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|Regions with significant populations|
|Seram Island, Moluccan Islands|
|Wemale language (weo); Classification: Malayo-Polynesian|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Wemale people are one of the more ancient ethnic groups of Seram Island, Indonesia. They number over 7,500 and live in 39 villages of the central area of the island. Like the Alune people in the west, the Wemale people originate from a common ancestral group called the Patasiwa.
The Wemale language is of Malayo-Polynesian origin and it is divided in a northern and a southern form, having variants known as Horale, Kasieh, Uwenpantai, Honitetu and Kawe. The northern form is spoken by about 5,000 people and the Southern Wemale is spoken by about 3,700 people. The Hainuwele legend is an origin myth from the Wemale and Alune folklore. It was recorded by German ethnologist Adolf Ellegard Jensen in a 1937–1938 expedition to the Maluku Islands.
Males used to engage in warrior activities against neighboring groups. Females used to spend most of their day collecting products from the forest in tall conical baskets that they carried on their backs. The top of these baskets had a characteristic funnel-shape and whatever was caught was tossed inside by the women with a swift and graceful movement.
The Wemale built large and elaborate houses with wood, sticks and palm leaves. These houses were very skillfully built in order to keep the interior dry and comfortable.
The culture of the Wemale people has changed very much during the last few decades because of the impact of consumerism upsetting traditional values. Also the political and religious restlessness and the resulting conflict in Indonesia affected many islands of the Maluku area.
- Sachse, F. J. P., Het Eiland Seram en zijne Bewoners. Leiden, 1907
- Adolf Ellegard Jensen, Die drei Ströme. Züge aus dem geistigen und religiösen Leben der Wemale, einem Primitiv-Volk in den Molukken. Leipzig 1948
- "Wemale". Ethnologue.com. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- Thomas Reuter & Thomas Anton Reuter, ed. (2006). Sharing the Earth, Dividing the Land: Land and Territory in the Austronesian World. ANU E Press. ISBN 19-209-4270-X.
-  Archived July 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- List of languages in Indonesia
-  Archived September 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Adolf Ellegard Jensen: Hainuwele. Volkserzählungen von der Molukken-Insel Ceram. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1939
- Sachse, F. J. P., "Het Eiland Seram en zijne Bewoners". Leiden, 1907
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