Lamaholot - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The clans owning land are relatively powerful and wealthy. Petty nobility in various places have lost office, power, and much influence since independence. Otherwise, social distinctions based on wealth are basically not easily perceivable. Slavery, however, was formerly widespread.

Political Organization. In east Flores the head of the original or landowning clan determines the time for planting and harvesting and directs the communal ceremonies. In some communities he grants permission to open new land. Through much of the Lamaholot region there is a system of four ritual leaders who formerly had governing powers as well. Most prominent was kepala koten, who assumed leadership over internal village affairs. Kepala kelen concerned himself with external affairs. The other two positions, hurit ( hurin, hurint ) and marang, were advisory. The influence of other village elders tempered the powers of these four figures. The Dutch divided the region into six administrative territories headed by rajas: Larantuka, Adonara, Trong, Lamahala, Lohayong (Lawayong), and Lamakera. Later they placed the territory of Trong under the raja of Adonara and the territories of Lamahala, Lohayong, and Lamakera under the raja of Larantuka. The Indonesian government abolished these positions. Today the Regency of East Flores (Kabupaten Flores Timur) is divided into a series of districts ( kecamatan ) under appointed heads.

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