the school fees for their children, thereby reducing their future opportunities to make a living beyond rural agriculture. Besides, the access to health care is very limited – not only in the remote villages, but also in the larger towns. Furthermore, the access to water, electricity, transportation, communication, and information is still at a low coverage level.
However, the policy shift from a centralized focus on Javanese culture to an increased appreciation of Indonesia’s rich local cultural varieties brought some positive change: traditional cultural features and peculiarities are not equated with backwardness anymore, but proudly valued as the country’s treasure and heritage, which also has the potential to attract domestic and foreign tourists – and their spending power.

People and culture
To talk about one single Florinese culture would definitely not live up to the stunning variety that visitors find in Flores: unique local expressions of livelihood, ethnicity, language, origin, belief systems, social structures, and history that found their way through history into the present.
Flores’ amazing cultural diversity can be partly explained by its geographical attributes, partly also due to outside influences. However diverse, Florinese societies still share many common cultural and linguistic traits within and beyond their island.

Language & Ethnicity
The uniqueness of Flores lies in its amazing wealth of cultures, languages, and history. One of the explanations for these local varieties lies in the island’s mountainous nature: it hindered the access to the interior areas and made communication between individual communities difficult, thus preserving a huge range of long-standing local peculiarities.
Flores is inhabited by 1.8 million people who roughly belong to the major ethno-linguistic entities of Manggarai, Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende and Lio, Sikka and Lamaholot. These groups can be further divided into many sub-entities with their own cultural features and dialects.
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), the official language, is used in the context of education, business, and formal affairs. However, everyday conversations in Flores are still carried out in the countless local languages and dialects, which all belong to the so-called Austro-Polynesian language family.

The Lamaholot people live in Eastern Flores in an area reaching from the mainland of the Flores Timur district to the islands of Solor, Adonara, and Lembata. Lamaholot is more of a language than an ethnic group. The linguistic boundaries do not exactly correspond to the political borders, and the Lamaholot people do not consider themselves to be a cultural unity. However, the name ‘Lamaholot’ has been recently applied to the ethnic group as they share many common cultural elements – e.g. the widespread practice of the use of elephant tusks as a part of marriage prestige.
Another widely shared element of Lamaholot culture used to be its distinct system of ritual leadership, where four ritual leaders also shared governing power: the kepala koten (kepala means ‘head’ in Indonesian) was in control of internal village affairs. The kepala kelen took care of the external affairs. The other two positions, hurit (also hurin or hurint ) and marang, had advisory functions, while other influential village elders ensured that none of these leaders got too powerful.
As is common place in many parts of Eastern Indonesia, the Lamaholot people also used to recognize a double-gendered divine being, consisting of ‘Lera Wulan’ (sun-moon) and its female complement, ‘Tana Ekan’. Nowadays, the male Lera Wulan is associated with the Christian or Muslim notion of God. According to the traditional Lamaholot belief system, lesser spirits, called nitu, inhabit treetops, large stones, springs, and holes in the ground. Also worthy of mentioned are Ile Woka, the god of the mountains, and Hari Botan, the god of the sea.
Besides prominent ceremonies and festivals associated with house building, agricultural happenings, and other events, the Lamaholot people also hold celebrations on the beach in connection with the beginning of the annual fishing cycle.

