The Whale Hunting Tradition in Lamarela Village

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Written by Aditya Tri Hutama Posted 12th February 2015, 1:23pm
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Translated by Shinta Dharmayu

Lamalera village or commonly known as the whalers village is a tourist village in the District Lembata Island. In the village, you can see this Lamalera indigenous native tribes living as coastal residents. With livelihood as fishermen, Lamalera villagers coexist with what is in the sea. There is no exception which means becoming whale hunters in the sea around the village. With given a great thumbs up to this particular village, it is no joke at all. According to a researcher from Oxford University writes about the courageous citizens of Lamalera. In his research, titled, “Sea Hunters Of Indonesia, written in 1996 confirmed that the residents of this village has long practice the tradition from their ancestors to hunt whales, has been noted from the 17th century.

Lamalera means solar disc that came from the local language community Lamalera village. According the Lamaholot tribe, who became the ancestors of the people of Lamalera, tells that this traditional hunting season has been done for generations from their ancestors. With a total of 15 clans of families in the tribe, makes it a tradition that continues to be enjoyed to date. Every family has the same good traditions from their custom homes, daily habits, houseboats until weapons for hunting whales off the coast.

Whaling is usually consist of a group of community and a Lamalera villager or the stabbing interpreter that can speak to the whales. The stabbing interpreter in charge of guiding the existing group rowers heading towards the middle of the sea off the coast. The group, which is behind the stabbing interpreter will continuously shout for the whales to come out of the water by calling Baleo, Baleo is a sign that the whales will be coming to the surface. When whales starts to appear, the stabbing interpreter will launch its spear or some sort of weapon to weaken the whale. The whale will be stabbed for countless of time, until it bleeds to death.

To be able to witness this whaling hunting recreation can only  be seen in specific months, namely in May and October. With many foreign and domestic tourists coming to see the Lamalera village, you must be prepared ahead of time. If you're traveling to the district of the Lembata Island, Lamalera Village, the Whale Hunters village!