Central-Kalimantan 48 Tribes

Written by on November 3, 2010 in Kalimantan Tribes with 0 Comments

Central-Kalimantan 48 Tribes

Kalimantan central, kalimantan tengah, palangkaraya, tribes


Ampanang 33.000 Animism

central, southeast of Tunjung, Jambu, Lamper area

The Ampanang people group lives just east of Central Kalimantan, southeast of the city of Tunjung, not far from the cities of Jambu and Lamper. Kalimantan, meaning “River of Diamonds,” is the name for the Indonesian two-thirds of the island of Borneo; Malaysia and Brunei occupy the other one-third. The Ampanang are one of the people groups in the Barito cluster, which is part of the larger Dayak ethno-linguistic complex. Dayak peoples tend to live alongside the interior rivers of Kalimantan. They are sometimes sub-divided as either Land or Sea Dayaks, although this is primarily a European designation to distinguish the various groups. They are usually further characterized by: (1) bilinear inheritance and bilateral kinship reckoning; (2) uxorilocal residence or living with or near the kin of the wife; (3) political unity rarely above the level of the village; (4) absence of social stratification (although slavery is or was practiced by some groups); (5) multifamily dwellings (often including longhouses); and (6) in most cases, secondary burials. The Dayak tribes apparently came from West Asia as a migration of the Mongols who entered the archipelago through the southern Kalimantan coastal city, which is now called Martapura.
The primary means of livelihood for the Ampanang include hunting, gathering forest products, fishing, farming, and trade. Although most Ampanang live beside rivers, there are also those who live in areas far from any river. The Ampanang culture is intertwined with their belief in unseen spirits. In the same way, the arts and various other activities are incorporated into their belief system. The Ampanang also uphold various traditional ceremonies. These ceremonies include matchmaking and engagement, marriage, pregnancy, birth, healing of a sickness, and burial. Ritual ceremonies are also often observed during the time of celebrating their important holidays.
Generally the Ampanang people are followers of the traditional Dayak beliefs, called Kaharingan. In addition, some are also followers of the Nyuli belief. The focus of the Nyuli teaching is that there is a resurrection after death (Suli). According to Nyuli teaching, Bukit Lumut releases the departed spirit. Such a spirit then returns to their village, bringing something from eternity that can be used to improve the condition of the world. The Ampanang people also give praise to the spirits of their ancestors (duwata). Each Ampanang family has a place of worship for their own duwata in their house. This place of worship is usually called kunau. They also use a pangantuhu, a piece of human bone, as a tool to call departed ancestors.

Aoheng 2.630 Animism

north central near Sarawak border, upper reaches of Kapuas, Barito, and Mahakam rivers. Alternate names: Penihing. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 69% with Kereho [xke], 67% with Hovongan [hov].

Bahau 4.800  Animism

Northeast, north, and southeast of BuBahau-01sang. Long Apari, Long Pahangai, Long Bagun, and Long Hubung subdistricts, Kutai Barat Regency.

Bakumpai 108.000 Islam

Kapuas and Barito rivers, northeast of Kuala Kapuas. Alternate names: Bakambai, BaBakumpai_tonra-Jida. Dialects: Bakumpai, Mengkatip (Mangkatip, Oloh Mengkatip). Lexical similarity: 75% with Ngaju [nij], 45% with Banjar [bjn]. 

The majority of the Bakumpai live near the Barito River, which flows through the province of Central Kalimantan. In southern Kalimantan, the Bakumpai live in Bakumpai District of Barito Kuala Regency while those in Central Kalimantan live in South Barito Regency. Their neighbors in the south are the Banjar people and in the north the Ngaju and Maanyan peoples. Some experts speculate that the Bakumpai are one of the sub-groups of the Ngaju people group, although the Bakumpai consider themselves a separate people group. The Bakumpai are one of the people groups in the Barito cluster which is part of the larger Dayak ethno-linguistic cluster. Dayak peoples (sometimes subdivided as either Land or Sea Dayaks) tend to live alongside the interior rivers of Kalimantan. The Dayak tribes probably originated from West Asia as migratory Mongols who entered the archipelago from the west through the coastal city which is now called Martapura (in South Kalimantan).
The area where the Bakumpai live is crisscrossed with many rivers. The Bakumpai have therefore developed technology for water transportation. They usually farm wet rice fields due to the rise and fall of the tide. Other work is cultivation of un-irrigated fields, fishing in the rivers, trade, and production of household tools. Although the Bakumpai are considered part of the larger group of Dayak tribes, their social life and culture is influenced more by the culture of the Banjar people. In the past, when the area of the Banjarmasin was still controlled by a Hindu kingdom, the social system was influenced by the caste system according to the Hindu religion. The system of kinship of the Bakumpai is also similar to the bilateral system of the Banjar. Along with the husband, the wife also exercises an important role in the nuclear family. According to the traditions of the Bakumpai, the newly married couple is free to choose their place to live. They may choose to live with the husband’s relatives, with the wife’s relatives, or separately in their own home. The system of dividing inheritance tends to be implemented according to the rules of the religion of Islam.
Generally, the Bakumpai are followers of Islam.

