Bengkulu, 8 Tribes, Map
|Bengkulu Tribe 65.000 Islam|
|The Bengkulu people live in the city of Bengkulu, the capital of the province of Bengkulu in the southwestern portion of the island of Sumatera. More of the Bengkulu people live in the city than in villages. The Bengkulu people are descended from the union of multiple peoples who have migrated to the area, including the Melayu (Malay), Minangkabau, Aceh, Bugis, Banten and Jawa (Java) peoples. The Bengkulu language is a branch of the Melayu language cluster. Currently, newcomers from other Indonesian people groups live among them, such as the Minangkabau, Bugis and Jawa. Historically, they identified themselves as orang Bangkahulu since the term testifies to a great military victory in which they successfully expelled a superior military force of Aceh invaders.|
The Bengkulu people’s income is based primarily on fishing. They also work as shopkeepers, ship builders, mechanics, building contractors, and government employees as well as nearly every other urban profession.The Bengkulu lineage of descent is bilateral (traced through both parents). The most important family unit is the extended family (rumah tangga sebubungan). This unit consists of the parents and all of their children’s families. Brothers are called meghanai and sisters are called kelewai. Members of the extended family are responsible for the activities of the family, which makes them sepangka (bound together). Those bound by marriage relationships are tiang garang.Society is led by a council which is comprised of one respected leader (ninik mamak) from each extended family. Another influential group is called the menengkalak, which is made up of the clan’s intellectuals, wealthy individuals and high-ranking government officials. If there is conflict, they try to resolve it by seeking consensus through discussion. Typically, they live in painted wooden houses raised on stilts that have distinctive Bengkulu ornamentation. The staircase is in the front, and the vacant space under the house is usually enclosed. Their arts also are very similar to those found among other Melayu. For instance, they perform various Melayu art forms, such as Dendang Melayu singing, Randai dance, Tari Payung (Umbrella Dance), Tari Lilin (Candle Dance), Tari Piring (Plate Dance), and Tari Saputangan (Handkerchief Dance).
The majority of the Bengkulu people are Muslims. However, they still hold certain traditional ceremonies according to their ancient beliefs. These animistic ceremonies are focused on seeking protection through magic by either appeasing or controlling good and bad spirits. They have a traditional harvest festival called Tabot, which is held on the 1st through the 10th of Muharam (Islamic month) every year. This festival is held to honor the Sea Dragon so that their fisherman will not be harmed while at sea.
|Col 145.000 Islam|
|Interior south Sumatra, Lubuklinggau area and east of Bengkulu; Muaraklingi area, south, east, and north. Alternate names: Cul, Sindang. Dialects: Lembak Delapan, Sindang Kelingi, Beliti; Lubuk Linggau.|
|Kaur Tribe 60.000 Islam|
|The Kaur people are one of the original peoples of Bengkulu Province. They originated in Bintu|
han in the South Kaur District of South Bengkulu, but today, many live in the North Kaur District. Their district capital is the city of Bintuhan, through which the trans-Sumatera highway passes. They have a language of their own, classified as being part of the Melayu (Malay) language cluster. Kaur villages are mostly grouped along the banks of small rivers found in this area. The Kaur territory lies adjacent to that of the Serawai and Pasemah peoples. Geographically, the Kaur can be differentiated as two subgroups. Those living in the South Kaur District are usually called Bintuhan, and their dialect is greatly influenced by the Lampung people cluster. Those residing in the North Kaur District are influenced by the Pasemah people.
The main Kaur livelihood is rice cultivation. This area is also known for cloves and pepper production. Some of their side enterprises include livestock raising, fishing, and trading. The men work the fields while the women manage the households. Other major crops include peanuts, coffee, coconut, resin, rubber, rattan, sweet potatoes, and various types of fruit-especially banana, mango, pineapple, and many people’s favorite, durian. The Kaur live in tin-roofed homes with electricity is available. One distinction is that all the houses are painted blue and white. Traditional kitchen fires are usually used for cooking, and wells are located in the backyards. Also, chickens, ducks, and cattle typically roam freely. Gotong royong is a strong societal custom of cooperation and mutual help practiced by most Kaur. These values are evident in the assistance they offer each other during harvests.The Kaur are not permitted to marry someone from their own clan but may marry a Kaur person from another village. Marriages can take place only after the Perayaan Panen Padi (Rice Harvest Celebration). Generally, ages at the time of marriage are 20 years for the men and 15 or 16 years for the women. If the groom wishes his bride to come live with his family, he must pay the bride’s family a dowry. If the groom has to live with his bride’s family, her family is obligated to give only a commemorative gift to the groom’s family.The older Kaur generation has an average of 13 children per family, but with a current government-sponsored family-planning program, younger families typically have only three children on average.
