Central Sulawesi & South East Silawesi Tribes


Central Sulawesi   42 Tribes

Central Sulawesi, Tribes

Bada 10.000
South central portion of central Sulawesi, Lore Selatan subdistrict, 14 villages; Pamona Selatan subdistrict, 2 mixed villages; Poso Pesisir subdistrict, 4 mixed villages; Parigi subdistrict, some in Lemusa village; Ampibabo subdistrict. Ako in northern Mamuju District, Pasangkayu subdistrict. 23 villages or parts of villages. Alternate names: Bada’, Tobada’. Dialects: Bada, Ako. Lexical similarity: 85% between Bada and Behoa [bep], 91% between Behoa and Napu [npy], 80% between Bada and Napu [npy]. The three are geographically, politically, culturally separate.
Bahonsuay 300 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Bungku Tengah subdistrict, Bahonsuai village on the east coast. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 71% with Tomadino [tdi], 68% with Mori Atas [mzq], Mori Bawah [xmz], and Padoe [pdo].
Bajau 154.000 Islam
5,000 or more in North Maluku (Grimes 1982), 8,000 to 10,000 in South Sulawesi (Grimes 1987), 7,000 in North Sulawesi and Gorontalo, 36,000 in Central Sulawesi, 40,000 in Southeast Sulawesi (Mead and Lee 2007), and several thousand in Nusa Tenggara (Wurm and Hattori 1981, Verhiejen 1986). North Maluku on Bacan, Obi, Kayoa and Sula Islands; South Sulawesi, Selayar, Bone, and Sinjai districts; Gorontalo Province, Popayato and Tilamuta subdistricts; North Sulawesi, Wori, Tumpaan and Belang subdistricts. Widespread throughout Central and Southeast Sulawesi and islands of the East Sunda Sea. Alternate names: Badjaw, Badjo, Bajao, Bajo, Bayo, Gaj, Luaan, Lutaos, Lutayaos, Orang Laut, Sama, Turije’ne’. Dialects: Jampea, Same’, Matalaang, Sulamu, Kajoa, Roti, Jaya Bakti, Poso, Togian 1, Togian 2, Wallace.
The Bajau (also called the Bayo, Gaj, Luaan, or Lutaos) are a highly mobile maritime people group that is found throughout the coastal areas of Sulawesi, Maluku, Kalimantan, Sumatera, and East Nusa Tenggara. Their high mobility led to outsiders calling them ‘sea gypsies.’ In eastern Indonesia, the largest numbers of Bajau are found on the islands and in the coastal districts of Sulawesi. Their everyday language is the Bajau language, which is a branch of the Melayu (Malay) language cluster.
While some Bajau have begun to live on land, many Bajau are still boat dwellers. Among the Bajau boat dwellers, local communities consist of scattered moorage groups made up of families whose members regularly return, between intervals of fishing, to a common anchorage site. Two to six families will group together in an alliance to regularly fish and anchor together, often sharing food and pooling labor, nets, and other gear. The boats that are used as family dwellings vary in size and construction. In Indonesia and Malaysia, boats average 10 meters in length with a beam of about 2 meters. They are plank constructed with solid keel and bow sections. All are equipped with a roofed living area made of poles and kajang matting and a portable earthenware hearth, usually carried near the stern, used for preparing family meals. The marine life exploited by the Bajau fishermen is diverse, including over 200 species of fish. Fishing activity varies with the tides, monsoonal and local winds, currents, migrations of pelagic fish, and the monthly lunar cycle. During moonless nights, fishing is often done with lanterns, using spears and handlines. Today, fishing is primarily for market sale. Most fish are preserved by salting or drying. The boat-dwelling Bajau see themselves (in contrast to their neighbors), as non-aggressive people who prefer flight to physical confrontation. As a consequence, the politically dominant groups of the region have historically viewed the Bajau with disdain as timid, unreliable subjects.
The Bajau are Sunni Muslims of the Shafi’i school.
Balaesang 6.300 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Balaesang subdistrict, Manimbayu Peninsula. 5 villages. Alternate names: Balaesan, Balaisang, Pajo. Dialects: Not closely related to any other language.
Balantak 31.000 Animism
3,000 are monolingual. East central Sulawesi, Banggai District, eastern peninsula, Luwuk, Balantak, Tinangkung, and Lamala subdistricts. 49 villages, or parts of villages. Alternate names: Kosian. Dialects: Related to Andio [bzb], Coastal Saluan [loe]. Lexical similarity: 66% with Andio, 51% with Coastal Saluan, 39% with Bobongko [bgb].
Banggai 140.000 Islam 

Sulawesi, tribe, banggai, suku

Central Sulawesi, off eastern peninsula, Banggai Islands. 157 villages, or parts of villages. Dialects: East Banggai, West Banggai. 

Batui 3.000 Christian
Central Sulawesi Province, Banggai Regency, Batui subdistrict, Balantang, Tolando, Sisipan, Batui villages. Alternate names: Baha. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 74% with Saluan, 60% with Ando [bzb], 54% with Bobongko [bgb], 46% with Balantak [blz], 38% with Banggai [bgz].
Behoa 8.800 Christian 