Banjar  3.916.000 Islam


Around Banjarmasin south and east; East Kalimantan, coastal regions of Pulau Laut, Kutai and Pasir; Central Kalimantan as far as Sampit. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Bandjarese, Banjar Malay, Banjarese, Labuhan. Dialects: Kuala, Hulu. Lexical similarity: 73% with Indonesian [ind], 66% with Tamuan (Malayic Dayak), 45% with Bakumpai [bkr], 35% with Ngaju [nij].

The southern and eastern coast of Kalimantan is home to the Banjar people, who live up and down the rivers from the interior rainforest to the coastal cities. Banjar culture dominates the province of South Kalimantan, and there are also significant Banjar populations in East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and Malaysia. Although they are devout Muslims, the Banjar proudly trace their origins to a legendary Hindu kingdom, the Negara Dipa. Contemporary ethnic identity developed from a combination of Jawa (Java), Melayu (Malay), and Dayak cultures. Through the Jawa people, Buddhism, Hinduism and finally Islam were introduced into South Kalimantan. In 1526, Banjar Prince Samudera accepted Islam and took the name of Sultan Suriansyah as a condition of receiving help from a Jawa army in overthrowing his uncle.
Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan, is located 22 kilometers from the Jawa Sea, and since portions of the city are below sea level, the city rises and falls with the tides. Lanting (houses on stilts) line the multiple waterways, which crisscross the city. Taking a small klotok (motorized boat) around the rivers and canals shows a wide variety of activity: people bathing, washing laundry, gossiping, and buying fruit and vegetables and fish from women vendors in tiny canoes. The Banjar people seldom move to other areas of Indonesia. They tend to marry and settle near their parents or other relatives in Kalimantan. Most seek their livelihood through farming and plantation work near the rivers. Trade, transport, and mining are also prominent occupational fields. Many Banjar work in traditional manual sawmills but are reluctant to work in the plywood factories and commercial sawmills because of the unhealthy conditions.
The all-pervasiveness of Islam in Banjar society has a great influence on every aspect of individual and family life.

Basap 26.000 Animism

scattered in Bulungan, Sangkulirang, and Kutai regencies. Dialects: Jembayan, Bulungan, Berau, Dumaring, Binatang, Karangan.

Berau Malay 12.000 Islam

central coastal area, Tanjungreder and Muaramalinau north to Sepinang south. Alternate names: Berau, Merau Malay.

The Berau live in Berau Regency, East Kalimantan Province and especially in the districts of Tanjungredeb, Gunung Tabur, Sembaliung, and Babanir. The Berau speak their own language. This language differentiates them from other people groups in East Kalimantan. According to a linguist, there are not more than 45,000 people speaking the Berau language.
The Berau mainly make their living as either farmers or fishermen. The farmers grow sweet potatoes, cassava, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Like other Kalimantan people groups in general, the Berau practice migratory agriculture (shifting from one field to another) mainly because they cannot maintain the soil’s fertility. New farmland is opened by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush. The initial clearing of a field is accomplished with the help of a large group of neighbors. This farming method is often accused of being the main cause of forest fires in Kalimantan. Even though their actions do cause some damage, it is not comparable to the destruction done by businessmen who hold “Forest Enterprise Rights” from the government. Some Berau living in cities work for government or private businesses. Others work as craftsmen or day laborers.The Berau people also produce a handicraft of specially woven fabric, which they often sell to outsiders. A new form of income that has developed recently is the presenting of their traditional ancestral ceremonies as a tourist attraction.Most of the Berau follow the patrilineal kinship system (tracing descent from the father). Male primacy is very important and is dominant in every aspect of life. The men determine issues concerning marriages and inheritance. In the past, the Berau apparently had class distinctions but these have since faded in modern times. Today, wealth and formal education are factors determining one’s social status. The richer a person is or the higher a person’s formal education, the higher their position and social standing in the eyes of the Berau community.
Today most Berau identify themselves as Muslims.

