Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mentawai Tradition Tattoos: Systematically Destroyed

One day in February 2009. Slowly rounded the sun and the red to sink in the Indian Ocean. The reflection of light makes the surface of a calm sea silvery gold. Right at 6 pm, boat KM Simasin Island starting from a small port located in Batang Arau, Padang Muara, Muara Sikabaluan in the Siberut island. Siberut Island is the largest of the Mentawai Islands overlay consisting of 40 islands. Siberut Island is located in the North, three other large island in the middle is Sipora, North and South Pagai is there in the South. On the islands that was settled with the Mentawai tribe of indigenous and tradisinya unique. Unlike the other tribes that inhabit neighboring island, Sumatra.

Deck in front of the timber ships that carry more than two hundred passengers, the Durga Pance Satoko and are enjoying the natural beauty of the panorama while talked about the trip that we will be more or less of the past 12 hours. I do not dissipate this moment and direct recording frame for frame at the top of the atmosphere of KM in Simasin to mini DV tapes. Ship this ditumpangi people around the islands, merchant-trader with a sudden goods dagangannya; cardboard-cardboard sembako, basket and bag-bag containing the fruits and vegetables. In the timber ships are also some people there are foreign tourists from America and Australia, peselancar (surfer) who are hunting waves to the Mentawai. Perhaps for many peselancar, elegancy Mentawai waves including one of the beautiful in the world.

Unlike leluhurnya from the Mentawai tribe, Pance Satoko does not have a tattoo on her body and no longer practice the ritual-ritual Arat Sabulungan. Arat Sabulungan is a system of knowledge, values and rules of life are strong inherited by the ancestor Mentawai tribe. They believe the world of spirits and souls. Each object that is, living or dead have a soul and spirit as human beings. They should be treated like human beings. Therefore, people should not cut down trees recklessly, without permission panguasa forest (taikaleleu) and the willingness of the spirit and soul of the wood itself. To maintain balance and harmony with the spirits of the world, human nature and presents the various tribes Mentawai offerings and various rituals.

Pance Satoko is the end of the students of Faculty of Social and Political (FISIP) Anthropology Department Università Andalas Padang. Mother Srimulyani at University Laboratory Antropoligi recommends that Pance Satoko to be our guide and translator. Department of Anthropology dipimpinya that many research studies and Mentawai islands. One of them is in the village Mototonan, in the hinterland of South Siberut.

By slashing the capital and the camera hadycam loans, we are starting an independent project that we give the name Mentawai Tattoo Revival or Resurrection Back Tattoos Mentawai. A project that diprakarasi by Durga which aims to create documentation Mentawai tattoo and do workshops with the tattoo sikerei (shaman) tattoo remaining in the village Matotonan. Durga studied at the Faculty of Visual Arts program of Visual Communication Design at the Art Institute of Indonesia (ISI) Yogkarta and now he switched to art tattoo after settling in Los Angeles (LA), United States, between the years 2006-2008. In LA he was selected to become students Tattoo Apprenticeship program, act and work for the Black Wave tattoo studio in LA, every day is directly under the supervision Sulu'ape Freewind sua. A master tattoo and well-respected because of the tradition and maintain the tatau (tattoo traditional techniques Tahiti, Samoa, Polynesia). Sua Sulu'ape Freewind been living in Polynesia, and frequently visited the Dayak Iban tribe in Serawak, Kalimantan.

Durga decides to return to Indonesia and learn motives tribal tattoo on the archipelago, such as that found in the Dayak tribe in Kalimantan, the people who live on the island of Rote, and in the Mentawai Islands.

Tradition tattoo or titi in Mentawai is one of the forms of identity and the identity of the Mentawai people have inherited from their ancestors from generation to generation. Mentawai tattoo is a traditional form of art that is very popular in the world, but is now threatened in the area of origin kepunahannya. If we pay a visit to the island Pagai and Sipora, there we no longer find the people who continue the traditions of Mentawai tattoo ritual and ritual-Arat Sabulungan only Carita's ancestors lived in the time-period that has passed.

KM Pulau Simasin ship moving at a steady pace and is now cut through the night began. Ancestor Mentawai people leave stories about their origin-usal who came from the island of Nias, the Mentawai Islands to the north. The name comes from the Mentawai "Aman Tawe."

