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The History of Punan in Kakus and Tatau

The Punans most likely started migrating to Kakus watershed in the 16th century (1600) in small groups, from Ba River, a tributary of Rejang – where the Punan Ba longhouse is located. These groups initially settled on the upper reaches of Kakus cultivating the lands and exploiting nearby jungle resources, particularly bird nest from the caves as source of income.

The migrations heightened in the middle of 18th century (circa 1770-1790) period (Guerreiro 1988), as the exodus of Kayan from Apo Kayan in Kalimantan began moving down Rejang River forcing Punan fleeing the region to avoid subjugation. Kakus River was largely inhabited at the time, with the Tatau occupying only the Tatau and Anap watershed. The Iban has yet to moved in.

The fertile undulating plain of Kakus and Tatau River were all to the Punan and Tatau peoples, albeit with some frictions when the latter began moving downriver to Anap and Tatau Rivers. Soon however, animosity turns to friendship when one of the Punan – Tugang married into a Malong family, the heir of the longhouse and formed his own Punan quarters among the Tatau (c.f S.G Jan 22nd 1878). Malong refers to one of Tatau longhouse in the area (Sandin 1970), believed to be near the present day Tatau town.

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Opaisama pix October 2015

It’s been a while since our previous post. A lot had changed and the farm had grown larger. Here are some of the pix we took this month.

Latest photos of Opaisama – the river

Here are few more photos of Opaisama – specifically the Sama River. Hardly catch a fish today as the receding flood water turn the water murky – not an ideal time to fish.

The Punan of Kalimantan Timur

Photos of Punan found in Kalimantan (unrelated to the Punans in Sarawak particularly those found along the Rajang, Kakus, Pandan and Tubau rivers) taken during a population census in 2002-2003 by CIFOR.

Figure 1: Showing the distribution of East Kalimantan Punan population.

Figure 1: Showing the distribution of East Kalimantan Punan population.

A Punan settlement at Long Taben, Rian Tubu

A Punan settlement at Long Taben, Rian Tubu

Another Punan settlement in Kalimantan East.

Another Punan settlement in Kalimantan East.