Change and continuity of traditional practices and knowledge during the Indonesian Occupation in a historical perspective
Keu Apoema Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia (UFSB), BRASIL
The Indonesian occupation period is commonly perceived as a phase of great ruptures, characterized by the burning of sacred houses both in its initial and final milestones (1975-1999). In addition, during this same period, local populations converted themselves massively to Catholicism and also faced several forced displacements, which implied in entire communities removed from their sacred sites. With the Restoration of Independence, it has been widely spread the idea of revitalization or resurgence of traditional practices, including the rebuilding of countless sacred houses. However, in spite of the disruptive events that the territory has undergone, there is little historical data about what actually happened to traditional practices during the period, beyond the proposition that there was a sort of breakdown. In this paper, I present data related to the histories of life of eighteen lia na’in(s) from Ainaro Vila, from which it is possible to capture: 1) the continuity of the sacred houses both in a material and immaterial perspective, which includes a series of ritual practices; 2) the continuity of learning processes with young man being engaged in sacred house activities with such purpose and; 3) the ways that both Catholicism and the nation-building process were incorporated into local logics, causing changes in the discourses about the sacred house and lulik. Finally, I intend to point out to a possible historiography of local knowledge in Timor-Leste, as well as to put in perspective the conceptions of disruption and revitalization of local practices in contrast with change and continuity.