Also known as: Sa'dan Toradja; Tae'

The Southern Toraja, also known as the Sa'dan Toraja, reside in the highlands of the island of Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes) in Eastern Indonesia. The Toraja have been largely Christian since the 1970s, but a minority continue to follow the indigenous religion, now known as Aluk to Dolo (Ways of the Ancestors).

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Traditional Culture(1900)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 126
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 115-121
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 121-124
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 121-126
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 115-121

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 275

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 121-124
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 121-124
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 134-145
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically distinct from humans (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 134-145
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 121-132, 145-159

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 111

Classes of Tapu

Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 47
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 121-122
Resource management tapu Absent (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 12-13, 107-133
Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 31

Mana

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

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 312-318
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 31
Largest religious community Larger than a local community, smaller than the society (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 59-60
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 274

Rites

Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 109-120
Scarification Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 113
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 113-114
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 113
Social Environment +
Population 120000 (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 5
Population of largest political community 10,000-99,999 (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 5, 15
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Adams (1993), pp. 282
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Adams (1993), pp. 282
Polygamy Limited polygyny (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 30
Marital residence Matrilocal or uxorilocal - with wife's kin (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1986), pp. 112

Conflict

(No) external warfare Occasional, at least every generation (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 3-48
Conflict within community Low (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 92-104
(No) internal warfare Frequent, occurring at least yearly (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 12, 58-59
Bigalke (2005), pp. 47
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Adams (1993), pp. 281
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 6
Distance to nearest continent 1340.0 (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 4
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)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 122
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 135
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 135
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Medium (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 11
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 134
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Minor (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 134
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 134
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 11

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Absent (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 134
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 11
Nooy-Palm (1972), pp. 134
Metalworking Present (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 11
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 6

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Charlton (2000), pp. 607
Island Size (km²) 188522.0 (Source)
'Celebes' (2018)
Maximum elevation (meters) 3455.0 (Source)
'Celebes' (2018)

Location

Latitude -3.1 (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 2-3
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 119.8 (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 2-3
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Primarily a top-down process. (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 109-148, 222-264
Use of force in conversion Medium (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 109-148, 222-264
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Adams (1993), pp. 283
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Nooy-Palm (1979), pp. 8-9

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 3-48, 76-148, 265-300
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 64-75
Immigration Absent (Source)
Klenke (2013), pp. 152
Language shift Medium (Source)
Eberhard (2020)

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Klenke (2013), pp. 154
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Adams (1993), pp. 281
Klenke (2013), pp. 154

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Volkman (1985), pp. 165-166
Air travel Present, local only (Source)
Waterson (2009), pp. xv-xvi

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely involuntary (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 51-63
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Bigalke (2005), pp. 64-75
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Waterson (2009), pp. 353-394
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Klenke (2013), pp. 153-153
External Links
References
Adams, K.M. (1993). Toraja. Encyclopaedia of World Cultures (Vol. V, pp 281-283). New York, NY: G.K. Hall & Co.

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.

Bigalke, T. W. (2005). Tana Toraja: a Social History of an Indonesian People. Singapore: Singapore University 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

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Celebes (2018). Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/place/Celebes

Charlton, T. R. (2000). Tertiary Evolution of the Eastern Indonesia Collision Complex. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 18 (5), 603-631. DOI: 10.1016/S1367-9120(99)00049-8

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

Eberhard, D. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (eds.). (2020). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (23rd ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com

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

Klenke, K. (2013). Whose Adat is It? Adat, Indigeneity and Social Stratification in Toraja. In Hauser-Schaublin, B. (Ed.) Gottingen Studies in Cultural Property (Vol. 7): Adat and Indigeneity in Indonesia (pp. 149-165). Gottingen, Germany: Universitatsverlag Gottingen.

Nooy-Palm, C. H. M (1972). Southern Toradja. In F.M. Lebar (Ed.) Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia (Vol. I, pp 133-136). New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

Nooy-Palm, H. (1979). The Sa'dan-Toraja: A study of their social life and religion (Vol. I: Organization, symbols, and beliefs). The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.

Nooy-Palm, H. (1986). The Sa'dan-Toraja: A Study of their Social life and Religion (Volume II: Rituals of the East and West). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Foris Publications. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Asia/OG13%27%29&docId=og13-007&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP.

Volkman, T. (1985). Feasts of honor: ritual and change in the Toraja Highlands. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.

Waterson, R. (2009). Paths and Rivers: Sa'adan Toraja Society in Transformation. Leiden, Netherlands: KTLV Press.