Bolongan  18.000 Christian

Tanjungselor area, lower Kayan River. Alternate names: Bulungan. Dialects: May be a dialect of Tidong [tid] or Segai [sge]. Classification uncertain.

Bukit Malay  76.000 Animism

Bukitan 570

Iwan River, Sarawak border. Also in Malaysia (Sarawak). Alternate names: Bakatan, Bakitan, Beketan, Mangkettan, Manketa, Pakatan. Dialects: Punan Ukit, Punan Busang.

Burusu  9.100 Animism

Bulungan Regency, Sesayap subdistrict, Sekatakbunyi area, north of Sajau Basap [sjb] language. Alternate names: Berusuh, Bulusu.

Busang Kayan 4.500  Animism

upper Mahakam, Oga, Belayan rivers. Alternate names: Busang, Kajan, Kajang. Dialects: Mahakam Busang, Belayan, Long Bleh.

Dusun Malang 4.600  Animism

Central Kalimantan Province, North Barito Regency, west of Muarainu, northeast of Muarateweh. Dialects: Bayan, Dusun Malang. Most similar to Ma’anyan [mhy], Paku [pku], Dusun Witu [duw], Malagasy [plt]. Lexical similarity: 90% between the 2 dialects.

Dusun Deyah 30.000 Animism

South Kalimantan Province, Tabalong River northeast of BonDusun-Deyah_togkang. Alternate names: Deah, Dejah. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 53% with Lawangan [lbx], 52% with Tawoyan [twy].

Dusun Witu 5.300  Animism

Central Kalimantan Province, South Barito Regency, Pendang and Buntokecil regions; south of Muarateweh. Dialects: Dusun Pepas, Dusun Witu. Most similar to Ma’anyan [mhy], Paku, Dusun Malang [duq], Malagasy [plt]. Lexical similarity: 75% with Ma’anyan, 73% with Paku [pku].

Hovongan  1.200 Animism

West Kalimantan Province near Sarawak and East Kalimantan Province borders; Kapuas Hulu Regency, far northeast corner. Alternate names: Punan Bungan. Dialects: Hovongan, Penyavung, Semukung Uheng. Lexical similarity: 69% with Kereho [xke], 67% with Aoheng [pni].

Kayan Mahakan 1.800 Animism

West Kutai and Malinau regencies, 2 areas.

Kayan River Kayan 3.000 Animism

Kayan River, 2 areas. Alternate names: Kajang, Kayan River Kajan. Dialects:Kayan-02-400 Uma Leken, Kayaniyut Kayan, Uma Laran.

Kelabit  5.200 Christian

remote mountains, on Sarawak border, northwest of Longkemuat. Mainly in Sarawak. Alternate names: Kalabit, Kerabit, Apo Duat. Dialects: Lon Bangag, Tring, Bareo (Bario), Pa’ Mada, Long Napir.

The KelabitKelabit-01 are an ethnic group in Malaysia with a small number living in Indonesia. The main Kelabit settlement is in northeast Sarawak, Malaysia. The Kelabit heartland, Bario lies 1,000 metres above sea level in the remote Kelabit Highlands. Bario is accessible only by air transport. Sixteen Kelabit villages are located within this highland plateau, while four other villages are located in the lowlands along the tributaries of the Baram River.

The Kelabit’s ancestors were traditionally farmers and headhunters. The Kelabit of today live a more progressive life. Many have migrated to urban areas for work or further education.

The Kelabit are a close-knit community, noted for their cheerful, industrious and refined nature and generous hospitality. Family life and friendships are highly valued in their society.
Most Kelabit villages are longhouse settlements. The rural Kelabit plant wet-paddy, producing high quality rice commonly known as ‘Bario Rice’. They also cultivate fruits and raise buffaloes, sheep and cattle. The people hunt and fish when the rice-planting season is over. The level of education among the Kelabit is considerably high. Many work in the civil service and the private sector in major urban areas.

