Cultural Heritage

On Ataúro we are descended from three clans – Adade, Humungili and Manroni, each with its own dialect, songs, music and dance.  Our unique heritage reflecting many influences – animist beliefs inherited from ancient times, Portuguese colonization, the more recent Japanese and Indonesian invasions and the church, both Protestant and Catholic.

Due to our geographic isolation, our experience of colonisation and conflict was different.  In Portuguese times our Island was used as a prison for criminals and political prisoners, some from Africa, and during the Indonesian occupation, supporters of the resistance movement and their families were exiled here – to survive or die.

Ataúro is a small Island and we have had to adapt to new influences and resolve issues as a community.

Our history has resulted in an outward looking, but conservative culture, strongly influenced by Christianity which overlays traditional beliefs and practices that are still very much part of our daily life.