North Sumatra, 9 Tribes, Map
|Batak Angkola 1.013.000 islam|
|North central, Sipirok area. Alternate names: Anakola, Angkola. Dialects: Similar to Mandailing Batak [btm], but distinct sociolinguistically.|
|Batak c 1.667.000 Christian|
|Northern, southwest of Lake Toba around Sidikalang. Alternate names: Dairi, Pakpak, Pakpak Dairi.|
|Batak Karo 611.000 Christian|
|Central and north, west and northwest of Lake Toba. Alternate names: Karo Batak. Dialects: Singkil.|
|Batak Mandailing Tribe 477.000|
|The Mandailing and the Angkola are two closely related Batak people groups who live in the South Tapanuli Regency of North Sumatera Province. Although they sometimes seem to be one group, they are differentiated both regionally (since the Angkola live to the north of the Mandailing) and religiously, because the Mandailing are proud to have almost no Christians among their group while the Angkola group is 3-5% Christian. The Mandailing people consider themselves more polite than other Batak groups. Like most other Bataks, the Mandailing people group is very proud of their culture. One of the most significant characteristics of Batak culture is dalihan na tolu (3 Hearths), which is a carefully established stratified relationship system between three kinship groups.Ancestry and family names are important to the Batak peoples. The ability to trace their family ancestry has great meaning to the Mandailing people. Most of them are able to trace their ancestry back for 20 generations – some even further back. Because of this, if a Mandailing couple does not have any children, it is regarded as a disgrace by the community.|
Most Mandailing people live by working the rice fields. If one were to leave home, a Mandailing would tend to find land and a house to live in as is expressed in the proverb “halului anak halului tana” (look for a child and look for land). Children and land are viewed as a part of one’s self-worth (sahala hasangapon) that contributes to receiving status and respect. If someone succeeds in settling in a different area, he is thought of very highly.The Mandailing live in a village called a huta. Traditionally, the huta keeps control of the land and only gives permission to members of the village to work the land. Members are allowed to work the land as if it were their own, but they are not allowed to sell the land without the permission of the village. This permission can be obtained through a ceremonial discussion with the village residents.
Almost all of the Mandailing have been Muslims ever since Minang Muslims forcibly introduced Islam. Many of their traditional activities have been adapted to Islam. The Batak people have three key ideas about the body and soul. First, tondi is the soul of a person. Tondi can be separated from the body for a time if a stronger and greater being, called sombaon, takes it captive. If this happens, a special ceremony is performed to return the tondi to the body of its owner. Second, sahala is the quality and amount of spiritual power that a person owns. Third, begu is the soul belonging to the dead. They live in a “reverse” world; what people do during the day, the begu do at night.
|Batak Simalungan 1.344.000 Christian|
|North, northeast of Lake Toba. Alternate names: Simelungan, Timur.|
|Batak Toba 2.035.000 Christian|
|Samosir Island and east, south, and west of Toba Lake. Alternate names: Batta, Toba Batak. Dialects: Similar to Angkola Batak [akb].|
|Nias 740.000 Christian 65%|
|Off west coast of Sumatra, Nias and Batu islands. Alternate names: Batu. Dialects: Northern Nias, Southern Nias, Batu.|
|Malay Deli Tribe 2.075.000 Islam|
|The Deli people (Deli Melayu) of North Sumatera live in the precincts of its capital city, Medan, as well as in the regencies of Asahan, Deli Serdang, Labuhan Ratu, and Langkat. Their heaviest concentrations are in twenty-four district towns and cities which have emerged on a line running from Pangkalansusu on the northwest to Labuhanbilik on the southeast, all facing eastward across the Malacca Straits toward Malaysia. Yet as many live along the rural streams and rivers as do in urban areas.|