The Sikkanese people live in the Sikka district in East-central Flores. They are famed for their fine ikat weaving, a handicraft deeply rooted in Sikkanese society, which is still of high economic and social importance. Producing probably the finest ikat in Flores, it is a pleasure to see so many people wearing the beautiful traditional sarongs in their daily lives. Besides the art of ikat weaving, the district boasts a fascinating history of their ancient kingdom and the integration of early outside influences into their local culture.
The Tana ‘Ai and the Sikka-Krowe
The two major societies of this district are the Tana ‘Ai people in the mountainous eastern part of the district and the Sikka-Krowe people in the central areas, as well as on the north and south coasts. Sikka is the name of the ethnic group as well as the domain formerly ruled by the King of Sikka. Apart from speaking different languages, the Sikka-Krowe and the Tana ‘Ai societies also have some cultural differences.
Due to their isolated settlements, the Tana ‘Ai were not exposed a lot to outside influence until recently. They used to live in several loosely organized domains called tana. These domains were less territorial entities, but more defined by religious and ceremonial borders. Each tana was led by the head of the domain’s founding clan, and also had its own mahé, a central ceremonial site which was found either in the village center or at a place in the surrounding forests. Unlike many (other) Florinese societies, the Tana ‘Ai never had their own kingdom, nor did they have a prominent bride-wealth system. Another distinctive feature of the Tana ‘Ai is their complex and elaborate ritual language.
In contrast, the Sikka-Krowe were frequently exposed to foreign encounters, including the Portuguese at the beginning of the 17th century, who left cultural footprints that are still noticeable. The Sikka-Krowe turned into a small kingdom, with the village of Sikka Natar on the south coast as its center of power.
The first king to rule Sikka in the beginning of the 17th century was Mo’ang (or Don) Alésu Ximenes da Silva. During the Portuguese era in Eastern Flores, the people of Sikka Natar took on Portuguese names, with the name ‘da Silva’ referring to the members of the ruling house. A myth dates the origin of this ruling house to a time way before the arrival of the Portuguese. The story tells about people from South Asia who were shipwrecked on the southern coast of Flores near today’s Sikka Natar. As they could not repair their ship, they decided to settle there. Soon they started to arrange marriage alliances with the indigenous people who lived in the hilly interior. Don Alésu is believed to be a descendant of these shipwrecked wayfarers. The myth also tells that the young Don Alesu travelled to Malaka where he studied political science and got acquainted with Christian religion. When he returned to Sikka, he brought with him Catholicism and founded the Kingdom of Sikka.
After Don Alésu, Sikka was under the subsequent rule of seventeen of his descendants. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Dutch transformed it into a semi-autonomous state, based on a policy of self-rule. The small kingdom had its heyday right after the Dutch withdrawal post World War II. With the passing of the last king, Don Josephus Thomas Ximenes da Silva in 1952, the rule of the royal house of Sikka came to an end. Even though the kingdom had to give way to the young Indonesian nation state, it lived on in the memory of the Sikkanese people as a prominent element of their cultural history.

The festive Lio people live in the Ende district of Central Flores, where they make up the ethnic majority. The Lionese people use a fascinating range of artwork – architecture, carving, ikat weaving, jewellery, and more – which bursts with symbols that tell about their history, social life, and cultural values. Some of the most prominent motifs in Lionese culture are boats, snakes, horses, and humans. With natural attractions like the world-famous Kelimutu crater lakes, the Lio area is a hiker’s paradise and worth at least a couple of days of exploring.
The influence of adat belief systems is still quite strong in the Lio area. This may be explained by the fact that most of the Lionese people settled in mountainous terrain, therefore never gave up dry-rice farming. Consequently, many ritual and ceremonial activities related to the agricultural cycle of dry rice are still considered important, be it at the time of starting a new dry-rice field, the planting, or harvesting.
A characteristic of many Florinese cultures, the traditional Lionese belief system, is also centered around the notion of a highest divine being that unites opposites, called du’a gheta lulu wula, nggae ghale wena tana – the old one up on the Moon, the ruler on Earth. The Lionese people believe in an afterlife. Therefore, the dead are buried with gifts to take to their afterlife. Good and bad spirits, as well as magic practices, are other important elements of the traditional belief system. Many of these ideas and practices live on, quite smoothly paralleled by Catholicism and Islam.
The Lionese people used to have and still have a distinct political system dominated by the mosalaki – leadership personalities with different responsibilities. At the very top of the hierarchy stands the ria bewa, or the ‘great long one’. As he has an all- encompassing decisive power, he may be called the highest authority of a Lionese village. The ria bewa is followed by the mosalaki pu’u, the ‘first mosalaki’, who takes the role of the ria bewa’s executive and assistant in ritual matters. If, for example, the ria bewa decides that measures have to be taken to bring rain, the mosalaki pu’u will ensure that the necessary rituals will be arranged and performed properly. Depending on the size of a community, there is a number of additional mosalaki, each with his own specific responsibilities.

