People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Berau in Indonesia


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Berau in Indonesia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
23,000 Malay, Berau Islam 0.08 % 0.08 % No No   

Berau in Indonesia

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Berau live in many small villages in the Berau regency of East Kalimantan. In the Sambaliung district they live in Sambaliung, Bangun Bebanir, Gurimbang, Tanjung Perangat, Suaran, Rantau Panjang, Pegat Bukur and Tumbit Melayu. In the Gunung Tabur district they live in Gunung Tabur, Birang, Maulang, Samburakat, Pulau Besing, Merancang Ulu and Batubatu. And in the Tali Sayan district they live in Biatan Ilir, Biatan Ulu, Biatan Lempak, Biatan Bapinang, Karangan, Tabalar Muara, Tabalar Ulu and Tubaan. The Berau speak their own language, which differentiates them from other ethnic groups in East Kalimantan.

What are their lives like?
The Berau mainly make their living as either farmers or fishermen. The farmers grow sweet potatoes, cassava, lentils, fruits and vegetables. Like other Kalimantan ethnic groups in general, the Berau practice migratory agriculture (shifting from one field to another) mainly because they cannot maintain the soil's fertility. New farmland is opened by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush. The initial clearing of a field is accomplished with the help of a large group of neighbors. This farming method is often accused of being the main cause of forest fires in Kalimantan. Even though their actions do cause damage, it is not comparable to the destruction done by businessmen who hold "Forest Enterprise Rights" from the government. Some Berau living in cities work for government or private businesses. Others work as craftsmen or day laborers. The Berau also produce a handicraft of specially woven fabric, which they often sell to outsiders. A new form of income that has developed recently is the presenting of their traditional ceremonies as a tourist attraction. Most of the Berau follow the patrilineal kinship system (tracing descent from the father). Male superiority and dominance is seen in every aspect of life. The men determine issues concerning marriage and inheritance. In the past, the Berau had class distinctions but these have faded in modern times. Today, wealth and formal education are determiners of one's social status. The richer a person is or the higher a person's formal education, the higher their social standing. In general, the Berau prefer to live in groups near rivers in wooden raised platform houses. Their houses are close together, like in the city, even though there is plenty of land where they live. They have a clear separation between living areas and fields. Like the Melayu, the Berau in general are friendly and follow the Islamic faith.

What are their beliefs?
Today most Berau identify themselves as Muslims. However, many Berau people still believe in animism, believing that spirits are in all places and influence mankind. Thus, traditional Berau rituals and ceremonies focus on seeking protection through magic by either appeasing or controlling both good and bad spirits. A shaman plays an important role in Berau society and is often asked to use spells to heal sicknesses or initiate other favorable results in people's lives.

What are their needs?
Since the Berau are nomadic, most of them do not have opportunities for a formal education. Typically, only those who are settled receive a formal education. The areas where the Berau live are rich in mining resources, such as gold, coal, lead, zinc, petroleum and natural gas. These areas also have forestry products like rattan, resin and wood. Unfortunately, the abundant natural resources have not been managed optimally, so they do not provide the Berau with a better life. For this reason, better management efforts are needed to improve their human resources and help them become self-sufficient.

View Berau in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Indonesia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:49 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Kalimantan Timur Province; central coastal area; north, Cape Pandan, Tanjungreder, and Muaramalinau towns on lower Segah river; south along Celebes Sea coast past Sepinang town to Cape Batube area.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Berau
People Name General: Berau
Alternate People Names:
CostalMalay, Berau
MerauMerau Malay
ROP3 Code: 106151
Joshua Project People ID: 13439
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 23,000
Population all Countries: 23,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
People Cluster: Banjar of Kalimantan
People Name General: Berau
Ethnic Code: MSY44k
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Malay, Berau (23,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): bve    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.08 %(Evangelical: 0.08 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.92 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Berau in Indonesia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Banjar of Kalimantan     Asia, Southeast    
      Berau Indonesia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Berau in Indonesia          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Malay, Berau  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: