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A rejoinder to Herwig Zahorka's "Basap cave dwellers in Mangkalihat" and some additional notes on the Basap and resettlement in East Kalimantan.

The title of the short article by H. Zahorka published in the 2001 issue of the Borneo Research Bulletin (Zahorka 2001b: 140-147) was surprising, as during my recent visit to the same community I did not meet any genuine "cave dwellers." In fact, I felt that the article gave a biased impression of the Orang Darat's (Basap Selatan) current situation in regard to their way of life and the resettlement programs they have experienced since the 1980s, and specifically the use of caves by the people in Teluk Sumbang or other neighboring communities. In short, it would be worthwhile to provide some precise information about the wider ethnographic and sociological contexts of resettlement, and more generally of ethnicity and socio-cultural change among the peoples of the Mangkalihat Peninsula located between the northern Kutai and southern Berau regions, because Zahorka does not address these issues directly in his article. The following notes were taken during an expedition of the boat la Boudeuse to Mangkalihat during February-March 2000 and during former surveys in Berau and Kutai.


The so-called "Basap"--the term is a derogative exonym given to them by the Kutai and Berau Malays--are probably still the least-known people of the Province of East Kalimantan in Indonesia (see maps 1 and 2). These forest dwellers, foragers and horticulturists/swiddeners are divided into several scattered local groups which do not maintain close relationships with one another. By and large, the various Lebbu/Basap groups exhibit cultural and linguistic similarities in contrast to neighboring peoples who are part of the "Dayak" and "Punan" ethnic categories. Because of the difficult nature of the terrain they inhabit, the huge distances between communities, and their limited demographical size, these people tend to assimilate quickly into other ethnic groups by intermarriage or conversion to world religions. Furthermore, they seem to adapt their ethnicity to the local conditions of each area they inhabit, readily taking on cultural elements from other neighboring peoples. Thus, they show a large range of variations in economic activities and cultural patterns.

The Basap Selatan prefer to be called "Orang Darat" or, more generically, "Suku Darat" (considered as a "generic" ethnic category). Orang Darat is a neutral term in the Malay language, based on their geographical position, lit. 'people of the interior', because they used to live in the uplands of Mangkalihat, on the slopes of Gunung Data' in the Tindah Hantung mountain chain, while the Malays (Orang Kutai, Orang Barrau or Orang Banuwa), the Bugis/Mandar and Bajau settlements are found in the coastal areas. The ethnic label 'Basap' or Bassap according to Orang Barrau/Orang Benuwa pronunciation, clearly retains a derogatory connotation of 'primitive forest dwellers' or 'unclean peoples'. However, its precise etymology is not known--perhaps the Malay words basah lit. 'wet' and/or asap 'smoke' could be sources. When asked about the meaning(s) of their ethnic name, the 'Basap' themselves were puzzled. In short, they do not know the origin or the specific meanings of the term, but only its negative connotation, amounting to an insult (Obidzinski 1997: 2-4).

Resettlement Policies and Socio-Cultural Changes

The historical development of the resettlement programs in East Kalimantan Resetelemen Penduduk, Resetelmen desa (RESPEN, RESDES), directed at the non-Malay indigenous peoples, suggest they were conceptualized as a "new policy," aimed first at "stabilizing" the Dayak communities living in the border areas of this huge Province. Thus, they focused specifically on the more mobile and migratory groups with large populations living in the uplands such as the Kenyah, Kayan, Belusu', Abai, Lun Dayeh and also some Punan. The imperative of national security, coming after the end of the Confrontation with Malaysia in 1966 and the birth of the new regime of President Suharto (orde baru) the same year, created a situation that made possible the initial steps leading to the planning of the program a few years later.