They used to strictly observe a social hierarchy which consists of three classes, namely the paran ‘aristocrats’, the pupa ‘middle class’ and the anak lun ian ada ‘commoners’. However with the advent of Christianity and education, such classifications are slowly diminishing.

A Kelabit couple mayKelabit-02 mark their new status as parents and grandparents by changing their names at a special festive ceremony called Irau Naru Ngadan. The Kelabit are good dancers. Well-known dances include the Arang Papate (The Dance of War) and the graceful Arang Menengang (The Dance of the Hornbill).

Singing, story-telling and joke-sharing sessions are popular traditional pastimes. Games such as football and volleyball are also popular among them. Antique beads are highly valued by the Kelabit. These centuries-old valuable beads are not only used as body adornments but also serve as family heirlooms.
The Kelabit’s forefathers were fervent animists. They appeased spirits and depended on the sighting of certain animals to warn them of impending disaster. Certain taboos and bad omens required the abandonment of ripening rice crops, the dissolution of marriages and even the killing of newborn infants.

The arrival of Christianity in the 1940s saw the Kelabit discarding most of their old beliefs. Most Kelabit today are evangelical Christians. Christmas and Easter are two important festivals celebrated as a community.

Kereho  500

West Kalimantan Province, far east Kapuas Hulu Regency, near Sarawak border, Kereho River. Alternate names: Keriau Punan. Dialects: Busang (Kereho-Busang), Seputan, Uheng (Kereho-Uheng). Lexical similarity: 69% with Hovongan [hov], 69% with Aoheng [pni].

Kota Bangun Kutai Malay 80.000 Islam

central Mahakam River basin. Dialects: Not inKota-Bangun-Kutai-Malaytelligible with Tenggarong Kutai Malay [vkt], but may be intelligible with one of its dialects (Northern Kutai).

Lawangan 100.000


Karau River area. Alternate names: Luwangan, Northeast Barito. Dialects: Ajuh, Bakoi (Lampung), Bantian (Bentian), Banuwang, Bawu (Bawo), Kali, Karau (Beloh), Lawa, Lolang, Mantararen, Njumit, Purai, Purung, Tuwang, Pasir, Benua, Taboyan. At least 17 dialects. Tawoyan [twy] may be inherently intelligible. Lexical similarity: 77% with Tawoyan, 53% with Dusun Deyah [dun].

Lengilu    4

Northeast, between Sa’ban and Lundayeh

Lun Bawang 34.000  Animism, Christian 20 %



The Murut comprise several people groups that are scattered in parts of Borneo Island including Brunei, Kalimantan (Indonesia), and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Their largest numbers are in Sabah but some also inhabit the rural Temburong District in Brunei. They were among the last tribal groups on Borneo to renounce headhunting. The largest Murut people groups are Tagal, Tidung, Timugon, Sembakung, Paluan, Bookan, Kalabakan, and Serundung Murut. The Sabah Murut population is around 135,000 while around 1,200 are found in Brunei.

The literal meaning for Murut is ‘hill people’. The Murut were formerly shifting cultivators moving their settlements every few years. Each people group has their own dialect, but most are also conversant in Malay which is the national language in Brunei and Malaysia. Interior from Brunei Bay to Padas River headwaters, to Baram headwaters, and into East Kalimantan, Indonesian mountains where Sesayap River tributaries arise. Also in Brunei, Malaysia (Sarawak). Alternate names: Southern Murut, Lundayeh, Lun Daye, Lun Dayah, Lun Daya, Lun Dayoh, Lundaya Putuk. Dialects: Lun Daye, Papadi, Lun Bawang (Long Bawan, Sarawak Murut). Not Murutic, although sometimes called Southern Murut.
The Murut used to live in communal longhouses, usually near rivers. Today, they have abandoned this style of living for individual family houses. These modern-style Murut villages are still located in the areas of their former longhouse communities. They are a very hospitable people.

Traditionally, they used the rivers as their highways. They planted hill rice and tapioca, and hunted and fished for a living. The men were skilled hunters, using blowpipes, spears and hunting dogs. Today, cultivating hill rice is their main occupation. Saw milling, timber processing and military careers are other means of livelihood.

