Lamalera in Indonesia

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People Name: Lamalera
Country: Indonesia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 4,700
World Population: 4,700
Primary Language: Lamalera
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Flores-Sumba-Alor
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Lamalera people were once under the control of the Portuguese during the 1500s when they ruled much of what is now Indonesia. They survived the Japanese occupation of the early 1940s, and now they are under the control of the Indonesian government. This people group is very sensitive to outsiders trying to tell them what to do.

Where Are they Located?

The Lamalera people live on the Indonesian island of Timbata, between the islands of Timor and Flores. They have only two villages.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Their land is not conducive to farming, so they have to depend on the sea for their food source. Much to the dismay of international conservationists, they hunt sperm whales and dolphins for food. They also hunt other sea creatures. There are efforts to either force or bribe them into not hunting whales and dolphins, but at this time, they continue to do so. They want to be left alone, and they are contacting human rights organizations when pressured to stop their traditional practices.

After killing their prey, the Lamalera people divide up the meat, which they either eat or trade for rice, corn or vegetables with people from other villages. Some of them are professors, businessmen and other professionals, but most still live by the simple, cash-less ways of their ancestors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Lamalera people believe that sperm whales are a gift from their ancestors and their god. Lamaleras believe that the sins of their ancestors can cause serious problems for them today. Even those who are Roman Catholic do not question this. They had a strong Roman Catholic mission effort among them at one time, dating back to the days when the Portuguese were powerful in this part of the world.

What Are Their Needs?

The Lamalera people need to find a way to earn a living that will not cause problems for the world's ecosystem. It will take someone with great tact and diplomatic skills to help them move away from hunting sperm whales and dolphins, and towards something more constructive.

Prayer Points

Pray that the few who are Roman Catholic will put their faith entirely in Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Pray that they will take this message to others in their communities, resulting in a disciple-making movement among the Lamalera people.

Text Source:   Keith Carey