Central Sulawesi, Lore Utara subdistrict, Napu Valley. 8 villages. Alternate names: Besoa. Dialects: Geographically, politically, culturally, and lexically distinct from Bada [bhz] and Napu [npy].
Boano 4.800 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Montong subdistrict, Bolano village, on the south coast. Alternate names: Bolano, Djidja. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 83% with Totoli [txe].
Bobonko 1.700 Islam
1,100 in Lembanato and 400 in Tumbulawa. Central Sulawesi, Togian Islands, Lembanato village; Batu Daka Island, Kilat Bay north, Tumbulawa village on northwest coast. Dialects: Related to Saluan. Different from Andio [bzb]. Lexical similarity: 53% with Coastal Saluan [loe], 44% with Andio, and 30% with Gorontalo [gor], 25%–30% with Gorontalo-Mongondow languages.
Bugis  3.500.000 Islam
Western coast of southeast Sulawesi in Kolaka, Wundulako, Rumbia, and Poleang districts. Also in major towns of Sulawesi. Large enclaves also in other provinces of Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku, Papua, and Sumatra; coastal swamp areas such as Bulukumba, Luwu, Polewali in Polmas, Pasangkayu in Mamuju districts. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Boegineesche, Boeginezen, Bugi, Buginese, De’, Rappang Buginese, Ugi. Dialects: Bone (Palakka, Dua Boccoe, Mare), Pangkep (Pangkajene), Camba, Sidrap (Sidenrang, Pinrang Utara, Alitta), Pasangkayu (Ugi Riawa), Sinjai (Enna, Palattae, Bulukumba), Soppeng (Kessi), Wajo, Barru (Pare-Pare, Nepo, Soppeng Riaja, Tompo, Tanete), Sawitto (Pinrang), Luwu (Luwu’, Bua Ponrang, Wara, Malangke-Ussu). Bone or Soppeng dialects are central.
The Bugis (sometimes called the Ugi) live in the province of South Sulawesi. The Bugis region is called Tellumponcoe, and it consists of the regencies of Bone, Wajo, and Soppeng. There are also Bugis people settled throughout the regencies of Luwu, Sidenneng, Polmas, Pinrang, Pare-pare, Barru, Pangkajene, Maros, Bulukumba, and Sinjai. The Bugis are a dynamic and highly mobile people, considered by many to be the dominant people group in South Sulawesi. Many Bugis have left their home area to seek success and wealth. In particular, they have migrated to Sumbawa, Jawa, Papua, and even Malaysia. Their Ugi language is divided into several dialects, namely Luwu, Wajo, Bira Selayar, Palaka, Sindenneng and Sawito.Most Bugis make their living by hunting, fishing, farming, raising livestock or making handicrafts. Typically, the Bugis who live in the mountain ranges gain their livelihood by working the soil, while those living in the coastal areas generally work as fishermen. The Bugis traditional dress is called Wajo Ponco, which is believed to have originated from Melayu (Malay) dress. Currently, the dress is only used for traditional ceremonies and dances. The Bugis believe very strongly that certain days are good days, with good fortune for events and activities held on the first Wednesday and last Thursday of each month. Conversely, they consider Saturday to be a bad day, with misfortune more likely to happen on this day. In Bugis tradition there are different levels of social status that are based upon one’s ancestors. These different levels include descendants of a king, descendants of nobles (La Patau), descendants of district administrators (Aru Lili) and descendants of various kinds of slaves. Two of the most important cultural values for the Bugis people are called siri (personal honor) and siri-pesse (communal honor). A Bugis person must defend, maintain, and build one’s own siri. The effort to obtain and maintain siri varies according to the context. For instance, in an economic context, siri means working hard and being faithful. In a personal context, if a person’s siri is offended serious forms of revenge will be considered. Islam reinforced the traditional Bugis concept of siri in such a way that today the typical Bugis person sees siri as the key to his or her self-identity as a Bugis Muslim. The Bugis line of descent is bilateral (traced through both parents). After marriage the newlyweds may choose to live near either the husband’s or wife’s family, although initially, they live at least briefly near the wife’s family.
The Bugis people are famous for their fervent adherence to Sunni Islam.
Bunku 24.000 Islam
100 Routa, 16,400 Bungku, 2,500 Torete, 1,000 Tulambatu, 800 Landawe, 650 Waia. Central Sulawesi, Bungku Utara, Bungku Tengah, and Bungku Selatan subdistricts, along east coast; 45 villages or parts of villages. Tulambatu in northern Southeast Sulawesi, Konawe District, Asera, Soropia, and Lasolo subdistricts, with difficult access. Alternate names: “Nahina”. Dialects: Bungku, Routa, Tulambatu, Torete (To Rete), Landawe, Waia. Lexical similarity: 81% with Torete, Waia, Tulambatu, and Landawe dialects, 38% with Pamona dialects [pmf], 88%, with Landawe dialect, 84% with Waia dialect, 82% with Torete dialect, 74% with Wawonii [wow], 66% with Taloki [tlk], Kulisusu [vkl], and Koroni [xkq], 65% with Moronene [mqn], 54% with the Mori and Tolaki groups, 82% with the Routa dialect.
The Bungku people (also called “To Bungku”) live in the districts of North Bungku, Central Bungku, South Bungku, and Merui, in the Poso Regency of Central Sulawesi Province. They are also found in several other areas of Sulawesi. The Bungku people are further divided into subgroups such as Lambatu, Epe, Rete, and Ro’Uta. The language used by the Bungku people is Bungku (often called Bungku Laki, or Male Bungku), which is of the same group with various Filipino languages. This language can be divided into several dialects, such as Taa, Merui and Lalaeo. The immigrant communities in this area use their own language, such as the Bugis, Bajo and Jawa languages. Many marriages take place between the Bungku people and the immigrant peoples, hence the relationship between the groups is relatively good in this region. In the past, Bungku people lived in remote inland areas and had little contact with outsiders. With the building of the Trans-Sulawesi highway, they have become more open to outsiders. Although they are inhabitants of Southeast Sulawesi, their culture is greatly influenced by the Bugis culture. According to history, some of the Bungku ancestors were a group of Bugis who migrated to the area.
The Bungku make their living as farmers. They grow rice, corn and sweet potatoes as their primary crops, and coconuts and sago palms as secondary crops. The Bungku also harvest resin and rattan that grow in the thick jungles that still exist in their area. Their land is typically less fertile than other areas of Southeast Sulawesi. Formerly, Bungku communities were segregated into three classes. The heads of the village formed the elite group. The common people formed the middle group. The slaves were the final and lowest group.
The majority of the Bungku people have embraced Islam.
Buol 82.000 Islam
Central Sulawesi; Paleleh, Bunobogu, Bokat, Momunu, Biau, Baolan subdistricts; north coast near Gorontalo Province border. 68 villages. Alternate names: Bual, Bwo’ol, Bwool, Dia. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 61% with Totoli [txe].
The Buol people live in the districts of Biau, Momunu, Bunobugu and Paleleh, in the regency of Toli-Toli Regency, in the northern part of Central Sulawesi Province. Formerly mountain dwellers, the Buol now live in scattered villages on the central part of the northern peninsula of the island, to the northwest of the Gorontalo people. Sometimes, the Buol are treated as a subgroup of the Gorontalo due to cultural and linguistic similarities. They speak the Buol language, which is very close to the Toli-Toli language spoken by their neighbors. The history of the Buol region is one of the rise and fall of small kingdoms and their occasional confederation into larger entities for defense and conquest. It seems likely that the region was inhabited originally by people of Toraja stock, with a gradual shaping of a Buol ethnic identity through linguistic diversion and the institutions of territorial rulers.
