Friday, April 13, 2012

Lulik: The Core of Timorese Values

Lulik: The Core of Timorese Values[1]

[1] Paper presented at: Communicating New Research on Timor-Leste 3rd Timor-Leste Study Asscociation (TLSA) Conference on 30th June 2011. Paper also presented at Creative Industry Conference on 16th July 2011.

Jose ‘Josh’ Trindade


Each one of us is perhaps already familiar with Lulik terms such as, uma Lulik, rai Lulik, bee Lulik, fatin Lulik, foho Lulik, Nai Lulik, Amo Lulik, etc. When Timorese hear the word ‘Lulik’, it immediately puts them in place for a moment, they pay full attention, they pay full respect, they are afraid, and it makes them obey without hesitation.

Because of what Lulik can do to the Timorese as mentioned above, some Timorese interpreted Lulik as magic. Lulik is widely used and influences the daily life of Timorese, but it has been poorly explored by academics.

Lulik has been labeled as animist by the Church, and ‘uncivilized’ (atrasado/terbelakang) by the Portuguese and the Indonesian when they colonized Timor-Leste. As a result, Timorese are often ashamed and afraid to talk about the concept of Lulik, because they have been led to believe that it is a negative animist belief system. This in turn creates a sense of cultural insecurity among the Timorese. Many Timorese today only understand the concept of Lulik from its surface, what is beyond it they have no idea.

This paper will discuss, the definition of Lulik, the elements of Lulik and where to find them, the application of  Lulik, Lulik and the external powers in Timor-Leste and Lulik at present.

 What is Lulik?

Lulik comes from the Tetun word which is literarily translated as ‘forbidden’, ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’. The concept of Lulik exists in all languages in Timor-Leste in different terms. In Bunaq they call it ‘po’, in Naueti they call it ‘luli’, in Fataluku they call it ‘tei’, in Makasae they call it ‘phalun

Lulik refers to the spiritual cosmos that contains the divine creator, the spirits of the ancestors, and the spiritual root of life including sacred rules and regulations that dictate relationships between people and people and nature.

In people to people relationships, Lulik determines how Timorese should behave in social interactions within the society. Lulik in this case acts as the moral standard. As an example: Lulik regulates the relationship and the rights and the obligations of younger and older brothers, husbands and wives, fetosan-umane (wife giver-taker), children and parents, brothers and sisters, etc. Lulik creates social contracts between the Timorese.

In people and nature relationships, Lulik regulates how people should interact with nature (especially land) to support their life. In this case, Lulik demands that nature (such as land, water, trees/forest, rocks/stone) must be respected. That is the reason why Timorese always have ceremonies and/or rituals after harvests and before they plant seeds. This to show gratitude and to value the fertility of the land which gives them good harvest seasons, and to hope for better results in the coming seasons. The Sau batar ceremony before the corn harvests is an example and is one of the most important rituals for the Timorese.

The main objective of Lulik as a philosophy is to ensure peace and tranquility for society as a whole, in which it can be achieved through the proper balance between differing and opposing elements. As an example, Timorese believe that peace and prosperity can be achieved through a proper balance between the real world and the cosmic world. In this case, people in the real world should follow the rules and regulations set by the ancestors. These rules and regulations can be a harmonious relationship between individuals within family, clan and wider society. Another example would be the relationship between fetosan-umane (wife taker/wife giver). It should be as harmonious as possible in order to create peace to achieve prosperity.

Lulik as a system that is in accordance with the concept of ‘dualism’, developed by Van Wouden (1968[1935]). This is a belief that there is always a balancing of the positive and negative aspects that complement each other in life. In Timor-Leste, there is a wife-giver (umane) and a wife-taker (fetosan), there are female values in opposition to male values and there are sacred houses classified into political houses (masculine/foreigner) and ritual houses (feminine/indigenous). This dualistic structure is extensively described in anthropological sources regarding Eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste (Trindade 2008,178)

Using the notion of dualism, we can observe Lulik as a system regulating the relationship between the opposing elements/values in life to balance and complement each other. It can be seen in the following diagram.

