The Nage are an indigenous people living on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores and Timor.[2] They descended from the indigenous population of Flores[3] They are largely assimilated by the neighboring people. They speak Nage, one of the major languages in the Austronesian languages group.

Nage people
Wife and daughters of Raga Noli, the Raja (King) of a village in Nage, Ngada Regency, East Nusa Tenggara (Flores), Indonesia
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Indonesia (East Nusa Tenggara)
Li'o language, Indonesian language
Roman Catholic Christian (predominantly), Islam, Folk


The Nage people mainly engaged in manual slash-and-burn farming (tubers, rice, corn), hunting and gathering. Until the middle of the 20th century, communal land ownership with large families participation were still preserved. They live in cumulus-type settlements, located on the slopes of mountains and surrounded by stone walls. Houses are piled up in rectangular position and connected by an open gallery into a single complex, which is intended for joint residence of several large families.[4]


The clothes of the Nage people are loincloth and skirt or kain. Women fasten it over the breast, and men around the waist. The diet is dominated by plant based foods (cooked groats and tubers with spicy seasoning), while meat is eaten only on holidays. Agrarian cults have survived and are still being practiced. Before the sowing, rites of cleansing the field and the grains of rice will be performed on the first new moon, before the start of cultivating the fields.[5]

Study of the tribe

In 1940, Officer Louis Fontijne produced a Dutch Colonial Service study entitled Grondvoogden in Kelimado (Guardians of the land in Kelimado), Kelimado being a region included in the Nage district of central Flores. Commissioned as an investigation of indigenous land tenure and leadership, the study was the only comprehensive description of Nage society and culture produced during the colonial period.[6]

In 1983, anthropologist Gregory Forth renewed interest in the tribe, revisiting the islands while seeking a copy of Fontijne's complete study.[6]

Forth has also hypothesized a possible connection between the local stories of the Ebu Gogo, a creature in Nage mythology,[7] and the discovery of Homo floresiensis, a possible species of extinct hominid, hence a renewed interest in the tribe.[8]

See also


  1. "Nage in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  2. Институт этнографии имени Н.Н. Миклухо-Маклая (1966). Александр Андреевич Губер (ed.). Народы Юго-Восточной Азии. Наука. p. 576.
  3. В.А Тишков (1966). "Научное издательство "Большая российская энциклопедия"". Александр Андреевич Губер. Большая Российская Энциклопедия. p. 321. ISBN 58-527-0155-6.
  4. Бернова А. А. (1998). Население острова Тимор. Советская этнография. p. 119.
  5. В.А Тишков (1966). "Научное издательство "Большая российская энциклопедия"". Александр Андреевич Губер. Большая Российская Энциклопедия. p. 322. ISBN 58-527-0155-6.
  6. Forth, Gregory (March 2003). "A small world after all". University of Alberta. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  7. John Hawks (24 June 2005). "Stalking the wild ebu gogo". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  8. Forth, Gregory (2005). "Hominids, hairy hominoids and the science of humanity". Anthropology Today. 21 (3): 13–17. doi:10.1111/j.0268-540X.2005.00353.x. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2009-12-01. (Abstract, Wiley Interscience)

Further reading

  • Fontijne, Louis; Gregory Forth; Han F. Vermeulen (2005). Guardians Of The Land In Kelimado: Louis Fontijne's Study Of A Colonial District In Eastern Indonesia. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-90-6718-223-2.
  • "Ancestral Couple (Ana Deo), 19th–early 20th century". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2009-12-01. - an example of Nage art
  • Forth, Gregory (September 2009). "Separating the dead: the ritual transformation of affinal exchange in central Flores". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Royal Anthropological Institute. 15 (3): 557–574. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9655.2009.01572.x.
  • Forth, Gregory (14 March 2003). "A Small World After All". University of Alberta. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
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