There is not a good road system in this area, so most contact between the Buol people is by sea as the area is bordered by the Sulawesi Sea. Even though the various Buol villages are limited in their contact, they still maintain a sense of unity as a people group. They are united by language and cultural practices. Most Buol people earn a living through irrigated and un-irrigated rice farming. They also plant coconut groves and cloves, which are export commodities. The tropical rain forest in the area also supports them with harvests of rattan, resin, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Along the coastal regions the Buol are fishermen.In addition to these occupations, there are also those who work as traders. In former times the Buol people lived under the authority of Buol Kingdom. As a result of the kingdom’s social patterns, there were several classes in the society. There was the class made up of the king’s family (tan poyoduiya); the nobility that had close ties with the king (tan wayu); the class that had distant ties with royalty (tan wanon); the common class (taupat); and the slave class made up of people who had broken traditional laws or were captives as a result of war. During this era, every class was distinct and people could discern the class of an individual by observing their everyday dress. The former class structure now appears to have changed as a result of the influence of Islam and the advancement of education. Advances in the economy have also influenced the lifestyle of the Buol people. At the present time, status is based upon one’s position as a government or religious leader, as well as educational achievement. Even so, cultural leaders and those considered elders continue to be honored.
Most of the Buol people have embraced the Islamic religion
Da’a Kaili 55.000 Islam
Da’a and Inde. 3,000 to 5,000 Da’a and Inde are in south Sulawesi. Central Sulawesi, South Sulawesi provinces in Marawola, Dolo, Sigi-Biromaru, Palolo, Banawa subdistricts. ‘Bunggu’ used for Da’a and Inde in south Sulawesi, Mamuju District, Pasangkayu subdistrict, near Palu. Alternate names: Bunggu, Da’a. Dialects: Da’a (Pekawa, Pekava, Pakawa), Inde. Some intelligibility with Ledo dialect of Kaili, Ledo [lew] and other Kaili varieties, but with major sociolinguistic differences. Lexical similarity: 98% between the Da’a and Inde dialects.
Dampelas 11.000 Islam
Central Sulawesi; Dampelas Sojol and Balaesang subdistricts. 8 villages. Alternate names: Dampal, Dampelasa, Dian.
The Dampelasa people live in the district of Damsol (Dampelasa Sojo), in Buol Regency, Central Sulawesi Province. Their area on the northwestern peninsula of Sulawesi is bounded by the straits of Makassar to the west, Tomini District to the east, and Dampal Selatan District to the south.
The word Dampelasa originates from the words dampe and las. The word dampe means “seed” or “ancestry”. The word las is used as an abbreviation of the word Ihlas, which was the name of the first king that ruled in this area. Therefore, “Dampelasa” means those who are descended from the line of King Ihlas. Before the Dutch entered, this area was a small kingdom under the rule of King Banawa.The Dampelasa people believe that their forefathers were Tomanoru. These beings from heaven could incarnate themselves in certain plants and one of these incarnated plants became a man.The Dampelasa make their living primarily as hunters, farmers and craftsmen. As a result of their farming methods, they frequently are forced to move as they do not use methods that will keep the soil fertile. When the land begins to produce a poor crop they move to look for a more fertile area.Most of the land is mountainous and is used for agricultural purposes. However, in the interior areas, the forest is still virgin. The jungle is noted for its harvest of rattan, lumber and resin. The major commodities of the area exported to other islands are copra, cloves, rattan, and resin. Traditional handicrafts include woven silk and crafts made from cloves exclusive to Toli-Toli.
The majority of the Dampelasa people have been Muslim for many generations.
Dondo 14.000 Islam
Central Sulawesi; Tolitoli Buol District, Tolitoli Utara, Baolan, Dondo, Galang, and Dampal Utara subdistricts on the north coast. 25 villages, or parts of villages. Dialects: Consider Dondo a separate language from Totoli [txe]. Probably separate from Tomini [txm].
The Dondo people live in the districts of Baolan Dondo, Galang, and North Dampal, in the regency of Toli-Toli in the Province of Central Sulawesi. They tend to live in groups spread throughout these areas. Generally speaking, they prefer to dwell on riverbanks in the jungle. These groups usually take their name according to the name of the rivers where they live, such as the Salungan, Ogomolobu, Oyom and Kambuno.The Dondo speak Dondo language. According to the Dondo people, this language is different from the Toli-Toli language. This occurred because the Dondo are separated from the Tomini area. The people of Oyom village are the most traditional and isolated Dondo subgroup.
The principle livelihoods of the Dondo people are farming and fishing. They practice migratory agriculture (shifting from one field to another), mainly because their farming practice deplete the nutrients in the land and they cannot maintain the soil’s fertility. New farmland is opened by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush.They tend to plant rice in unirrigated fields and have several secondary crops such as bananas, coconut, chocolate and coffee. The jungle is noted for its harvest of rattan, lumber and resin. They also hunt kijang (small deer), pigs and wild chickens. They hunt with spears, traps, bow and arrow and are helped by hunting dogs. The traditional house of the Dondo people is built on a raised platform and made from wood, bamboo and rattan. Houses are raised off the ground as high as 2 meters. The houses are rectangular, usually about 5 by 7 meters. Usually they have only one door and a ladder at the front of the house. Roofing is made from the leaf of the sago palm.In their earlier history, Dondo was a sultanate. The Dondo sultan, along with his nobles and aides were chosen through their ancestral lines. During those times there were four classes among the people: royalty, nobility, commoners and slaves. At sixteen years of age, a Dondo person is considered an adult. This status is symbolized by the young person having their teeth filed in a community ceremony. After marriage, the new bride and groom may choose to live with either the husband’s or the wife’s family. According to Dondo custom, a man may have more than one wife. Divorce is permitted if the couple is no longer compatible. However, the divorce has to be witnessed by a traditional leader (Kapitalau).
The Dondo people have generally embraced Islam for many generations. Some Dondo continue to practice animism, especially those who still live in the highlands. Historically, the Dondo kept the body of a deceased person inside a sago palm trunk that had been scraped out. The burial took place in the yard of the family residence and the family members bid farewell to the spirit of the deceased by sleeping around the grave for several days
Koroni 600 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Bungku Tengah subdistrict, Unsongi village on east coast south of Bungku town. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 75% with Taloki [tlk] and Kulisusu [vkl], 66% with Wawonii [wow], Bungku [bkz], Tulambatu dialect of Bungku [bkz]; 65% with Moronene [mqn].
Lauje 48.000 Animism
Central Sulawesi, Dampelas Sojol, Dondo, Tinombo, Tomini, and Ampibabo subdistricts, along Tomini Bay, Sidoan River area. Alternate names: Ampibabo-Lauje, Laudje, Tinombo. Dialects: Ampibabo. Ampibabo dialect may be a separate language.
Traditionally, the Tomini (of which the Laudje are a sub-group) were governed by a sultanate, with each tribe being headed by a hereditary chief and his council of assistants. Four classes existed: the royalty, the nobility, the commoners, and the former slaves. After independence, some of the former rajas (kings) and their families found positions in government, while others became businessmen.In the late 1950’s, youth in Sulawesi led separatist movements against the Indonesian government. In the Tomini region, this peaked with the Permesta Rebellion of the 1960’s. For several years thereafter, the area produced no marketable items. Since that time, however, the government has made an effort to improve the economy. Cloves were successfully introduced on plantations, and lumber firms were also begun. 

