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    KULISUSU

     
    The Kulisusu of Indonesia are located in northeastern Butung Island, just southeast of the major island of Sulawesi. Although the history of the Kulisusu remains largely unknown, it is known that they have lived in their present location for at least 400 years. Although always a small people group, they enjoyed a period of independence in the early seventeenth century until their capital town was sacked by forces from Ternate, in the Molucca Islands. It was probably around that time that Islam was introduced. Because of the continuing threat from Ternate, the Kulisusu found it best to ally themselves as a servant state under Butung, whose sultans ruled from the southern part of the island. Most Kulisusu families own small garden plots, raising crops to supply household needs. Cassava is the chief staple; corn and rice are important crops as well. Gardens and groves also produce a variety of vegetables and fruits. Surplus items are sold in local markets, although profits are usually low. The Kulisusu are predominantly farmers; but because of their coastal location, fishing is also a daily activity for many households. Some men sail their own small vessels to trade in places as far west as Singapore, while others hire on as crew members on ocean-going cargo ships. Government jobs are prized for their prestige, higher salaries, and employee benefits. Such jobs allow workers to attain a higher standard of living and to purchase the choicest garden plots. These earnings, plus the new money brought in by harvesting and exporting rattan (a type of palm), have created a wealthy minority, to which the agricultural majority of the Kulisusu have little hope of attaining. The majority of the Kulisusu live on a narrow, hilly peninsula about five kilometers wide and twenty kilometers long. The population is growing rapidly. As a result, some of the Kulisusu have moved off the peninsula, to the north. This land is also valued by the Indonesian government as a site for locating migrants from the overcrowded islands of Indonesia. The Kulisusu are an honest, hard-working people. Family ties are strong; wage labor is rare; honesty is valued; and crime is minimal or non-existent. The Kulisusu are 95% Muslim. This is exhibited outwardly in various practices such as circumcision, attending mosque, and fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. However, their beliefs in Allah and the Koran do not keep them from various shamanistic practices. (Shamanism is the belief that there is an unseen world of gods, demons, and spirits.) They depend on shamans (priests or priestesses) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events. The Kulisusu hold various feasts to appease the spirits.
     

    Source: Joshua Project