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Encyclopedia > Dayak
Dayak
Total population 3 million
Regions with significant populations Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei
Language Dayak languages
Religion Kaharingan, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
Related ethnic groups Ahe, Banjar, Barito, Benuaq, Berawan, Bidayuh, Bukitan, Dumpas, Dusun, Iban, Iban Mualang, Iban Embaloh, Ida'an, Illanun, Kadazan, Kayan, Kedayan, Kelabit, Kenyah, Kejaman, Kwijau, Lun Bawang, Lun Dayeh, Lotud, Maloh, Mangka'ak, Maragang, Melanau Kajang, Melanau Laut, Minokok, Murut, Ngaju, Penan, Punan Ba, Rajang, Rumanau, Rungus, Selakau, Sepan, Taman, Tambanuo, Tanjung, Tidong, Ukit

The Dayak /ˈdaɪ̯ək/ (or Dyak) are indigenous natives of Borneo. The term Dayak is principally used to describe the interior population of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill dwelling ethnic groups, each with its own language, customs, laws, territories and cultures, although common distinguishing traits is readily identifiable. Dayaks are generally categorised as part of a wider Austronesian speaking group, local to the Island of Borneo in the Indonesian Archipelago and mutually share the same characteristics of those indigenous inhabitants in South East Asia. To date, according to various census reports, there are about 3 million Dayaks on Borneo. Used to describe the languages of Borneo appart from the Languages of Chinese, Indian or European origin. ... Kaharingan, is the religion is professed by most Dayaks in the Kalimantan province of Indonesia. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recounted in the New Testament. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ) is a monotheistic religion based on the Quran. ... Hinduism {Sanskrit/Hindi - HindÅ« Dharma, also known as Sanātana (eternal) Dharma, and Vaidika (of the Vedas) Dharma} is a religion originating in the Indian subcontinent, based on the Vedas and the beliefs of other people of India. ... Ahe is an almost entirely-enclosed coral atoll, located in the King George group of the northern Tuamotu Archipelago, just to the southwest of Manihi. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Bidayuh (formerly known as Land D(a)yak) is one of the main indigenous ethnic groups now settled in areas of southwest Sarawak and the adjacent areas of west Kalimantan. ... Bukitan (also known as Baketan) is small tribe living the state of Sarawak, East Malaysia. ... The Dumpas are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... Dusun is the name of a tribe or ethnic and linguistic group in the Malaysian state of Sabah. ... A Modern Iban Longhouse in Kapit Division The Ibans were formerly known during the colonial period by the British as Sea Dayaks and are a branch of the Dayak peoples of Borneo. ... The Idaan are an ethnic group of Borneo, residing primarily in the Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, and Sandakan districts on the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia. ... The Illanun are an ethnic group of Borneo, residing primarily on the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, in 17 villages around the Lahad Datu and Kota Belud districts; also in Kudat. ... The Kadazan is the largest ethnic group in Sabah (a state in Malaysia) making up about one third of the population. ... The Kedayan are an ethnic group residing in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah, and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. ... The Kelabit, who have close ties to the Lun Bawang, are an indigenous race of the Sarawak highlands--the remotest and highest of Borneos mountains. ... The Kwijau are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Lotud are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Mangkaak are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Maragang are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Minokok are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Murut are an indigenous ethnic group inhabiting northern inland regions of Borneo. ... The Penan are, a nomadic aboriginal people living in Borneo. ... Punan, also known as Punan Bah is a distinct ethnic from the Penan. ... The Rumanau are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Rungus are an ethnic group of Borneo, residing primarily in northern Sabah in the area surrounding Kudat. ... 1. ... The Tambanuo are an indigenous ethnic group residing in Sabah, eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. ... The Tidong are an ethnic group of Borneo, residing primarily in the Bulungan Regency, in the province of East Kalimantan, Indonesia and in the Tawau Division, Sabah, Malaysia. ... IPA may refer to: The International Phonetic Alphabet or India Pale Ale ... Borneo and Sulawesi. ...

Contents


History

Common interpretations in modern anthropology agree that all indigenous peoples of South East Asia, including the Dayaks, are descendants of a larger more common Austronesian migration from Asia, regarded to have settled in the South East Asian Archipelago some 3000 years ago. The first populations spoke various languages and dialects now termed under the collective Austronesian Lingua, from which Dayak languages are traced. About 2400 years ago, metallurgy was introduced and subsequently became widespread.


