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The two prominent ethnic groups on the island are the Samawa who mainly reside in the West Sumbaw/ Sumbawa District (east) and the Mbojo who live in the Bima and Dompu District (west). These groups both share a belief in Islam, but are differentiated by their local languages, customs, and traditions. Despite the different religion and belief systems of this diverse population, they live side by side in mutual respect and harmony. In addition, there is evidence of past Hindu presence as well as the influence of Bugis people (from Makasar, Sulawesi) on the island. Furthermore, Sasak (from Lombok) and Balinese migrants have moved into West Sumbawa.
One third of the 4.2 million population living in NTB live on Sumbawa. The population density is <100/km2 which is only 15% of Lombok’s. The diversity of the people provides the region with a rich tapestry of dialect and diverse range of languages, traditional dance, music and rituals.
There are some villages with a significant Hindu cultural influence in the West Sumbawa / Sumbawa District, and family temples can be seen from the road between Poto Tano and Jereweh, and near Utan Rhee. As such, there are opportunities to see Hindu ceremonies being conducted there. A village near Tongo, east of Sekongkang has a significant Hindu community as well. A significant new area for vegetable cultivation can be found at Sekongkang. Here the produce targets the large population of newcomers to Maluk and Newmont townsite. They are available in the local markets. Also the area around Jereweh is involved in producing vegetables.