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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



general name for the native population of the island of Kalimantan, including a number of tribes and nationalities; they number approximately 2 million (1967, estimate). Their languages belong to the Indonesian group of the Malayan-Polynesian language family. In addition to the traditional religion (a belief in various gods and spirits), Islam is also practiced.

There are significant differences in language and culture among the Dayak tribes and nationalities, some of the larger of which are the Ngadju, Klemantan, Ot-Danom. Bahau, Iban, Kayan. Kenyah, and Murut. At one time, the Dayaks inhabited the entire island; in the 13th century Malayan immigrants began to settle the island’s coastal region and gradually moved inland. The Dayaks have preserved remnants of their tribal kinship division. Their chief pursuits are rotating hoe farming (rice), hunting, fishing, gathering, and various handicrafts.


Narody lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow. 1966. (Bibliography.)
Kennedy, R. Islands and Peoples of the Indies. Washington. 1943.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2001, long-simmering tensions in Borneo between indigenous Dayaks and migrant Madurese, originating from Java island, erupted in the town of Sampit in Central Kalimantan Province, sparked also by a simple criminal case.
They show how the Dayak version of events--that they were merely defending themselves against Madurese attacks--was uncritically accepted by commentators and the government, leading to the decision to evacuate the Madurese community.
The detailed portraits of the Dayaks and their culture stand out in Heimann's book.
Felly wedi ymbaratoi ar gyfer taith i ganol anialwch gwyllt Borneo, fe fentrodd Bethan i aros gyda'r Dayaks.
Each year, the former head-hunting tribes of Sarawak, Borneo, come together for the Gawai Dayak festival, the biggest celebration in their calendar and, indeed, history.
Some leading Dayaks could make a claim for `victim' status as indigenous peoples -- credible, but uttered while the blood had not dried on their hands.
Borneo has been rocked by ethnic tension between Dayaks and Madurese for many years, but the latest clashes are among the most violent yet.
Fresh heads were the best, the Dayak people said; now they make do with buffalo, hang horned skulls in the longhouse.
'We, the Dayaks, must not allow ourselves to be politically used by other races,' he warned in his Gawai Dayak message, without naming any particular non-Dayak group which as been using the cultural festivity to split the community.
Scholars of Borneo have long noted the ethnic, religious and geographic constellations that have characterized a distinction between "Dayak" and ''Malay." Dayaks have broadly been known as the non-Muslim, dispersed peoples of the highland interior, whereas Malays have broadly been known as the Muslim, politically centralized peoples of the coastal lowlands.
Abang Johari also urged the Dayaks and other communities in Sarawak to have more self-belief in what they can do for the state, instead of trusting outsiders who may not have their best interests at heart.