Ngada Nagekeo
Visitors to Flores who are eager to encounter an extraordinarily vivid traditional material and ideal culture should take some time to meet the Ngada (or Ngadha) and the Nagekeo people. These fascinating communities live in Kabupaten Ngada and Kabupaten Nagekeo, the same-named districts in Central Flores. The Ngada people prominently settled around the legendary Mount Inerie and the district’s capital town, Bajawa. The Nagekeo people settled around the district’s capital town, Mbay. Apart from the Ngada and the Nagekeo communities, who represent the major socio-cultural units, the districts are home to several minor ethno-linguistic groups.
Even though the icons of Ngada culture – eye-catching ancestral shrines, impressive megalithic formations, a distinct architecture and a vivid ceremonial live are testimonies to a distant past; they are not just relics, but an integral part of the Ngada people’s present, which is a syncretistic co-existence of ancient belief systems and Catholicism.
In contrast to other Florinese societies and the Nagekeo people whose social organization is based on patri-linearity, the Ngada people determine their clan belonging through their maternal line. Genealogical continuity is transmitted only through women, and the children are regarded as members of their mother’s clan. Land rights, material inheritance and residence are passed on matrilineally as well. However, Ngada matrilineal structure does not mean that women have all the decisive power in a community’s daily life. It is the men who usually dominate the public sphere, gatherings, and political or legal debates. In the private realm, though, it is the women who take prominent decisive roles.
In their local language, the Ngada people refer to their village as nua. A nua consists of several houses which are owned by different clans. The houses are usually set up along two parallel lines. Each clan owns a pair of ancestral shrines, Ngadhu and Bhaga, which are situated in the center of the Nua. Next to the shrines, arrangements of megaliths are another famous element of Ngada material culture.
The most popular villages in the Ngada district are Bena and Wogo. Both have become signposts of Ngada culture and display the richness of Ngada traditions. However, there are many other villages off the beaten track which are worth a visit.

The Manggaraian people are famed for their long-standing heritage of ritual and ceremonial life, as well as distinct agricultural and architectural practices. Caci performances, lingko fields and the Penti ceremony are just a few among many highlights that the Manggaraian people are proud of. With its many myth-spun cultural sites, embedded in beautiful natural surroundings, Manggarai offers treasures not to be missed during a trip to Flores.
Manggarai, situated in the westernmost part of Flores, is the island’s most densely populated region. It is divided into the three kabupaten (administrative districts) of Manggarai Barat in the West, Manggarai in the center, and Manggarai Timur in the East. Manggarai is considered to be roughly an ethno-linguistic unit. However, there are many different dialects of the Manggaraian language as well as some local variations of cultural elements.
Very little is known of the earliest history of the Manggaraian people. This gives way to colorful myths and stories about their origin and descent. Many Manggaraian people believe that their ancestors came from Minangkabau in West Sumatra, settled on the coast, then proceeded to the island’s interior.
A central theme of Manggaraian culture is the unity of the village, the house, and the fields, which is most visibly expressed in their circular shape and their spatial division into segments. A house used to be much more than a shelter to its inhabitants, rather an expression of identity and belonging: the particular architecture and structure symbolized kinship and marriage relations, as well as patrilineal descent. Before the Dutch colonial administration put an end to this way of living, entire clans used to inhabit a single house, with different generations living side by side.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Labuhanbajo - West Flores - Indonesia

A little town inhabited by fishermen, lies at the extreme western part of Flores Island. The town serves as a jumping off point for the trip to Komodo Island. It is a beautiful area for water skiing, wind surfing, fishing and many other marine activities.
Batu Cermin Cave is five kilometers from the town of Labuanbajo. It can be reached partly by car, and partly on foot. The grotto is 75 by 75 meters large, and contains stalactites and stalagmites. Some tunnels are narrow and dark but in others sunlight falls.

Rice field terraces near Ruteng Flores island

Ruteng is the capital of Manggarai Regency that was once ruled by the kings of Bima. The influences of Bima. The influences of Bima and Goa are evident in prevailing titles, such as Karaeng, and in the manner of dress. The shape of the roofs with the buffalo horn symbol, may be an element inherited from the Minangkabau. The cool town of Ruteng lies at the foot of a mountain. It can be reached by air from Kupang or Denpasar via Bima, or by ferry from Bima via Labuanbajo, or from eastern part via Ende and Bajawa. Beside the fame Komodo lizards, the area has many attractions to offer the tourists, such as the caci dance, a wildlife reserve, and archeological caves.
Cancar;Golo Cara; the unique lingko rice fields, circular terraces arranged like a spider web.
Liang Bua: the place where Homo Floresiensis was founded by the archeopathology of new England university of Australia and from Indonesia. The tiny skeleton called Hobbit was discovered during a three-month excavation inside Liang Bua, Scientists believe it may represent a new human species, Homo floresiensis, The species existed alongside modern humans as recently as 13,000 years ago, yet may descend from Homo erectus, which arose some two million years ago.