At the time, the fast development of timber exploitation in East Kalimantan, the transition from the manual so-called "free logging" system (banjir kap) to an industrialized system, and the formalization of forest exploitation rights through the granting of concessions to logging companies by the central government in Jakarta, made adjustments in the administration of land law in the interior areas of the Province necessary. The combination of rapid demographic growth, the high cost of goods in upriver areas and the cultural changes experimentally tried by the Dayak communities during the 1950s and 1960s, especially by the Kenyah and Kayan sub-groups living in the remote Bahau-Punjungan and Apo Kayan areas, as well as the growing need for manufactured goods, conversion to Christianity, and formal education had triggered a wave of migrations towards the lowlands. Of course, this process was reinforced by the timber and oil booms of the early 1970s, when cheap labor was in great demand on the coasts and in timber camps. The depopulation of the border by spontaneous migrations became an issue (the "new" Dayak villages in the lowlands were considered then as "preresettlements" by the administration in Kaltim, see Colfer, Herwarsono Soedjito, Albar Azier 1980; Eghenter 1999; Guerreiro and Sellato 1984a, 1984b; Guerreiro 1985).

Several measures were enforced in order to curb further migrations, such as the Governor's instructions to the subdistrict heads (camat) and, more generally, development projects aimed at providing basic services of health, agriculture and schools to the Dayak communities. In the socio-economic sector, the emphasis of the resettlement program was on the implementation of wet rice cultivation as an alternative to the shifting cultivation of hill rice, considered a threat to the all-important timber resources of the province. Another concern of the resettlement policy was to integrate the Dayak and Punan communities into the mainstream of Indonesian society, moving them from a socalled "primitive way of life" to a more modern outlook (e.g., it suggested change from longhouses to individual housing, from traditional clothing and hair styles to western clothes, and conversion to a world religion, especially Christianity or Islam).

The different socio-economic, political and "cultural" considerations were combined in an integrated resettlement program to be implemented in the Province by the Board for the Organization of the Resettlement Project in East Kalimantan (Ave and King 1986; Government of the Province of East Kalimantan, 1973,1976/1977; TAD, 1977). In this first phase of the program (1971-1972), the small groups of forager/horticultural forest dwellers, such as the Punan, Basap and related peoples, were not the specific target. Another program was implemented later by the Directorate of Social Development of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Depsos, stressing the "development and education of the isolated communities in order to achieve their welfare" (pembinaan kesejahteraan masyarakat terasing or PKMT), initiated in 1978 at the national level. That year a national census of "isolated communities or societies" gave the figure of 300,000 families (1,484,748 individuals) for Indonesia as a whole. The program was designed to improve the social welfare and generally, the cultural integration of the 'isolated peoples' (masyarakat terasing) into the mainstream of society (on the anthropological conceptualization of "isolated society," see Koetjaraningrat, ed. et al. 1993). In practice, it stressed a socio-cultural center approach focusing on the implementation of pilot sites (Pusat Sosio-Budaya, or P.O.S., that would become later, in the course of the project, a PKMT site) where facilities and guidance were provided to the resettled communities. This included houses placed in regular rows, a football or sports field, and some agricultural materials (seeds, tools and various implements). A social worker from the Depsos (petugas pos) was dispatched there in order to get the project under way, supervise its administration on a day-to-day basis, and improve the "moral" standard in the community, according to the Depsos' definition.

In the PKMT project, the ideological change from the former, nomadic huntinggathering and swiddening way of life, to that of a "peasant society" based on the model of Malay/Javanese farmers, was advocated. At the same time, the people were expected to adopt Indonesian cultural values and behavior in line with the national ideology of Pancasila, "the Five Principles," especially an organized religion instead of their traditional beliefs, labeled usually as "animism." In some of the resettlement sites, conversion to a world religion was suggested by the construction of either a mosque or a church building. In the four regencies (kabupaten) of the Province of East Kalimantan a total of 22 projects were identified in the administrative year 1980-1981, of which some were already being implemented. The projects were classified under the program called "directions for welfare and social development" (bimbingan dan pembangunan kesejahteraan sosial/BKPS), and included the resettlement of villages (or RESDES) and the PKMT projects mentioned above.

It was planned that the socio-cultural development of the "isolated communities" or the "isolated tribal peoples" (suku-suku masyarakat terasing) would follow basically a two-step approach. The first step in implementation focused on improving the "moral behavior" (sikap mental) of the group, based on the assumed stimulus provided by moving into "modern houses" (rumah penduduk or rumah sehat "clean houses"). This type of small plank-built house designed basically for a nuclear family of four persons, had a corrugated iron roof, and in fact was the standard type of housing provided in large numbers for the transmigrants in East Kalimantan and in other provinces. At the same time, the move to the resettlement area was intended to create a radical change corresponding to the beginning of a "new life" as citizens, in contrast to their former "tribal way of life" (compare Adicondro 1985; Appell 1985, 1986; Lowenhaup Tsing 1993; Parsudi Suparlan 1995; Persoon 1998; Schefold 1998).

