The first two weeks of research in Indonesia are going very well - including time staying in the village of Bawomataluo and the omo sebua (chief's house), which was the primary focus of this research. The people of Nias embrace a culture that is both curious and full of conversation. I've met some of the most incredible people.
It is odd when a society becomes a civilization after other civilizations have prospered and discovered them. For instance, when a community is discovered by explorers from another civilization and introduce technologies such as the alphabet and language, the new civilization inevitably takes on a slammed hybrid culture that coalesces their oral histories and myths with the more substantiated culture. This happened in Indonesia with the Indian culture - subsequently leading to Sanskrit and Hindu / Buddhism - and later, with the Dutch and Christianity.
The biggest impact of the post-colonial is that it ushered in the post-Christian era, washing away many ancient traditions. They value their culture. but seem to have a selective engagement with it, tending to remember only that which is contemporaneously relevant. Pre-Christian symbolism has disappeared, only that which is good for positive story telling has remained. While not directly denying it, the people of Bawomataluo tend not to discuss negative aspects of their past.
Perhaps it is not that the omo sebua lacks symbolic cosmological relevance, but rather that it is of little use for them today. In the past perhaps, the symbolism was underlaid beneath and within their culture. Regardless, the omo sebua remains powerful. It still retains a means of placing the people of Bawomataluo in this world.