The Kwandang of Indonesia
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation and continues to grow rapidly. It has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world, with more than 300 distinct people groups, many of whom are Muslim. The history of the region is one of the rise and fall of petty kingdoms and their occasional union for purposes of defense and conquest. It seems likely that the area was originally inhabited by the Toradja peoples; however, territorial rulers with their resulting institutions and court life were introduced later.
The nearly 10,000 Kwandang live primarily on the northern coast of the northern peninsula of Sulawesi. They are closely related to and often grouped with the Gorontalo, who are one of three major groups located in northern Sulawesi. Formerly mountain dwellers, the Kwandang now live in scattered villages on the plain or coastal strip of the northern peninsula of Sulawesi, between the Mongondow and the Tolitoli peoples.
What are their lives like?
The staple crops of the Kwandang include rice, maize, and sago (a type of palm, the starch of which is used for food). Yams and millet are secondary crops, and coconuts are grown commercially. Rattan (palms, the stems of which are used to make wickerwork, canes, and furniture) and damar (tree resin that is used as varnish or lacquer) are gathered for sale. Cattle are used for pulling items, but horses are used for carrying items and for riding. Nets, traps, and harpoons are used for fishing in the lakes.
Kwandang descent is patrilineal (traced through the males), and kin groups tend to be territorially based. Marriages follow the Muslim pattern and are usually arranged by a mediator. This "go- between" also negotiates the bride-price, the amount depending on the girl's social status. Marriages to cousins are preferred. After marriage, the couple usually lives with the bride's mother until the first child is born. At that time, the couple establishes their own household. Each spouse owns property separately, and only the property that is obtained after marriage is held jointly.
Since Indonesian is the national language, all children are educated in that language. However, most of the rural Kwandang population, especially the women, speak only their native Kwandang tongue.
Indonesia has more than eight million farmers who do not own land. To provide a livelihood for these and to open remote areas to development, the government offers free land, housing, and other assistance to those willing to move to less developed islands.
Although many of their neighbors have converted to Christianity, the Gorontalo and related groups, such as the Kwandang, have remained devoted Muslims. Many barriers of prejudice seem to exist between the two groups. There are no indigenous Kwandang churches, and local Christians are afraid to reach out to their Muslim neighbors for fear of persecution.
What are their beliefs?
Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia today and is practiced by a majority of the population. Before the fourteenth century, Hinduism was widespread in the area but is now practiced by only a small number of people. About 14% of the population is Christian, primarily Protestant; and many Chinese follow Buddhist-Taoist teachings. Animistic religions (belief that non-human objects have spirits) are followed by tribes in remote areas.
In Indonesia, all are free to follow Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, However, the numerical and political strength of Islam is frequently exercised to give it preferential treatment, limit Christian expansion, and reduce Christian influence in public life.
Virtually all the Kwandang are Sunni Muslims, although many of their "life cycle" ceremonies and religious beliefs are a mixture of Islamic and pre-Islamic beliefs. Only 1% of them are Christians.
What are their needs?
The Kwandang do not have any Christian resources in their own language, and there are no missions agencies currently targeting them. Fervent intercession and missionary endeavors are required to see them reached with the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to minister Life to the Kwandang of Indonesia.
- Pray that the Bible and the Jesus film will soon be available in the Kwandang language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Kwandang through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Kwandang who will boldly declare the Gospel.
- Pray that God will give the Kwandang believers courage to share Christ with their families and friends.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Kwandang bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Kwandang by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kwandang
- Country: Indonesia
- Their language: Kwandang
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1%
- Church members: 100
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 0
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 1,700 (17%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 8,200 (83%)
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 113
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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