The Kaur people have been of Sunni Syafi’i Muslims since the 17th century. Like other Melayu, the key intersection of their social and spiritual life is the sedekah, a communal meal held as a religious ritual to celebrate a birth, give thanks for a crop, request rainfall, commemorate a death, and ward off evil spirits. In every village there are at least one or two mosques. Generally, the children attend Islamic schools (madrasah).
|Lembak Tribe 174.000|
|The Lembak People live in the boundary area of the provinces of Bengkulu and South Sumatera. In Bengkulu they are located in the regencies of Rejang Lebong and North Bengkulu as well as in the city Bengkulu. In Bengkulu Province they call themselves “Sindang Kelingi” or “Lembak Sindang Merdeka” (meaning “Free”). The Lembak may have originated from the valley of the Musi-Rawas River in South Sumatera to the east of the city of Lubuklinggau. This area is currently occupied by the Lakitan people. The Lembak moved in the 16th century to secure freedom from their Palembang rulers. Outsiders often call them the Bulang (turban) people. The Lembak language is part of the Melayu (Malay) language cluster. The Lembak people have an indigenous script, called Surat Ulu (Letter of Beginning), which is similar to Rejang and Serawai scripts.|
The Lembak people’s main livelihood is cultivating rice in irrigated and unirrigated fields. Quite a few men work as rubber tappers on the many rubber plantations in the area. Others run small-scale brick-making factories in rural areas. The women help in the fields and manage the households.The Lembak family system is patriarchal and the lineage of descent is bilateral (traced through both parents). There are three post-marriage patterns for newlyweds. The first is to set up a new, separate household. The second is the bejojoh custom of living with the groom’s relatives. The third is the semendo custom of living with the bride’s relatives.Lembak homes are raised on stilts and have large rooms. Most homes have a stairway on the side. They typically have more furnishings than the homes of the neighboring Lintang and Rawas peoples. Electricity is available throughout the area, but their cooking fuel is kerosene or wood. The Lembak societal system resembles those of the Rejang and Serawai peoples. Villages join together to form a clan, which is lead by a pasirah (village chief). An official (mangku) and his deputy (penggawa) supervise kepemangkuan (clan districts). They are supported by religious experts, such as imam (Muslim prayer & ceremonial priest) and khatib (mosque preacher).Elements of the Lembak culture include: (among others) the Tari Piring (Plate Dance) and the Tari Pisau (Knife Dance). In addition, there is Dangdut music, which often combines a strong beat with Arabic rhythms and Islamic teachings. The young people are trained in singing, dancing, and Indonesian martial arts.
Most Lembak people today embrace Islam, although a large part of the community still adheres to animistic beliefs. Most believe in the power of unseen spirits inhabiting sacred places. The services of a dukun (shaman/healer/occultist) are often sought for many purposes, including healing the sick and exorcising evil spirits.
