Pekal in Indonesia

Joshua Project has identified the Pekal only in Indonesia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Pekal live along the southwest shores of Sumatra, the sixth largest island in the world. They live in the North Bengkulu Regency. To the west their area is bordered by the Indian Ocean, while to the east are the Bukit Barisan Mountains. The Pekal are often called the Ketahun because many live in Ketahun District. The main highway in western Sumatra that connects Lampung Province to the city of Padang passes through the Pekal area. The Pekal language is part of the Malay language cluster and is used for everyday interaction. The Minangkabau language has influenced the current Pekal language spoken by people today.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The majority of the Pekal work as farmers and plantation workers during the rainy season and as fishermen in the dry season. They use traditional, home-made devices and tools in their work. They grow coffee, rice, chocolate, tobacco, tapioca, spices, peanuts and various vegetables. The Pekal also work as teachers, government workers, military personnel, construction workers, basket weavers, brick makers and merchants. The women work in the rice fields and process dried fish and shrimp. The traditional market is a cultural event involving many people. Merchants from other areas come once a week to the bazaar. The Pekal live in homes on stilts; these homes are long and narrow. The Pekal are composed of different clans spread out in districts. If a newcomer wants to live with the Pekal, this person has to cook a meal to share with his/her chosen clan as well as other nearby clans. After this, the person will be formally considered a part of the clan and will be treated like all other Pekal, without distinction for ethnicity, religion, education, or economic status. In the Pekal culture, all people have the same rights. The newcomer must fulfill customary and traditional obligations and fulfill the duties of a Pekal community member.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all Pekal profess Islam but still believe in spirits. This can be seen when they use mantras to call down rain, drive out evil spirits and purify their village from immoral acts. The Pekal have a tradition of giving mutual aid, both socially and materially. They feel obligated to help others because each person relies on others. Although their own income is low, they willingly give help to those in need, like victims of natural disasters. They also contribute to help build mosques.

What Are Their Needs?

Creativity is needed to create new jobs, as many young people do not have employment. The area is still underdeveloped economically compared to other areas of Sumatra. The Pekal need professionals to help them in economic development, education, health and farming. Effective technology could also be introduced to raise their productivity.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-05-24
People Name General Pekal
People Name in Country Pekal
Population in Indonesia 38,000
World Population 38,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Minangkabau-Rejang of Sumatra
People Name General Pekal
Ethnic Code MSY44k
People ID 14352
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South Sumatra, Bengkulu Province, west coast, north of Ipuh to Tembesi River, to near Argamakmur south.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Pekal (38,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Pekal 38,000
For Primary Language: Pekal

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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