a people inhabiting the island of Nias, off the west coast of Sumatra (Indonesia). Population, about 450,000 (1974, estimate). Their language belongs to the Indonesian group of the Austronesian language family. They have preserved their ancient animistic beliefs and cults. A significant social differentiation takes place in communities of neighbors, headed by hereditary leaders, but vestiges of paternal ancestral relations have also been preserved. The Niasese practice farming, fishing, and hunting; swineraising has been developed.
REFERENCESNarody Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.(Bibliography.)
Suzuki, P. The Religious System and Culture of Nias, Indonesia,’s Gravenhage, 1959.