The resettlement plan was based on the process of building a socio-cultural center for community development (P.O.S). If the results were considered satisfactory, according to the field staff and the Regency's Depsos office, then the second step of the implementation of the PKMT project could proceed. (1) At this stage, the people would actually stay permanently in the resettlement site where they had been moved from their original village(s) or hamlet(s) by Depsos staff, and participate in the programs organized under its supervision (Departemen Sosial (Depsos) 1980/1981: 25-30; Directorate General of Social Welfare 1983/1984: 153-171).

By and large, the PKMT program was designed within the context of the national integration goal during Indonesia's New Order (1966-1998). Before and after the fall of Suharto and the emergence of the Reformasi movement from 1998 onwards, the label of "isolated community," masyarakat terasing, came to be resented by the Dayak, Punan and Lebbu/Orang Darat communities, so instead, the term masyarakat adat, "customary society or community," was promoted by NGOs. More generally, the rationale of the resettlement policy was questioned. Local observers also called for the acknowledgment of the forest peoples' cultural characteristics and land rights. Eventually the program was dismantled in the restructuring of the Departemen Sosial during the Reformasi period in 1998/1999 (Roedy Haryo Widjono 1998a, 1998b).

It should be noted that recently the Punan communities in the Malinau District of Bulungan, on the Malinau and Tubu Rivers, have formed an adat customary law council for preserving and promoting their cultural identity in the region, in contrast to that of their dominant neighbors, the larger Dayak communities (Kenyah, Kayanic Bau/Merap, Bulusu'/Abai/Tebilun), and the Malays and other Muslim groups such as the Yidung. They held a workshop and discussions about land tenure rules and the sustainable stewardship of forest resources, especially the ones they are managing in the upper reaches of rivers (which are classified now as "protected forest areas," Roedy Haryo Widjono 1998a, 1998b; Sellato 2002). On the other hand, the wide geographic dispersion of the Lebbu, "Basap," and Orang Darat in Kutai and Berau, and the characteristics of each of their local situations, preclude the development of a unified adat tradition and identity. Reflecting on the actual impact of resettlement on their social life, the former nomads and horticulturists/swiddeners (Punan, "Basap"/Orang Darat), because of their small numbers, mobility and the characteristics of their small-scale settlements and culture, seem to have coped better than other, formerly settled longhouse-based societies such as the Bulusu' described by George Appell (1986: 203-205, 212-214), or some of the Kenyah-Kayan "new villages," I visited in the Mahakam area and Berau.

Resettlement of the Basap and Lebbu Communities

A number of resettlement projects concerning the Lebbu and Basap were prepared in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In Kutai there were two sites in kec. Bontang: Keraitan with 25 KK (KK = kepala keluarga or households, 70 persons) and Tebangan Lembak, 25 KK (62 persons) and in kec. Sangkulirang, the village of Raya (Tadoan) on the upper Manumbar River, 56 KK (165 persons). While in Berau many other projects were planned: two in kec. Gunung Tabur with 48KK (147 persons) on the Sembarata and Lati Rivers, in Sambaliung, only one at Inaran Baru, 28 KK (115 persons), in kec. Kelay or Muara Lesan, three further projects were suggested for the Lebbu people (with a combined population of 505 persons (100 KK): Merapun, Merabu and Pana'an villages). Two sites were mentioned for the Basap Selatan in kec. Talisayan, Teluk Sumbang and the Tabalar River, 108 KK or a total of 462 persons. Typically the resettlement site was to be located downriver from the original site of the Basap and Lebbu hamlets, like those of Merancang Hulu and Inaran Baru, or near to the main village as is the case in Teluk Sumbang.

