Photo Source: Bowo W - Flickr Creative Commons
Map Source: Anonymous
|People Name:||Yotowawa, Kisar|
|Christian Adherents:||98.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Malay Peoples|
The 50 square mile island of Kisar looks like a fort. The outer perimeter is a coral rock cliff with a hill separating the inner island (where the people live) and this outer cliff. Moving around the island the occasional corridor cuts through the outer hill to the interior. The only town, Wonreli, is located about one mile from the west coast and almost two miles from the south coast. The government offices function here as well as the open air market three days per week.
The 12,000 people on the island speak two separate languages: Kisar - 10,000 speakers and Oirata - 2,000. The island is divided up into 20 village areas of Kisar speakers and 2 village areas of Oirata speakers. They also speak Indonesian and Ambonese Malay.
There are many Kisar people scattered throughout Indonesia. It's hard to determine exact figures probably there are between 15,000 and 20,000 Kisar people living in other parts of Indonesia. There are Kisar people even living in the USA and Europe. The water supply on the island of Kisar will only sustain around 12,000 which no doubt explains this tendency for Kisar people to seek jobs off the island. There are many Kisar people who have become government workers all over Indonesia from school teachers, to lawyers to boat captains, boat personnel and hired help in many Chinese-run stores.
Most all children go to one of Kisar's 14 elementary schools until at least the sixth grade. There are also two junior high schools and one high school. When asked why it is important to be able to read their language, the answer is: "Because when we read our own language we immediately understand the writing's meaning."