Introduction / History The Gane people live on Halmahera Island in the districts of East Gane, Central East Gane, South East Gane and South West Gane in South Halmahera Regency, North Maluku Province.
Some of the towns where the Gane people constitute a majority are Maffa, Kebon Raja, Saketa and Lolebak (which are called Inner Gane). The villages of Wosi, Tanjung Jelek, Foya and Lowu city are referred to as Outer Gane.
The Gane people are also called the Gani or Giman people. Gane language is linguistically quite close to the Eastern Makian language especially with Kayoa, which is one of the dialects of the Eastern Makian tribe.
What are their lives like?
The friendliness of the Gane people towards guests and outsiders is reflected in their willingness to show hospitality to all, even offering visitors a place to stay overnight. While the Gane people have limited funds to provide this hospitality they continue to give generously.
Most Gane are farmers. Their primary crops are rice, corn, sweet potato, casava, other vegetables, nuts, cloves, coffee, nutmeg, cocoa and coconut. A small number of Gane people also make their living from fishing.
In the past the Gane district was famous for abundant and good quality harvests of sago, nutmeg, coconut and betel nut. These products were the main contributers to the Gane economy.
Unfortunately, trade was often disturbed by Maba and Patani pirates. In modern times, most of these crops have been replaced with palm oil plantations.
What are their beliefs? The Gane people confess Islam as their religion, passed down from one generation to the next. Many, however, continue to practice traditional pre-islamic beliefs in their daily life.
What are their needs? Much of the Gane farmland and bushland has been made into palm oil plantations by a large foreign company. This same foreign company has caused many problems in other provinces of Indonesia destroying traditional farmland, causing bush fires, climate change and recklessly clearing forests. They have caused many land disputes by seizing communal land and filled natural water sources with landfill so that the poor are deprived of clean water.
The village atributed to be the birthplace of the Gane people, known as Inner Gane, has now become a palm oil plantation. This area, however, is considered to be a cultural heritage site with significant historic value which needs to be protected.
The Gane comunity have cultivated their land in the forests for hundreds of years, keeping the precious few small waterways flowing. Recent large-scale farming practices by the palm oil company has destroyed the finely balanced ecosystem and dried up these water sources. Social conflict has resulted between local and district governing bodies which receive payments to quieten political protests by local residents.