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The People of Sulawesi

The following is a list of Unreached People Groups on the island of Sulawesi (Celebes)



Who are the Bugis?

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, Soppeng and Wajo. The Bugis are a dynamic, highly mobile people. They are considered to be the dominant people group in South Sulawesi. Many Bugis have left their home area to seek success and wealth and have moved to Sumbawa, Java, Papua and even Malaysia. Their Ugi language has six dialects. The Bugis language is part of a larger … [Read more...]

Who are the Bolango?

Many believe the word Bolango is from the word balangon which means “sea.” The Bolango people are Gorontalo people who have wandered to an area in North Sulawesi province and intermarried with the Bolaang people who were native to that area. The resulting union between these two peoples also created a merger of languages and a mixing of cultures which resulted in something different than either the Bolaang or the Gorontalo originally had. Currently, the Bolango live in the border area between … [Read more...]

Who are the Moronene?

The Moronene are part of the Eastern branch of the Bungku Tolaki micro group which originated in Central Sulawesi. In many districts, they live together with the Bugis. Their language is part of the Eastern Bungku-Tolaki language group which also includes the Mori, Wawonii, Tolaki and Waru languages. What are their lives like? The Moronene area is known as the Negeri Dewi Padi (the land of the rice goddess). This name is based on a myth. It depicts the area as a place with agricultural … [Read more...]

Who are the Mamuju?

The Mamuju live in West Sulawesi, on the coast and the mountain slopes of the Mamuju regency. They speak Mamuju, which includes four dialects: Mamuju, Sumare-Rangas, Padang, and Sinyonyoi. The capital of West Sulawesi is Mamuju. It is a quickly developing area that was previously isolated and somewhat politically and religiously sensitive. What are their lives like? The livelihoods of the Mamuju come primarily from farming and fishing. They plant and harvest copra (dried coconut meat) and … [Read more...]

Who are the Enrekang?

The Enrekang are sometimes known as the Endekan or the East Endekan people. They live in the foothills of South Sulawesi. The Enrekang are part of a larger linguistic group called the Masenrempulu which also includes the Duri, Maiwa, and Malimpung. The Enrekang culture has been influenced by its more populous and more powerful neighbors, the Toraja and Bugis people. The Toraja and Bugis languages have influenced the Enrekang language. There are many similarities and a high degree of mutual … [Read more...]

Who are the Mandar?

The Mandar (or Andian) people live in the low coastal plains and mountains of the province of West Sulawesi. 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. They speak the language of Mandar, which has at least 5 dialects. The Mandar language is part of a larger language … [Read more...]

Who are the Muna?

The Muna people (also called Wuna) live in the province of Southeast Sulawesi on the larger islands of Muna and the west coast of Buton, and the smaller islands of Kadatua, Siompu, Bangkomalape, Tiworo, and Telaga. 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. The word wuna means “flower” in the Muna language. The Muna people are grouped into several sub-groups, but the largest … [Read more...]

Who are the Kulisusu?

The Kulisusu people live in the northeastern area of Buton Island, in the province of Southeast Sulawesi. The Kulisusu 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. Although little has been written about the Kulisusu, we know they have been in their present location for at least 400 years. While they have always been a small people group, they enjoyed a period … [Read more...]

Who are the Dondo?

The Dondo live in the Toli-Toli regency of Central Sulawesi. They tend to live in groups which are scattered over this entire area. Generally, they prefer to live by the riverbank in the jungle. These groups usually take the name of the rivers where they live. The Dondo people speak Dondo. According to the Dondo people themselves, this language is different from the Toli-Toli language. This occurred because the Dondo are separated from the Tomini area. The Dondo language is part of a larger … [Read more...]

Who are the Bajau?

The Bajau are a highly mobile maritime people group found throughout the coastal areas of most Indonesian islands. They can also be found in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and the Philippines. Their high mobility led outsiders to refer to them as “sea gypsies.” In Eastern Indonesia, the largest number of Bajau are found on the islands and in the coastal districts of Sulawesi. They speak the language of Bajau. The Bajau language is part of a larger language group called the Sama … [Read more...]