Bunak people

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Bunak people
Inside a Uma Lulik in Fatuc Laran.jpg
Holy House in Fatuc Laran, Lactos, Cova Lima District, East Timor where 90% of the population are Bunak people.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Timor Island:
East Timor (61,000)[2]
West Timor, Indonesia (23,000)[3]
Bunak language
Animism (originally), Catholic (predominantly)
Related ethnic groups
Papuan people

The Bunak (also known as Bunaq, Buna', Bunake) are an ethnic group that live in the mountainous region of central Timor, split between the political boundary between West Timor, Indonesia, particularly in Lamaknen District and East Timor. Their language, Bunak language, is one of the few on Timor which is not an Austronesian language, but rather a Papuan language like groups on New Guinea. It is usually put in the proposed language group Trans–New Guinea.[4] They are surrounded by groups which speak Malayo-Polynesian languages, like the Atoni and the Tetum.

According to Languages of the World (Voegelin and Voegelin, 1977), there were about 100,000 speakers of the language, split evenly between the two nations.


  1. ^ "Bunak people". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  2. ^ "Bunak people in East Timor". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  3. ^ "Bunak people in Indonesia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
  4. ^ Antoinette Schapper. "What is it to be Papuan? Bunak: a non-Austronesian language of Eastern Indonesia". Research Gate. Retrieved 2015-01-19. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Louis Berthe, 1972 Bei Gua: Itinéraire des ancêtres, Paris.
  • Claudine Friedberg, Boiled Woman and Broiled Man: Myths and Agricultural Rituals of the Bunaq of Central Timor, in James J. Fox (Editor) 1980, The Flow of Life. Essays on Eastern Indonesia, Harvard University Press.

External links[edit]