Perhaps, old Ama Tawe go fishing to the sea and there were terrible storms that dragged so Ama Tawe and mendamparkannya in a foreign place. Ama Tawe find on the island of the new land is very fertile. There are many sources of food. Sago palm up and sown with the planting and merawatnya. Ama Tawe then return to Nias, decided to invite his wife and children to settle in the Mentawai. Ama Tawe descent who inhabit the region and the long run spread to the entire archipelago.

Legend of the origin of the Mentawai tribe doubts for many researchers. Itupun and researchers, many of them paparkan the hypothesis, there is no agreement about the origin of this Mentawai tribe. For example, Neumann and Von Rosenberg hypothesis propose that the Mentawai people came from Polynesia. Neuman is sure the rest of the Mentawai people of Polynesia terusir by the arrival of the Malay islands dominate Sumetera. Meanwhile, because persamaannya with the various tribes that inhabit the Pacific Islands, Von Rosenberg states that the Mentawai tribe directly derived from the Pacific Ocean (Orao Neptutinuanus).

The two other researchers, mess and Morris revealed that the Mentawai not identical with the Malay language and Mentawai no similarity with the Batak language. And Dr. Oudemans said that the Mentawai Serumpun the Batak people and island of Nias, Batu.

At 05.00 KM Simasin anchored at Pulau Muara Sikabaluan, North Siberut. One hour faster than the estimated. Our goal is Matotonan in South Siberut that will be achieved from Muara Siberut. Ship Island Simasin KM transit for 6 hours. Sudden traders selling goods basic needs, food and clothing from the dismantled ships. Most of the traders came from Minangkabau and mistress of Tapanuli. They menajajakan goods during dagangannya ship KM Pulau Simasin akan bribe and transit goods dagangannya if the ship cast off to the next destination.

During the transit we do not find people with the Mentawai characteristics that put them pickpocket (loincloth) and a body full of tattoos. According to Pak Man, a settler who lived in Muara Sikabaluan, traditions and tattoos are forbidden by Arat Sabulungan Camat Sikabaluan. If we want to look for tattoos on Sikabaluan, we have inland Simatalu must be passed through the coast of northern Indian Ocean. And if the storm season small boats do not have the across the marine.

Arat Sabulungan indeed can not be equated with "the flow of trust" because this belief has been hereditary since the ancestor tribes Mentawai there first. But the categorization that made the government since President Soekarno era, Arat Sabulungan enter as the flow of the trust, the trust also animism other existing in the ancestor of the nations in the archipelago. Because they meresahkan life, and form a nation, Arat Sabulungan waived by the Government through a policy through No.167/PROMOSI/1954 SK. Then, in the Mentawai, Religion Three Meetings (1954), the real action is initinya ordered to leave for the Mentawai people Arat Sabulungan with mememilih a government-recognized religion. And the peak occurred in the era of Soeharto's New Order in 1970 until the 1980s, where the repressive Mentawai people forced to leave the tattoo tradition and Arat Sabulungan the cop who discovered them and mempraktekkannya with membakari devices their ceremony.

At 11:00 ship KM Pulau Muara Simasin leave Sikabaluan. We arrived at the Muara Siberut at around 6:00 through. During perjalan had rain not heavy. And in that way, Durga had menato helmsman ship Ucok Zae, 25 years old. Ucok Zae not from Batak, but he's Nias and ditato have the ball in the circle of fire feet. Perhaps this is the only event in the world, where the helmsman of a ship ditato while skipper guided ships. Setiba in the harbor and Maileppet, Muara Siberut, contact Roby Bang recommended Mother Srimulyani Anthropology Laboratory of the University to meet us. Bang Roby has food stalls and modest cottages where we rest and overnight. Esoknya Roby Bang Samoanpora Rinaldi and we will bring the river in the boat belonging to the bot to the village Mototonan.

After shopping for a variety of needs in rural areas we started the rivers that have branches to Matotonan. Along the way we see the mothers and children of women who seek seashell in the river, meet with pompong (traditional boat with engine tempel) downstream along the river from mudik.

Our first release is in the village which is inhabited Rorogot approximately 30 families. We eat the morning before the stock dibungkuskan ibunda Bang Roby in house riverside property Tuamasin Mark. Under the house, where we rested there a muddy pig pen and mixed with the skin-peeling skin has become a matchmaker. While stock eat, we talked and smoked together with the host. Apparently tourist and foreign researchers who often drop in to the village Rogrogot often give money if berfoto together. No money no photos. That's their term. Seuasai eat and rest a while, we continue the journey with the intention to imprison berfoto together.

