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    The 32,600 Maronene are located in the southeastern part of the island of Sulawesi, south of the Mekonga Mountains. Their language, which is called Moronene or Maronene, belongs to the Austronesian language family. Linguistically, the Maronene are closely related to the Tolaki. Little is known about the specific lifestyle and culture of the Maronene, but it is assumed that their way of life is very similar to that of their close neighbors, the Pancana, the Bingkokak, and the Muna. 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. Hinduism, widespread in the islands before the fourteenth century, is now practiced by only a small number of people, chiefly on the island of Bali. About 14% of Indonesians are Christians, primarily Protestant, and many Chinese follow Buddhist-Taoist teachings. Animism (belief that non-human objects have spirits) is followed by tribes in remote areas. Islam has been dominant since the 1600's, and the Maronene are virtually all Sunni Muslims. However, traditional beliefs are still very important to the Maronene, especially the belief in evil spirits.

    Source: Joshua Project