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Research Report

CLAIMING THE FOREST: Punan Local Histories and Recent Developments in Bulungan, East Kalimantan

Lars Kaskija
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2002
Pages: 126
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-6)

    The local indigenous population in the Bulungan Research Forest (hereafter BRF) area is comprised of representatives of several ethno-linguistic categories, such as Merap, Punan, Kenyah, Putuk, and Abai. In addition to these indigenous Dayak groups, there is also a large Malay (Islamised Dayak) population, most of whom are living just outside the boundaries of the BRF, but close to the district capital of Malinau.

    The district of Malinau covers the Malinau River and its major tributaries. According to official statistics, the Malinau district had more than 17,000 inhabitants in 1990 — including the population in the Tubu area — of...

  2. (pp. 7-16)

    Below is a brief presentation of the major ethnic groups within the BRF. The population figures are based on statistics from the district office in Malinau, and from the data I collected in the field in 1990-91.

    The Merap are socially stratified swidden cultivators. The members of Merap villages are divided into paran (aristocrats, nobles), panyin (‘commoners’, constituting the village majority) and, formerly (until the second quarter of the 20th century), lu’a (slaves, usually war captives owned by village chiefs). The status of an individual was formerly marked, e.g., by specific tattoos for men and women of paran or panyin...

  3. (pp. 17-36)

    In this chapter I will present information about those groups of Punan who have not resettled downriver and who are still living in smaller hamlets in upper Malinau or along the Hong or Ran rivers. Besides these groups, there are also five Punan settlements in the Tubu that have not resettled downriver. These Punan settlements have not been included in the brief presentation that follows. This chapter also contain a general sketch of Punan Malinau subsistence. Readers interested in reading more on Punan Malinau subsistence and resource use are referred to Levang (2002) and Puri (2001).

    At least 120 Punan...

  4. (pp. 37-60)

    The ethno-historic sketch presented in this chapter cannot claim to be an objective description of the’real’ history. It is just as subjective as any other description of the local history. The construction of history is always selective and ideological, and it is therefore increasingly referred to as an historical narrative. It is often stressed that history is more a product of present needs than a description of something past (cf. Hylland Eriksen 1997). The compilation of historical data presented here has been informed within an anthropological and scientific context, where certain questions are considered more relevant or worthwhile than others....

  5. (pp. 61-72)

    In this report I talk about the various ethnic groups in the Malinau area as if they were separate and easily identified, bounded units, each one with a separate origin and a separate culture. The reality is, however, much more complex. Although I have no intention of going deeper into this issue in this report, there are a couple of interesting and important points I would like to make.

    People in Central Borneo have, to a large extent, identified themselves with reference to localities, such as the river or side stream where they were, or had been, living. That local...

  6. (pp. 73-96)

    Many of the changes and developments that have taken place in the past few years in the Malinau area have had a number of negative consequences, but they have also brought many new opportunities. Chances for employment have increased to some degree, although much less than expected when considering the number of new companies that have entered the area. Proximity to timber camps has also given some households an opportunity to sell various products, such as fruit, fish, meat, or handicrafts. This has been the case for the Punan in Long Metut, Liu Mutai, and Long Uli, who have sold...