Diagram 1: Lulik Circle

 The above diagram can be simplified in the following table:

Lulik, the ritual center, the concept, the cosmos, the divine, the spiritual world, the ancestors, the root of life, the moral standards, the core values, (layer 1)
Feminine (the inner realm), represents peace, fertility and prosperity (layer 2)
Masculine (the outer realm), represents security and protection (layer 3)
Ritual Power
Political power
Ritual Uma Lulik
Political Uma Lulik
Female values
Male values
Wife giver (Umane)
Wife taker (Feto san)
Life giver
Life taker
Immigrant/new comer
Old values
New Values
Female domain
Male domain

The three elements: Lulik, feminine and masculine, are interconnected. They complement each other and their relationship is asymmetric. The hierarchy between the three elements is as follows:

·         Lulik is the most important because it holds the highest value for society in general; Lulik is believed to be the root of life. In other words, life is coming from the underworld, the creator, and/or the divine, which resides in the Lulik area - the core. If one is against Lulik it means they are against their own roots, therefore they will be cursed and have misfortune throughout their life. Lulik regulates and dictates the relationship between elements and entities in feminine and masculine worlds.

·         The second most important area is the feminine area, the area where peace and prosperity is derived from. This area is mainly occupied by women, they are very important because life is passed down through the feminine. Women’s fertility becomes a very important value and this in turn gives high status to women in the Timorese society. In Bunak and some Tetun Terik society, they use ‘women’s breast’ (susun) to represents the idea of fertility and normally it clearly carved at the door of their Uma Lulik. Around north coast around Liquica area, some uma lulik roofs are using half moon to represents the idea of fertility (see picture 6 bellow).

·         The masculine area is responsible for providing security and protection to the other two areas (the insider realms). In this case the male area is protecting the roots of life. The masculine offers strength, security and protection in exchange for life from the other two elements. 

·         The arrows represent the flow of values where the outsider (the masculine) provides protection and security to the insiders (the feminine) in exchange for life, peace, prosperity and fertility.

One should note that the categorization in the Timorese cosmology as shown in diagram 1 above is not static. By that I mean the opposing elements can change places from masculine to feminine area or the other way around depending on the occasion. As an example, a family or an individual can act as a wife giver (umane) for all the women in their family and at the same time they are also the wife taker (fetosan) for all the male relatives in their clan. Another example, an East Timorese will act as an insider (rai nain) within their locality, but they will be acting as an outsider (malae) when they left their village. It is the Lulik, the core value that is immobile.

What are the Elements of Lulik and Where to find them?

 The elements of Lulik can be seen on the roof top of the following Uma Luliks.

Picture 2: Uma Lulik in Watulari, Viqueque. Note especially the buffalo horns, pigeons (the birds) and stars. Note also to the black, green and white colour
Picture 3: Uma Lulik in Mota Ulun, Liquica.Note especially the buffalo horns, pigeon (the birds) and love sign. Note also to the black, green and white colour

Picture 4: Uma Lulik in Buibela, Matebian, Viqueque. Note especiallu the buffalo horns, pigeon (the birds) and stars. Note  also to the black, green and white colour (Photo by Giant Panda.

From the three pictures of Uma Lulik shown above, we find buffalo horns, pigeons, stars, love signs and three colours of white, green and black. Those symbols and colours can be explained as follows:
a)      The Star and the white colour – represents the Lulik itself, the divine entity, the creator and the spirits of the ancestors.
a)      The Pigeon[2] (the birds) and the green colour – represents the female or the feminine; the symbol of fertility, peace and prosperity.
a)      The Buffalo Horns and the black colour – represent the male; the symbol of strength, security and protection.

If we observe Uma Luliks from different areas closely, the pigeon and the buffalo horns are clearly shown but the star which represents the core values often are not very clear as shown in the following pictures.

