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Kutai in Indonesia


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Kutai in Indonesia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
237,000 Malay, Tenggarong Kutai Islam 0.10 % 0.04 % No No   

Kutai in Indonesia

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Introduction / History
Partially due to their frequent relocations, the Kutai live spread out along the eastern coast of East Kalimantan. Tenggarong is the heart of their area today, as when Mulawarman ruled from it as the capital of the Kutai kingdom, the oldest Hindu kingdom in Indonesia. The Kutai language branches from the Malay language cluster. The Kutai live in various districts of the Kutai Tenggara regency, including Kembang Janggut, Kenohan, Muara Wis, Muara Kaman, Muara Muntai, Kota Bangun, Loa Kulu, Sebulu and Kutai. They also live in Tenggarong and Tenggarong Seberang districts of Tenggarong City and in Muara Pahu, Jempang and Bongan districts in the West Kutai regency.

What are their lives like?
The Kutai make their living as farmers, fishermen and hunters. East Kalimantan is the richest province in Indonesia and Kutai Tenggara constitutes the richest regency in Indonesia. Therefore, they rarely leave their home area, having little economic reason to do so. Many Kutai people, however, do not prosper because of drastic imbalances in income. Some inland Kutai still follow a traditional system of law. Traditional Kutai law provides for several key leaders: a village leader who conducts traditional ceremonies, a security chief and a protector of inherited wealth. The government recognizes these leaders, calling them petinggi ("high ones"). Tenggarong city used to be the center of Kutai Kartanegara kingdom and still has various historical and cultural sites, such as the Tenggarong palace. The palace is now used as the Mulawarman museum, which houses Kutai Martadipura and Kutai Kartanegara royal treasures. In the past, the Kutai had a system of social classes that included nobleman, ordinary people and slaves. The nobility used to be called Kramas, Mas, Aji, Radenor Pangeran Datu. Today, respect is given to people based on their education and wealth, not their title. The Kutai have a rich variety of traditional ceremonies. The Pesta Erau (Erau party), one of the biggest ceremonies, annually commemorates the founding of Tenggarong city. The party lasts five days and five nights. Throngs of Dayaks come even from very remote villages and perform many kinds of interesting dances, such as kancet pepati (warrior dance), kancet ledo (gong dance), datun, leleng, gantar and pilin tali. A dragon doll is thrown into the Mahakam River at the ceremony's climax. This is a symbolic way of asking blessings for wealth and prosperity from their ancestors.

What are their beliefs?
Generally, the Kutai are Muslims. However, in their daily life, they still worship spirits. Certain royal heirlooms are considered to be sacred, such as a gold crown decorated with jewels, the uncal necklace, the image of wisnu (a Hindu god) necklace and a necklace with two mythical birds. Kutai beliefs are focused on seeking protection from the Sanghyang (a Hindu word for spirits) through magic by appeasing and controlling both good and bad spirits. Previously, the Kutai were Hindu and they were called 'Kaharingan'. Since then, however, most people in the Kutai area have turned to Islam. This has resulted in much mixing between the faiths of Islam and Hinduism.

What are their needs?
The Kutai need better transportation infrastructure to assist the remote villagers in taking their crops and commodities to the market. At present, the main form of transportation is by sea and river, as land transportation is very difficult.

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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; east central coastal area, from Mahakam river basin east to Celebes Sea coast, north from Cape Pandan along coast south to Samarinda city area.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Kutai
People Name General: Kutai
Alternate People Names:
Malay, Tenggarong KutaTenggarong
Tenggarong Malay
ROP3 Code: 106159
Joshua Project People ID: 13445
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 237,000
Population all Countries: 237,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
People Cluster: Banjar of Kalimantan
People Name General: Kutai
Ethnic Code: MSY44k
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Malay, Tenggarong Kutai (237,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): vkt    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.04 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.90 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant100.00 %
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
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Kutai in Indonesia

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

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