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HALMAHERA

THE THOGUTIL

 

"My name is Kasian and I am the shaman of the Ohonganamanyawa tribe, which means the people of the forest. Outsiders call us the Togutil. We live in the sacred forest of Almaheira in Indonesia. I have never ventured beyond my native land. 
The forest is the very source of our lives; it is our be-all and end-all. It offers us everything we need.
It is a familiar place, inhabited by spirits who educate, forewarn and feed us. It is also dangerous: many different snakes live here and I do not have all the remedies against their mortal bites. We have to be highly vigilant during the hours spent hunting and fishing.
The forest, the land and the water belong to our ancestors and are under their control. In our society, the roles are clearly defined. The role of women is to give life. They also plant, gather, cook and they educate the children. The role of men is to take lives. We hunt, we fish and we collect bark from certain trees to make our loincloths.
As a mediator between the world of the dead and the world of the living, I am in touch with spirits and I try to foster harmony in the universe. I know the spiritual powers of medicinal plants as well as their physical properties. I call up spirits to heal the sick and to help them get well.
Our world is changing fast, and it will soon be too late to pass what we know onto you. Strangers from the other islands are invading the forest. They have no respect for it, they destroy it and are full of scorn for those who depend on it. They steal the rich resources of our Mother Land. Tell me: in a few years what will be left for our children, what will be left ?"

The Togutil who live in the inland areas of North and Middle Halmahera. From only  a small part of the inhabitants ( about 1500 person) of Halmahera, as inhabitants of the  forest their culture may reveal a lot about the diversity and complexity of the regional culture of Halmahera as whole.

The Togutil has three concept of unity of habitat, that is :  “ o tau “ or unity of house, “o gogere “or unity of domicile, and “o hongana” or unity of forest.

Next, the kinship, the nuclear family and marriage among the Togutil. The nuclear family as the smallest group plays a central role in the egalitarian Togutil society. Each nuclear family is an independent economic, social as well as spiritual unit. But the independence of the nuclear family is not absolute. When for example marriage or death are involved, the nuclear family find itself under the control of the kinship group as a consulting and coordinating institution. Furthermore, the Togutil view men as owners and leaders as well as destructors, while women are the source and givers of life. Togutil social classification is based on gender differences.

 

WHO THE TOGUTIL IS ?

The Togutil is resembles to go hill (the people who escape to the jungle)

According to one of the local reliable resource who live in Halmahera Island, stated that the Togutil originally came from Portugal. They initially sailed to the Halmahera island acting as “traders”. They arrived at this island in approximately during the second world war. As the open-air war took place in this island between the American Army forces and the Japanese army forces, the Portugal trader’s ship were bombed and consequently forced them to served their lives by running into the deep forest in Halmahera island. As a result, they left their ship sank in the sea.

As they have settled in the deep forest of Halmahera Island, the Togutil developed their own community widely throughout the year. Their communities can be found two or three days walking in Central, North or South Halmahera and should be guided by local people who knows the Togutil Language…….. Equator Tours can help you!

 

THE WAY OF LIFE – THE TOGUTIL

The forest is the very source of our lives; it is our be-all and end-all. It offers us everything we need.
The way of life-Togutil is classified as shifting and nomad. They life in small families group, two or three families and each families has two or three children. In order to keep their existence alive in the deep forest of Halmahera, they do not grow rice, rather they hunting and fishing. They use very simple bows and arrows which are made of wood or Bamboo for hunting and fishing.

Jungle or forest is a familiar place for The Togutil. Jungle-forest is inhabited by spirits who educate, forewarn and feed us. It is also dangerous: many different snakes live here and I do not have all the remedies against their mortal bites. We have to be highly vigilant during the hours spent hunting and fishing.
The forest, the land and the water belong to our ancestors and are under their control. In our society, the roles are clearly defined. The role of women is to give life. They also plant, gather, cook and they educate the children. The role of men is to take lives. We hunt, we fish and we collect bark from certain trees to make our loincloths.
As a mediator between the world of the dead and the world of the living, I am in touch with spirits and I try to foster harmony in the universe. I know the spiritual powers of medicinal plants as well as their physical properties. I call up spirits to heal the sick and to help them get well.
Our world is changing fast, and it will soon be too late to pass what we know onto you. Strangers from the other islands are invading the forest. They have no respect for it, they destroy it and are full of scorn for those who depend on it. They steal the rich resources of our Mother Land. Tell me: in a few years what will be left for our children, what will be left ?"

The Togutil people who still hunt and gather in the forest here, their dogs are almost as important as their children.

When other Togutil go to visit Togutil, they never bring their dogs. If they fought, there’d be trouble. Big trouble…

Dogs hunt down deer and wild boar. They guard both home and children. They breed unfettered and hoover up a diet of scraps: banana leaves thin and yellow from bamboo cooking, cassava peelings, the guts of animals they have helped to catch…

But they’re more than that. They’re part of the family. Far more than the scarlet parrots which adorn many a Togutil home.

In the Togutil norm, the code of the people, killing a dog, like shitting in a river, can be punishable with death.

MARRIAGE SYSTEM ----------- THE TOGUTIL

Like many other tribe in Indonesia, the Togutil have held their marriage system. Their marriage is considered unique because they marry across their families members that derive from 

each group. Even te other story that we recorded from the Togutil is that when a man like the wife of someone, the role is that he should fight againt her husband and kill him. If the chalanger successfully kills his opponent. It means that he will take his wife away from her residance and occupaid i a new area and they develope a new based community. As usual, they plant cassava and bananas near their house. And its a sign that the area belong to them. After a few months they might decide to leave the area, but with the intention of returning one day. They will recognize their land from the house they built and the plant that planted during their stay in this area. if it sound very strange to command people. The result of their marriage may produce a strong and healthychild in the sense of biological growth. The reason that they have to build strong families.

Niversaly speaking, The Togutil tribes are physically tall, having a big nose, white skin and look like european. They eat baket and raw food. They are also suffering from scabies.

Halmahera island is one of the world last frontier. Those who have an interest in socio-Antropology or just seeing a life changing adventure, should not miss a chance to visit this extraordinary island...................    

 

Should be guided by local people who knows the Togutil Language…….. Equator Tours can help you!