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Guardians Of Dayak Identity

Monday, 12 October 2020

The arrest of Effendi Buhing, chief of the Laman Kinipan Customary Community, in late August has brought the name Tariu Borneo Bangkule Rajangk to the fore. A militia group named Pasukan Merah (the Red Brigade) has come forward to defend this traditional leader in Lamandau, Central Kalimantan. Red Brigade Chief Pangalangok Jilah claims that he has some 50,000 members spread all over the island of Kalimantan, including in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. While it used to be active in preserving Dayak customs and culture, the Red Brigade now also focuses on advocacy for its members who are entangled with the law. Tempo reports from Bukit Raya Toho, Mempawah Regency, West Kalimantan, one of the customary forests under the care of the Red Brigade.
Red Brigade members in the opening of the 34th Gawai Dayak Festival in Rumah Radakng, Pontianak, West Kalimantan, May 2019. ANTARA/Jessica Helena Wuysang. tempo : 169629211165_

AGUSTINUS casts a spell. The smell of incense fills the room measuring 6 x 5 meters, adorned by statues of various sizes. In another corner of this house in Sambora village, West Kalimantan, are several ceramic jugs and a variety of weapons. Those belong to a 40-year-old man titled Pangalangok Jilah, who heads dozens of Dayak’s Red Brigade commanders spread all over Kalimantan.

A copper bowl filled with yellow sticky rice grains is in fron


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