All of this suggests that the numerous "Basap" communities in Talisayan, with a large population of about 1,300 in 1940 and probably about 2,000 in the 1980s, had already become settled agriculturists by then or in the following years (Ensing 1937: 45; Krom 1940:52 ff). In other words, they did not belong to the category of "isolated community" (masyarakat terasing) identified by the field staff of the Depsos who did extensive surveys of all accessible places to identify possible PKMT projects, but rather to the Dayak or Berau Malay (Orang Benuwa). In the latter case, these peoples had already converted to Islam, i.e., they had "become Malay" (masuk melayu) either by intermarriage--a Basap woman marrying a Kutai or Barrau man--or by way of religious conversion to Islam (muallaf). That would also fit the description of the Dayak groups in Talisayan mentioned by the Suku Darat in Teluk Sumbang and Tonda as being related to them. In Berau, the two projects concerning the "Basap" were actually implemented by Depsos as PKMT sites, one at Inaran Baru on the Inaran River, and the other at Teluk Sumbang in the south.

The resettlement scheme in Inaran Baru was one of the earliest developments for the Lebbu planned by Depsos in 1981. When I visited the site in 1984, all the houses had been built, including a dispensary (balai kesehatan) and a primary school (SD), and a mosque had been placed in the center. The buildings were spread out alongside a large sports field. Each family was allotted a large garden space (pekarangan) around the house for planting vegetables and fruits trees. However, the space remained uncultivated and bare and few houses were actually inhabited, although some parts of the compound, especially in front of the field staff's office, had been kept clear of weeds. It seems that the people were in a state of transition, from both social and economic points of view. The population was then 151 persons (36 KK families). The majority, about 75%, of the people had converted to Islam (muallaf) four years ago, while the others were either Protestant Christians (10%) or still followed the adat tradition (15%). A Depsos field staff worker was posted there permanently. This fact could probably be explained by the proximity of the town of Tanjung Redeb, with the site being on the right bank of the Kelai, at the mouth of the Inaran River. At the time the people were still engaged in collecting forest products (rattan, damar, gaharu, ironwood, bird's nests) and they alternated beween their former village upriver, Inaran Lama, and the resettlement site (from Tanjung Redeb to Inaran Lama using a 3 to 5 hp engine on a dugout, the trip took 20-24 hours going upstream and 12-16 hours downstream, but only 5-7 hours and 6-8 hours to the new village of Inaran Baru; Depsos Report, Inaran 1981). The people there called themselves Lebbu Isi in order to be distinguished from the more numerous Lesan Lebbu. They were also swiddeners of padi and vegetables. In addition, they were making small ironwood shingles (sirap) to sell in Tanjung Redeb together with other forest products to get a cash income. The latter were sold to their Chinese towkays in town.

In Teluk Sumbang, the "socio-cultural approach" (POS) had been implemented and later the PKMT program was developed by the Depsos of Berau. Two separate locations had been prepared and opened for the resettled "Basap" people. It seems that the preliminary surveys were initiated around 1979/1980 while the Depsos report indicates that the Direction for Welfare and Social Development Program (BPKS) was not yet implemented there (Departemen Sosial, Pembinaan Masyarakat Terasing 1980/1981: 29). The two groups of Ulun Basap in the village (desa) originally came from the Gunung Datar area located far inland. They settled circa the early 1960s in the hills near the village of Teluk Sumbang, a small harbor (pop. 500), inhabited by Bugis and a few Mandar people. One group was the Sinondo' group, named for the cape where they lived, Tanjung Sinondo' (Sinonduk is the official spelling). The other group was established in the hills behind the village of Talok. The first group was moved down from the hills to near the sea and beach, and 11 "modern" houses, one for each nuclear family, were built for them, but in 2000 only three were still inhabited. The other houses had deteriorated, as the Orang Darat had moved back to their former field locations, just above the cape on the hills, to a place called Balay Bakul. When the pemukiman ("settlement" or "colony"), the main resettlement site, was opened up on the hills of Gunung Macan overlooking the bay, the 33 or so families living around in dispersed hamlets or swidden fields in about a 10 km radius from the resettlement--a traditional settlement pattern--were gathered and concentrated in the new village, but much later it seems, according to the informants in the late 1980s. The new village is connected to the upper section of the mostly Bugis village of Teluk Sumbang (Talok) by a rugged forest path.