The coastal Laudje are very active in clove production, as well as in copra (dried coconut meat yielding oil) and palm plantations. A number of Laudje earn their living as merchants, while others have become lumberjacks or sailors. The highland Laudje cultivate dry rice, maize, and sago (a type of palm). They also gather rattan (palms, the stems of which are used to make wickerwork, canes, and furniture) for coastal trade.

Laudje villages, which are located mainly on the coastal strips, are small and consist of houses built on stilts. Marriages within the villages follow a Muslim pattern and are arranged by a mediator. This “go-between” also negotiates the bride-price, the amount depending on the girl’s social status. Marriages to cousins are preferred. While polygyny (having more than one wife) is permitted, it is rarely practiced. Once married, a couple usually lives with his or her family until their first child is born.
Islam is the dominant religion

Ledo Kaili 142.000 Islam 

kaili, sulawesi, tribe, suku

128,000 Ledo, Doi, Ado, and Edo together, 7,500 Ija and Taa together, 55,000 Rai and Raio together, 43,000 Tara (Barr, Barr and Salombe 1979). 8,000 to 10,000 are in south. Central and south Sulawesi. Alternate names: Ledo, Paloesch, Palu. Dialects: Ledo (Palu), Doi, Ado (Pakuli), Edo, Tado (Ri Io, To ri Io, Torio, Toriu), Tara (Parigi), Rai (Sindue-Tawaili, Tawaili-Sindue), Raio (Kori), Ija (Sigi), Taa (Palolo), Ta’a (Sausu, Dolago-Sausu). Doi dialect is intelligible with Ledo, Edo; Ado next most intelligible; Tado a little less. Some intelligibility with Da’a [kzf], but major sociolinguistic differences. Lexical similarity: 80%–88% between Ledo and the Ado, Edo, Doi, and Lindu dialects.
The Kaili Ledo people live in the northern part of Central Sulawesi. More precisely, they live in the city of Palu and the surrounding areas of Buromadu, Dolo, Marawola and Tawaili. The area is highly mountainous. Even so, Palu is known to be the driest place in Indonesia.The word ledo means “no.” In everyday life the people use the Kaili Ledo language, which has several dialects including Palu, Ado, Edo, Tado, Tara, Rai and Sigi.
The family is very important to the Kaili Ledo people. They give great honor and obedience to their parents and elders, especially those of advanced age. Decisions are always made by the family as a whole, and the parents give an increasing place of prominence to the eldest son as he becomes an adult. The Kaili Ledo villages are relatively small and comprised of houses on stilts. The coastal Kaili Ledo are very much engaged in commercial clove production, as well as copra and palm plantations. A number earn their living as traders, and others as fishermen or sailors. The highland Kaili Ledo cultivate rice in unirrigated fields and grow corn and sago. In the late 1950’s separatist movements seeking Independence from the Indonesian government were led by youth groups throughout the island of Sulawesi. In the Tomini region this reached a peak with the Permesta Rebellion of the 1960’s, and for several years the area produced no marketable products. This almost totally destroyed their local economy.Since that time, the government has made an effort to integrate the area into the national and international economic systems. Cloves were successfully introduced in large plantations and national and international lumber firms have established themselves throughout the area. (However, their production has decreased dramatically in recent years.) Marriage arrangements are a mix of Islamic and traditional influences. The matchmaker will arrange a bride price according to the social status of the girl. Marriage between first cousins takes place among the Kaili Ledo. Even though polygamy is technically allowed by both religious and governmental law, it rarely takes place. After marriage, the couple usually lives with one of their two families until they have a child.
The vast majority of the Kaili Ledo people are Muslims.
Lindu 2.500 Christian 

Sulawesi, tribe, , lindu, suku

Central Sulawesi, Lindu subdistrict; Anca, Tomado, Langko villages near Lake Lindu. Alternate names: Linduan, Tado. Dialects: Lindu is very similar to Moma [myl]; considered by some a Moma dialect.
Mandar 273.000 Islam
West Sulawesi, Majene and Polewali-Mamasa districts, Mamuju District, a few settlements; Pangkep District islands, and Ujung Lero near Pare-Pare. Alternate names: Andian, Mandharsche, Manjar. Dialects: Majene, Balanipa (Napo-Tinambung), Malunda, Pamboang, Sendana (Cenrana, Tjendana). A complex dialect grouping, there may be more dialects than those listed. Balanipa and Sendana may each be more than 1 dialect. Balanipa is the prestige dialect. Mandar, Mamuju [mqx], and Bambam [ptu] are separate languages in a language chain
The Mandar (or Andian) people live in the low coastal plains and mountains of the regencies of Majene, Mamuju, and Polewali Mandar in the province of West Sulawesi (in Indonesian Sulawesi Barat). Their language is the Mandar language, which has four dialects: Balanipa, Majene, Pamboang, and Awok Sumakengu. The Mandar have been greatly influenced by the larger neighboring Bugis, Makassar, and Toraja Sa’dan peoples.The Mandar region is surrounded by mountains with a large area in the middle suitable for rice fields. Their main sea products are the cakalang fish and turtle. A rare and protected type of bird in the area is known as the mandar bird (in the armimadea family).
Many Mandar live by farming rice fields or orchards while some work as fishermen. In the Sendana and Malunda areas, their produce includes copra and cocoa. The rice fields of Polmas are irrigated, while other regencies still use the traditional means of depending on rainfall. As a society that used to be an independent kingdom, the Mandar people recognize three social classes. The high class consists of the nobility (Todiang Laiyana), the middle class is the commoners (Tau Maradika), and the lowest class is the slave class (Batua). The nobility are referred to as Daeng for the “royal class” and Puang for the “proper class”.The history of the development of the Mandar family system has been marked by several periods. First was the Tomakala period, which was during the time when there was no regular government and no law. Second was the the transition period (Pappuangang), when the social relationship system began to form. Third was the Arajang period, which had systematized structures, regulations, and values. Arajang guidelines are still influential but they have been fused with Islamic and modern structures. Currently, the king does not rule by hereditary right, but is chosen by the traditional leaders (hadat). In the Mandar tradition, if the headdress of community leaders is worn angling to the left, it is a call for the king to reconsider his leadership and policies. If all the elders come and walk in front of the palace while wearing their headdress angling to the left and also carrying spears and keris (sacred knives), this is sign for the king to step down from his throne voluntarily. If the king does not step down voluntarily, then they will try to depose him with force (even to the point of killing him). If they are not able to accomplish this by force, then many of them will leave their villages. In the Mandar viewpoint, a king is regarded as a bad king if the people leave in this manner.
The Mandar people are Muslims.
Moma 5.500
Central Sulawesi, Kulawi subdistrict, primarily Kulawi and Toro town areas. Alternate names: Kulawi. Dialects: Historically a varietyof Kaili, but strong lexical influences from Uma [ppk].
Mori Atas 18.000 Islam
southeast peninsula neck, Mori Atas, Lembo, and Petasia subdistricts; south Sulawesi. 25 villages or parts of villages. Alternate names: Upper Mori, West Mori. Dialects: Aikoa. Lexical similarity: 73%–86% with Mori Bawah [xmz] and Padoe [pdo].
Sulawesi, one of the major islands of Indonesia, is a home to the (also known as the Aikoa). Sulawesi is a large, crab-shaped island that is generally mountainous and marked by volcanic cones. Tropical rain forests cover most of the land up to 1,000 feet in elevation, with dense forests occurring at higher altitudes. Due to the volcanic activity, deep valleys and gorges can also be seen throughout the area.Mori villages are built with the village temple in the center. The Mori have a strong loyalty to their tribe, which is made up of several villages having a common “mother” village. If one village is endangered, it is the duty of the rest of the tribal members to protect it. 

