Also known as: Keiese; Kei Islanders

The Kei Islands are an archipelago in eastern Indonesia whose indigenous people constitute a single ethnolinguistic group. Much of Keiese adat (customary law) is traditionally derived from Bali.

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Traditional Culture(1864)Expand All +
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 46-63, 98-102, 112-120
Social Environment +
Population 18,000 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 45, 48
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 45, 55-58
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 68-98
Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 37, 39
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 23.0 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 31-32
Distance to nearest continent 351.0 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 31-32
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief Evidence of influence (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 116
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 47
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 49
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Land-based gathering Principal (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64
Agriculture / Horticulture Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64-78
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64-78
Water-based gathering Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64-78

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Minor (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64-78
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture Four or more (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 30

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Tectonic (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 30


Latitude -5.8 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 30
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 132.8 (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 30
Google Maps (2014)
Post Contact History(1864-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +


Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 46-53
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 48

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Absent (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 46-53
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 41-44
Immigration Absent (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 44-46
Language shift Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 35

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 64-78

Loss of Autonomy

Nature of loss of autonomy Largely voluntary (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 37-44
Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 37-44

Modern Infrastructure

Sea port Present (Source)
'Kai Islands' (2015)
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism Medium (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 47
Institutional religious syncretism Low (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 47
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Hooe (2012), pp. 48, 52
External Links
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from

Hooe, T. R. (2012). 'Little kingdoms': Adat and inequality in the Kei islands, Eastern Indonesia (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, P. A). Retrieved from

Kai Islands. (2015). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from