Divergent Interpretations of Basap Selatan "Cave-Dwellers"

While Herwig Zahorka in his article gives some hints about Basap Selatan adat traditions in Teluk Sumbang, he does not provide many ethnographic details or acknowledge the resettlement scheme itself. Furthermore, his report is actually focused on the alleged use of a cave as a permanent residence by Basap Selatan there as late as 1994. In this regard, the title of the article is significant: "The Last Basap Cave Dwellers," and the article features several photographs of Basap men and women posing in the cave dressed in their "traditional clothing" (Zahorka 2001b: 241-247). However, all the Orang Darat informants and the other sources concerning this point suggested instead that caves were used only temporarily, during hunting and forest-products collecting trips made by small groups of from six to ten people. The peoples of Tonda and Sitodo' would camp and rest in the places named Batu Uliras or Batu Payong, the latter is located on the side of the logging sites of Landas (PT Sima Agung), which I visited in the company of the kepala suku of the village. Actually, the same point had been stressed by Obidzinski in his report:
 According to some of the people who were in the caves while the
 government commission made their visit to Teluk Sumbang, the
 visitors never realized (or did not care to investigate) that
 the "cavemen" were only there temporarily. The subsequent
 newspaper articles did not bother to mention that Basap at Teluk
 Sumbang, in spite of their "cavedwelling habits," had cultivated
 gardens, planted rice, and engaged in trade for a long time. The
 big fuss about men and women wearing only loin-cloths is also
 highly suspect, as I heard some Basap say that they were paid
 to pose as "wildmen" for the visitors' cameras (1997:11; my

A similar fact had been reported in the Samarinda daily newspaper Manuntung, as early as 1992 (Manuntung May 5th), illustrated with a photograph of two Basap "cavemen" sitting on the porch of a cave. The text explained that the photograph coincided with the development of the proposed resettlement site and the moving of some of the scattered "Basap" families there. Then, Zahorka may have been misled about the situation of the Orang Darat in Teluk Sumbang while in Samarinda or Berau, although he does not mention his relation to the Depsos Berau in the article. When in Teluk in 2000, I was interested to find out the actual facts behind these events. I learned from the headman of the village that a film project had been planned and organized by Depsos in the Province in order to obtain support at the national level for their policies. The headman had collaborated actively in the shooting. A film was supposed to have been made, according to the newspaper article it was produced by the Perusahan Filem Negara (PFN) in Jakarta, but I have no further information on whether the film had actually been made. The headman of Talok told me that the shooting--or only photograph-taking?--was rather a kind of "reconstitution" of the traditional way of life of the Basap Selatan (he, himself, wrote a short typed ethnographic summary of two pages about the people at the time of the project). Later it seems that this show was repeated for the benefit of the other official visitors to the resettlement site. The men, equipped with blowpipes, dart quivers and parang, would pose wearing the bright cotton headbands and loincloths which currently constitute their customary wear (pakaian adat) in Tonda as in Talok. However, the whole scheme reminds us rather of the Tasaday cave-dwellers' "exposure" in the Philippines in the early 1970s under PANAMIN supervision (Nance 1975).

