Introduction / History
The Tidore people live on the island of Tidore, in the regency of Central Halmahera, in the province of North Maluku. Tidore is one of the islands in the Maluku archipelago. The Maluku Islands have long been known as the "Spice Islands," consisting of more than a thousand islands scattered throughout eastern Indonesia, including most of the islands between Sulawesi and Papua and between Timor and the Philippines. While many other ethnic groups inhabit Soa Siu, the capital city of the district of Tidore, the Tidore people dominate the small villages spread throughout the island. In everyday conversation, the Tidore people use their own Tidore language. However, they also understand Ternate, the language of their neighbors, which was formerly the trade language in the Halmahera region. As can be seen in their language, history, society and culture, Tidore people have a close connection with their neighbors, the Ternate. However, each group strongly maintains its distinct identity. Tidore people don't like to be called Ternate and vice versa. The Tidore language is part of a larger linguistic grouping called the North Halmahera which also includes the Galela, Laba, Loloda, Modole, Pagu Tabalu, Tobelo, Tugutil, Gamkonora, Ibu, Kau, sahu, Waioli, Makian Barat and Ternate. Formerly, compared with Tidore people, the Ternate had closer relationships with other ethnic groups from western Indonesia. Because of this, Tidore are sometimes considered less educated than the Ternate. But in general, the Tidore people are more industrious than the Ternate.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Cultural observers divide the region of North Maluku and Halmahera into three cultural areas, namely Ternate, Tidore and Bacan. The Tidore area includes all the islands in the area of Tidore and central and eastern Halmahera. Most Tidore earn a living by farming, fishing, trading, or working for the government. The crops they cultivate include rice, corn, sweet potatoes, cassava and peanuts. They also grow cloves, nutmeg, coconut and cocao (chocolate). The kinship system of the Tidore community is patrilineal; kinship is traced through one's father. One important family group is the clan, called the soa. According to Tidore tradition, the ideal marriage is between first cousins. Newly married couples may live with either of their sets of parents.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Tidore are loyal followers of Islam. In the past, the Tidore sultanate, along with the Ternate sultanate, was a central force behind the spread and development of Islam in Maluku. Every village has a mosque, or at least a small prayer house. Islamic religious teachers serve as informal leaders in Tidore communities.
What Are Their Needs?
Although the Maluku Islands are rich in natural resources, especially marine resources, many of the inhabitants still live in poverty. Their economy needs stimulus through diversification of farming and fishing. One example would be the cultivation of fruit plants with high economic value. The fishing industry also needs improvement. For better marketing of local products, transportation and communication infrastructure need enhancement. A greater number of medical clinics and personnel are also needed.
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