Generally speaking, the Murut in Brunei have participated in the economic prosperity and modernization of Brunei Darussalam over the past few decades. The Murut in Sabah have also had increased opportunities resulting from modernization, although those who live in remote locations have not benefited as much from these changes.
Many of the Murut peoples in both Sabah and Brunei characterize their entire people group as being Christian. However, this is often done to distinguish their culture from their earlier culture and from the predominant Muslim culture than to characterize individual beliefs.

Many of those that call themselves Christian are nominal believers. Among church members, there is a mix of Roman Catholic and Protestant affiliations. Brunei statistics reveal that the Murut community is 58% Muslim, 30% “tribal religionists” (animists) and the rest Christian. Malaysian census data count the Murut in Sabah as about 82% Christian, 13% Muslim, and 5% other religions. These numbers can be misleading since they count all those in a household as having the same belief as the head of the household.

Ma’anyan 150.000

Central KalMa’anyan, tribe, suku, kalimantanimantan, Barito Selatan Regency, South Tamianglayang area, Dusun Hilir, Karau Kuala, Dusun Selatan, Dusun Utara, Gunung Bintang Awai, Dusun Tengah, Awang, and Patangkep Tutui subdistricts. Patai River drainage area. Alternate names: Ma’anjan, Maanyak Dayak. Dialects: Samihim (Buluh Kuning), Sihong (Siong), Dusun Balangan. Related to Malagasy languages in Madagascar. Lexical similarity: 77% with Paku [pku], 75% with Dusun Witu [duv].

Mainstream Kenyah 12.000

East Kalimantan Province, Malinau Regency, Pimping, Long Setulang, Batu Kajang, Long Uli, Long Belua villages, Kayan, Mahakam, Upper Baram, Bahau, UpperMainstream-Kenyah Balui, Malinau, Belayan, and Telen river areas. Also in Malaysia (Sarawak). Alternate names: Usun Apau Kenyah, Highland Kenyah. Dialects: Lepo’ Tau, Lepo’ Bem, Uma’ Jalan, Uma’ Tukung, Lepo’ Ke, Lepo’ Kuda, Lepo’ Maut, Lepo’ Ndang, Badeng, Bakung, Lepo’ Tepu’.

Modang 23.000  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Segah, Kelinjau, and Belayan rivers. 5 areas. Dialects: Kelingan (Long Wai, Long We), Long Glat, Long Bento’, Benehes, Nahes, Liah Bing.

Ngaju, Dayak Ngaju, Biadju 958.000 Christian

Kapuas, Kahayan, KaNgaju-02tingan, and Mentaya rivers, south. Alternate names: Biadju, Dayak Ngaju, Ngadju, Ngaja, Ngaju Dayak, Southwest Barito. Dialects: Ba’amang (Bara-Bare, Sampit), Katingan Ngaju, Katingan Ngawa, Kahayan, Kahayan Kapuas, Mantangai (Oloh Mangtangai), Pulopetak. Related to Bakumpai [bkr]. Lexical similarity: 75% wit



Ngaju, tribe, suku, kalimantan

h Bakumpai, 62% with Kohin [kkx], 50% with Ot Danum [otd], 35% with Banjar [bjn].

The Ngaju initially inhabited the upstream areas of the rivers, then migrated downstream. There, their culture mixed with those of others.

Like some other Dayaks of Kalimantan, especially the Ot Danum and the Ma’anyan, the Ngaju till dry lands and move from oNgaju 01ne region to another. They adhere to the old Kaharingan religion, which is a form of ancestor worship, mixed with animism and dynamism elements.

They speak a language that belong to the Barito language groups, which is also spoken by Ot Danum and Ma’anyan. Some minor different languages also used by those live in the northwest of Barito area.

The Ngaju have seen progress. Many of them live in the towns, have enjoyed an education and are intelligent. Many of them work as government officials in South Kalimantan.

Okolod, Murut Okolod 3.390 Animism, Christian40%

East Kalimantan Province along Sabah border, east of Lumbis, north of Lundayeh; also in Sarawak. Also in Malaysia (Sarawak). Alternate names: Kolod, KMurut-Okolodolour, Kolur, Okolod Murut. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 82% with Okolod of Sabah, 70% with Pensiangan Murut dialect of Tagal Murut [mvv], 34% with Lun Bawang [lnd].