Picture 5: Uma Luliks (from Venilale, left and Laga, right) with horns and birds on the top. (Pictures taken by David Palazon)
Picture 6: Uma Lulik roof near Liquica (Mambai house). They use half moon to represents the idea of fertility (feminine values).

Other examples can be observed in Rui Cinatti’s book, ‘Tipos de casas timorenses e un rito de consagragion’(1965).

Picture 7: Roof of a Mambai Uma Lulik around Maubisse
Picture 8: A sketch of Uma Lulik by Rui Cinatti modeling Lospalos style
Picture 9: A sketch of Uma Lulik by Rui Cinatti modeling Oecussi style
Picture 10: Another Mambai Uma Lulik

 We can place the roof of Uma Luliks design and its colours into the following diagram of lulik circle:

Picture 11: Traditional Colours and Lulik Circle

It is important to highlight the three colours as shown above because Timorese use the three colours to represent their philosophy of life. Ideally, Timorese national flag should use these colours and they should be treated as the colours that represent the Timorese as a nation. The same idea also applies to the two animals (the buffalo and the pigeon) which are extensively used by the Timorese on top of their sacred houses to express their way of life. These animals too should be treated as national symbols. This in turn will create a strong foundation to develop national identity for the Timorese.
Lulik in Real Life

Lulik still dictates the life of the contemporary Timorese in the rural areas. In the villages, the concept of Lulik plays an important role in the following:
The Belief System

Lulik belief system recognizes the divine entity called ‘Maromak’. The notion of Maromak in this context is different to ‘Maromak’ in the Catholic Church. In its original context, Maromak represents the idea of fertility, the feminine which is viewed by the Timorese as the source of life, peace, fertility and prosperity. In this case Maromak is feminine, and is different to the Maromak of Christianity because this is the male version (the aman maromak)

Among others, anthropologist David Hicks (1984) who studied the Timorese belief system, has confirmed the feminine figure in [Timorese] rituals. Hicks writes that traditional East Timorese myth and rituals abound with masculine/feminine dualism and polarities. In Viqueque District, where Hicks did his research on Tetun Terik speaking people, traditional beliefs hold that human beings originally climbed out of two holes or vaginas – Mahuma and Lequi Bui – using sacred creeper. These first people became the ancestor. Hicks also noted that, traditional homes have door called a vagina and the interior is regarded as a ‘womb’, a feminine space. Hicks described that Tetun Terik people in Viqueque divided the universe as underworld and upperworld, connected by vagina, where women dominated the underworld which is maternal and sacred, while men occupied the secular and paternal upperworld. The two worlds must come together—If not infertility, sickness and death may result. Hicks emphasized that women play an important role in religion.

What Hicks found with Tetun Terik speaking people in Viqueque is consistent with what Cristalis and Scott (2005) found:

‘A collection of statues, carefully packed in wooden crates, lies hidden in the cellar of a building in the East Timorese capital, Dili. The skillfully crafted wooden figures are female, with prominent sexual organ. Before the Indonesian invasion, such statues and totems had their own special place on sacred mountain tops and in sacred houses, where they were revered as symbol of fertility and the continuation of the clan’ (p.11)

Alongside ‘Maromak’, Lulik also recognizes the spirit of the ancestors (the deceased). Timorese believe that the spirit of the dead can positively influence people in the real world or curse them in negative ways if disregarded. That is why Timorese treat the deceased with high respect.

After independence, majority  of the Timorese now have the chance to rebuild their Uma Luliks and follow Lulik practice in their life. Even though the majority of the Timorese are Catholic, but they cannot abandon their traditional Lulik belief. However, Lulik still viewed as unimportant (backward and uncivilized) by the outsider who brought in and promoting imported foreign values (such as; human rights, democracy, gender equality) in Timor-Leste.