Although agriculture is the principal means of livelihood in the region, ironwood and ebony are also valuable commodities. Sulawesian industry varies from wood carving and rice milling to the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
The island of Sulawesi has a hot, humid climate with an average yearly temperature of about 27 degrees C (80 degrees F). The average yearly rainfall is from 305 to 368 centimeters (120 to 145 inches). Most of the Mori are wet-rice farmers, although they also grow maize, tobacco, and coffee for export. Some Mori are blacksmiths who are particularly skilled at making swords. Their primary diet consists of fish, rice, and maize.

Within the Mori tribes, aristocratic rulers head up the political hierarchy, with elders leading local “kin groups.” These rulers were once thought to be divine, but this belief has faded over the years. Traditionally, the Mori went on headhunting raids against their enemies. Heads were also required to maintain general village welfare, as well as for the building of new temples. Until as recently as 1905, headhunting was a common practice.

Most of the Mori live in houses that have only a sleeping room and a large living room. The living room may, which may also serve as the kitchen, usually contains a rectangular hearth filled with clay and ashes. These houses often stand on stilts about 1.8 meters (6 feet) high. The space underneath is used for cattle stalls or chicken coops, or to store tools and firewood. The floors and walls are made of timber or flattened bamboo. The roofs are covered with either clay tiles or with thatch made out of palm leaves.

The Mori are a very festive people and are famous for their traditional dances. Their art forms, such as wood carvings and weaving, are also well known. A colorful skirt called a sarong is typically worn by both the men and women.
The Mori follow the beliefs of Islam, but with a strong core of spirit worship. Some of the more important deities that they worship are associated with smallpox, rice, air, and fate. When an important person dies, his bones are cleaned and put into caves at the tewusa or death feast. Then every three to five years, another ceremony called the woke” is held to honor these deceased ancestors. Here, the bones of the honored dead are removed from the caves, rewrapped, and buried. Such ceremonies are usually conducted by a priestess who has a familiar spirit.

Mori-Bawah 18.000 Christian
Central Sulawesi, southeast peninsula neck; Petasia and Lembo subdistricts, 24 villages, or parts of villages; south Sulawesi. Alternate names: East Mori, Lower Mori, “Nahina”. Dialects: Tambe’e, Nahina, Petasia, Soroako, Karonsie. Lexical similarity: 73%–86% with Mori Atas [mzq], 75% with Padoe [pdo].
Napu 7.000 Animism
Central Sulawesi, Lore Utara subdistrict, Napu Valley. 10 villages. Alternate names: Pekurehua. Dialects: Most similar to Behoa [bep].
Padoe 7.100 Christian
South Sulawesi, east Luwu Utara District in Nuha, Malili, Mangkutana subdistricts; Central Sulawesi, Banggai District, Mori Atas subdistrict, 2 villages, Pamona Utara subdistrict, 1 village. Alternate names: Alalao, Padoé, South Mori. Dialects: 2 dialects. Lexical similarity: 73%–86% with Mori Atas [mzq], 75% with Mori Bawah [xmz].
Pamona 170.000 Christian
Central and South Sulawesi provinces, Poso District, Poso Kota, Poso Pesisir, Parigi, Lage, Pamona Utara, Pamona Selatan, Tojo, Ulubongko, Ampana Kota, Ampanatete, Una-Una, Mori Atas, Petasia, Bungku Utara, Bungku Tengah subdistricts; 193 villages. South Sulawesi, Luwu Utara District, Mangkutana, north Wotu and Bone-Bone subdistricts. Alternate names: Bare’e, Baree, Poso. Dialects: Pamona, Laiwonu (“Iba” ), Rapangkaka (“Aria” ), Tomoni, Tobau (Tobao, Tobalo, “Bare’e” ), Tokondindi, Topada, Taa (Wana, Topotaa). Related to Tombelele [ttp]. Laiwonu and Rapangkaka dialects may be separate languages. Lexical similarity: 76% (Taa)–90% among dialects, except for Tombelala, which has 66%–76% with other Bungku Tengah dialects, and is considered a separate language.
Pendau 3.500 Islam
Central Sulawesi, centered in Balaesang subdistrict, Walandano, Sibayu and other villages; about half live scattered north to the Totoli [txe], with some near Balaesang subdistrict. Alternate names: Ndaoe, Ndau, Umalasa.
Rampi 8.000
2,300 in South Sulawesi, 5,700 in Central Sulawesi. South Sulawesi, Luwu Utara District, Masamba subdistrict. 6 isolated mountain villages; Central Sulawesi, Poso, Donggala districts, Sabbang Limbong, Wotu, and Mangkutana subdistricts. 15 villages. Rato have moved elsewhere. Alternate names: Ha’uwa, Leboni, Rampi-Leboni. Dialects: Rampi (Lambu), Rato. Leboni is prestige dialect.
Saluan 116.000  Christian
East central Sulawesi; Luwuk, Balantak, Lamala, Buko, Totikum, Kintom, Batui, Pagimana, Bunta subdistricts. 136 villages. Loinang in mountains. Alternate names: Loinang, Loindang, Mondono, “Madi”. Dialects: Loinang (Coastal Saluan, Lingketeng), Baloa’ Kohumamahon, Kahumamahon, Luwuk, Kintom-Pagimana-Boalemo. Related to Balantak [blz], Andio [bzb]. Lexical similarity: 74% with Batui [zbt], 53% with Bobongko [bgb], 62% with Andio, 51% with Balantak.
Sedoa 1.000  Christian
East central Sulawesi, Lore Utara, and Poso Pesisir subdistricts; Sedoa and parts of Tambarona Pinedapa villages. Alternate names: Tawaelia, Tawailia, Topobaria. Dialects: Not a dialect of nearby Napu [npy] or of the Kaili languages. Most closely related to Moma [myl] in Palolo Valley.
Seko-Padang 6.600  Christian
2,300 in the Seko area. South Sulawesi, Luwu Utara District, Limbong subdistrict, northeast section; half resettled Central Sulawesi, Palolo Valley. Alternate names: Seko, Sua Tu Padang, Wono. Dialects: Lodang, Hono’ (Wono).
Seko Tengah 2.900  Christian
Northern south Sulawesi, west Limbong subdistrict along Betue River. Alternate names: Pewanean, Pewaneang, Pohoneang, Seko. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 71% with Seko Padang [skx], 67% with Panasuan [psn].
Taijo 9.800 Islam
Central Sulawesi; Ampibabo, Tinombo, and Sindue subdistricts. 21 villages, or parts of villages. Alternate names: Adjio, Kasimbar, Ta’adjio, Tadjio.
Taje 400 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Ampibabo subdistrict, Tanampedagi village; Sindue subdistrict near Sipeso. Alternate names: Petapa.
Tomadino 800 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Bungku Tengah subdistrict, Sakita village on east coast, outskirts of Bungku town. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 71% with Bahonsuai [bsu], 68% with Mori Atas [mzq], Mori Bawah [xmz], and Padoe [pdo].
Tombelala 1.300 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Bungku Tengah subdistrict. 4 villages. Alternate names: Mbelala, Belala, Bela, “Baria”. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 66%–76% with Pamona [pmf] varieties and 38% with Bungku [bkz].
Tomini 33.000 Islam
The Tomini people live in the districts of Tomini, Tinombo, and Moutong, in the regency of Donggala, in Central Sulawesi Province. The Tomini are said to be the original inhabitants of this area. The Tomini area in these three districts stretches from the northeast to the south and forms a half circle facing the Tomini Bay.The coastal area is made up of plains, specifically in the northern part of Moutong District. The plains grow narrower to the south. While the coastal regions are flat, the interior is mountainous. Many of the valleys in the interior have fertile irrigated rice farms and the land is well cultivated.The other native groups living in Donggala are Dampelasa, Balaesang and Pikoro. The Tomini people use the Tomini language, however several sub-dialects of Tomini are used as a result of interaction between various groups through trade.
Tomini villages are made up of small wooden houses built on stilts. The Tomini living on the coastal areas are farmers of clove and copra. Many of these Tomini also seek supplemental income from trading, forestry or fishing. In the mountains, the Tomini people cultivate rice and corn, and gather rattan to be sold on the coast.The marriage system follows Islamic guidelines. An intermediary talks with the parents of the bride and makes arrangements according to the status of the girl. Marriage is allowed between first cousins, and polygamy, although allowed, rarely occurs. After marriage the couple usually stays with one of the two families until the first child is born.The cultural history of the Tomini can be divided into five periods: the traditional period; the period when Islam entered their area; the period of Dutch rule; the period of Japanese rule in WW II; and the period from Indonesia’s Independence in 1945. In earlier times, Tomini was a sultanate. The sultan, along with his aides were chosen through the ancestral line. During those times there were four classes among the people: royalty, nobility, commoners and slaves. In the late 1950’s separatist movements against the Indonesian government were begun by youth groups throughout the island of Sulawesi, including the Permesta Rebellion of the 1960’s in the Tomini region. For several years the area produced no marketable products. Since that time, the government has made a significant effort to integrate the area into the national and international economic system. Cloves were successfully introduced in large plantations and national and international lumber firms have established themselves throughout the area.
The Tomini people have embraced the Sunni Islam faith but are not very strict followers. Many of the Tomini people still hold to their local ancient religion of animism. They believe that inanimate things are indwelt by spirits. Many Tomini mix worship of their ancestors and nature with the Islamic religion.
Totoli 25.000 Islam
Central Sulawesi, north coast, Tolitoli Utara, Galang, Baolan, Dondo, subdistricts. 29 villages, or parts of villages. Alternate names: Gage, Tolitoli, Tontoli.
Uma 25.000 Christian
15,000 in the region, 5,000 outside (1990 SIL), 500 in Benggaulu. Central Sulawesi, Donggala District, South Kulawi and Pipikoro subdistricts, Pipikoro, ‘banks of the Koro’ and Lariang ‘Koro’ rivers. 32 villages. Bana in South Sulawesi, Luwu Utara District, enclave within the Seko Padang [skx] dialect area; Benggaulu in South Sulawesi, south Pasangkayu District, Mamuju subdistrict; some migrated to Gimpu and Palolo valleys, Palu and Pani’i, north of Palu. Alternate names: Pipikoro, Koro, Oema. Dialects: Winatu (Northern Uma), Tobaku (Western Uma, Dompa, Ompa), Tolee’ (Eastern Uma), Kantewu (Central Uma), Southern Uma (Aria), Benggaulu (Bingkolu), Bana. Literature exists in Kantewu dialect, but many would prefer to read their own dialect.
Unde Kaili 22.000 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Banawa, Palu and Tawaeli subdistricts; south Sulawesi, Pasangkayu subdistrict. Alternate names: Banava, Banawa. Dialects: Lole, Ganti.
The Kaili Unde people live in the northern area of Central Sulawesi. More precisely, they live in the districts of Palu and Banawa, which are located on the west coast. Some of the Kaili Unde also inhabit the southern part of Donggala and are spread throughout its coastal areas.
The Kaili Unde villages are small and comprised of houses on stilts. The coastal Kaili Unde are engaged in commercial clove production, as well as copra and palm plantations. A number earn their living as traders, and others as fishermen or sailors. Some Kaili Unde cultivate rice in unirrigated fields, and grow corn and sago. The family is very important to the Kaili Unde people. They give great honor and obedience to their parents and elders, especially those of advanced age. Decisions are always made by the family as a whole, and the parents give an increasing place of prominence to the eldest son as he becomes an adult. When a child reaches the age of 12, there is a ceremony called Nokeso or Noloso. This ceremony is very important because at this time the young person begins his or her adult life. The young person is then given the title Toniasa, which comes from the words tona (person) and nipaka asa (made an adult). Marriage arrangements are a mix of Islamic and traditional influences. The matchmaker will arrange a bride price according to the social status of the girl. Marriage between first cousins takes place among the Kaili Unde. Even though polygamy is allowed, it rarel