|Muko muko Tribe 65.000|
|The Muko-Muko people (also known as Muke-Muke) originate from the districts of North and South Muko-Muko, in the regency of North Bengkulu in southern Sumatera. Their area is located close to the southern border of West Sumatera, just west of Jambi province with the Indian Ocean to the south. Parts of the area are swampland or a brackish mix of fresh and salt water. There are many rivers, the largest of which is the Muko-Muko River. Currently, the Muko-Muko are not as isolated because the government has built a road from Bengkulu to Muko-Muko Rejang. In everyday communication, the Muko-Muko use their own language, which is a mixture of Melayu (Malay) with the Minang and Rejang languages.|
Most Muko-Muko people are farmers, fishermen, hunters, day laborers, traders and rattan handicraft makers. Their most distinctive handicraft is crafted flint. In addition, they have community farms, which produce rubber, cloves and coconut oil. Kinship is matrilineal, which means descent and property are passed down to the daughters in the family. This is due to the influence of the neighboring Minangkabau people. The Muko-Muko still use their traditional leadership system. Their villages are governed by a pasirah (village chief) and his assistants. The role of the pasirah is to safeguard stability and harmony according to their cultural customs, as well as to collect taxes and community fees. These community fees can be in the form of padi katulungan, which means working three days per year for the village chief or paying commensurate fees. Other fees are charged for marriage certificates, divorce certificates, peace treaties and paying for permission to court a young woman. The Muko-Muko use the term kaum for a group of families. The kaum is led by the chief (Kepala Kaum Agung) and his assistants (Kepala Kaum Kecil). There are five clans that are still growing: the Delapan clan from the center of their tribal area; the Berenam clan; the Empat Belas (“Seven Ancestors”) clan; the Lima Suku clan; and the Gersik Tunggul clan. The most famous aspect of the Muko-Muko culture is the Gandai Dance. This dance is a characteristic Melayu dance that has been influenced by Minangkabau dance styles. When they attend a cultural celebration, the men wear traditional clothes called teluk belanga, which is a black suit with a turban. The women wear a traditional blouse called betabur with a songket (gold-threaded cloth) sarong (wrap-around skirt).
Islam is the Muko-Muko’s majority religion, but there is a strong animistic influence in their faith and practice. These animistic beliefs are focused on seeking protection through magic by either appeasing or controlling good and bad spirits. They are afraid of the evil spirits of mothers who die in childbirth. They also venerate large trees, stones, the sources of rivers, and ancestral tombs.
|Pekal Tribe 43.000|
|The Pekal people live along the southwest-central shores and mountain slopes of the island of Sumatera, the fifth largest island in the world. They inhabit the Southern Muko-Muko District of the North Bengkulu region, specifically the Teramang River Basin. This region fringes the Indian Ocean on its southwest border while the Bukit Barisan Mountain range forms the northeastern border. The Pekal people are often called the Ketahun because some of them live in the district of Ketahun. The western link of the trans-Sumateran highway that connects Bengkulu to Padang now crosses the Pekal region in the area of Ipuh. The Pekal language is a branch of the Melayu (Malay) language cluster. It is the everyday language used by the Pekal people. The current form of the language has evolved from the original Melayu language with additional influence from the Minangkabau and Indonesian languages.|
The majority of the Pekal work as farmers and plantation workers during the rainy season but shift to fishing in the dry season. They use traditional, home-made devices and tools in their work. They raise coffee, rice, chocolate, tobacco, tapioca, spices, peanuts and various vegetables. Others work as teachers, government officers, soldiers, construction workers, basket weavers, brick makers and traders. The women also work in the rice fields and/or process dried fish and shrimp in special traditional woven containers. The traditional market is a cultural event involving many people. Sellers from the outside only come to trade once a week.The traditional Pekal houses are long and narrow and built on stilts. They have arranged their village communities into several clans, which are found all over the South Muko-Muko District. If a newcomer arrives who wants to live among the Pekal people, he will first be asked to cook a meal for the clan among whom he lives as well as several others living nearby. He will then formally be considered a part of their family and will be treated like all other Pekal without distinction for ethnicity, religion, education, or economic status. In the Pekal culture no person has rights that are greater than anyone else. Of course, the newcomer must fulfill customary and traditional obligations by participating in his/her duties as a Pekal family member.
Almost all the Pekal profess Islam. However, they also use traditional incantations to bring rain, exorcise evil spirits and clean the village from immorality. They have a tradition of giving social and material help to each other in the community. They feel compelled to help others because of their own strong feeling of indebtedness. Even though their income is usually barely sufficient, they willingly give help to people in need, victims of natural disasters, and financial support for the building of mosques.
