WHO are they? The Wawonii live on the island of Wawonii (the name means 'coconut
mountain'), which is located off the southeastern coast of the major island of Sulawesi,
and on the tiny island of Menui to its north. Wawonii has two dialects, which correspond
to the two islands where it is spoken.
WHERE do they live? The Wawonii's primary livelihood is growing corn. Crops other
than corn include sweet potatoes, sugar cane, tobacco, coffee and various vegetables.
New fields are opened by the "slash and burn" technique of cutting down trees and
burning the underbrush. The Wawonii are forced to move each time their fields become
infertile, because their farming techniques do not include sustainable methods. Their
houses are spread throughout the new areas they clear out of the jungle. Houses are
built on stilts with high roofs made of woven thatch.
HOW many? 30,000
WHAT do they worship? Almost all Wawonii people practice Sunni Islam. Despite this,
traditional animistic beliefs are still strong in daily life. They still believe in the power of
unseen spirits that inhabit sacred places. The services of a dukun (shaman) are often
sought for many purposes, including healing sicknesses and exorcising evil spirits.