South East Sulawesi   24 Tribes

Central Sulawesi, Tribes


Bajau 154.000 Islam 

Sulawesi, tribe, bajau, suku

5,000 or more in North Maluku (Grimes 1982), 8,000 to 10,000 in South Sulawesi (Grimes 1987), 7,000 in North Sulawesi and Gorontalo, 36,000 in Central Sulawesi, 40,000 in Southeast Sulawesi (Mead and Lee 2007), and several thousand in Nusa Tenggara (Wurm and Hattori 1981, Verhiejen 1986). North Maluku on Bacan, Obi, Kayoa and Sula Islands; South Sulawesi, Selayar, Bone, and Sinjai districts; Gorontalo Province, Popayato and Tilamuta subdistricts; North Sulawesi, Wori, Tumpaan and Belang subdistricts. Widespread throughout Central and Southeast Sulawesi and islands of the East Sunda Sea. Alternate names: Badjaw, Badjo, Bajao, Bajo, Bayo, Gaj, Luaan, Lutaos, Lutayaos, Orang Laut, Sama, Turije’ne’. Dialects: Jampea, Same’, Matalaang, Sulamu, Kajoa, Roti, Jaya Bakti, Poso, Togian 1, Togian 2, Wallace.
The Bajau (also called the Bayo, Gaj, Luaan, or Lutaos) are a highly mobile maritime people group that is found throughout the coastal areas of Sulawesi, Maluku, Kalimantan, Sumatera, and East Nusa Tenggara. Their high mobility led to outsiders calling them ‘sea gypsies.’ In eastern Indonesia, the largest numbers of Bajau are found on the islands and in the coastal districts of Sulawesi. Their everyday language is the Bajau language, which is a branch of the Melayu (Malay) language cluster.
While some Bajau have begun to live on land, many Bajau are still boat dwellers. Among the Bajau boat dwellers, local communities consist of scattered moorage groups made up of families whose members regularly return, between intervals of fishing, to a common anchorage site. Two to six families will group together in an alliance to regularly fish and anchor together, often sharing food and pooling labor, nets, and other gear. The boats that are used as family dwellings vary in size and construction. In Indonesia and Malaysia, boats average 10 meters in length with a beam of about 2 meters. They are plank constructed with solid keel and bow sections. All are equipped with a roofed living area made of poles and kajang matting and a portable earthenware hearth, usually carried near the stern, used for preparing family meals. The marine life exploited by the Bajau fishermen is diverse, including over 200 species of fish. Fishing activity varies with the tides, monsoonal and local winds, currents, migrations of pelagic fish, and the monthly lunar cycle. During moonless nights, fishing is often done with lanterns, using spears and handlines. Today, fishing is primarily for market sale. Most fish are preserved by salting or drying. The boat-dwelling Bajau see themselves (in contrast to their neighbors), as non-aggressive people who prefer flight to physical confrontation. As a consequence, the politically dominant groups of the region have historically viewed the Bajau with disdain as timid, unreliable subjects.
The Bajau are Sunni Muslims of the Shafi’i school.
Bugis  3.500.000 Islam
Western coast of southeast Sulawesi in Kolaka, Wundulako, Rumbia, and Poleang districts. Also in major towns of Sulawesi. Large enclaves also in other provinces of Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku, Papua, and Sumatra; coastal swamp areas such as Bulukumba, Luwu, Polewali in Polmas, Pasangkayu in Mamuju districts. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Boegineesche, Boeginezen, Bugi, Buginese, De’, Rappang Buginese, Ugi. Dialects: Bone (Palakka, Dua Boccoe, Mare), Pangkep (Pangkajene), Camba, Sidrap (Sidenrang, Pinrang Utara, Alitta), Pasangkayu (Ugi Riawa), Sinjai (Enna, Palattae, Bulukumba), Soppeng (Kessi), Wajo, Barru (Pare-Pare, Nepo, Soppeng Riaja, Tompo, Tanete), Sawitto (Pinrang), Luwu (Luwu’, Bua Ponrang, Wara, Malangke-Ussu). Bone or Soppeng dialects are central.
The Bugis (sometimes called the Ugi) live in the province of South Sulawesi. The Bugis region is called Tellumponcoe, and it consists of the regencies of Bone, Wajo, and Soppeng. There are also Bugis people settled throughout the regencies of Luwu, Sidenneng, Polmas, Pinrang, Pare-pare, Barru, Pangkajene, Maros, Bulukumba, and Sinjai. The Bugis are a dynamic and highly mobile people, considered by many to be the dominant people group in South Sulawesi. Many Bugis have left their home area to seek success and wealth. In particular, they have migrated to Sumbawa, Jawa, Papua, and even Malaysia. Their Ugi language is divided into several dialects, namely Luwu, Wajo, Bira Selayar, Palaka, Sindenneng and Sawito.Most Bugis make their living by hunting, fishing, farming, raising livestock or making handicrafts. Typically, the Bugis who live in the mountain ranges gain their livelihood by working the soil, while those living in the coastal areas generally work as fishermen. The Bugis traditional dress is called Wajo Ponco, which is believed to have originated from Melayu (Malay) dress. Currently, the dress is only used for traditional ceremonies and dances. The Bugis believe very strongly that certain days are good days, with good fortune for events and activities held on the first Wednesday and last Thursday of each month. Conversely, they consider Saturday to be a bad day, with misfortune more likely to happen on this day. In Bugis tradition there are different levels of social status that are based upon one’s ancestors. These different levels include descendants of a king, descendants of nobles (La Patau), descendants of district administrators (Aru Lili) and descendants of various kinds of slaves. Two of the most important cultural values for the Bugis people are called siri (personal honor) and siri-pesse (communal honor). A Bugis person must defend, maintain, and build one’s own siri. The effort to obtain and maintain siri varies according to the context. For instance, in an economic context, siri means working hard and being faithful. In a personal context, if a person’s siri is offended serious forms of revenge will be considered. Islam reinforced the traditional Bugis concept of siri in such a way that today the typical Bugis person sees siri as the key to his or her self-identity as a Bugis Muslim. The Bugis line of descent is bilateral (traced through both parents). After marriage the newlyweds may choose to live near either the husband’s or wife’s family, although initially, they live at least briefly near the wife’s family.
The Bugis people are famous for their fervent adherence to Sunni Islam.
Bunku 24.000 Islam
100 Routa, 16,400 Bungku, 2,500 Torete, 1,000 Tulambatu, 800 Landawe, 650 Waia. Central Sulawesi, Bungku Utara, Bungku Tengah, and Bungku Selatan subdistricts, along east coast; 45 villages or parts of villages. Tulambatu in northern Southeast Sulawesi, Konawe District, Asera, Soropia, and Lasolo subdistricts, with difficult access. Alternate names: “Nahina”. Dialects: Bungku, Routa, Tulambatu, Torete (To Rete), Landawe, Waia. Lexical similarity: 81% with Torete, Waia, Tulambatu, and Landawe dialects, 38% with Pamona dialects [pmf], 88%, with Landawe dialect, 84% with Waia dialect, 82% with Torete dialect, 74% with Wawonii [wow], 66% with Taloki [tlk], Kulisusu [vkl], and Koroni [xkq], 65% with Moronene [mqn], 54% with the Mori and Tolaki groups, 82% with the Routa dialect.
The Bungku people (also called “To Bungku”) live in the districts of North Bungku, Central Bungku, South Bungku, and Merui, in the Poso Regency of Central Sulawesi Province. They are also found in several other areas of Sulawesi. The Bungku people are further divided into subgroups such as Lambatu, Epe, Rete, and Ro’Uta. The language used by the Bungku people is Bungku (often called Bungku Laki, or Male Bungku), which is of the same group with various Filipino languages. This language can be divided into several dialects, such as Taa, Merui and Lalaeo. The immigrant communities in this area use their own language, such as the Bugis, Bajo and Jawa languages. Many marriages take place between the Bungku people and the immigrant peoples, hence the relationship between the groups is relatively good in this region. In the past, Bungku people lived in remote inland areas and had little contact with outsiders. With the building of the Trans-Sulawesi highway, they have become more open to outsiders. Although they are inhabitants of Southeast Sulawesi, their culture is greatly influenced by the Bugis culture. According to history, some of the Bungku ancestors were a group of Bugis who migrated to the area.
The Bungku make their living as farmers. They grow rice, corn and sweet potatoes as their primary crops, and coconuts and sago palms as secondary crops. The Bungku also harvest resin and rattan that grow in the thick jungles that still exist in their area. Their land is typically less fertile than other areas of Southeast Sulawesi. Formerly, Bungku communities were segregated into three classes. The heads of the village formed the elite group. The common people formed the middle group. The slaves were the final and lowest group.
The majority of the Bungku people have embraced Islam.
Busoa 2.600 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, southwest coast of Buton island, Batauga subdistrict, Busoa and Laompo villages. Alternate names: Bosoa. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 84% with Kambe-Kambero (probably a dialect of Kaimbulawa [zka]), 70%–79% with Muna dialects, 71% with Muna [mnb], 76% with Lantoi [zka].
Cia-Cia 83.000 Islam
The Cia-Cia, more commonly known as the South Butonese, are located on the southern tip of Buton Island, to the southeast of Sulawesi. They are close neighbors to the Wolio (also known as the Butonese) and to the Muna. Their language, Cia-Cia, is a member of the Austronesian language family and is closely related to Wolio.The Butonese, or Wolio, live in the area which was formerly known as the sultanate of Buton. Around the fifteenth century, immigrants from Johore established the kingdom of Buton, with a king, or raja, as the ruler. The sixth raja converted to Islam in 1540, making him the first sultan and his kingdom, a sultanate. 

The sultanate of Buton remained independent until the death of the last sultan in 1960. At that time, the sultanate was dissolved and finally integrated with the nation of Indonesia. This union, however, resulted in a loss of tradition for the Butonese.
The Cia-Cia base much of their livelihood on agriculture, since the soil of the islands is very fertile. The main crops grown are corn, dry rice, and cassava. Many Cia-Cia are also fishermen or boat builders. However, since economic opportunities are lacking, many sail to faraway islands to earn money in commercial enterprise or labor. Some of these never return. Today, people of Butonese origin live throughout eastern Indonesia.

Seafaring is considered men’s work, along with ironworking, boat building, brass and silver manufacturing, and most of cultivating the fields. Pottery, weaving, the preparation of meals, domestic work, and the management of the family’s money are the women’s primary responsibilities.

Cia-Cia houses are raised above ground and built of sturdy planks. The roofs are made of small planks, palm leaves, or iron, and the houses have only a few windows. Most villages have markets where woven silk, cotton, and other fabrics are traded. Many villages also have small stores and peddlers selling various items from their carts.

Today, most Cia-Cia marriages are monogamous (having one spouse). Although parents are involved in the arrangement of the marriages, the young people are free to choose their partners. After marriage, the couple lives with the bride’s family until the husband can build his own house. Infants are reared by both father and mother alike.

Education is highly valued for both boys and girls in Butonese society. This emphasis on education has caused their literary art to flourish, resulting in the writing of books and long poems which have become a part of Butonese culture. Foreign language study is also encouraged, and many Butonese are improving their positions in society.
Islam was first accepted by the Butonese nobility. They shared their religious knowledge with the commoners, but they did so in a limited way, keeping the villagers dependent upon them. Today, 95% of the Cia-Cia are Muslim, but the belief in various supernatural beings plays a role in village life. Such beings include guardian spirits, harvest spirits, evil spirits who cause illness, and helpful spirits who give guidance. Ancestral spirits are thought to help their living relatives or cause illnesses, depending on the behavior of the relatives. The Cia-Cia also consider nature to be the material form of God’s creation and, therefore, glorify it.

