Southern Sama in Malaysia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Sama peoples were originally located in the islands and coastal areas separating southwestern Mindanao from the northeastern islands of Sulu. They probably first began to disperse sometime in the first millennium A.D. because of expanding Chinese trade. This southward migration sped up in the fifteenth century with the founding of a Sulu sultanate and increased maritime trade. From bases, particularly on Balangingi Island, Sama slave traders carried out annual raids on coastal settlements from Luzon to the central Moluccas.


Today the Northern Sama are dispersed throughout the greater Sulu Archipelago, which extends from Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines towards Borneo. The Southern Sama people live on the Tawi-Tawi islands in the Philippines, just to the southwest of Mindanao Island. A smaller number live in Malaysia, in Sabah on Borneo Island.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Sama are a highly fragmented people without overall political unity. Some have assimilated into the Filipino culture, attending schools and working in small businesses within local cities as vendors. Christians, primarily Catholics, have reached out to help these people in the areas of health and education.


Individual Sama groups, such as the Southern Sama, identify themselves by dialect and geographic location.


Fishing, boat building, and iron working are primarily male occupations, while weaving mats and marketing pottery are jobs for women. Both men and women engage in collecting and selling valuables from the sea, such as sea cucumbers. They are also farmers. The Southern Sama grow rice, cassava, corn, ginger, sugar cane, bananas, and other tropical fruits.


Southern Sama settlements consist of densely clustered houses situated along well-protected stretches of shoreline. In some places, they build their homes directly over the sea, but in other places, they locate them along the beach front. If over the water, they are connected by planks or narrow bridges. Built on stilts one to three meters above the ground or high-water mark, houses usually have one rectangular room with an attached kitchen.


Households are grouped into larger units called tumpuks (clusters), which are located near one another and are related by close kinship ties. Within the village, one household head is acknowledged as the tumpuk spokesman. In some instances, the tumpuks coincide with the parishes, whose members belong to a single mosque.


The Southern Sama are known for their traditional dances, songs, percussion and xylophone music, dyed mats and food covers, and wood carvings. Wood carvings for graves are especially ornate.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Southern Sama are an Islamic people group, following the Sunni traditions while mixing them with elements of animism. They believe that the spirits of the dead remain in the vicinity of their graves, requiring expressions of continued concern from the living. They have reported that some of these graves are the source of miracle working power.


The Sama peoples believe that during a particular month, Allah permits the souls of the dead to return to this world. To honor them, the living offer special prayers to the dead and clean the graves.


What Are Their Needs?

The Southern Sama people need to put their faith in the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, rather than in dead ancestors.


Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Southern Sama people teachable and understanding hearts.


Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Southern Sama families into a rich experience of God's blessing.


Pray for Southern Sama families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness, and to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.


Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Southern Sama family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.


Scripture Prayers for the Sama, Southern in Malaysia.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Sama, Southern
People Name in Country Sama, Southern
Natural Name Southern Sama
Alternate Names Bajau; Southern Sama
Population this Country 20,000
Population all Countries 291,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 15065
ROP3 Code 109515
ROP25 Code 307169
ROP25 Name Sama (Filipino)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sabah: Coastal regions of Kota Belud district, Kota Kinabalu district, Gaya island, Kota Kinabalu; Kuala Penyu district; Kudat dsitrict, Banggi island, Mantanani island; Semporna and Sandakan districts.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sabah: Coastal regions of Kota Belud district, Kota Kinabalu district, Gaya island, Kota Kinabalu; Kuala Penyu district; Kudat dsitrict, Banggi island, Mantanani island; Semporna and Sandakan districts..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
100.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Sama, Southern (20,000 speakers)
Language Code ssb   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Sama, Southern (20,000 speakers)
Language Code ssb   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Sama, Southern
Photo Source MySabah.com  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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