The First True Inhabitants of Nias

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Ono Niha, the name used to call the people of Nias, were not the first human race to set foot on Nias Island. An archeologist from the Medan Archeology Agency, Ketut Wiradyana, can date Nias' history back to 12,000 years. During those times, Nias was visited by the Austromelanesoid race of the Hoabinth, who used to settle in caves located in the northern parts of Vietnam.

    These early Nias people had a brawny physique, dark skin and elongated skulls. They traveled along the western regions passing through Thailand, the Malaysian peninsula, and finally crossing over to the eastern shores of Sumatra.

    These Austromelanesoids arrived in shifts and lived nomadic lives wandering along the eastern shores heading north, and then turning south through the western shores until finally crossing over to Nias Island. During their journey, they gathered sea harvests and accumulated them in Banda Aceh, North Aceh, East Aceh, Langkat, all the way to Bintan.

    "Their traces are hills of oyster shell leftovers and stone implements called sumatralith," Ketut told Tempo. Similar artifacts have been found in Togi Ndrawa Cave in Lelewonu Niko'otano village in Gunungsitoli, Nias.

    The early Nias people were later cornered by the arrival of Austronesians from Taiwan. The advanced Austronesian civilization shifted the existence of Austromelanesoids in Nias. "Their culture was more advanced, they were already familiar with paddy fields and metals," Ketut said.

    "Nias people today believe their ancestors came down from the sky in Boronadu Gomo," Ketut said. Boronadu Gomo is an area in central Nias. The men from a more modern generation lived in the coastal zone of southern Nias.