Ot Dahun 78.800

Upper reachesOt-Dahun-01 of south Borneo River, large area south of Schwaner Range. Ulu Ai’ on Mandai River with 7 villages. Alternate names: Dohoi, Malahoi, Uud Danum, Uut Danum. Dialects: Ot Balawan, Ot Banu’u, Ot Murung 1 (Murung 1, Punan Ratah), Ot Olang, Ot Tuhup, Sarawai (Melawi), Dohoi, Ulu Ai’ (Da’an), Sebaung, Kadorih, Kuhin. Lexical similarity: 70% with Siang [sya], 65% with Kohin [kkx], 60% with Katingan dialect of Ngaju [nij], 50% with Ngaju (main dialect) [nij].

Paku 3.700 Animism

Central Kalimantan Province, East Barito Regency, south of Ampah. Alternate names: Bakau. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 77% with Ma’anyan [mhy], 73% with Dusun Witu [duv].

Punan Aput 600  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, west and north of Mt. Menyapa. Alternate names: Aput. Dialects: Allegedly unintelligible to other Penan languages.

Punan Merah 200  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Mahakam River, east of Ujohhilang.

Punan Merap 200  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, east of Longkemuat.

Punan Tubu 3.100   Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Malinau, Mentarang, and Sembakung rivers, coastal. 8 locations. Dialects: Not a Kenyah language (Soriente 2003).

Sa’ban 900 Christian

East Kalimantan Province, Nunukan Regency, Sarawak border, south of Lundayeh. Alternate names: Saban, Merau.

The Sa’ban are a small people group living in the Punang Kelapang region in the remote Kelabit Highlands of northeast Sarawak. Long Banga is the main Sa’ban village in the highlands. Many Sa’ban have also moved to urban areas such as Miri for work purposes.

The Sa’ban originally lived in the upper reaches of the Bahau River in east Kalimantan. Migration to Sarawak began around 1900 and continued until the late 1960s.

Despite sharing many cultural similarities with the neighboring Kelabit, the Sa’ban are a distinct people who even today seldom intermarry with outsiders. Historically their warriors were renowned for their bravery and steadfastness in battle. The Sa’ban are an industrious people. A strong desire exists among them to improve their standard of living.
A typical Sa’ban village consists of houses built in an alignment similar to that of a longhouse. Nowadays, individual houses are also built in the villages. Farming is a major economic activity. They practice shifting paddy cultivation. Coffee and sugarcane are planted as cash crops.

Many Sa’ban have taken up jobs in urban areas. They also work in the logging and plantation industries. The level of education among the Sa’ban is high. Schoolchildren normally have to finish their higher secondary school education in faraway towns. A few individuals are university and college graduates. The Sa’ban live in extended families. The adoption of children among close relatives is common. Sa’ban society consists of aristocrats and commoners. Formerly there was also a slave class. Village heads are usually elected from the aristocratic class. A Sa’ban couple changes their names upon the births of their first child and first grandchild. Parents also address their children using special terms. Certain traditional practices of elongating earlobes and tattooing among both men and women have almost died out. The practice of keeping antique jars and beads as heirlooms continues even today.
The Sa’ban previously practiced animism. Deep in spirit-worship, they kept the skulls of their enemies in their longhouses.

In the early 1950s, the first Protestant Christian missionaries went to the Sa’ban people. The Sa’ban responded positively and the people today are predominantly Christians. Christmas and Easter celebrations are looked forward to as a time of festivities and family reunions.

Sajau  Basap 9.100 Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Berau and Bulungan regencies, northeast of Muaramalinau. Alternate names: Sajau, Sujau. Dialects: Punan Sajau, Punan Basap, Punan Batu 2. Related to Basap [bdb].

Segai 3.000  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Berau regency, Kelai River and around Longlaai. Alternate names: Called Segayi by the Berau, Ga’ay by the Kenyah and Kayan. Dialects: Kelai, Segah.

Selungai Murut 700  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Nunukan Regency east of Lumbis on upper reaches of Sembakung River. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Murut.

Sembakung Murut  3.500   Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Nunukan Regency, Sembakung River mouth into Sabah. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Sembakoeng, Sembakong, Simbakong, Tingalun, Tinggalan, Tinggalum

Siang 86.000  Animism

Central Kalimantan Province, Murung Raya Regency, east of Dohoi. Alternate names: Ot Siang. Dialects: Siang, Murung 2. Related to Dohoi.

