Wednesday, 19 June 2019 | 07:44 WIB

This Tribe Has already,Practiced Circumcision before the Spreading of Islam

Children of the Akit tribe have been circumcized at an early age (special)

PEKANBARU, NETRALNEWS.COM - Actually there is a lot of evidence to show cultural diversity in Indonesia. The evidence can enrich our knowledge so that we can see the existence of Indonesia as a whole, wise and comprehensive.

Without that understanding, it will undoubtedly be difficult to touch someone with a tolerant spirit, respect differences, so that harmony, unity and peace are created. So, understanding of diversity does indeed determine the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

The cultural diversity possessed by the Akit tribe on Rupat Island, Rupat District, Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province, is one proof. This tribe has a variety of uniqueness that is not owned by other tribes.

The Akit tribe is also called the Akik tribe. Possibly, the term comes from the word "rakik" or "raft", which is a means of water transportation, because their lives are more active in the sea and river estuary.

In ancient times they built houses on a raft so that they could move at any time according to the desired location of the water. But now, they are settling around around Rupat Island.

The physical characteristics of the Akit tribe are actually similar to the Mongoloid race. Their foreheads and cheekbones are tall, slanted eyes, and their hair tends to curl. For the color of the skin tends to brownish due to tropical sunburn.

According to Dr. Zulyani Hidayah's study in the Ethnic Encyclopedia in Indonesia (2015: 10-12), the number of Akit tribes in 1984 reached around 3,500. But now, their number is estimated to have reached two or three times.

According to oral stories passed down from generation to generation, their ancestors came from the Malacca Peninsula (Malaysia). It was originally part of Kit's tribal children on mainland Asia. Because of the chaos, they then wandered south.

Their original livelihood is hunting using spears and arrows, catching fish, and processing sago that used to grow wild in swamps and forests on Rupat Island. And the types of animals they seek are pigs, antelope, and mouse deer.

Uniquely, they also used to raise dogs to use as friends to hunt pigs. And the technique of hunting pigs with dogs is still preserved as well as other tribes in the Sumatra region.

Another example is the habit of harvesting durian and producing palm wine from palm or coconut trees. Eating durian and drinking tuak is a friend to warm up (mabok) during Akit tribal customs.

The next uniqueness is the tradition of circumcision. Circumcision is an obligation for the Akit tribe at the age of 7-13 years. And the necessity of this custom has become a tradition long before the teachings of Islam spread in the archipelago.

In addition to being a symbol of supernatural nature, it is probable, the circumcision tradition is a manifestation of the Akit tribe's commitment to maintain the health of the reproductive organs from various diseases and defilements of the world.

When a man of the Akit tribe is 17 years old, he will be married. The age of a female Akit tribe who is ready for marriage is at least 15 years old. After marriage, the bride and groom will live in their new home, or temporarily may also stay at the home of the husband's parents.

Regarding marriages, it is usually determined based on the amount of money (previously using Malaysian ringgit), dowry in the form of a gold ring, clothing, household supplies, and so on.

And of course, every time a wedding is celebrated, there will be a dish of palm wine and a variety of fancy foods. Party organizers also always cut pigs. While enjoying the meal, guests will dance and sing until morning.

In the era of the Siak Sultanate, the tribe was once recruited to become a member of the marine forces. The sailing expertise, resilience of the sea, and the brave soul possessed by the Akit tribe are needed by the Siak Sultanate.

Also regarding the ability to use poisonous chopstick weapons that belonged to the Akit tribe men. That expertise was also very targeted to strengthen the Siak Sultanate's fleet, especially in the context of fighting Dutch troops.

Unfortunately, when the Dutch arrived with more sophisticated technology, many of the Akit tribes were captured and forced into slavery by Dutch forces. And the conflict between the Akit tribe and the Dutch forces had lasted quite a long time.

The Akit tribe usually disturbs and attacks Dutch ships so they are often dubbed pirates who are difficult to suppress.

When cooperation with the Siak Sultanate emerged in the fight against the Dutch, the Siak Sultanate appointed a leader from the Akit tribe with an inner title. The title is a sign of recognition and honor.

However, despite having collaborated with the Siak Sultanate, the Akit tribe had little influence from Malay culture. Because, this tribe has a strong principle in maintaining the identity of their tribe.

The Akit call people from the Malay tribe the Selam people, meaning "Muslims". As a result, the culture and teachings of Islam that were widely adopted by the Malays also did not have much influence on the culture of the Akit tribe.

It could be said, the only religious values ​​that had colored the Akit tribe were a moral system in Buddhist teachings.

Entering the era of independence until now, many Akit people later married overseas Chinese. The nomads from China were interested in marrying the Akit tribe girl and staying with their community.

In the eyes of the people outside Rupat Island, this tribe is also known as a producer of durian fruit which is then processed into a typical food of the Akit tribe called lempok durian. While the type of food from the hunt is gulai pelanduk (kancil meat curry).