Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Bukit Buraq Mato community inhabit the borders of East and South Kalimantan, on the fringes of the eastern part of the Meratus Range. Based on local sources, the community identifies its linguistic links with other Meratus communities, such as the Dusun Balangan and to some extent the Dusun Deyah in neighbouring South Kalimantan, which brings us to a conclusion that they are a part of the larger Luangan – Ma’anyan – Paser speaking population.* However, longstanding contact with the Banjarese population has also prompted the assimilation of Banjarese language into the local dialect.

The local economy is based on subsistence farming on swidden rice fields in a rugged terrain setting, a practice the developmentalist Indonesian government attempted to eradicate in the early 1980s with little success . Additional sources are derived from small-scale cash crops such as rubber, coffee, kemiri and beeswax, usually sold in small quantities to nearby local markets in Halong and Sengayam in South Kalimantan. Recently, logging fees from logging companies constitutes additional cash sources through which new oil-dependent consumer patterns emerge (such as the purchase of TVs and VCD players).

* Personal email communication w/ Kenneth Sillander (2002)

Location: Muara Andeh village, Pasir district, East Kalimantan
Date: October 2002

Photo notes:
Landslides destroyed the local mining road, forcing the Buraq Mato community back into economic isolation. A typical problem throughout Borneo is the overcoming of physical isolation of remote communities once mining or logging companies shut down operations. Once the companies pack up, so does the maintenance of roads.

Apah Kangui, the Buraq Mato Adat chief, with his blowpipe.

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