The idea of Gender and the Status of Women

As shown above, Timorese religion belief in a goddess, ‘Maromak’. This notion defines the importance of women and their status within Timorese society. Women are revered for their fertility, and life is centered around women. This notion is different to modern/Christian/Western ideas which describes the opposite; that men are the root of life, Eve coming from Adam’s ribs. We can see that the latter is not good for women’s position because it puts women in very weak status where women should always be dependants and rely on men. Men become very important here because they described as the center of life, the one who owns life. This is the mother of patriarchal idea in our society.

When fertility of women is revered and worshiped, it also has negative impact on women because they can not express their sexuality or discusses their reproductive health with the public.

In Timorese society women often are referred to as ‘feto maromak’ (women is sacred). To respect women, Timorese often say ‘hakaruk ba feto maromak’ (pay respect, women is sacred).

Having said the above, this paper recognizes that in contemporary settings there is an imbalance between the sexes in social, economic and political life in Timor-Leste where women's involvement in these areas is still very minimal. In order to get women out from the feminine (domestic) area to participate in social, economic and political life in masculine (outsider) area capacity/skills is required. In fact, the requirement of skills/capacity for an individual to get involved in social, economic and political life is not only required for women but also for men. In another words, those unskilled men also have limited access to or participation in these areas. Therefore, we cannot blame the lack of opportunity to Timorese women to local culture or local men but it should be blamed on Timor's colonial history. It is because for almost five centuries of occupation, Timorese men have limited choices and they live under colonial pressures. This condition restricted further women to develop their own capacity because access to education for women was limited and the colonizers preferred to work with men. The statistics in Timor-Leste today where it shows more educated men than women is a legacy of colonial occupation rather than a cultural one.

Both local and international gender activists in Timor-Leste have been promoting and campaigning about liberal feminism ideas (fighting patriarchal ideas) with no considerations 0f the local concepts and/or perspectives on gender. Timorese cultural definition of women position, status and contribution to the well being of family and society in general have been denied and ignored by the gender activists. They treated Timorese concept on gender as uncivilized and backward or some even think it does not exist. This is not only ignorant, but also a humiliation to the Timorese indigenous values. Ideally, they should explore and try to comprehend how women’s role, position and status are defined within Timorese culture. Campaigning liberal feminism in a post-conflict country like Timor-Leste will not work well because liberal feminism focuses on women as individual self, while Timorese culture cannot separate an individual (women or men) from their complex relationship with their family and society. Secondly, there is no social security beyond family in a newly independent country like Timor-Leste because the country is lacking necessary infrastructure to support such idea. Thirdly, liberal feminism focused on women’s economic value while Timorese culture defines women beyond this. As an example, Timorese valued women’s fertility value that carried life and give birth to children. Timorese culture emphasize the ritual value of women beside economic.

Political System

Timorese political system recognizes the importance of authority (as the source of political legitimacy) alongside power. In Timorese worldview, power and authority is always understood as a whole with a clear separation between masculine and feminine. In this case, authority is considered as feminine while power is considered masculine. Power without authority or authority without power means disaster and conflict to the community. To create harmony in society, power and authority should check and balance each other.

Fox (2008) summarized that; central to traditional Timorese governance is the distinction between authority and power. Ideas of authority are paramount to the Timorese conception of governance in which it is represented as inner unity: symbolically feminized, immobile and silent. By contrast power can be multiple: symbolically masculine, active and invariable clamorous. Whoever or whatever attains power can only act in relation to, and in recognition of, authority.   Power can speak on behalf of authority, but is not that authority nor it can assume authority without relinquishing its resource to force. Without deference to authority, even the most powerful of force loses all allegiance. But with authority, there can be a balance – an array of difference powers – in recurrent complementarity. Thus there exist in Timor a variety of levels of delegated power with ‘checks and balances’ that maintained coherence and militated against excesses (p.121)[3]

In Lulik political structure, the Dato (authority) called Liurai Tur Fatin (the liurai who just sit and relax) who gives orders to Liurai Lao Rai (the Liurai who executes orders and deal with the outsiders/foreigners/external matters). In this case, Liurai Tur Fatin is regarded as female with authority, often called Liurai Feto (female Liurai) and Liurai Lao Rai is regarded as male with political power often called Liurai Mane (male Liurai). The term Liurai as known today (the political figure of a domain) is refered to as Liurai Lao Rai (Liurai Mane), because they are the ones who deal with the outsider. Therefore, they are known to the outsider and famous; but within their internal political structure they are answerable to Liurai Tur Fatin or the dato. 