The river upstream to the shallow, so that at approximately 14:30 we have to stop at the next village, in Madobag. Pance Satoko cousin has a sister who got the assignment to teach at the local junior Affairs. Roby Bang machine out boatnya in Pance sister's house and find two pongpong that we will carry Matotonan the headwaters of the more shallow.

Matotonan plant is kecombrang, kincrung or onje. Plants that have fruit acid is a plant medicine for the Mentawai tribe and flowers consumed as vegetables. Travel upstream along the river until Matotonan in the bamboo plant kecombrang and dominate, and in the estuary area near the coast is swampy peat-and meet the sago tree.

Of the terrain that we pompong with this increasingly difficult. Occasionally the boat roll and hit a tree chunk-chunk, aground on rocks as the river water is shallow, even pongpong was one of the screw propeller-vane balingnya dislodged and broken balingnya-pound stone. Untung just have a spare propeller.

Through a variety of terrain that weight, the dark we finally arrived in the village Matotonan. We met with local residents and we stayed warm in a house next to the house of the village head Matotonan. Matotonan the village head called Christinus Basyir. From the name we know that when he had a small first baptized. After the adults move to Islam, from situlah name Basyir get it. While the parents are still alive, still profess belief in Arat Sabulungan, bertato, hunting and pig keeping. The house is our tempati Post Office Social, where Mother Srimulyani also become one of the konsultannya.

Nevertheless the people welcomed us with warm, their response was very varied, for example, there is suspicion that our coming, and even have the money ask if we want to document the remaining tattoo. But after explaining the purpose Pance our arrival, and eventually they understand that many of them want the tattoo. In addition to documenting the mecatat and re-designs in the Matotonan, we also offer to them to continue their tattoos are not finished with the machine that we carry. Matotonan live in a village sipaniti (the tattoo), Tegora Manai. He menato for the last time about ten years ago and now he is experiencing myopia.

While enjoying coffee and cigarettes, that night also discuss some design Durga Mentawai tattoo from a photocopy of our books are available. In fact each region has a typical tattoo is not the same as the other tribes. Our knowledge this has not been available in the reading materials that we have.

Mentawai first person to make a tattoo in a place far from the settlement, which is only done by sikerei and people concerned. This has caused the younger generation also saw the rare process of tattoos and they are reluctant to learn. Moreover, after inclusion of the influence of various modern and dibangku school taught them that their ancestor is the belief of all things related to the tradition of worship of idols and the spirits. Even a local youth who want to have a skull tattoo, when we ask why he does not want to be made Mentawai tattoo, a dozen years in the youth said that the tattoo Mentawai and trust leluhurnya-Arat Sabulungan-belief is the devil.

In the 1970 and 1980s when the New Order with the vicious killing of belief-ganasnya animism tribes in the hinterland, the people in Matotonan also mengalaminya. Secure Eriana recounts how he was accompanying his wife, the police arrested the civil service and brought to the Muara Sikabaluan to work memberishkan roads, open fields as lelehurnya doubt on the belief that they anut and tattoos that decorate her body.

Secure Derei Kerei also menceritkan the same. That they remember it more than a hundred people, and be hunted and arrested twenty people came from Matotonan. In addition to the trail, tools ceremony in their fuel and their ditodong with the long barrel weapons. If you have discovered the relative of the family died and they perform the ceremony Arat Sabulungan they must flee to bring dead bodies into the forest. If not the police officer who is also sometimes accompanied by local Koramil akan not uncommon to catch and beat them. One of the police are called Nico. Even the village head that is now before this tradition also forbids tattoos and all related Arat Sabulungan.

Sogagi is safe sikerei (shaman) of the young in the village we met Mototonan. He was 40an. A sikerei, in addition memiki knowledge about drugs, they are also considered to have the knowledge to connect people in the world with the spirits of ancestors and nature. We are very grateful to Mrs. Srimulyani of Anthropology Laboratory FISIP University that allows us to this place. Before this tradition is completely extinct, as happened on the island of Pagai and Sipora. From this village, together with support sikerei-sikerei that we will do tesisa documentation and conduct workshops with their tattoos. Some people sikerei is prepared to continue tatonya that repression is not complete because the New Order. Tattoo machine with which we take from Jakarta, akan Durga through collaboration with Tegora Manai. Master Tattoos remaining inland Matotonan-one of the last bull tattoo Mentawai tradition of trust and their ancestors: Arat Sabulungan.

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