The Buol of Indonesia
The 82,000 Buol are considered to be a sub-group of the Gorontalo people. Although formerly mountain dwellers, they now live in scattered villages along the northeastern peninsula of Sulawesi. This large crab-shaped island is generally mountainous and marked by volcanic cones. Tropical rain forests are also characteristic of the island. Sulawesi is located in the Pacific Ocean directly south of the Philippines.
The Buol region has a history of the rising and falling of insignificant kingdoms. These kingdoms would occasionally ban together in times of war to form a larger and more powerful army. Their brief unity would help secure a victory over their enemies.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Rice, maize, and the fruit of sago palms are important food sources to the Buols. Yams and grain are secondary crops, and coconut is grown commercially. Nets, traps, and harpoons are used for fishing in the lakes. Rattan (a type of palm) and damar (trees grown for timber) are gathered for sale. Cattle are commonly used for pulling heavy loads and horses for riding.
Indonesia has more than 8 million farmers who are without land. To aid in this situation, the government offers free land, housing, and other assistance to those who are willing to move from overcrowded areas, such as Java, to less developed islands.
Buol marriages follow the Muslim pattern and are arranged by a “go between.” This middleman has the responsibility of negotiating the bride price for the groom, an amount which is determined by the girl’s social status. Although cross cousin marriages are preferred, parallel cousin marriages do sometimes occur. Once married, a couple usually lives with the bride’s mother until the first child is born. Then the couple leaves to establish their own independent household. Each spouse owns property separately, and only the land obtained after marriage becomes mutual property.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Hinduism is practiced by only 2% of the Indonesian population, and about 8% are Protestant Christians. “Animism,” the belief that non-living objects have spirits, is also practiced by tribes in remote areas.
What Are Their Needs?
Presently, there are no Christian films or broadcasts in the Buol language. Although there is one mission agency targeting the Buol, there are only 16 reported church members in this region. Sadly, there are no Scriptures written in their native language.
The Buol have the freedom to choose to follow Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity. However, the large Muslim population has strong political influence. They use their power to limit Christian expansion and reduce Christian influence in public life.Prayer Points
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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