The main ethnic groups of Dayaks are the Ibans of Sarawak and Kapuas, The Ngajus, Baritos, Benuaqs of East Kalimantan, the Kayan and Kenyah groups and their subtribes in Central Borneo and the sub Ibanic Embaloh (Maloh)and Taman populations in the Kapuas periphery. Other tribes include the Ahe,Jagoi, Selakau, Bidayuh, and Banjars.


The Dayak people of Borneo, possess a relatively accurate account of their history, partly in writing and partly in common cultural customary practices and lore. Historical accounts and reports of Dayak activity in Borneo details carefully cultivated economic and political relationships with other communities as well as an ample body of research and study considering historical Dayak migrations. In particular, the Iban or the Sea Dayak exploits in the South China Seas are well documented, owing to their ferocity and aggressive culture of war against sea dwelling groups and emerging Western trade interests in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.


Coastal populations in Borneo are largely Muslim in belief, however these groups (Ilanun, Melanau, Kadayan, Banjar, Bisayah) are generally considered to be Islamized Dayaks, native to Borneo, and governed by the relatively high cultural influences of the Majapahit Kingdoms and Sultanates, periodically covering South East Asian history.


The term Malay is generic, and is applied loosely to describe all those inhabitants of South East Asia. It is specific only to the ethnic Melayu of south eastern Sumatera, Riau and various geographic areas of western Malaya. Minihasas, Mandailings, Jakuns, Bataks, Bugis, Javanese, Achehnese, Tagalogs, Suluks, Minikoks, Dayaks, Khmers, Thais, Karens, Hamaheras, Taiwanese Indigenes, etc, are representative of the wider austronesian presence in the Archipelago.


Economy

Agriculture

Dayak culture is consistently tied to the customary practice of Shifting Cultivation and hill padi rice farming. The rites, beliefs, customs and methods of rice farming amongst the Dayak signifies the economy as agricultural based driven. Periods of intense planting and harvesting takes place in all communities, and land is valued primarily for the production of hill rice farming amongst other agricultural commodities.


The main dependence on subsistence and mid scale agriculture by the Dayak has made this group active in this industry. The modern day rise in large scale monocrop plantations such as Palm Oil and Bananas proposed for vast swathes of Dayak land held under customary rights, titles and claims in Malaysia and Indonesia, threaten the local political landscape in various regions in Borneo. Further problems continue to arise in part due to the shaping of the modern Malaysian and Indonesian Nation State on the back of previous British and Dutch Colonial political systems and western laws on Land Tenure. The conflict between the State and the Dayak natives on Land laws and native customary rights will continue for as long as the anglo-saxon colonial model on land tenure is used for defining relationships between the Dayak citizenry and the central authority of the State. Dayak cultivated land, interpreted by local customary law, is considered to be owned and held in right by the natives, and the concept of land ownership as thus, flows out of this central belief. This understanding of adat, is based on the idea that land is used and held under Native domain. Invariably, when European Colonial rule was established, conflict touching against the subjugation of territory under one foreign and alien authority, erupted various times between the Dayaks and the respective Colonial authorities.


Religion

The Dayak indigeneous religion is Kaharingan, which is a form of animism, although for official purposes it is categorized as a form of Hinduism. Over the last two centuries, Dayaks have Islamized progressively, to the point of abandoning certain cultural rites and practices, including Dayak ethnic identity. Christianity was introduced by European Missionaries in Borneo and may have appeared to be a deliberate policy by the Colonial authorities to create a social bulwark against the complete and gradual Islamization of every single native Dayak. The religious division marking the differences between Muslim and Christian natives in Borneo, has led at various times, to eruptions of communal tension, however relations between both religious groups are considered to be good. Kaharingan, is the religion is professed by most Dayaks in the Kalimantan province of Indonesia. ... In religion, the term Animism is used in a number of ways. ... Hinduism {Sanskrit/Hindi - Hindū Dharma, also known as Sanātana (eternal) Dharma, and Vaidika (of the Vedas) Dharma} is a religion originating in the Indian subcontinent, based on the Vedas and the beliefs of other people of India. ...


