Introduction / History The Sikhule people are also called Sikule, Salang, Sigulai, Simeulue Barat Wali Banua. Most of them live in the districts of Simeulue Barat, Alafan, and Salang. Their language is called Sikule or Sigulai.
In addition to Sikule language, the Sikhule people also utilize two other languages: Devayan and Leukon. Devayan is used predominantly by the people living in Simeulue Timur, Teupah Selatan, Teupah Barat, Simeulue Tengah and Teluk Dalam. Leukon is used especially by the people of Desa Langi and Lafakh in Alafan District. Apart from these languages, many Sikhule people also use Jamee (or Jamu) language as a means of communicating with other groups living in Simeulue. This language was originally brought in by immigrants who were Minangkabau or Mandailing people.
What are their lives like? The people in the Simeulue islands have their own culture and tradition, distinct from the Aceh living on the big island of Sumatra. One noteworthy cultural heritage is Nandong performance. It involves singing out speech, accompanied by percussive instruments and bowed viola. Nandong is only performed throughout the night, during special ceremonies of importance.
Another distinctive Simeulue cultural form, which is a matter of local pride, is called debus. It is a martial art form, in which defendants are reputed to be able to make their bodies immune from stabbing by swords, rencongs, bamboo, or other sharp objects. Masters of debus have been invited to demonstrate this unique ability internationally.
Simeulue has three main industries: fishing, farming, and tourism. Fishing alone, even though it is seasonal, can provide the bulk of their economic opportunity. Not only does this area attract bountiful quantities of fish, but is also known for abundance of lobster. Farming is also quite good for many as a supplement to fishing. Tourism is a relatively new industry for Simeulue, and is rapidly growing because the government of Aceh has been promoting Simeulue's tourism potential with various surfing events.
Simeulue is famous for expansive peaceful beaches and tall waves which have become a type of heaven for surfers. The influx of surfers gives local people opportunity for many supporting businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and souvenir sales.
What are their beliefs? Although most people of Simeulue are Muslim, many are still influenced by animism and various types of superstition. Most of the animistic practices focus on seeking protection through supernatural power. This is accomplished by trying to control or appease both good and evil spirits.
What are their needs? Needs specific to the Sikhule (but also appropriate for all of Simeulue) are promotion of tourism and help to maximize the massive fishing industry. Training in business would also be very helpful for them.