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    The Cia-Cia, more commonly known as the South Butonese, are located on the southern tip of Buton Island, to the southeast of Sulawesi. Numbering a little more than 17,000, 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. Sufism (a mystic form of Islam) also exists among the Cia-Cia. Sufis believe that meditation may result in a vision of Allah. A Sufi expert is someone who believes he or she has acquired a special inner knowledge direct from Allah. Also, as a result of lingering Hindu beliefs, many still believe in reincarnation.

    Source: Joshua Project