In Malaysian Borneo, the process of gradual Islamization has been furtively introduced and promoted by the State, with inducements given to those willing to convert. Muslim Dayaks have however retained their original identity and kept various customary practices consistent with their religion. In general, some Dayaks have converted to Christianity and Islam. Although Dayaks live in two mainly religious countries (Indonesia and Malaysia), these religions have never really gained a foothold with them, largely because of certain taboos (e.g. the consumption of alcohol and pork) and the prohibition of several traditional practices. Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recounted in the New Testament. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ) is a monotheistic religion based on the Quran. ...


An example of common identity over and above religious belief, is the Melanau group. Despite the small population, to the casual observer, the coastal dwelling Melanau of Sarawak, generally do not identify with one religion, as a number of them have Islamized and Christianised over a period of time. A few practise religiously, a distinct Dayak form of Kaharingan, known as Liko. It appears that Liko is the earliest surviving form of religious belief for the Melanau, predating the arrival of Islam and Christianity to Sarawak. The somewhat patchy religious divisions remain, however the common identity of the Melanau is held politically and socially. Social cohesion amongst the Melanau, despite religious differences, is markedly tight.


Society

Kinship is traced in both the male and female line. Although, in Dayak Iban society, male and females possess equal rights in status and property ownership, political office has strictly been the occupation of the traditional Iban Patriarch. Overall Iban leadership in any given region, is marked by titles, a Penghulu for instance would have invested authority on behalf of a network of Tuai Rumah's, and so on to a Temenggung or Panglima. It must be noted that individual Dayak groups have their social and hierarchy systems defined internally, and these differ widely from Ibans to Ngajus and Benuaqs to Kayans.


The most salient feature of Dayak social organization is the practice of Longhouse domicile. Those who have travelled extensively throughout the Island, would recognise the shape of a Longhouse: a structure supported by hardwood posts, stretching for a hundred yards or more along a terraced river bank. The Iban of the Kapuas and Sarawak have organised their Longhouse settlements in response to their migratory patterns. Examined from outside the community, it would appear that a Iban Longhouse is the outcome of some sort of communal or group organization and ownership. In reality, this inference is the reverse of true. The Iban Longhouse is primarily an aggregation of independently owned family apartments. The fact that these apartments are joined detracts very little from their autonomy. Iban Longhouses vary in size, from those slightly over 100 yards in length to huge settlements over 500 yards in length. The number of families occupying individual apartments in the Longhouse is equidistant to the number of doors (pintu) a longhouse has. For i.e a Longhouse of 200 doors is equivalent to a settlement of 200 families. In archaeology and anthropology, a long house or longhouse is a type of long, narrow single room building built by peoples in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe and North America. ...


Headhunting remains an important part of Dayak culture, in particular to the Iban, although the practice has gradually been kept in check over the last 50 years (It appears that Headhunting was government sanctioned affairs during the reign of the Brooke Rajahs and discouraged in Dutch Borneo by the authorities).Sarawak Government Resident reports describe victorious Iban War parties with captured enemy heads. Triumphs would always be marked by special ceremonial occasions. At various times, there has often been massive coordinated raids in the interior, and throughout coastal Borneo ,directed by the Sarawak Government during Brooke's reign. This may have given rise to the term, Sea Dayak, although, throughout the 19th Century, Sarawak Government raids and independent expeditions appeared to have been carried out as far as Brunei, Mindanao, East coast Malaya, Jawa and Celebes. Tandem diplomatic relations between the Sarawak Government (Brooke Rajah) and Britain (East India Company and the Royal Navy) acted as a pivot and a deterrence to the former's territorial ambitions, against the more passive Dutch colonial administration in the Kalimantan regions and client Sultanates. // A headhunter was a person who killed another and then took the others head. ...


Metal-working is elaborately used for making mandaus (machetes). The blade is made of a softer iron, to prevent breakage, with a narrow strip of a harder iron wedged into a slot in the cutting edge for sharpness. The parang is fairly short and serves both a weapon and for trailcutting in dense forest. It is holstered with the cutting edge facing upwards and at that side there is an upward protrusion on the handle, so the parang can be drawn very quickly with the hand without having to reach over and grasp the handle first. The ceremonial parangs used for dances are as beautifully adorned with feathers as the dresses are. There are various terms to describe different types of Dayak blades. The Nyabor is the traditional Iban Scimitar, Parang Ilang is common to Kayan and Kenyah Swordsmiths, and Duku is a multipurpose farm tool and machete of sorts. Categories: Weapon stubs | Swords | Mechanical hand tools ...


