Also known as: Mentawaian; Pagai; Sipora

Show Map of Location

Traditional Culture(1926)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 164, 192-193
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192
Ancestral spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 193
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192-207, 216-217
God(s) Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192-197, 216-217
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 229

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192, 205

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 191
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 166
Loeb (1974), pp. 159
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 159
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 166
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192-207

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 192-193

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Absent (Source)
Loeb (1929a), pp. 235-242
Resource management tapu Present (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 164
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 229

Mana

Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 172
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 190-191
Largest religious community Larger than a household, no larger than the local community (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 161-162
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 173-192

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 167-169
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 167-169
Piercing Absent from culture (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 167-169
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 168
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 167-169
Social Environment +
Population 18000 (Source)
Suzuki (1958), pp. 7, 10
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 161-162
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Wallace (1951), pp. 372
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Wallace (1951), pp. 372
Polygamy Monogamy prescribed (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 182
Marital residence Ambilocal - with either wife's or husband's kin (Source)
Wallace (1951), pp. 373

Conflict

(No) external warfare Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160, 172
Conflict within community Moderate (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 173-192
(No) internal warfare Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160, 172
Loeb (1974), pp. 172
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160, 169
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 41.7 (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 157-159
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to nearest continent 493.4 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief Evidence of influence (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 159
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 169, 192-207
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163-167
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 167
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 164
Land-based gathering Major (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163-164
Agriculture / Horticulture Major (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163
Persoon (2002)

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163-167
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163-167
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 163-167
Nooy-Palm (1968), pp. 167

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 169
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 159
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Three (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160-161

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 42
Island Size (km²) 4000.0 (Source)
Suzuki (1958), pp. 10
Tulius (2012), pp. 42

Location

Latitude -1.4 (Source)
Suzuki (1958), pp. 10
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 98.9 (Source)
Suzuki (1958), pp. 10
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1926-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion High (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 41-42
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-73
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Persoon & Osseweijer (2002)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 41-42
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-73

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-75
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-73
Immigration Low (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 51
Foreign education systems High (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 54

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 83-84
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 84

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present but rarely used (Source)
'Mentawai Islands' (2019)
Air travel Absent (Source)
Syamsidik & Istiyanto (2013), pp. 4
Sea port Absent (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009)

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-73
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Loeb (1974), pp. 160
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-73
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Low (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-75
Institutional religious syncretism Low (Source)
Tulius (2012), pp. 72-75
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Persoon & Osseweijer (2002)
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Lebar, F. (Ed.). (1972). Eastern Sumbanese in Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia. Volume 1: Indonesia, Andaman Islands, and Madagascar. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

Lebar, F. (Ed.). (1975). Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia. Volume 2: Philippines and Formosa. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

Loeb, E. M. (1928). Mentawei social organization. American Anthropologist, 30(3), 408-433. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1928.30.3.02a00030.

Loeb, E. M. (1929a). Mentawei religious cult, 235-242. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Loeb, E. M. (1974). Sumatra: Its History and People. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Oxford University Press. (Originally published 1935).

Mentawai Islands (2019). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Mentawai-Islands.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Nooy-Palm, H. (1968). The culture of the Pagai-islands and Sipora, Mentawei. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill

Persoon, G. A. (2002). Defining wildness and wilderness: Minangkabau images and actions on Siberut (West Sumatra). In G. Benjamin & C. Chou (Eds.), Tribal communities in the Malay world: Historical, cultural, and social perspectives (pp. 439-436). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Persoon, G. A., & Osseweijer, M. (2002). Insularity as a cultural variable? The island societies off the west coast of Sumatra. Indonesia and the Malay World, 30(88), 225-237. DOI: 10.1080/1363981022000064339

Schefold, R. (1980). The Siberut project. International Survival Review, 5(1), 4-11. Retrieved from https://ehrafworldcultures-yale-edu /ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=OD09MentawaiansAsiaAsia&docId=od09-014&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

Suzuki, P. T. (1958). Critical survey of studies on the anthropology of Nias, Mentawei and Enggano. The Hague, Netherlands: Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-.

Syamsidik, & Istiyanto, D. C. (2013). Tsunami mitigation measures for tsunami prone small islands: Lessons learned from the 2010 tsunami around the Mentawai islands of Indonesia. Journal of Earthquake and Tsunami, 7(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1809.

Tulius, J. (2012). Family stories: Oral tradition, memories of the past, and contemporary conflicts over land in Mentawai – Indonesia (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1887/20262

Wallace, F. C. (1951). Mentaweian Social Organization. American Anthropologist, 53 (3), 370-375. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1951.53.3.02a00060