Introduction / History
The Pancana people (also known as the Kapontori) live on Buton island, located in the eastern part of the Province of South-East Sulawesi. Analysis of their language points to a close connection between the Pancana people and the Cia-Cia and Muna people. The Pancana culture appears to have been influenced by their neighbours, the people of Muna and Maronene.
What are their lives like?
The primary means of livelihood for the Pancana people is farming, with corn as their primary crop. Other than corn, they also grow sweet potatoes, sugar cane, other vegetables, tobacco, and coffee. The Pancana people practice migratory agriculture (shifting from one field to another), mainly because they cannot maintain the soil's fertility in their existing fields due to inadequate farming methods. New farmland is opened by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush (this is the very common "slash-and-burn" method used by a wide variety of people groups throughout the Indonesian archipelago). Their houses are spread out over land that has been cleared for farming. Their houses are built on raised platforms 1.5-2 meters high. The Pancana make their houses out of plaited thatch with very high roofs. Most groups of people in Sulawesi are still familiar with different social classes in their social systems. The Pancana use the typical groupings of nobility, middle class, and common people. Usually, each respective class has its own customs, in addition to different traditions and habits. The privilege of owning land is decided by the community advisory committee, which has unconditional authority over all the land. The lineage of descent of the Pancana is patrilineal (tracing descent from the father). In Pancana marriages, the groom pays a bride price to her family. This price is determined by the groom's social status in the community; the higher his status, the higher the price. Before the marriage, the future husband must undergo a trial period by his future in-laws. However, this requirement is the main cause of many elopements. In the past, servants were not permitted to marry each other, but were permitted to live together. Women of the noble class also were not permitted to marry men from other social classes. Polygamy became popular among the nobility, but is rarely practiced anymore.
What are their beliefs?
Almost all Pancana people practice Sunni Islam. Even so, traditional beliefs and animism have an important role in their lives. They will often employ the services of a dukun (shaman/healer/occultist) for a variety of services, such as healing illnesses, cursing enemies, and bringing good fortune to individuals and the community.
What are their needs?
The development of education and health facilities are still great needs for the Pancana people group. They also need to be trained in the use of appropriate technology. The Pancana have inadequate opportunities to improve the scope and variety of jobs that are available to them. In order to improve health services for the community, they also need more medical attention, clinics and medical personnel.
Text source: Copyright © PJRN - Indonesian National Research Network. Used with permission.