Introduction / History The Culambacu people live in about 25 villages. 24 of these villages are in Wiwirano District, North Konawe Regency in the province of Southeast Sulawesi. They also live in the village of Buleleng, South Bungku District, Morowali Regency in the province of Central Sulawesi. Only a few Culambacu people live in most of these villages. Only in the village of Lamonae in Wiwirano District do they make up almost 80% of the population. The Culambacu people speak the Culambacu language, which is similar to Bungku.
In the past, the Culambacu had a queen, and her grave is well guarded even up to the present. According to local tradition, the queen of Culambacu was a sister of the kings of Ternate, Bungku, Makassar, Bone and Buton. When they separated, as a sign of family affection, they piled up gold in Tapunoini and marked the location with very tall bamboo (Bambu Batu) which is still there to this day. That is why this group is called Culambacu, which means "tall bamboo."
In the past, Culambacu people who lived in the mountains could only travel by sea. The village of Buleleng in South Sulawesi is an ancient Culambacu sea port, which is the reason many of them live in this village. A road to this area only began to be built 20-30 years ago. Before that, the Culambacu were isolated and only a few people knew anything about them. After the road opened, more outsiders moved to this area and began living in Culambacu villages.
What are their lives like? To maintain their language and culture, the Culambacu require their children to speak Culambacu at home and in everyday interactions. As a result, all Culambacu people can speak their language. They also closely guard unity with others within their ethnic group. If one of them is ill, others will be quickly informed, so that everyone in the community can do what they are able, to help. In the same way, if a conflict arises with another ethnic group or someone outside their group, all Culambacu people (both men and women, young and old) will gather to help. Although the Culambacu love peace, they also have a principle that they don't want to be bothered.
What are their beliefs? The Culambacu are Muslim but they are friendly and open toward people of other tribes and religions. That is one reason so many outsiders have come to live in Culambacu villages and have even become a majority in many of those villages. In fact many non-Muslims live in Culambacu villages, living peacefully side by side. However the Culambacu hold strongly to Islam and forbid all members of their group to follow any other religion.
Central Sulawesi province: Bungku Selatan, Bungku Tengah, and Bungku Utara sub-districts, about 45 coastal villages from Mondeodo south to Kenduri area; Southeast Sulawesi province: Konawe regency, Asera, Soropia, and Lasolo sub-districts, Tulambatu and Kenduri areas inland, interior enclave southeast of Lake Poso. (Source: Ethnologue 2018)