Dayak People, The Real Borneo Itself

Dayak People

Dakay people or Daya or Dyak are the indigenous peopleof Borneo Island, Indonesia. They live in groups in mountains, outbacks and they are such a terrestrial group, a group who live in land, not in marine zone.

Dayak people are divided into some sub-ethnics that have different language and even different way of living. Shortly, Dayak is referred to Ngaju People or Ot Danum tribe who stays in South Borneo. While, in general, Dayak is referred to the 6 tribes of Dayak; [Kenyah-Kayan-Bahau],[Ot Danum],[Iban],[Murut],[Klemantan] and [Punan]. Those six clusters were subdivided into approximately 405 sub-clusters. Although divided into hundreds of sub-clusters, Dayak groups have similar cultural traits in particular ways. These characteristics become the deciding factor if a sub-tribe in Borneo which can be incorporated into the group of Dayak.

Dates back to the history, in the year 1977-1978, the Asian continent and the island of Borneo, which is part of the archipelago are still together, allowing the Mongoloid races of the Asian mainland to wander through and up through the mountains of Borneo to the mountains which is now called “Muller-Schwaner mountain. Dayak people was true the Borneo indigenous. However, after the Malays from Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula came, they increasingly retreated back inside. Moreovheer, t arrival of the Bugis, Makasar, and the Javanese in time of Majapahit Empire. Dayak people was living scattered throughout the territory of Kalimantan in the span of time, they have spread through the rivers to downstream and then inhabit the coast of Borneo island.

It was analyzed that Dayak people had to build an empire. In the oral tradition of Dayaks, often called “Nansarunai U?ak Jawa” which means, A kingdom of Dayak Nansarunai was destroyed by Majapahit. This was occur between the years 1309-1389. The incident resulted the Dayaks get inurgency and dispersed, some of them was get into the hinterland. The next big flows occur when the influenced of Islam that originated from the kingdom of Demak, with the influx of traders Melayu around 1608.

In the past the Dayak people were the tribe who practicing the ancient tradition of headhunting. After conversion to Islam or Christianity and anti-headhunting legislation by the colonial powers, the practice was banned and disappeared. Nevertheless, some said that Dayal people practicing cannibalism only when the war is occur and their life is in danger. In other word, practicing cannibalism is not the term of the way of living or part of the culture, but it is just the consequences that Dayak people have for someone’s disturbance within their groups.

Dayak people have various types of weapons which commonly used for hunting and war in ancient time, or for everyday use such as in the fields. For example blowpipe (sipet), saber, lonjo (spear), shield (telawang), and spurs. Originally, the main icon from Dayak weapon is Sumpitan, not Mandau. Mandau was being used to cup the enemies head in ancient time, when the war was occur. While sumpitan is still exist until present time, and there is no antidote from the poison in sumpitan. Sumpitan is such a bamboo wooden stick along the 1.9 meters to 2.1 meters. Sumpitan should be made of hard wood such as ironwood, tampang, lanan, berangbungkan, rasak, or plepek wood.

More about Dayak people, they also use tattoo in their culture. Tattoo for Dayak people is referred to religion, social status in society, as well as the appreciation for a person. Therefore, the tattoo can not be made arbitrarily. There are certain rules in making a tattoo or Parung, good selection of pictures, the social structure of the tattooed and the tattoo placement. The belief that the meaning of makin tattoo is used to be a torch when the death occur. The more they have tattoo, the more they are lighten when they die. Still, making a tattoo can not be made as much in vain, because it must comply with customs rules.

The main religion of Dayak people in ancient time was Kaharingan, such an animism but similar ti Hindu in present time. Over the last two centuries, some Dayaks converted to Islam, abandoning certain cultural rites and practices. Christianity was introduced by European missionaries in Borneo. Religious differences between Muslim and Christian natives of Borneo has led, at various times, to communal tensions.

For everyday living, Dayak people nowadays are depend their life in agricultural things like planting the rice field, planting bananas or palm oil. Following the modernity that come up nowadays, Dayak people are more to be a modern society, bust still hold the heritage to be the real Dayak.

What a tribe..!

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