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Culture Description

The Tobelo, along with the related Galela and Loloda, live in North Maluku province, Indonesia, mainly on the islands of Halmahera and Morotai. Until the late 1980s, the Tobelo consisted of both inland forest-dwelling nomadic hunter-foragers and settled coastal villagers engaged in swidden agriculture and fishing. The two groups shared a language, were bound by kinship and affinal ties, exchanged localized resources, and were loosely organized into socio-territorial domains according to landscape, history, and ancestry; the principle social distinction was that the coastal Tobelo had converted to Christianity and were relatively integrated within the Indonesian state. Despite subsequent conversion and resettlement in coastal villages, the Forest Tobelo have come to consider themselves a distinct ethnic group due to continued identification with a forest lifestyle, and a lingering resentment of being treated as inferiors by their coastal brethren.


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Asia --Southeast Asia



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