Kamaru 3.700 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, southeast Buton Island. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 68% with Lasalimu [llm], 67% with Wolio [wlo], 54% with Cia-Cia [cia], 51% with Pancana [pnp], 49% with Tukang Besi [khc], 45% with Muna [mnb]
Kioko 1.200 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, Kulisusu subdistrict, Buton Island. Dialects: Kioko, Kambowa. Possibly dialect of the Pancana [pnp] language. Lexical similarity: 82% with Kambowa dialect, 81% with Laompo dialect of Muna [mnb], 74% with Muna, 75% with Liabuku [lix] and Busoa [bup].
Kodeoha 1.900 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, North Kolaka District, Lasusua subdistrict, Kolaka west coast. 4 villages. Alternate names: Kondeha. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 75% with Rahambuu [raz]; 70% with Tolaki [lbw], Mekongga, and Waru [wru]; 54% with the several Mori and Bungku [bkz] groups.
Kulisusu 26.000 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, Kulisusu and Bonegunu subdistricts, northeast corner of Buton Island. Alternate names: Kalisusu, Kolensusu, Kolinsusu. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 81% between dialects, 77% with Taloki [lbw], 75% with Koroni [xkq], 66% with Wawonii [wow] and Bungku [bkz] group, 65% with Moronene [mqn], 54% with the Mori languages and Tolaki.
The Kulisusu of Indonesia are located in northeastern Buton Island, which is to the southeast of Sulawesi. Of the estimated 25,000 Kulisusu speakers, a majority live on the narrow hilly peninsula which juts southward separating the Koro Bay on the west from the Banda Sea on the east, an area approximately 5 km in breadth and 20 km in length. Pressures created by an expanding population are currently being eased by the availability of new land, (virgin forest) both north along the coast, as well as in the mountains and foothills surrounding the Koro Bay. This land is also valued by the national government as a site for locating transmigrants from the more populous islands of Indonesia.Although little has been written about the Kulisusu, we do know they have been settled in their present location for at least the past 400 years. While they have apparently always been a small people group, they enjoyed a period of independence in the early 17thcentury until their capital town was sacked by forces from Ternate (in Maluku Islands). It was probably then, or shortly after, that Islam was introduced. Thereafter, because of the continuing threat from Ternate, the Kulisusu found it best to ally themselves as a vassal state under the neighboring Wolio people, whose sultans ruled from the southern part of Buton island.
Most Kulisusu families have their own farmlands and work together in cultivating the lands. They primarily cultivate cassava, corn, and rice, along with assorted vegetables and fruits. In addition to personal consumption, produce is also sold in the markets, and the Kulisusu are known for having low prices. Some Kulisusu are also traders who travel to many other islands in and around Indonesia or work on merchant ships. Kulisusu who have become governmental employees are respected because of their prestige, high salary, and the opportunities they get to improve their lives. Those who work in fields other than farming are generally better off and more successful. Because of the strong extended families of the Kulisusu, each adult who is working will share at least a part of his or her salary with the larger family. Honesty and hard work are valued. The level of crime is extremely low.
Kulisusu people are followers of Islam.
Lasalimu 1.900 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, Southeast Buton Island, Lasalimu subdistrict. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 68% with Kamaru [kgx], 64% with Cia-Cia [cia], 57% with Tukang Besi, 51% with Pancana [pnp], 50% with Wolio [wlo] and Muna [mnb].
Liabuku 1.200 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, Bungi subdistrict, south Buton Island, part of Liabuku village north of Bau-Bau. Dialects: Quite divergent from other Muna varieties. Lexical similarity: 82% with the Burukene dialect of Muna [mnb], 72%–76% with other Muna dialects, 72% with Muna, 75% with Kioko [ues].
Moronene 41.000 Islam
5% are monolingual. 23,000 in Moronene, 14,000 in Tokotu’a. Includes about 3,500 now living in cities. Second or third generations in cities no longer speak Moronene. Southeast Sulawesi, Bombana District. Tokotu’a on Kabaena Island; Wita Ea on the mainland portion of Bombana District opposite Kabaena, with Rumbia subdialect in Rumbia subdistrict, and Poleang subdialect in Poleang, Poleang Timur, and Watubangga subdistrict of Kolaka District. Alternate names: Maronene, “Nahina”. Dialects: Wita Ea (Rumbia, Poleang), Tokotu’a (Kabaena). Lexical similarity: 80 % of Wita Ea dialect 80% with Tokotu’a dialect; 68% with Menui dialect of Wawonii [wow], 66% with Kulisusu [vkl], 65% with Taloki [tlk], Koroni [xkq], Tulambatu dialect of Bungku [bkz], 64% with Bungku [bkz], and 57% with Tolaki [lbw].
Sulawesi is an island with a coastline of about 3,500 miles. It consists mainly of four peninsulas separated by deep gulfs, with two of the peninsulas extending southward and two, northeastward. On the southern part of the island is one of Sulawesi’s highest points, Mount Lompobatang, an extinct volcano reaching a height of 9,419 feet. Although the climate of the area is tropical, it is somewhat modified by elevation and the closeness of the sea.For the Maronene, maize grown in swiddens (land cleared by the “slash and burn” method of farming) is the staple crop, but sweet potatoes, sugarcane, vegetables, tobacco, and coffee are also grown. Scattered among the clearings are their homes, which are usually built on stilts. They are generally made of woven grasses and have very high roofs. 

Distinct social classes are still quite pronounced for most of the people groups in Sulawesi, with a higher noble class, a lower noble class, and a class of commoners. Each class usually has its own code of behavior, along with various customs and traditions. A region is typically divided into village territories, and rights to land use are administered by the village council. However, the council retains ultimate ownership of all the land.

Maronene marriage customs require payments to the girl’s family at the time of engagement and again at the wedding. The amount of the bride-price depends on the social rank of the young man. Prior to marriage, the groom is required to serve a probationary period with his prospective parents-in-law. To avoid this requirement, many young couples choose to elope. In the past, slaves and their descendants were not permitted to marry each other, though they could live together. Also, noble women did not marry commoners. Polygyny (having more than one wife) was common among some of the aristocracy, but is rarely found today.

Presently, Indonesia has more than eight million farmers who do not own land. To those willing to move from overcrowded areas to less developed islands, the government offers free land, housing, and other assistance.
Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia today and is practiced by a majority of the population.