Current Trends among the Orang Darat

Currently (2000), most inhabitants have moved out of the main site (pemukiman), but they still maintain a house there. Both settlements have a combined population of over 180 inhabitants, or 43 families, according to both the adat heads and elders and the village head (kades) of Talok, and form two RT II (rumah tetangga), of the village. Thus in term of population, a noticeable difference can be seen with the figure of 322 persons or 72 families (KK) in 1980/1981 (or was this an inflated figure for budget reasons?). However, this difference could be explained if the people had moved out of the resettlement area in the late 1990s, as I was told. A large KINGMI (2) church was build in the pemukiman a few years ago. In term of ethnicity and cultural identity, the religious conversion to Christianity of the Suku Darat allowed them to maintain their adat traditions rather than follow the masuk melayu pattern. The several families of Tanjung Sinondo' have also converted to the KINGMI Church following the visit of a minister (pendeta) from Batu Putih in the north. Now the use of Christian names is becoming more common, especially for the younger generation as I noted in Taluk, while adults tend to keep their traditional names. The other large group of Orang Darat, living on the Kutai side of the border in the hamlets of Tonda/Sitodo', has also converted to Christianity of the same denomination, and they intermarry with the peoples around Talok. They came originally from the same group of families formerly established on the slopes of Gunung Data' (Datar). It makes sense also in terms of kinship relations because they are related, and they have to respect the adat regulations for birth, marriage, brideprice and inheritance of property as well as in other circumstances of social life such as legal cases and adat fines. The people also stressed the fact that they have assimilated with "Dayak" people in the region, the little-known groups called Paleng and Riwa. Their healing traditions are based on shamanism and possession seances (babalian) and are still performed. The ritual curing involves the making of carved images (tapatung) as well as song and dance performances (Guerreiro 2000, 2001). More generally, beliefs about the spirit world and forest-related activities are maintained by some of the people in both villages. On the other hand, modernization in the form of educational and health facilities, a primary school (SD -klas I--VI) and a small polyclinic (PUSKEMAS Pembantu), is found in the lower section of the village of Talok. All the small shops (toko) owned by Bugis people are also located there.

Until the late 1940s, before their stabilization in semi-permanent hamlets near the villages of Sandaran and Teluk Sumbang, Orang Darat communities would engage in "silent trade" with Malay and Bugis merchants, exchanging forest products for salt, iron, cooking implements, cloths, and beads. It seems that bartering rates were different from one place to another. Now, the coastal trade in forest products and manufactured goods is carried out by Bugis, Bajau, and Orang Barrau in small motorized boats (kapal) along the coast in both the Kutai and Berau areas and the island of Kaniungan, just off the Bay of Telok Sumbang. However, in Kutai the related Basap Selatan in Tonda and Sitodo'--in marked contrast to those of Teluk Sumbang--do have a commercial link to the port of Donggala in the province of central Sulawesi, established mostly through personal connections, as well as the local economic center of Sangkulirang (they sell mostly rattan canes, several species of wood and bananas which are cultivated extensively). The isolation of their settlement located up the Tonda River behind the fringe of coastal mangrove (hutan bakau) was a good protection for the villagers. In Kutai, the Basap Selatan of Sandaran Tengger have converted to Islam following, it seems, pressure from their neighbors. This pressure was why the Tonda and Sitodo' people moved from there to their present isolated location which is much closer to the frontier of Berau.

Currently, the economic base of the Orang Darat communities in Tonda and Sitodo', Teluk Sumbang/Tanjung Sinondo' is a combination of hunting, fishing, gardening and the collecting of forest products. However, the cultivation of padi (Oryza sativa) and other cultigens such as maize, tubers, vegetables, and fruit trees in swiddens (uma) is central to their diet. The old system of subsistence was based on the consumption of tubers, bananas, fruit and game rather than sago, although the Lebbu people used to make sago flour from different palms (Guerreiro 1996: 5-6). They would also occasionally sell animal skins and bird feathers to Dayak and Malay middlemen, and the men would work temporarily in the nearby logging camps of PT Sima Agung. An offshoot settlement of five houses of Ulun Tonda is now located at the place called "Kilo delapan" or "Kilometer 8" on the Landas logging road located on the Berau side, and they have also opened their swiddens there.

The buildings of the Orang Darat settlements visited (in Tonda and Sitodo') were constructed according to traditional techniques, using only forest materials (posts from the lowland forest and mangrove timber, tree bark for walls, palm frond roofing, rattan bindings). There were different types of buildings from small forest huts and shelters of the simple pondok type to more elaborate houses called balk, typically made of platforms placed at different levels, and Malay-influenced buildings. The Lebbu architecture observed in the village of Merapun was very similar, but generally simpler, the main differences were seen in some of the timber and bark species used, and in the height of the houses. Some were much higher among the Lebbu, probably because of their former defensive function--they were exposed to Modang Menggae and Wehea headhunting raids--although different types were observed in the same settlement (Merapun). Other items of material culture are interesting to mention, especially rattan and bamboo basketry (including carrying baskets, rattan tote baskets and other types of bags and pouches, and winnowing trays and baskets) and woodcarving such as mortars and dugouts, which are still used in everyday life. This important indigenous knowledge should be maintained as much as possible. On the other hand, iron implements (spear points, bush-knives, small knife blades) and blowpipes are obtained from outside the community by barter, exchange, or purchase (Guerreiro 1985: 120; 2001; Guerreiro 2003: 127-133; Rutten 1917: 720).