 What has been described above can be simplified using the same diagram as before:

Picture 12: Lulik Circle and Timorese Polictical System

In the contemporary nation-state setting, the role of traditional Liurai has been replaced by Chefe Suco (chief of village). This is the reason why every single matter when it comes to a suco (village) has to go through Chefe Suco. In this case, Chefe Suco (formerly Liurai) act as the gate to the village, the protector, the one who host guests and make connection to the outside world. This in turn shifted the role of original, traditional Liurai to a more symbolic and ritualistic roles. Means that the original Liurai at present playing a more feminine (ritual) role not a masculine (political) role as before.

How Lulik punishes/curses people

Timorese believe that, if an individual breaks Lulik’s rules and regulations, s/he will be punished in this life, not the life after. Secondly, the punishment not only strikes the individual transgressor, it can also strike her/his immediate family, their clan or the whole society. Thirdly, it is uncertain when the punishment will take place, it could be today, tomorrow, next week or next year. As a result, Timorese interpret all the misery/bad luck and other misfortune in their lives as punishment for disregarding Lulik. They call it ‘babeur/malisan’. As an example, when a pregnant woman is having difficulties in delivering the new born baby, Timorese interpret this as the curse of Lulik. They will check if the woman has disharmonious relationships with her immediate family, then the first thing they do is to reconcile or resolve the existing conflict between her and her family. Another example is, if a series of disasters strikes a family, they will seek a ‘matan do’ok’ (Timorese Mythical Seer) to find out if any member of the family has broken their Lulik regulations.

If Lulik is disregarded by the society, ancestral sanctions will strike the society in the form of conflict and disaster, be it natural, social or political. Many Timorese interpret that the contemporary Timorese society as a nation has abandoned the notion  of Lulik and relies heavily on modern or imported values and regulations. Therefore, it causes an imbalance between the real world and the cosmic realm, and the sanctions for the Timorese society was interpreted in the form of 2006 crisis. Many Timorese viewed the 2006 crisis as babeur/malisan for the whole nation.

Lulik and External Powers in Timor-Leste

The Church

The Catholic Church and the Portuguese Colonial Administration not only adopted and use some concepts of Lulik for their own benefit, they also criticized and degraded it at the same time. As a result, Lulik is viewed as a negative animist belief system by many Timorese today.

As described above, the Catholic Church adopted the notion of ‘maromak’ and changed its gender from feminine to masculine to fit with Catholic masculine God of ‘Deus/Zeus/Yahwe’. The Church also uses the sacred title of the ruler of Wehali, ‘Maromak Oan’ (the child of the luminous) to describe Jesus Christ. The original ‘maromak oan’ is a male in person but represents a female entity (see Therik 2004). She is also called ‘Liurai Feto’ (female Liurai) instead of Liurai Mane (male Liurai). The maromak oan (already a Christianized one) still exists today in the village of ‘Wehali’ located south of present day Atambua in West Timor. When the Church established themselves in Atambua, right after Wehali kingdom was destroyed by the Portuguese, the Bishop of Atambua used the title of ‘Nai Lulik Bo’ot’.  In Timor-Leste, Catholic Priests are referred to as ‘Nai Lulik or Amo Lulik

The above illustrations described how Catholic Church used the notion of Lulik to establish themselves and to spread Christian beliefs in Timor, the whole island. When the Church adopted terms, such as ‘maromak, maromak oan, nai Lulik bo’ot, nai Lulik and Amo Lulik’, they established themselves behind the core values, the Lulik. This in turn gave them advantage to spread in Timor and little resistance came from the Timorese because of this.