The Siang people live in the province of Central Kalimantan. They are often called the Siang-Murung people because of the close relationship between the Siang and Murung peoples. The Siang primarily live in the Tanah Siang, Permata Intan, Laung Tuhup, Sumber Barito, and Murung districts of the North Barito Regency.The Siang are one of the people groups in the Barito cluster, which is part of the larger Dayak ethno-linguistic cluster. Dayak peoples (sometimes identified as either Land or Sea Dayaks) tend to live alongside the interior rivers of Kalimantan.Their language is called Siang, which is part of the Ot Danum language cluster. The Siang language is considered a “more polite” language than the Murung language. The Siang are particularly proud of their songs honoring respected guests or praising those who have done extraordinary feats.
The main means of livelihood of the Siang people is farming. Other than that, they tap rubber trees, gather forest products such as rattan, hunt pigs, and pan for gold and diamonds. They still use simple tools such as spears, blowpipes, and trident harpoons. The Siang people’s mobility is low. In spite of this, the Siang people group is not a closed group. They are known as a friendly and open people, but of course any newcomer would have to adapt himself to their customs and traditions.The custom of helping one another is dominant in their communities. For example, during planting and harvest time, neighbors come to help, bringing their own tools, while the owner of the field provides the food and drink. This type of helping one another is called haweh. Nango is helping spontaneously without an invitation, and ndohop is giving aid to one who is unable to proceed with the requirements for a marriage ceremony.The ancestral line is characterized as ambilineal. Extended families are formed by the groom living with the bride’s family. Social interaction is clearly defined. Their customs and manners are carefully defined, in matters concerning parents-in-law relations to their children-in-law. Another example is that a brother-in-law is not allowed to enter the house of his sister-in-law if her husband is not home.
The Siang people follow an ancestral belief system called Kaharingan. They believe invisible creatures and spirits of the deceased inhabit the natural world around them. These spirits at times actually enter the visible world which is called Lewu Liau. When someone dies, they are temporarily buried, then later a special observance called numbeng is held to send the spirit to the spirit world to face the highest god/spirit called Ranying Mahatalla Langit.

Tagal Murut  2.700  Animism

East Kalimantan Province, Nunukan Regency, Pegalan Valley, Alumbis River. Alternate names: Semambu, Semembu, Sumambu, Sumambu-Tagal, Sumambuq. Dialects: Rundum (Arundum), Tagal (Tagol, North Borneo Murut, Sabah Murut), Sumambu (Semembu, Sumambuq), Tolokoson (Telekoson), Sapulot Murut (Sapulut Murut), Pensiangan Murut (Pentjangan, Tagul, Taggal, Lagunan Murut), Alumbis (Lumbis, Loembis), Tawan, Tomani (Tumaniq), Maligan (Mauligan, Meligan, Bol Murut, Bole Murut).

Tawoyan,Dayak Tawoyan  30.000  Animism

East Central around Palori. Alternate names: Tabojan, Tabojan Tongka, Taboyan, Tabuyan, Tawoyan Dayak, Tewoyan. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 77% with Lawangan [lbx], 52% with Dusun Deyah.

The Tawoyan people (also called Tabojan, Tabuyan, or Taboyan) are almost all involved in tapping rubber trees. They also grow rice and harvest rattan vines. Farmers will cultivate fields until the land is depleted and then move to new fields. Also swallow nests are gathered and sold for birds nest soup. To add to family income, the women and children above 10 years of age typically weave different products for sale.
Common transport for traveling to district capitals is a small motorboat. The area government is developing roads, but during the rainy season, public transportation is only available once a week on market day. Trade and business is almost completely dominated by newcomers from the Banjar and Bakumpai people groups. The Tawoyan from Gunung Pure have not even developed a market system yet. Therefore, it is no surprise that there is not a single market in the area.

The Tawoyan people do not practice polygamy. The husband is the head of the household, but the opinions of the wife are not to be neglected. There is freedom for women to express their opinion. Both husband and wife have the right to work outside of the home.
Most Tawoyan people follow Kaharingan beliefs. They are obligated to offer food to the spirits of departed ancestors in a ceremony called warah. A cave in the Angah Mountain was designated as a place of ascetic meditation by the Sultan Mangkusari. According to their beliefs, some things which possess special magical powers are Air Silo, a special sacred water and Pupur Silo, a face powder made of finely ground rock sold as a cosmetic that has the power to attract men to women.

