Ata Sikka - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Documentary sources and contemporary social life indicate a class of nobles ( ata mo'ang ) related to the raja of Sikka and the former rajas of Nita and Kangae; a class of freemen or commoners ( ata riwung ); and, formerly, a class of slaves ( ata maha ) made up of debtors and people captured in wars.

Political Organization. Under the rule of the raja of Sikka in the early 1950s the Maumere region consisted of sixteen parishes, each headed by an officer with the title of kapitan. Each parish was divided into villages, each under a village headman ( kepala kampung ). According to Arndt and ten Dam, the traditional political system included titles such as tana pu'ang (lord of the earth) who had ritual rights over the land and authoritative knowledge in questions of adat (traditional) law. The tana pu'ang was regarded as a descendant of the founder of a village area, traditionally at enmity with the raja and his representatives.

Social Control and Conflict. In the period of the rajadom, justice was dealt with by the raja, his representatives, the village headman, and the village elders, including the tana pu'ang. Oaths and ordeals ( jaji ) were once part of the judicial process. Most western Sikkanese villages waged limited warfare against the Lionese on their border. Arndt reports that enemy heads were generally hung at the village entrance on the return from a raid; a coconut was then substituted for the head in the performance of village rituals. Contemporary Sikkanese dispute Arndt's reports of headhunting and claim it was exclusively a Lionese practice.

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