|Rejang Tribe 737.000|
|The Rejang people primarily live in the province of Bengkulu, specifically in the Rejang Lebong Regency and a large portion of the North Bengkulu Regency. Most of the Rejang live on the cool mountain slopes of the Bukit Barisan mountain range. This area is still covered in thick jungle. The Rafflesia Flower (the world’s largest flower) as well as beautiful orchids grow wild throughout this area.The Rejang have their own language, Rejang, with four dialects: Kapahyang (Rejang Ho), Selupuh (Rejang Musai), Rejang Lebong and Rejang Pesisir.|
The main source of income for the Rejang is farming. Other means of income include raising livestock, logging, fishing, and working on rubber plantations. Some work in food processing plants or other factories. Others use traditional methods for mining coal, gold, silver, tin, zinc, platinum and lava. They live in stilt houses about 1.5-2 meters off the ground which have intricately carved horizontal beams, and ornamental colored panels decorating the outside. Rejang homes are made of wood with zinc roofs and usually have 3-4 rooms including a kitchen in the back. According to their custom, children are not allowed to live at home after they are married, even if their homes have plenty of rooms. The father is the head of the home and is responsible for his wife and children. His wife and children must help provide for family needs. In principle, it is forbidden for Rejang men to have more than one wife (even though they are Muslims).The Rejang village is called a marga. Each village is considered an administrative area, which is controlled by a traditional chief (ginde) who is sometimes helped by an assistant (penggao). According to Rejang custom, local government officials are also considered to be traditional leaders. In several areas, these leaders are called raja penghulu. However, another leader who is considered of even greater influence than these is the eldest man in the village. He is called the tua dusun or tuai kutai, and his role is defined as the mediator in village affairs as well as the oldest c
The majority of the Rejang profess Islam. However, animism is an integral part of their daily life and beliefs. For example, a spirit called masumai is believed to be able to take the form of either tiger or a man and is the most frightening of all creatures for the Rejang.They believe strongly in the unseen world and a wide variety of different spirits with names such as semat, sebei sebeken, orang bunian, and roh padi (spirit of the rice). They use magic for a great range of purposes: to harm enemies who are far away, to make ritual oaths in secret places (including grave yards), and to practice divination at holy shrines.
|Serawai Tribe 316.000|
|The Serawai people are a Melayu (Malay) people group that resides mainly in the following districts in the South Bengkulu Regency: Seluma, Pino, Talo, and Manna. Some Serawai people also live in the provincial capital, Bengkulu, and other cities in the province. They are among the poorest indigenous groups of interior Sumatera. To change their culture and adapt to modern life is difficult for them.Usually, Serawai people also call themselves Orang Selatan (People of the South), even though there are also Kaur and Pasemah people in this southern section of the province. The name Serawai comes from the word jawai meaning “fishing,” so that their name means “one who fishes” or “an angler.”The Serawai people live in separated villages and use the Serawai language, which consists of the Talo and Manna dialects.|
The rural Serawai people live in “platform homes” raised on stilts. The space below the house is used for storage or for keeping domesticated animals. Homes are wooden, with roofs of palm thatch (with leaves or inner-bark). The villages are generally compact groups of homes situated along the roadside or riverbanks. On the upper front of the houses there are often sun-shaped drawings symbolizing the light of God. By custom, a Serawai home may not be directly across from the house of a sibling. The ancestral lines are drawn from both sides of the family. Determining a couple’s residence after marriage depends on the formal agreement (kulo) between the families of the couple. The majority of Serawai people live as rice farmers. To irrigate the rice fields, they depend on rainfall or a nearby river. Other crops grown include coffee, cloves, pepper, sugar palm, coconut, rattan, rubber trees, and gardens for fruits and vegetables. In recent times, many have migrated north to find larger fields with better irrigation. When crop failure occurs, they try farming in a different area of the province. Serawai villages that raise fish have recently experienced rapid growth. Many Serawai people also work as traders, civil servants, teachers, members of the military, construction workers, and day laborers.
Generally speaking, the Serawai people are Muslims, but their everyday life is influenced by old beliefs. They fear ma’sumai, a ferocious tiger that can assume human form, first attracting and then slaying its victims. They also perform ceremonies related to their agrarian lifestyle. Before planting, the seed is washed in the mendundang ceremony, and the newly harvested rice stalks are bound together during the nuruni ceremony. These are performed to show that the rice plants are properly respected, so that the roh (spirit) of the rice plants will not leave their fields, thus preventing future prosperous harvests. At times, the farmers offer a goat at the ancient grave sites/shrines.