Who Are the Maloh? Cultural Diversty and Cultural Change in Interior Indonesian Borneo. (Research Notes)

By King, Victor T. | Borneo Research Bulletin, Annual 2001 | Go to article overview

Who Are the Maloh? Cultural Diversty and Cultural Change in Interior Indonesian Borneo. (Research Notes)


King, Victor T., Borneo Research Bulletin


Ethnic Names: Embaloh, Taman, Kalis, Banuaka', Maloh

The following research note is occasioned by my reading of Jay Bernstein's excellent book Spirits Captured in Stone. Shamanism and Traditional Medicine among the Taman of Borneo (1997). I have reviewed the book elsewhere (see King 1998), 50 in these notes, I intend to focus on issues of ethnic identity and internal cultural variation. I shall be focusing mainly on Bernstein's findings, supplemented with some of my field data collected about 30 years ago. Bernstein examines and analyzes the healing practices, principles, and ritual paraphernalia of the Taman, a Dayak population of interior Borneo. It is based on his doctoral thesis, "Taman Ethnomedicine: the Social Organization of Sickness and Medical Knowledge in the Upper Kapuas," submitted to the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. The field research was undertaken in two periods from 1985 to 1988 among Taman villages in the Upper Kapuas regency of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. Bernstein concentrated his work in two villages of the Sib au branch of the Taman: Sibau Hilir and the "unofficial village" of Tanjung Lasa. He also visited communities belonging to the Kapuas branch of the Taman people, noting that there are some differences between the two branches "in vocabulary and other aspects of dialect" (1997: 14).

The Taman comprise an "ethnic group" which numbered about 4,500 in the mid-1980s and 4,917 in 1993 (Thambun Anyang 1996: 24). Interestingly, Bernstein refers to official statistics for 1987 which put the total population of Taman villages at 5,090. Henry Arts, in his study of the Taman, has an even higher population in residence for 1989, just two years later, of 5730. This is some 1200 above the 4,500 figure for Taman indicated in the mid-1980s (1991: 7). In explaining the difference in his own statistics, Bernstein states that the balance of the population in Taman villages, that is, about 600 people, was made up by Malay, Kantu' (Kantuk), and Iban; members of these different ethnic groups were therefore living among, or in very close proximity to, the Taman. The Taman were also close neighbors of yet other ethnic groups, specifically the Kayan and the Bukat (Bhuket), and it seems that some Bukat, along with Kantu', also lived among or close to the Taman of Tanjung Lasa (1997: 15). This general pattern of r esidential intermingling accords precisely with my observations from the early 1970s among several communities of the Embaloh division (as I referred to it), which are socially, culturally, and historically related to the Taman. Embaloh had close relations with the Malay, Kantu', and Iban in particular. In the past, they had also intermarried with and absorbed significant numbers of formerly nomadic Bukitan or Ketan (King 1985).

My own research was undertaken principally along the Embaloh and Palin rivers and to a lesser extent the Leboyan, tributaries to the north of the Kapuas River; these were areas which had become increasingly dominated by Iban moving in from the Sarawak-Kalimantan borderlands. I also paid a brief visit to the Kapuas branch of Taman. It was clear that this whole complex of people, and, in particular, certain communities of the Embaloh division, had been subject to various intense external forces and influences over a relatively long period of time, and sustained long-established relations with a relatively diverse range of societies and cultures--from stratified Muslim Malay trading states and administrative centers to small, scattered, egalitarian, hunting-gathering Bukat and Ketan communities. These different ethnic groups followed very different models of social organization, which we can place on a continuum from egality to hierarchy, and with which the Embaloh and Taman were presumably very familiar. What is more, the Embaloh and Taman, as well as the Kalis, the remaining division of this "larger ethnolinguistic entity" (Bernstein 1997: 18), had all been drawn into the expanding administrative structures, the colonial economy, and, indeed, the culture of the Dutch, especially from the early part of the twentieth century, and, since Indonesian independence, into the politico-ideological and economic systems of the developing Indonesian nation-state. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Who Are the Maloh? Cultural Diversty and Cultural Change in Interior Indonesian Borneo. (Research Notes)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.