Picture 13: A Catholic Church building in Venilale. The Cross is presented as the core value.

 The Portuguese Colonial Administration (PCA)

Unlike the Church, the PCA used a different strategy in manipulating the notion of Lulik to their advantage. Until their departure in 1974, the PCA was viewed as a legitimate institution by the Lulik system. To survive in Timor-Leste and to prevent rebellion from the local Liurais the PCA did the following:

Distribution of Rota (rattan stick), flags, hats and books to Uma Luliks across Timor-Leste
When the above objects were distributed to different Uma Luliks across the country, the PCA requested the local Liurais to place these objects inside the Uma Lulik and be treated as one of the sacred objects (sasan Lulik). When this happened, it prevented the Liurais fighting against the Portuguese and if a Liurai tried to rebel against the Portuguese, they could simply say, ‘you cannot fight against me because you are worshiping the sacred object I gave you’. In this instance, the PCA made themselves as a legitimate institution in Timor-Leste by exploiting and using the existing notion of Lulik for their benefit. 

Creating marriage relationship of Fetosan-Umane with the    Timorese

Another effort made by the PCA to prevent local rebellion is by marrying local women and creating marriage relationship of fetosan (wife taker) and umane (wife giver). This works well because Timorese view the fetosan-umane relationship as Lulik where both wife taker and wife giver are not allowed to have conflict or violent relationship.

 Hemu Ran/Juramentu (blood oath)

If a marriage relationship is not possible to be created then the last option was to establish long lasting unity among the Timorese through a blood oath, locally known as ‘hemu ran or juramnetu’. Hemu ran is a sacred (Lulik) ritual and the parties entering into this oath must have faith in each other for generations and are not allowed to fight against each other. The PCA also entered blood oath with the Timorese to prevent the Liurais to fight against them and to get the loyalty of the Timorese to support their administration.

The Indonesian Occupation

Unlike the PCA who manipulated Timorese core values to establish themselves, the Indonesian occupying administration during 24 years in Timor-Leste totally ignored the notion of Lulik. The Indonesian invasion used violent military campaigns combined with brainwashing the Timorese with their state ideology of Pancasila (the five state principals) which triggered resistance from the Timorese countrywide. As a result, the Indonesian was overwhelmingly voted out from the country when the Timorese had the chance to vote for referendum in 1999. The resistance against Indonesian occupation arguably started from the core values of Lulik which viewed Indonesian presence in Timor-Leste with no proper local legitimacy.

In fact, the Timorese use the notion of Lulik as their strength to fight against the Indonesian Invasion. McWilliam (2005) noted that the clandestine resistance movement survived in part due to the house-based [uma Lulik] alliances that facilitated communication and logistical support for resistance fighters. Lulik also enabled the resistance fighters to have faith in each other and to fight until the end.

 Lulik At Present

Local level

At the local level in rural areas in Timor-Leste Lulik is very much alive and practiced by the majority of the population. The rebuilding of many Uma Lulik’s across the country is a sign that Lulik has a place in the future of Timor-Leste. One can interpret the rebuilding of these Uma Lulik’s as a message from the Timorese that, they want to keep their cultural values alive and respected in the contemporary settings.

At Suco level, the rules and regulations of Lulik plays central role in resolving disputes between individual and communities across the country, such as, land disputes, conflict between communities, conflict over natural resources, etc. When formal laws and regulations are too complicated to deliver a sense of justice for the Timorese, Lulik often come into play because it is cost effective and readily available.

The advantage of using Lulik rules and regulations to resolve disputes is that people feel they own the process because they are familiar with it. They have faith in the process because it has existed for many generations and already tested with time.

 National Level

Many Timorese leaders are ashamed and afraid to admit and support the existence of Lulik. They know Lulik is there but are afraid to recognize it, even though they quietly practice and follow it.

