Leadership in Public Arenas

As mothers nurture their children and sisters nurture their sibling group, the Batin (village leader) nurtures the local group. Traditionally, with uxorilocality (matrilocality) and village endogamy, women formed the central core of the local community. The centrality of women in the local village is expressed in women's traditional role as holder of the political office of Batin. As a direct matrilineal descendant of the local group's founding ancestor Batins symbolize the local descent group. Btsisi' elders remember the last two women Batin, both of whom died without heirs. Thus their line was lost and there are no longer any women in the position. But elder women still have an important unofficial role in maintaining community peace and unity. Women will informally come together under the informal leadership of a female elder in the community to discuss issues that directly affect the women of the community.

While women's role was to maintain village life, men maintained external relations. Traditionally, men married into a community. Being "outsiders" they performed activities which took them beyond the village. This outward-looking view was reinforced by men holding the leadership position of penghulu', whose job was to maintain relationships with other Btsisi' communities and the wider outside world.

Today, all titled positions are held by men, inherited through the patrilineal line. However, if the elders consider a man unsuitable for the position, such as being too concerned about his and his family's welfare to the detriment of the community or drinking too much, his consanguineal relative, such as a brother or patrilineal cousin, will fill the position.

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