Departmental Bulletin Paper Resilience and Flexibility : History of Hunter-Gatherers’Relationships with their Neighbors in Borneo

加藤, 裕美  ,  カトウ, ユミ  ,  Yumi, Kato

94pp.177 - 200 , 2016-12-08 , 国立民族学博物館 , National Museum of Ethnology
This article explores the relationships between settled hunter-gatherers andtheir neighbors in Central Borneo. Most previous studies have examined therelationships between Penan/Punan and farmers in Borneo. In these studies, interethnicrelations are described mainly as patron-client relationships, based on theirforest products trade. However, hunter-gatherers who lived in the middle reachesof the rivers could have more frequent contact with more numerous neighboringgroups. In other words, these groups have a different interaction model from thePenan/Punans who lived in the upper reaches of rivers. In addition, thecontemporary relationships between settled hunters and neighbors, includingChinese, have not been well argued. Therefore, this article aims to explore theplural ethnic relations between settled hunter-gatherers and Chinese, as well asother ethnic groups. It describes the Sihan, minority settled hunter-gatherers livingin the upper Rajang River of Malaysian Borneo. Two points are discussed usingfield data, including oral history, which the author has collected since 2003, andthe government gazette. The first point is the historical plural inter-ethnic relationsof the Sihan. When living along the middle Rajang River during the 19th century,the Sihan had daily close relationships with Lugat, Bekatan and Lisum. On theother hand, they had been embroiled in Iban headhunting and political conflict byKayan. Economically, the Sihan had trade relations with Chinese since the 19thcentury. The second point examined in this article concerns the change of interethnicrelations in contemporary life. The Sihan have strong economic relationswith Chinese. Most of them work for the Chinese and live in rental houses ownedby Chinese in Belaga Town. On the other hand, Sihan have marital ties withvarious ethnic groups. As a result, it discusses how individuals have diversifiedrelationships with their neighbors.

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