Muna  298.000 Islam
Off southwest Sulawesi, Muna Island, northwest coast of Buton Island; Central Maluku, Ambon. Dialects: Standard Muna (Northern Muna), Tiworo (Eastern Muna), Gu, Lakudo, Mawasangka, Kadatua, Siompu, Katobengke, Burukene, Laompo, Kapontori. Subvarieties of Standard Muna are: Tungkuno, Kabawo, Lawa, Katobu, Tobea Besar; of Gulamas are: Gu, Mawasangka, Lakudo, Wale-Ale, Lawama, Kadatua, Lowu-Lowu, Kalia-Lia, Katobengke, Topa, Salaa, Lawela, Laompo, Burukene. Lexical similarity: 71% with Pancana [pnp], 62% with Cia-Cia [cia], 52% with Wolio [wlo], 50% with Lasalimu [llm], 47% with Tukang Besi [khc] or [bhq], 45% with Kamaru [kgx].
The Muna people (also called Mendo-Wuna) live in Southeast Sulawesi Province on the larger islands of Muna and Buton, and the smaller islands of Kadatua, Siompu, Bangkomalape, and Tiworo. Muna Island is separated from Buton Island by a strait stretching from north to south. According to tradition, the word muna, was taken from the name of a hill with a “flowering rock”. Today, this place, Bahutara, has become a tourist attraction. Meanwhile, the word wuna means flower in the Muna language.The Muna people are grouped into several sub-groups such as Ghoera, Siompu, Kaobengke, Lakudo, and Kadatua. Each group speaks the Muna language with a different dialect. The Muna dialect is used in the north, the Gumas dialect is used in the south, and the Tiworo dialect is used in the east. Muna language recognizes social levels, depending upon which person is being addressed. Muna language is similar to Buton language.
The Muna people make their living as farmers, with their primary crops being corn and rice. Other crops include sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and various kinds of spices. Part of their commerce comes from marketing the products of the jungle such as wood and rattan. The pokadulu custom (mutual assistance) influences various activities in the Muna community, as groups of people will gather to do large projects such as clearing, planting and harvesting fields.The Muna people usually live in the interior of the islands, rather than in the coastal regions. They live together in kinship groups, which are called Tombu. These groups form communities in the larger settlement. The locations of these communities are far apart, and contact is limited due to many natural barriers such as valleys, mountains and rivers. The lineage of descent of the Muna is patrilineal (tracing descent from the father). In Muna marriages, the groom pays a bride price to her family. This price is determined by the groom’s social status in the community; the higher his status, the higher the price. Before the marriage, the future husband must undergo a trial period by his future in-laws. However, this requirement is the main cause of many elopements.In the past, servants were not permitted to marry each other, but were permitted to live together. Women of the noble class also were not permitted to marry men from other social classes. Polygamy became popular among the nobility, but is rarely practiced anymore.
The majority of Muna people follow Sunni Islam.
Rahambuu 6.200 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, North Kolaka District, Pakue subdistrict, west coast north of the Kodeoha. Alternate names: Wiau, Wiaoe, “Noihe”. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 87% between dialects, 75% with Kodeoha [vko], 70% with Tolaki [lbw], Mekongga dialect of Tolaki [lbw], and Waru [wru]; 54% with Mori [mzq] or [xmz] and Bungku [bkz] groups.
Taloki 600 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, northwest coast Buton Island, Wakorumba subdistrict, Maligano village; possibly south Buton Island, Kapontori subdistrict, Wakalambe village. Alternate names: Taluki. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 77% with Kulisusu [vkl]; 75% with Koroni [xkq]; 66% with Wawonii [wow], Bungku [bkz], Tulambatu dialect of Bungku [bkz]; 65% with Moronene [mqn].
Tolaki 800 Islam
650 Asera, fewer than 100 Wiwirano, 200 Laiwui. Southeast Sulawesi, Konawe, South Konawe, Kolaka and North Kolaka districts. Mekongga in Mekongga Mountains, near west edge Soroako. Alternate names: Tololaki, To’olaki, Lolaki, Laki, Tokia. Dialects: Wiwirano (“Nohina” ), Asera (Asera Wanua, “Noie” ), Konawe (Kendari, “Tambuoki” , “Kioki” ), Mekongga (Kolaka, Bingkokak, “Norio” , “Tamboki” , “Konio” ), Laiwui. Lexical similarity: 88% between Wiwirano and Asera dialects, 84% with Konawe, 85% with Mekongga, 81% with Laiwui, 78% with Waru, 70% with Rahambuu and Kodeoha, 54% with the Mori and Bungku groups. Mekongga has 86% with Konawe, 80% with Laiwui.
Tomadino 800 Islam
Central Sulawesi, Bungku Tengah subdistrict, Sakita village on east coast, outskirts of Bungku town. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 71% with Bahonsuai [bsu], 68% with Mori Atas [mzq], Mori Bawah [xmz], and Padoe [pdo].
Tukang Besi North 130.000 Islam
The Tukangbesi Utara (North Tukangbesi) people can be found in the northernmost two islands of the four Tukangbesi islands in Southeast Sulawesi Province. They are neighbors with the Wolio (Buton) and Muna people. The Tukangbesi Utara people speak the Tukangbesi language, which is closely related to Cia-Cia. Available information shows that their culture is virtually the same as the Tukangbesi Selatan, but they claim a separate identity for reasons not yet clear to researchers.The Tukangbesi language is most commonly spoken in the Binongko and Tomea dialects. Education is emphasized for boys and girls alike. They have a tradition of literary skill, and this is displayed in culturally important books and long poems. At the beginning of 15th century, migrants from Johor, in what is now Malaysia, established the kingdom of Buton. This kingdom included the Tukangbesi Islands and was ruled by a raja (king). In 1540, the sixth raja converted to Islam, making him the first sultan. His sultanate lasted until the death of the last sultan in 1960 lead to integration with the nation of Indonesia.
The Tukangbesi Utara base much of their livelihood on agriculture, since the soil of the islands is very fertile. The main crops grown are corn, dry rice, and cassava. Many Tukangbesi Utara are also fishermen or boat-builders. However, since economic opportunities are lacking, many sail to other locations. Some of these never return, and people of Tukangbesi Utara origin live throughout much of eastern Indonesia. Seafaring is considered men’s work, along with ironworking, boat building, brass and silver manufacturing, and most work in the fields. Pottery, weaving, preparing meals, cleaning, and managing the family’s money are the women’s primary jobs. Tukangbesi Utara houses are raised above ground and built of sturdy planks. The roofs are made of small planks, palm leaves, or iron, and the houses have only a few small windows. Most villages have markets where woven silk, cotton, and other fabrics are traded. Although parents are involved in the arrangement of marriages, the young people are free to choose their partners. After marriage, the couple lives with the bride’s family until the husband can build his own house. Both spouses are actively involved in caring for their children.
Most Tukangbesi Utara people are Muslims,
Tukang Besi South 156.000 Islam
100,000 in Maluku. Tukang Besi archipelago south islands, Binongko and Tomea islands off Sutheast Sulawesi; Maluku, Taliabu, Mongole, Sulabesi, Buru, Seram, Ambon, and Alor islands. Bonerate dialect in Bonerate, Madu, Kalaotoa, and Karompa islands in Selayar District, South Sulawesi; numerous settlements throughout western Papua. Alternate names: Buton, Tukang-Besi, Wakatobi. Dialects: Binongko, Bonerate, Tomea (Tomia). Lexical similarity: 70%–75% with Tukang Besi North [khc], 48% with Cia-Cia [cia], 49% with Lasalimu [llm], average of 35% with other nearby languages. Lexical similarity 85% between Binongko and Tomea, 81% with Bonerate, 79% between Tomea and Bonerate.
Waru 400 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, Konawe District, Asera subdistrict, Mopute village by Lindu River. Alternate names: Mapute, Mopute. Dialects: Waru, Lalomerui. Lexical similarity: 86% between the Waru and Lalomerui dialects, 79% with Tolaki [lbw] dialects and Mekongga (dial Tolaki [lbw]), 70% with Rahambuu [raz] and Kodeoha [vko], 54% with the Mori [mzq] or [xmz] and Bungku [bkz] groups.
Wawoni 28.000 Islam 

Sulawesi, tribe, wolio, suku

14,000 Wawonii, 7,500 Menui. Southeast Sulawesi, Wawonii and Menui islands near Kendari. Alternate names: Wowonii. Dialects: Wawonii, Menui. Lexical similarity: 75% with Bungku [bkz] and Tulambatu dialect of Bungku [bkz], 66% with Taloki [lbw], Kulisusu [vkl], and Koroni [xkq], 65% with Moronene [mqn].
The Wawonii can be found on the island of Wawoni, which is located off the southeastern coast of the major island of Sulawesi. Their language, which they call Wawonii is related to the Bungku and Tulambatu languages. Although there is not as much information currently available about the Wawonii as there is on some other people groups, that which is available shows a way of life similar to their better known neighbors, the Bingkoka, the Pancana, and the Muna. All of these groups once belonged to the sultanate of Butung (the island of Buton was once known as Butung). The sultanate included Butung, Muna, Kabaena, and other small islands. The Sultan of Butung ruled the Wawonii through a hierarchy of advisors and officials. Local chiefs, who were selected from the families of their predecessors, lived in the capital. The Wawonii were under Dutch rule from 1910 until 1949 at which time they became part of the newly independent Indonesian nation.
The Wawonii’s primary way of making a living is by growing corn. Crops other than corn include sweet potatoes, sugar cane, various vegetables, tobacco, and coffee. New fields are opened by the “slash and burn” technique of cutting down trees and burning the underbrush. The Wawonii are forced to move each time their fields become infertile, because their farming techniques cause infertility in their current fields.Their houses are spread throughout the new areas they clear out of the jungle. Houses are built on stilts, and their very high roofs are made of woven thatch. Most people groups in Sulawesi are still familiar with different social classes in their social systems. The Wawonii use the typical groupings of nobility, middle class, and common people. Usually, each respective class has its own customs, in addition to different traditions and habits. The privilege of owning land is decided by the community advisory committee, which has unconditional authority over all the land.The lineage of descent of the Wawonii is patrilineal (tracing descent from the father). In Wawonii marriages, the groom pays a bride price to her family. This price is determined by the groom’s social status in the community; the higher his status, the higher the price. Before the marriage, the future husband must undergo a trial period by his future in-laws. However, this requirement is the main cause of many elopements.
Almost all Wawonii people practice Sunni Islam.
Wolio 66.000 Islam
Southeast Sulawesi, southwest Buton Island, Bau-Bau. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Baubau. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 61% with Cia-Cia [cia], 60% with Masiri dialect of Cia-Cia [cia] and Lantoi dialect of Kaimbulawa [zka].
The Wolio people (also called the Baubau, Buton, or Butung) live in Indonesia and Malaysia. In Indonesia they live on the small islands of Buton, Muna, and Kabaena, located in the Southeast Sulawesi Province. Their ancestors were immigrants from Johor, Malaysia at the beginning of 15th century, who also founded the Buton dynasty. In 1540 the sixth king became a follower of Islam. He reshaped the kingdom to become a sultanate, and set himself up as the first sultan. The sultanate of Buton lasted until the death of the last sultan in 1960. With his death, the Buton sultanate ended and thus its traditions have been lost. Buton today is known for its production of asphalt. Many people have moved to other islands to find work. At the present time, many Wolio people live in the areas of Maluku and Papua. They speak the Wolio language, which is from the Buton-Muna group of languages in their daily life conversation. Other than that, the Arabic language is also understood by some, especially in religious writings and older written materials.
In each of their villages there usually is a market for the selling of materials related to cloth products, such as silk, cotton, and others. Many villages also have small stores, and peddlers also can be seen selling their wares throughout the village. Wolio people primarily live as farmers because their land is very fertile. Primary crops are rice, corn, and cassava. Many people also work as sailors or shipbuilders. The water around Buton and Muna is also filled with fish, especially tuna and “yellow tail” fish.The Wolio houses are built using boards, with small windows added. The roofs are built with small boards and coconut leaves. These houses are raised up to two meters above the ground. In the Wolio community, the men are mainly involved in labor outside the home, while the wife works in the home and manages the family and their finances. Marriage relationships in Buton are monogamous. Newly married couples live in the bride’s parents’ house until the man is able to build their own house. Both parents share the responsibility of raising their children. The Wolio people place a great priority on education. Good education for their children has been a high priority. This, added to their willingness to study foreign languages, has resulted in noticeable social advancement.
Almost all Wolio people have beliefs centered in Sufi Islam.
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