The Berawan mainly inhabit four longhouse communities on the Lower Baram River. While they have historically been considered a subgroup of the neighbouring Kenyah, they are culturally and linguistically distinctive. A notable feature of Berawan culture, as described by Metcalf (1982, 1989), is their elaborate secondary treatment of the dead.

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Traditional Culture(1875-1900)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 233-257, 242, 248
Nature god(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 247, 248
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 50, 244, 248
Metcalf (1976), pp. 97
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 23, 248
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 47, 244, 248

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 173-175

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions while living are one factor in determining the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 245-246
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Actions of others after one has died are the principal determinant of the nature of one’s afterlife (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 42, 245-246
Myth of humanity’s creation Absent (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 25
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 25
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 8
Metcalf (1982), pp. 247

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 248

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 74-75

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blevins (2008)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 112-128
Costly sacrifices and offerings Absent (Source)
Metcalf (1989), pp. 81-93, 89
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a household, no larger than the local community (Source)
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 133
Political and religious differentiation Considerable overlap between religious and political leaders (Source)
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 133, 139-140

Rites

Piercing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 121-123
Genital cutting Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 170
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 170
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Horn (2013), pp. Fig 17
Lebar (1972), pp. 170
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 170
Social Environment +
Population 1600 (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 88
Population of largest political community 100-999 (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 88
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 133
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 133
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 133
Polygamy Full polygyny (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 170
Marital residence Ambilocal - with either wife's or husband's kin (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 1972

Conflict

Conflict within communities Low (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13-19
Conflict between communities of the culture Rare or never (Source)
Huntington & Metcalf (1979), pp. 137-138
Metcalf (1976)
Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 91, 95-96
Metcalf (1982), pp. 113, 116
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 91, 95
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 86, 93-97
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 1086.5 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Brunei and Sarawak) (2014)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Present: Clear evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.21
Metcalf (1982)
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. Map 2.23
Metcalf (1982)
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13-16
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 13-16
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Medium (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Absent (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 15-16
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 86

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude 3.8 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 86
Longitude 114.5 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Metcalf (1976), pp. 86
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Continental island (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Sunda Shelf) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 755000.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Borneo) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 4101.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Borneo) (2014)
Post Contact History(1900-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Role of social status in conversion process Mixed / Neither (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 113-114
Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 31, 112-115
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 112
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 18
Metcalf (2002), pp. 31

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, but did not survive to the present-day (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 31, 113, 142
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Ghimire et al. (1997), pp. 110
Metcalf (2002), pp. 25
Language shift Medium (Source)
Ethnologue (Berawan, East) (2014)
Ethnologue (Berawan, West) (2014)
Ethnologue (Berawan, Central) (2014)

Economic Changes

Changes in means of subsistence Medium (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 126-127
Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Metcalf (1982), pp. 16

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present and widely used (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 127
Air travel Absent (Source)
Metcalf (2002), pp. 109-137
Sea port Present (Source)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009), pp. 164
Metcalf (2002), pp. 27

Loss of Autonomy

Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Ghimire et al. (1997), pp. 110
Metcalf (2002)
External Links
References
Baring-Gould, S. (1909). A history of the Sarawak uner its two white rajahs. London: Sutheran.

Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Brunton, R. (1989). The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Borneo). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/74286/Borneo

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Sunda Shelf). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/573755/Sunda-Shelf

Epstein, A. L. (1994). Privacy and the boundaries of the self: Reflections on some Tolai data. Canberra Anthropology, 17(1), 1-29

Ethnologue (2014). Berawan, Central: A language of Malaysia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/zbc

Ethnologue (2014). Berawan, East: A language of Malaysia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/zbe

Ethnologue (2014). Berawan, West: A language of Malaysia. Ethnologue. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/language/zbw

Ethnologue (2014). Map of Brunei and Malaysia - Sarawak. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/MY_sr

Ghimire, K. B., Ghimire, K. B., & Pimbert, M. P. (Eds.) (1997). Social change and conservation: Environmental politics and impacts of national parks and protected areas. United States: Earthscan

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Horn, C. (2013). Of Colonial Photographs and Cultural Resources: The Photographic Archive of the Sarawak Museum. Trans Asia Photography Review, 4 (1). Retrieved from http://quod.lib.umich.edu.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/t/tap/7977573.0004.102/--colonial-photographs-and-cultural-resources-the-photographic?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Huntington, R., & Metcalf, P. (1979). Celebrations of death: The anthropology of mortuary ritual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Lebar, F. (Ed.). (1972). Eastern Sumbanese in Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia. Volume 1: Indonesia, Andaman Islands, and Madagascar. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press.

Metcalf, P. (1982). A Borneo journey into death: Berawan eschatology from its rituals. PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Metcalf, P. (1989). Where are You, Spirits: Style and Theme in Berawan Prayer. Washington and London: Smithsonian.

Metcalf, P. (2002). They Lie, we Lie: Getting on with Anthropology. London, U.K.: Routledge.

Metcalf, P. A. (1976). Who are the Berawan? Ethnic classification and the distribution of secondary treatment of the dead in central North Borneo. Oceania, 47(2), 85-105

Metcalfe, P. (1987). Images of Headhunting. In Hoskins, J. (Ed.), Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia (249-290). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2009). World Port Index Nineteenth Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Sarawak. (2015). In Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Retrieved from http://academic.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/524035/Sarawak