Mount Inerie-Ngada-Flores island
The capital of Ngada is Bajawa, which lies in the middle of the cool highlands. It is a pleasant little town such as is seldom found elsewhere in Flores. About 135 kilometers from Ruteng all about 5 to 7 hour - driving distance by car, Bajawa can also be reahed from Kupang by air-craft, and from Ende by car.
Abulobo and Inerie are between mountains with sharp peaks known locally as the "sky pillars", and popular among mountaineers. They are located near coast and have wonderful scannery.

Bena Traditional village-Ngada Flores island
Bena is prototype of an ancient Ngada village. Such villages are found in rather great numbers in the area and can be reached by car from bajawa in about one and half hours. The way of life of the people is unique, and so are the houses and the traditional ceremonies.

Riung Marine Park - 17 Pulau
Riung is now wellknown for its seventeen isles that makes the sea surrounding a paradise for marine lovers. Here one can dive, snorkel, and swim.
The beach is a sea-side resort with clear and calm water. There is a beautiful coral reef just off the shore.

Kelimutu Crater Lakes - Ende Flores island Indonesia
Ende was the site of a kingdom that existed around the end of the 1 8th century. The name today refers to the capital of the Ende regency, which includes the two autonomous territories of Lio and Ende. The people of the area therefore known as Lio Ende people. This town has for many decades been a center of government trade, education and political activity. Rebellion against the Dutch, led by a certain Nipa Do - known as the Wars of Watu Api and Mari Longa - decurred here in 1916 - 1917. And in 1934, the traditionalist leader Soekarno, who was later to become Indonesia's first president, was exiled to Ende by the Dutch colonial government.
The town Ende lies at the foot of mountains lye, lpi, Meja and Wongge. The beautiful bays of Ende, lpi, and Mbuu are favorite sites for beach-site recreation. Ende can be reached by aircraft from Kupang. And also from Denpasar via Bima, or by from Surabaya or Kupang.
The Bung Karno Museum is the old house occupied by Soekarno during his years of exile in Ende. Most of for the old furnishings are still there.
While in exile in Ende, Soekarno wrote and staged few plays, together with the Tonel Kelimutu theatre troupe. Among those plays were Rendorua Ola Nggera Nusa (Rendo That Stirred the Archipelago) and Doctor Satan, a revision on the story of Dr. Frankenstein.
Near the football field in Ende stands an old, big breadfruit tree. Under it, Soekarno often sat, working on political ideas to lead Indonesia towards independence. Those reflections presumably contributed to the opening of the Pancasila concept, which is now the state philosophy of the Indonesian Republic. Just from here was the Pancasila idea born. Today, the Pancasila Birth Monument stand on this precise spot.

