Introduction / History
The Tukangbesi Utara (North Tukangbesi) people speak the Tukangbesi language, which is closely related to Cia-Cia. Available information shows that their culture is virtually the same as the Tukangbesi Selatan, but they claim a separate identity for reasons not yet clear to researchers. Education is emphasized for boys and girls alike. They have a tradition of literary skill, and this is displayed in culturally important books and long poems.
The Tukangbesi Utara base much of their livelihood on agriculture, because the soil of the islands is very fertile. Many Tukangbesi Utara are also fishermen or boat-builders. However, since economic opportunities are lacking, many sail to other locations. Some of these never return, and people of Tukangbesi Utara origin live throughout much of eastern Indonesia. Tukangbesi Utara houses are raised above ground and built of sturdy planks. The roofs are made of small planks, palm leaves, or iron, and the houses have only a few small windows. Most villages have markets where woven silk, cotton, and other fabrics are traded.
Although parents are involved in the arrangement of the marriages, the young people are free to choose their partners. After marriage, the couple lives with the bride's family until the husband can build his own house. Both spouses are actively involved in caring for their children. Most Tukangbesi Utara people are Muslims, but they still believe in various kinds of supernatural forces. Ancestral spirits are considered to help in some instances and bring bad luck such as illness in other instances, depending upon the behavior of the descendant. The Tukangbesi Utara people also have a high regard for nature, because it is God's creation. Sufi Islamic mysticism abounds and it focuses on knowing God. Many of the Tukangbesi Utara people also believe in reincarnation because of Hindu influence on their culture. Used by permission © 2001 PJRN Indonesia
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