Muyu - Settlements

Before the interventions of the government and the mission a striking feature of the Muyu culture was the dispersed form of settlement. The patrilineal lineages constituted territorial units, ranging from about four to sixty inhabitants. But even within these settlements, houses were dispersed because of the strong urge to build one's house on one's own land. Thus every adult man with a nuclear family had his own individual land, as the whole Muyu area was divided into individually owned plots. If possible, the Muyu lived in their gardens, which were clearings in the forest. The houses were well built at a height of about 10 meters, either on the trunks of trees that had been cut to that height or on poles of that length, for safety reasons. The floors and walls were made of strips of palm tree wood, bound with rattan cane and roofs thatched with sago palm leaves. After 1933, first the mission and then the government urged the Muyu to live together in villages of about 150 to 400 inhabitants each in order to be more easily reached by the mission and the government. Only in villages of such a size could schools, houses for school teachers or catechists, and guest houses ( pasanggrahan ) for visiting officials be built and maintained. Village houses were built close together neatly in a row along both sides of the road. Today the houses are usually built in the same styles as before and also on poles, but now the poles are at a height of only 1 to 3 meters.

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