If one compares the Orang Darat villages of Bey (at the village of Muara Bulan, pop. 150) on the Baay River, a tributary of the Karangan, and Tonda/Sitodo' (pop. 115) which have not been involved in a PKMT resettlement project, the differences are striking. The people in both villages show much autonomy and dynamism. Their socio-cultural situation also contrasts with that of the resettled villagers. In fact, they are being influenced by the local situation. In Bey, located in a predominantly Melayu area, the whole population became Muslim and a large mosque (mesjid) was build with the help of a logging company (located in the multiethnic downriver village of Pengadan), and they still carry on their traditional hunting and gathering activities. In remote Tonda, the majority (about 95%) of the inhabitants are now members of the KINGMI Church and they are involved in many socio-economic activities, as mentioned above. Clearly they have chosen to remain distant from the desa of Sandaran, their administrative unit in the kec. Sangkulirang.


In short, in-depth studies of the Lebbu and Orang Darat communities would be necessary for an understanding of cultural patterns and subsistence activities in the coastal highlands of the long-settled Kutai (now kabupaten Kutai Timur) and Berau Regencies (kec. Talisayan, kec. Kelay, kec. Gunung Tabur) up to kec. Tanjung Palas in Bulungan. This approach should also include specific studies concerned with the interaction and exchanges that took place in the Eastern region of Kalimantan as expressed in the upriver-downriver polarities (hulu-hilir), river-inland and coast-interior dynamics from both historical and contemporary points of view. They should also address the more immediate questions relating to the cultural survival of these scattered, dwindling peoples in the multiethnic and muticultural society of East Kalimantan (compare Guerreiro 2003; Sellato 2002).

The combined impact of the past resettlement schemes, opening of logging roads, conversion to world religions and modernization, especially intermarriage with peoples of other ethnic groups, deforestation and the exploitation of mineral resources, have induced rapid acculturation among these forest communities since the early 1990s. In fact, the trend may possibly have been accelerated by the recent decentralization process which started in 2001 in East Kalimantan, one of the fastest economic growing provinces of Indonesia. (Conservation policies and recommendations which are designed to protect the rainforests' bio-diversity, pioneered by both the National Government and the local NGOs (Lembaga swadaya masyarakat, LSM) are also important at this point.) Taking all the factors mentioned in this paper into consideration, I find it highly unlikely that there are full-time Basap cave-dwellers living in the area. And Zahorka himself is ambiguous on this point. This is not to say, however, that the Basap have not explored the hundreds of caves found in the coastal highlands and used them for temporary shelters when on hunting and foraging expeditions.

(1) More precisely, the following steps were stressed from the start in regard to the selection, implementation and monitoring of the projects: 1) orientation (orientasi), 2) sociocultural approach (pendekatan sosial budaya), 3) education and socio-cultural development (pembinaan sosial), 4) functional coordination (koordinasi fungsional), and 5) supervision (supervisi). The Regency Depsos' offices (kantor wilayah T. II) were supposed to draft trimestrial, semestrial and yearly progress reports on the PKMT sites for the Provincial office, then the data were to be sent to the Directorate of Social Welfare in Jakarta, the division of Depsos which was actually funding the program (Departemen Sosial, Directorate of Social Welfare 1983-1984: 159).

(2) The acronym stands for Kemah Injil Gereja Kristen Masehi Indonesia, lit. 'The Tabernacle Gospel of the Protestant Christian Church in Indonesia', or in short: Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII). It developed from a fundamentalist missionary movement, the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) which started proselytizing in the 1930s in the northern Bulungan region, making many converts among the Kenyah people.


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Antonio J. Guerreiro

IRSEA, CNRS-Universite de Provence

Marseille, FRANCE
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Author:Guerreiro, Antonio J.
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Geographic Code:90SOU
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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