Tenggarong Kutai Malay 210.000 Islam

100,000 in Tenggarong, 60,000 in Ancalong, 50,000 in Northern Kutai. East Kalimantan Province, Mahakam River basin, east central coastal area, from Sepinang and Tg; Mangkalihat north to Muarabadak and Samarinda south. Alternate names: Kutai, Tenggarong. Dialects: Tenggarong Kutai, Ancalong Kutai, Northern Kutai. Many dialects. Tenggarong and Kota Bangun (Malay, Kota Bangun Kutai [mqg]) are not inherently intelligible. Shares phonological innovations with Berau Malay [bve], Banjar [bjn], and Brunei [xkd].

Tidong 49.000 Islam


East Kalimantan Province, Bulungan Regency, Sembakung and Sibuka rivers, coast and islands around Tarakan and interior, Malinau River. Also in Malaysia (Sabah). Alternate names: Camucones, Tedong, Tidoeng, Tidung, Tiran, Tirones, Tiroon, Zedong. Dialects: Nonukan (Nunukan), Penchangan, Sedalir (Salalir, Sadalir, Saralir, Selalir), Tidung, Tarakan (Terakan), Sesayap (Sesajap), Sibuku.

The Tidong live on the eastern coast of Bulungan Regency in the province of East Kalimantan and to the northeast of Putoh in the coastal area facing the island of Sulawesi. Perhaps, their location in the coastal regions make them more open to outsiders than many other groups. This openness and exposure to the modern world has lead them to be influenced by the outsiders’ cultures. This has been heightened by the fact that most of their dwelling areas have become transmigration areas. The Tidong speak their own language, Bahasa Tidong (Tidong language).

The Tidong make their living mainly as farmers. They grow sweet potatoes, cassava, lentils, fruits and vegetables. The Tidong practice migratory agriculture (shifting from one field to another), mainly because they cannot maintain the soil’s fertility. The Tidong farmers typically clear new farm land by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush. This farming method is often accused of being the main cause of forest fires in Kalimantan. Even though this process does cause some damage, it is not comparable to the destruction done by businessmen who hold “Forest Enterprise Rights” from the government.Some of the Tidong are ocean fishermen. The Tidong harvest rice, coconuts, and wood from their land. Petroleum is also produced on Bunyu and Tarakan islands. Some of the Tidong young people choose their own marriage partner. However, others marry partners chosen for them by their parents. The birth of a child is gladly welcomed and celebrated by a kenduri (ritual feast), which is a party led by a religious leader. Neighbors are invited to come to the feast in which the child is given a name (tasmiah). Usually, the celebration is held after the child is one or two weeks old. At the party, there is a naik ayun (swing riding) ritual. In this ritual, the child’s parents put the child in a swing and cut the child’s hair and cover him/her with flour.
Generally, the Tidong are Muslims.

Tunjung, Tunjung  Dayak  76.000 Animism

East KTunjung-01alimantan Province, Kutai Regency, between Adas, Dempar, Melak, and east around the lake; south Muntaiwan area. Alternate names: Tunjung Dayak. Dialects: Tunjung (Tunjung Tengah), Tunjung Londong, Tunjung Linggang, Pahu.

Uma’Lasan 1.500

East Kalimantan Province, Malinau regency, primarily Long Pujungan and Long Jelet Mesahan villages, also Long Pejalin (Uma’ Alim). Alternate names: Western Kenyah. Dialects: Uma’ Alim, Uma’ Lasan, Uma’ Baka.

Uma’Lung 3.000

East Kalimantan Province, Malinau regency mostly, Pimping, Long Setulang, Batu Kajang, Long Uli, Long Belua villages. Alternate names: Oma Longh. Dialects: Marginally intelligible with Uma Lasan [xky].

Wahau Kenyah  1.500 Christian

East Kalimantan Province, upper Mahakam River, Batu Majang, Buluk Sen, Uma’ Dian, Muara Pedohon, Kampung Baru, Uma’ Bekuai, Tabang Lama villages. Alternate names: Wahau Kenya, Lebu’ Kulit. Dialects: Uma Timai, Lebu’ Kulit, Uma’ Ujok.

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