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Home >>History >>Tona'as And Walian

Tona'as And Walian

By: Jessy Wenas / Translation: Roderick C. Wahr

Leaders of the Minahasa in the old days consisted of two groups namely Walian and Tona’as.
A Walian is a Spiritual Leader. The title Walian is one of two categories of Minahasa leaders.
Walian contains the word of origin "Wali" which means accompanying the same road and giving protection. This category arranges the original Minahasa religious ceremonies and therefore is called the Preachers category. They are specialized in interpreting the signs of nature and objects in the sky, count the positions of the moon and sun relative to the mountains, observe the appearance of certain stars like "Kateluan" (zodiac), "Tetepi" (meteors) and so on to define the times for planting. Memorizing of the sequence of genealogy for tens of generations, memorize the stories of the Minahasa ancestors. Specialized in making home articles like cloth weaving, braiding tikar (plaited mats), baskets, wooden spoons, water dippers.

The title Tona'as is one of two categories of Minahasa leaders.Tona'as contains the original word “Ta´as”. This word is taken from the name of a big tree that grows straight up, and everything that is connected with wood, like forest, house, spear, sword, arrow and boat. Besides that this category Tona'as also decides in which area a house will be built to create a Wanua (community unit) and they also guard the safety of the community as well as war time activities.

Before the 7th century, the Minahasa community had the form of a Matriarchy (the law by women).This form shows that the female Walian group had the power to run a government of “Makarua Siouw” (9x2) the same as the Council of 18 elders from three Pakasa’an (Union of Ancient Walaks).

Six ancestors from Tongkimbut (current Tontemboan) were Ramubene, her husband was Mandei, Riwuatan Tinontong (the weaver), her husband was Makaliwe who lived in the territory of todays Mongondouw, Pinu’puran, her husband was Mangalu’un (Kalu’un is the same as the nine dance girls), Rukul her husband was called Suawa and lived in the current territory of Gorontalo, Lawi Wene her husband was Manambe’an (god of the westwind) Sambe’ang meaning forbidden (posan).Maka Roya (Mareindeng singer) her husband was called Manawa’ang.

While the six ancestors from Tombulu are : Katiwi with her husband Rumengan (Mahawu mountain), Katiambilingan with her husband Pinontoan (Lokon mountain), Winene’an with her husband Manarangsang (Wawo mountain), Taretinimbang with her husband Makawalang (Masarang mountain), Wowriei with her husband Tingkulengdengan (the god who makes houses, the god of wooden kolintang music) Pahizangen with her husband Kumiwel healing specialist from Sarangsong.

Then there are the six ancestors from Tontewo (eastern Minahasa region) consisting of Mangatupat with her husband Manalea (the god of the eastern wind), Poriwuan married to Soputan (Soputan mountain), Mongindouan with her husband Winawatan in the area of Paniki, Inawatan with her husband Kuambong (the god of low clouds or fog), Manambeka (sambeka - the same as wood on the beach) the god of the northern wind, his wife is unknown his later wife was Lolombulan. War leader in the time of the government of the Walian group was the son of Katiwei (whose wife was Rumengan) who was called Totokai who was married to Warangkiran, the daughter of Ambilingan (whose wife was Pinontoan).

In the 7th century there was a change of government. At that time the Minahasa - that until then was controlled by female Walian - was taken over by a Male Tona’as government. From here onwards the Minahasa Matriarchy community changed to a Patriarchy (the law by male), that ran a government of “Makatelu pitu (3x7=21)" or Councel of 21 male elders.

The representatives of the three Pakasa’an Toungkimbut, Toumbulu, Tountowo, were ; Kumokomba who was appointed Muntu-Untu, leader, by the president of the representatives of elders “Potuosan” by the name of Kopero from Tumaratas. Mainalo from Tounsea as representative, Siouw Kurur from Pinaras as coordinator, assisted by Rumimbu’uk (Kema) and Tumewang (Tondano) Marinoya chief Walian, Mio-Ioh head of the court assisted by Tamatular (Tomohon) and Tumilaar (Tounsea), Mamarimbing specialist in interpreting sounds of the owl, Rumoyong Porong sea admiral on the island Lembe, Pangerapan in Pulisan, commander of ships, Ponto Mandolang in Pulisan harbour coordinator, Sumendap in Pulisan ship captain, Roring Sepang in awaon Tompaso, leader for ceremonies at batu Pinawetengan, Makara’u (Pinamorongan), Pana’aran (Tanawangko), Talumangkun (Kalabat), Makarawung (Amurang), REPI (Lahendong), Pangembatan (Lahendong).

In the book “Toumbulusche Pantheon” written by J.G.F. Riedel in the year of 1894 the Toumbulu representatives system is already brought forward as a system of government by representatives for the whole of the Minahasa, with positions held by those elders. Government of the Tona’as group in the 7th century already had a leader with the title of Muntu-Untu which was held in turn by the three main Minahasa sub-ethnic groups. For example, the elder Ponto Mandolang managed the harbours of Amurang, Wenang (Manado) Kema and Bentenan while located at Tanjung Pulisan. Each sub-ethnic Minahasa group had its own war commander but the highest war commander was the king (Muntu Untu) because he was appointed and was changed by the representatives of elders who were called “Potuosan”.

From the names of the female elders of the 7th century, i.e. Riwuatan the word was derived from Riwu or Hiwu meaning weaving equipment, Poriwuan the word was derived from Riwu, weaving equipment, Raumbene the word was derived from Wene’ meaning rice, it can be seen that in the Minahasa of the 7th century they already knew rice and made woven cloth.


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