Introduction / History
The Kaili Ledo people live in the northern part of Central Sulawesi in the city of Palu and the surrounding areas of Biromaru, Dolo, Marawola and Tawaili. The area is very mountainous. Even so, Palu is known to be one of the driest place in Indonesia. The word ledo means "no". Besides the prestigious Ledo (Palu) variety in everyday life, the people also speak other Kaili dialects including: Doi, Ado, Edo, Tado, Taa (Palolo), Tara (Parigi), Rai (Tawaili-Sindue), Raio (Kori), Ija (Sigi) and Ta'a (Dalogo-Sausu). Each dialect has different word for "no". In Ado the word for "no" is ado, in Doi it is doi, etc. The dialects are named after their word for "no". The Kaili Ledo language is closely related to the Baras, Kaili Da'a, Kaili Unde languages.
What are their lives like?
Family is very important to the Kaili Ledo. They give great honor and obedience to their parents and elders. Decisions are always made by the family as a whole and they especially value the tradition of their ancestors. Marriage arrangements are a mix of Islamic and traditional influences. The bride price is negotiated by the families of the bride and the groom and varies according to the social status of the girl. Even though polygamy is technically allowed by both religious and governmental law, it occasionally takes place. After marriage, the couple usually lives with one of their families until they have a child. The Kaili Ledo villages are relatively small and stretch along the roads or waterways. The coastal Kaili Ledo grow wet rice and coconuts. A few earn their living as traders or government workers. Meanwhile those living in the mountain region make a living by planting rice and corn. Recently cacao is replaced cloves as a major cash crop. Kakula is a musical instrument (similar to a xylophone) played by the Kaili. Kakula also can be found in North Sulawesi (Bolaang Mongondow), Kalimantan (Borneo Island), Sumatra, Maluku, Malaysia (Sabah and Serawak) and Brunei Darussalam. Kakula is made of flat wood about sixty centimeters long, two centimeters thick and five to six centimeters wide, adjusted for tone. Kakula is often called Gamba-gamba.
What are their beliefs?
The vast majority of the Kaili Ledo people are Muslim. They are proud of their Islamic identity and seek to follow the pillars of Islam. However, their beliefs in magic and spirit is still evident and is combined with their religious beliefs. Many seek the help of a dukun (shaman/healer/occultist) to cure sickness or to exorcise evil spirits. When a new house is built, or when planting and harvesting, the Kaili Ledo perform ceremonies to the spirits to ensure good luck and good harvest.
What are their needs?
The Kaili Ledo need assistance to increase the quality and quantity as well as variety of their agricultural products. Formal education in schools, as well as exposure to new appropriate technologies could increase their employment opportunities and aid in the development of their local economy.
Text source: Copyright © Indonesian Peoples Network, 2011. Used with permission.