Politics

Dayaks in Indonesia and Malaysia enjoy a notable political history, and it appears that organised Dayak political activism of the Indonesian Modern Party State first appeared in Kalimantan in the form of the Dayak Unity Party (Parti Persatuan Dayak)during the late 19th century and crystallised with the formation of the DUP. Dayaks in Sarawak in this respect,compare very poorly with their organised cousins and brethren in Kalimantan due to in no part, the personal fiefdom that was the Brooke Rajah dominion. Political circumtances aside,the Dayaks in Kalimantan actively organised under various associations beginning with the Sarekat Dayak established in 1919, to the Parti Dayak in the 40s, and to the present day, where Dayaks occupy key positions in government.


In Sarawak, Dayak political activism had its roots in the SNAP (Sarawak National Party) and Pesaka during post independence construction in the 1960s. These parties shaped to a certain extent Dayak politics in the State, although never enjoying the real privileges and benefits of Chief Ministerial power relative to its large electorate. It can be said that successive Key Dayak parties in the State of Sarawak acquiesed real political credibility in favour of personal short term gain in junior ministerial posts and token positions in the Prime Minister's Cabinet and the ruling coalition government. Nevertheless, Dayaks dominate Sarawak politics and are present in all political formations within the State Barisan Nasional.


Under Indonesia's transmigration programme, settlers from densely-populated Java and Madura were encouraged to settle in the Kalimantan provinces, but their presence was, and still is, resented by Dayaks. The large scale transmigration projects initiated by the Dutch and continued by present Javanese governments, caused widespread breakdown in social and community cohesion during the late 20th Century. In 2001 the Indonesian government ended the gradual Javanese settlement of Kalimantan that began under Dutch rule in 1905. Indonesias Transmigration program was an initiative to move landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia to less populous areas of the archipelago. ... Java (Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia, and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. ... Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java, near the port of Surabaya. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


From 1996 to 2003 there were systemic and violent attacks on Madurese settlers, including a resurgence of the beheading practices. Inevitably, order was restored by the Military but this was somewhat too late in application. 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Further reading

  • Victor T King, Essays on Bornean Societies (Hull/Oxford, 1978).
  • Benedict Sandin, The Sea-Dayaks of Borneo before White Rajah Rule (London 1967).
  • Eric Hansen , Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo, (Penguin, 1988), ISBN 0375724958 - a thrilling travel log by an informed traveller.

See also

The Krio Dayak are a Dayak ethnic group in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. ... A Modern Iban Longhouse in Kapit Division The Ibans were formerly known during the colonial period by the British as Sea Dayaks and are a branch of the Dayak peoples of Borneo. ... Iban is the spoken language of ethnic Dayak Iban in Borneo. ...

External links

  • www.dayakology.com - a site run by Dayaks
  • Assessment for Dayaks in Malaysia
  • - Lembaga Study Dayak 21

  Results from FactBites:
 
In the Realm of Spirits: Traditional Dayak Tattoo in Borneo by Lars Krutak (2333 words)
Dayak, meaning "interior" or "inland" person, is the term used to describe the variety of indigenous native tribes of Borneo, each of which has its own language and separate culture.
In mythology, the tuba was given to the Dayak by the snake deities of Panggau and this is why it is not surprising that the motif is used as a protective symbol in tattoo.
Dayak tattoo is a spiritual artform that merges images of humans, animals, and plants into one unit, expressing the proliferation of life and the integration of living and spiritual beings in the cosmos.
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Dayak (3109 words)
Dayaks are generally categorised as part of a wider Austronesian speaking group, local to the Island of Borneo in the Indonesian Archipelago and mutually share the same characteristics of those indigenous inhabitants in South East Asia.
Dayak cultivated land, interpreted by local customary law, is considered to be owned and held in right by the natives, and the concept of land ownership as thus, flows out of this central belief.
Dayak tattoo is a spiritual artform that merges images of humans, animals, and plants into one unit, expressing the proliferation of life and the integration of living and spiritual beings in the cosmos.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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