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    WAWONII

     
    The 23,100 Wawonii can be found on the tiny island of Wowoni, which is located off the southeastern coast of the major island of Sulawesi. Their language, which they call Wawonii, is a part of the Austronesian language family. Linguistically, the Wawonii are closely related to the Maronene. There is very little information concerning the specific lifestyle and culture of the Wawonii, but it is assumed that their way of life is similar to that of their close neighbors, the Bingkoka, the Pancana, and the Muna. For the Wawonii, maize grown in swiddens (land cleared by "slash and burn" agriculture) is the staple crop, but sweet potatoes, sugarcane, various 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 groups in Sulawesi, with a higher noble class, a lower noble class, and the 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. Wawonii 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, he is required to serve a probationary period with his prospective parents-in-law, and this requirement gives rise to a high degree of elopement. 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 no longer a common practice. Today, 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 much of the population. Hinduism, widespread in the archipelago before the fourteenth century, is now practiced by only a small number of people, chiefly on the island of Bali. About 13% of the country's total population are Christians, primarily Protestant, and many of the 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 Wawonii are practically all Sunni Muslims. However, traditional beliefs are still very important, especially belief in evil spirits.
     

    Source: Joshua Project