Deli literature has been affected by the teachings of Buddhism (as seen in their statues and Nagari and Kawi script) and Hinduism (as seen in their epics Sri Rama, Perang Pandawa Jaja, and Sang Boma). They also enjoy Melayu Pantun, a traditional Melayu singing dialogue. The Deli are often hesitant to speak directly for fear of offending someone and therefore, they employ signs, parables and allegories (pantun). Other aspects of the Deli culture are traditional theater (makyong) and dance (main lukah menari). Both of these employ magic through the use of puppets (lukah) and the chanting of a mantra. Deli art has been greatly influenced by elements of Islam and has similarities with the art of the Malay of Malaysia. The Deli’s means of livelihood are traditional farming, fishing, and trade. Some have become government employees. The government and foreign companies own the tobacco, tea, rubber, palm oil, and chocolate plantations in this area. These plantations utilize modern technology.The Deli consist of two primary groups: the aristocracy and the common people. The aristocracy can be divided into two levels: the upper level, which is the ruling level made up of the king and the king’s children, and the lower level, which is made up of descendents of the high-ranking officials from the area. The common people also have a variety of groupings, including village leaders, religious leaders, intellectuals, and so on.The traditional Deli house is on a raised platform about two meters off the ground. The number of poles holding up the house shows a person’s status. In family life men and women are equal. According to the Deli, this agrees with Islam. Therefore, both men and women are able to receive part of the inheritance from their parents.
The majority of the Deli have embraced the Sufi form of Islam. It is often said that all Melayu are Muslim. For that reason, it is said in the community that whenever a person becomes a Muslim they become a Melayu. Animistic beliefs that spirits are in all places and influence mankind are also strong. Thus, their traditional ceremonies are focused upon seeking protection through magic by either appeasing or controlling both good and bad spirits
|Lubu Tribe 45.000 Animism|
|East Sumatra, central region. Dialects: Related to Kubu [kvb].|
|The Lubu are a people of mixed origin who live in central Sumatra. They mainly inhabit the mountainous regions of the various provinces of southern Batakland. The Lubu were formerly migratory peoples similar to the wild Kubu. Now, however, they are slowly being absorbed by the Batak.|
In the early part of this century, the Lubu still roamed the mountains in a wild state, living mainly in tree houses. They shot game with blow guns and poisoned darts and existed on the products of the jungle. Their clothing was simple, they ate all types of meat, and they cooked in hollow bamboo.
Although they have made considerable progress since that time, the Lubu are still very tribal in their basic lifestyle. Like the Kubu, they are afraid of water and seldom wash, even though they live alongside rivers. They are generally despised and mistrusted by their Batak neighbors, who suspect them of partaking in all kinds of witchcraft.
No longer living in the trees, the Lubu now live in huts built on the ground. A group of houses forms a village (bandja), and a number of villages forms a district (kuria). The chief of the bandja is called na bodjo bodjo. All the older male members of the community (the family heads) have a voice in the village government. When a chief dies, he is succeeded by his son.
In every Lubu village there are special communal houses (tawatak) for boys and others for girls. After the age of twelve, both sexes are expected to sleep in these communal houses. Marriages usually take place when the girls turn fifteen. A small bride-price is required, but most Lubu men do not have the ability to pay it. As a result, most of them must work for up to two years for their future parents-in-law during the engagement period.
The Lubu grow rice as their staple crop. However, on the whole, they do not seem very particular in their choice of food. For special delicacies, they eat mice and bats, as well as monkeys killed with blowguns.
The musical instruments and songs of the Lubu have been adopted from the Batak. The Lubu often compose songs about their culture, and these are sung around the fires at night. Interestingly, the Lubu never dance.
Although 20% of the Lubu are nominally Muslim, the great majority (80%) are ethnic religionists, still practicing many of their pagan beliefs. Hosts of both good and evil spirits are honored, especially the spirit of the first tribal chief, Singa Tandang. The Lubu attribute sickness to the work of evil spirits, particularly ghosts who are said to work either externally or internally on a person. Many traditional rituals are performed at birth and puberty. Like the Alas-Kluet, Lubu girls have their teeth filed and permanently blackened before marriage.