Timor-Leste state institutions are still viewed as an external (foreign) institution with regard to Lulik, because the Timor-Leste state failed to recognize and incorporate Lulik values in its existence. If this phenomenon continues, many Timorese believe that the country will face many political conflicts and violence in the future.

The violent relationship between political parties and different Timorese groups can be explained using the following diagram.

Picture 14: Lulik at national level

Above diagram shows that, at national level Timorese only operate in political, masculine, power area and rely heavily on imported modern values and ignore the existence of Lulik values. As already explained earlier that, power without authority, masculine without feminine, political without ritual, to balance and complement each other, will put the whole society at risk. Arguably, this phenomenon contributed to recent violence which occurred in Timor-Leste after 1999.

Other example of disharmony between Lulik and the creation of the Timor-Leste state is reflected in the national anthem where it says ‘patria, patria’ (fatherland, fatherland). It is against the notion of Lulik because Timorese refer to their land as a mother with feminine values or motherland not fatherland (masculine). It is feminine because the fertility of the land (earth or soil) gives life to the Timorese. This notion can be found in all ethno-linguistic groups in Timor-Leste.

What is the solution? Timorese as a state and Timorese leaders can learn from the experience of the Church and the Portuguese Colonial Administration in the past as described earlier.


Lulik as the core of Timorese values should be properly recognized, supported, protected and it should be seen as an asset not a threat or hindrance to the state. The RDTL Constitution article 59.5 ensured that, ‘everyone has the right to cultural enjoyment and creativity and the duty to preserve, protect and value cultural heritage’.

To create a long lasting peace in Timo-Leste, the Timorese state must recognize and incorporate some of the important traditional values as described earlier. It can be done through a national blood oath, distribution of national symbols to local main Uma Luliks,  recognize the existence of the traditional leaders, etc.

Lulik as the core of Timorese values should be included in the school curriculum so that the younger generation can learn their own values.


Cinnati, Rui (1965). Tipos de casas timorenses e un rito de consagragion. In Actas de Congresso Internacional de Etnogrofia (Vol. IV), Lisboa: Junta de Investigações do Ultramar Pp. 155-180

Cristalis, Irena and Scott, Catherine. (2005). Independent Women: The story of women’s activism in East Timor. CIIR, London

Fox. James J. (2008). Repaying the Debt to Maukiak: Reflections on Timor’s Cultural Traditions and the Obligations of Citizenship in an Independent East Timor. In Democratic Governance in Timor Leste: Reconciling the Local and the National Eds David Mearns, CDU Press Darwin, Australia.

Hicks, D. (1984). A maternal religion, the role of women in tetum myth and ritual, Special Report no. 22, Monograph series on Southeast Asia, DeKalb Center fo Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illionis University

McWilliam, Andrew. (2005). ‘Houses of Resistance in East Timor: Structuring Sociality in the New Nation’ Anthropological Forum 15 (1): 27 - 44

Therik, Tom. (2004). Wehali: The Female Land – Tradition of a Timorese Ritual Center. Pandanus Books, Canberra

Trindade, Jose ‘Josh’ (2008). Reconciling Conflicting Paradigms: An East Timorese Vision of the Ideal State. In Democratic Governance in Timor Leste: Reconciling the Local and the National Eds David Mearns, CDU Press Darwin, Australia.

[1] Paper presented at: Communicating New Research on Timor-Leste 3rd Timor-Leste Study Asscociation (TLSA) Conference on 30th June 2011. Paper also presented at Creative Industry Conference on 16th July 2011.
[2] The use of a wild pigeon to symbolize the idea of fertility in this paper is open to debate. In some Uma Luliks, it is more of a bird in general rather than a pigeon.
[3] James J. Fox. (2008).Repaying the Debt to Maukiak: Reflections on Timor’s Cultural Traditionsand the Obligations of Citizenship in an Independent East Timor. In Democratic Governance in Timor Leste: Reconciling the Local and the National Eds David Mearns, CDU Press Darwin, Australia.