Dayak History

1 January 2017

They burned down communities, picked fights with random people which later lead up to the “Sampit conflict”. This conflict was sparked due to political ruling of population and land. The Madurese came to Borneo in the 1930’s, they were part of a transmigration program that was made by the Dutch, and was continued by the Indonesian government. In the year 2000 the Madurese made up 21% of the central Kalimantan, where the Dayaks also resided. What really pissed off the Dayaks was the favoritism of the government in Madurese.

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The Indonesia government gave them control of many commercial industries, such as; logging mining and plantations. The feud between the two started small, with rumors of the Dayak burning down the homes of the Madurese people. It’s been said, that the Madurese would capture Dayak people, and torture them until they died. In retribution the Dayaks would go and burn their houses down and it would just go back and forth. Sometimes fights start when you run into to someone from the opposite side, or making a bet on a local cock fight, any type of gambling, and not being able to pay it back.

The Last major conflict between these two was on December 1996- January 1997 where there were more than 600 deaths. The Dayaks are headhunters, they decapitated over 100 people during this conflict. They always like to carry around a small sharp knife that was concealed, because they didn’t know when another attack might occur. If someone were to spot you and recognize you from the opposing side, you would need protection. Most of the time, the feuds would just start small and just grow into an all out war. The fighting became so big, that the local police and military had trouble containing the situation.

Reinforcements were sent in to help existing personnel in the province. “On February 18, the Dayaks assumed control over Sampit. Police arrested a local official believed to have been one of the masterminds behind the attacks. The masterminds are suspected of paying six men to provoke the riot in Sampit. The police also arrested a number of rioters following the initial murder spree. Later, on February 21, thousands of Dayaks surrounded a police station in Palangkaraya demanding the release of detainees. By, February 28, the military had managed to clear the Dayaks off the streets. “http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Sampit_conflict” All of the fighting was later restored by the Indonesian military. Obviously the Madurese had been protected by the government. They were forced to move from their land due to the overcrowding population. They were helped by the government. In this case the conflict was over occupation and use of land. The Dayaks felt that they were threatened, because these migrants are receiving control of the mining, logging, and plantations. The Indonesian government had made new laws that favored the Madurese, and the Dayaks were furious.

A dangerous element of the Dayaks was their reputation for head-hunting. They are known to be Great warriors that decapitate heads of people who opposed them, and they did just that to the Madurese. But unfortunately for the Dayaks, political system and military are keeping things under control. The Dayaks have the own religion called Kharingan, and may be said to be a form of animism. You can also call it a type of Hinduism. Over the Last two centuries it seems that some of the Dayaks have converted to either Islam or Christianity. With converting to Islam they abandon all their cultural rights and practices.

Christianity was introduced by European & American missionaries, and created a social bulwark against the spread of Islam. Researchers show that the ones that are carrying on the Dayak’s original religion called Kharingan are the missionaries. With this group of people, it seems that religion is not a big conflict here. Yes many people have been converting, but it hasn’t had any major effect people. In some occasion’s I’ve mentioned when converting to Islam, they would have to abandon all their cultural rights and practices so they can pursue new ones.

The Military and police played a critical role in trying to maintain some peace. They were there to break up most of the scuffles. They played a key part in the sampit, where tons of Dayaks were rebelling to free some of their people that were put in jail. The Dayaks have had their share or warfare. The Sampit was one with the Madurese, and the other instance was with the Japanese during world war two. When the Japanese were killing, murdering and executing Dayak people. They formed a special force to help the allied forces.

There were eleven United States airmen and two Australian special operatives who trained over a thousand Dayaks in guerilla warfare to help battle the Japanese. This army killed or captured 1,500 Japanese soldiers and was able to provide the Allies with Intel. It goes to show you how the Dayak value their land. Anyone that is occupying it will be the enemy. The Dayak are fierce warriors that fight only for themselves. They are part of the Indonesian colony. Where they will defend what’s theirs at any expense. I believe that this group would like to become politically independent.

Sad to say, due to the power of the Dutch colonial rule there is going to be no way that this happens. Not yet. The Dutch Control too much. They have a big military, something that the Dayak do not have. From what I’ve read the Dayak it doesn’t seem that they want to take over the nation state. It seems as if they were contempt with what they have. They are just really territorial people that don’t like others on their land. The policies of the state go against the Dayak, because the Indonesian government passed laws that helped out the migrants. The Dayak’s have multiple tribes.

Different groups are going to share similar cultural traditions but not all. They are all very similar when it comes to tradition. But, when it comes to religion they are all different. Muslim, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism is spread out thought the different tribes within the Dayak. In the end, the Dayak are just looking out for what’s best for their people. They are very stubborn, and I wouldn’t want to start any kind of warfare with them. It was a massacre at the “sampit” the killed hundreds of people for occupying their land. But it’s all for the good of their people.

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