Kelimutu crater lakes,Ende,Flores island
East Nusa Tenggara's natural wonder and one of Indonesia's most mysterious and dramatic sights that can be found on top this mountain, some 66 kilometers from Ende, or 83 kilometers from Maumere. It has a unique and spectacular view on its three crater lakes with their respective colors. The colors, however, have changed continually since the eruption of Mount /ye in Ende in 1969.
The mountain is located at the back of Mount Kelibara, in the Wolowaru District in the Ende, Regency of Central Flores. Keli means mountain and Mutu means boiling. In short, it means volcano. To the local people, this mountain is holy, and a token of God's blessings. It provides fertility to the surrounding lands. It is both heaven and the hell to the people of Lio Ende. Many travelers and scientists, have written about Kelimutu since it was discovered by Van Suchtelen, a Ducth government officer,
in 1915.
Father Bouman published an article in 1929, which made the name Kelimutu known all over the world. Since then, many researchers and tourits have come, as well as the Governor General of Batavia (Jakarta). To get to the lakes, one follows the road, from Moni, then proceed to the crater's top. Near the crater rim was a bungalow, which has now been dismantled.
The presence of the white men, or Ata Bara, was regarded disturbing to the peace of the ancestral spirits. As a result the spirits of Kelimutu disappeared. Earth quakes began rocking the land. Smoke is often released from the crater.
The eruption of 1928 caused many victims and much damage. In 1938 there was another eruption, coming from Tiwu Ata Koo Fai Noo, Ata Nuwa Muri (the Lake of Youth). The biggest took place in 1968, in which the water in the lakes was shot 10 kilometers high into the sky. The peak of Kelimutu itself is 1,690 meters high, and its lake crater I ,410. Other geological data are as follows: Tiwu Ata Polo (the Lake of Evil) has a slopping wall, 150 meters high. The lake is 380 by 280 meters large and 64 meters deep. The volume of the water is about 446,000 cubic meters.
Tiwu Ata Koo Fai Noo and Ata Nawa Muri (the Lake of Youth) has walls 128 meters high. The lake is 430 by 300 square large and 127 meters deep with a water content of about 500.000 cubic meters.
Timu Ata Bupo (the Lake of the old) has twi layers of walls, 240 meters high. The lake covers a surface of 300 by 280 meters high. The water is 67 meters deep and 345,000 cubic meters in volume. The total water content of the three lakes amounts to 1,3 million cubic meters.
In the last three ti five years, the lakes of Kelimutu have changed in color, a phenomenon caused by the geological and chemical processes in the bottom and walls of take lakes. It could also have resulted from changes in the bacteria and micro organism populations due to changes in temperature.
Another theory proposed by village elders, is that there has actually been no change at all, but that the effect is due to optical illusions. To reach Kelimutu can be done by flying to Ende or Maumere, then going by car to Kelimutu.
The surrounding villages are good places serving as bases for visits to Kelimutu, particularly those who wish to have a more leisurely pace and enjoy the views along the road between Ende and maumere, or spend more time in Kelimutu. Those title villages are also known for their excellent weaving all hand made, still use natural dyes.

Lepo Lerun - weaving ikat - Nita - Maumere
A port town on the northeastern coast of Flores and stopover on the way to Ende or to Denpasar, and Ujungpandang, and noted for its good beaches. The bay of Maumere, Waiara, is considered the best diving spot (Flores Marine Resort) as it promise extremely rich marine life.
The resort is a paradise for all divers, underwater photographers, and for everyone interested in marone biology. It has a beautiful sea
garden filled with corals and fish. So does Koka, nearby. Accommodation and facilities for recreation are available.
Ledalero Museum at the outskirts of Maumere has an interesting collection of ethnological objects for the region. Visitors are welcome but advanced arrangements should be made. Ledalero is also a name of a major Catholic Seminary from many of Florinese priest originated.

Weaving ikat,Sikka Natar-Maumere Flores island
Sikka was in the past of kingdom, but is is now a regency. The capital is Maumere, on Maumere Bay on the north coast of Flores. The town can be reached by air from Denpasar, Kupang, and Ujungpandang, or by sea from Surabaya, and over land from Ende. Bare mountains and hills dominated the landscape. Today a reforestation program has turned large parts into green pastures.
A prehistoric bronze boat from the Dongsong era, called Dobo or Baobatung is found in a village near Maumere, where it is carefully kept by the people as an ancestral heirloom.
Paga is an old village near the beach. It was a refuge for Catholic missionaries who retreated to this area as the result of pressures by the Dutch authorities in Flores. There is an old well with clear water. Its location is 40 kilometers from Maumere. The small town Nitta was the site of kingdom, and is rich in historical places, traditional ceremonies and beautiful woven clothes with various motifs. It is located 10 kilometers from Maumere.
Sikka-Lela are the viliges which were formerly center from which the Roman Catholic religion spread across Flores. An old well, dug by the priest Le Cocg (1885), can still be found. Bola Beach is located in the southern past of Flores near Sikka and Lela. Many historical relies are found in these two areas, ranging from traditional houses, to rare ivory heirlooms. Ivory was in the past use as a dowry in marriage. Some of the villages in Sikka, such as Sikka, Lela and Nita produce beautiful ikat textiles with motifs that are peculiar to the region.
Like TanaKa, in Ende the soil covering hill near Lakebai is also edible. The grains of earth can be eaten after they are fried.
The island of Palue, in the north of Flores has a megalithic culture. In the front- yard of houses lie the graves and "mezbah" offering stones. The people of the area are known to make great sailors. Life is still much influenced by the belief in spirits, which are believed to reside in natural objects. The island can be reached in a few hours by motorboat from the Maumere prier.

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