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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.
REFERENCESNarody lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow. 1966. (Bibliography.)
Kennedy, R. Islands and Peoples of the Indies. Washington. 1943.