Also known as: Dayak; Dayak Ngaju; Ngadju; Ngaju Dayak

Ngaju (meaning 'upstream') is the name given to a group of linguistically and culturally similar peoples inhabiting the upper reaches of several south-flowing rivers in the south of Borneo. In the past they, along with several other peoples of Borneo, were often known as 'Dayaks'. The indigenous Ngaju religion involved a sky god, Hatalla, and an earth goddess, Jata. According to the missionary and anthropologist Hans Scharer, these two gods were manifestations of one supreme 'godhead'. Although most Ngaju have converted to Christianity, the traditional religion survives to an extent in the form of the syncretic religion Kaharingan.

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Traditional Culture(1850-1960)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 1-229, 16-17, 99
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Schärer (1946)
Ancestral spirits Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 142, 152-154
Deified ancestor(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 16, 134-137
God(s) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 6

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 99

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Principal determinant of one's afterlife (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 142-143
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 142-146
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and evolutionary (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 22, 39
Primordial pair Absent (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 27-38
Culture hero(es) Present, and a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 16, 29-30

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 99

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 106
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 41

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1934)
Blevins (2008), pp. 263
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 263
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 83, 87, 140, 147
Schiller (1997), pp. 14
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 100, 139-140
Baier (2007), pp. 567
Size of largest ritual social group Larger than a local community, no larger than the largest political community in the culture (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 137-138
Miles (1970), pp. 292-294
Political and religious differentiation Some overlap (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 53-59, 103

Rites

Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 86-87
Tattooing Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 90-91
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 85-94
Social Environment +
Population 50000 (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 2
Importance of Patrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 188
Importance of Matrilateral descent Medium (Source)
Lebar (1972), pp. 188
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 2
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 0.0 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan) (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 950.1 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan) (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 Evidence of influence (Source)
Baier (2007), pp. 171
Schärer (1946), pp. 13
Islamic influence on supernatural belief Evidence of influence (Source)
Baier (2007), pp. 171
Christian influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence but in a region where contact is likely (Source)
Baier (2007), pp. 171
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-297
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 294
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296
Land-based gathering Medium (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-297
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Major (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-297
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-298
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-297

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Miles (1970), pp. 296-298
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 1
Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan) (2014)

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -1.6 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 113.9 (Source)
Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan) (2014)
Google Maps (2014)
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(1960-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Medium (Source)
Baier (2007)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 2
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 23
Baier (2007), pp. 177

Syncretic Movements

Syncretic religious movements Present, and survived to the present day (Source)
Baier (2007)
Secular History +

Demographic and Social Changes

Foreign government systems Present, and of high importance (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 14, 136-142

Modern Infrastructure

Vehicles and roads Present but rarely used (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 16
Air travel Present, local only (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 14
Sea port Absent (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 14-16

Economic Changes

Exportation of goods to other cultures Present and substantial (Source)
Schärer (1946), pp. 2

Loss of Autonomy

Loss of political autonoomy High (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 136-142
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Unofficial religious syncretism High: (Source)
Baier (2007)
Institutional religious syncretism High (Source)
Baier (2007)
Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Schiller (1997), pp. 23
Schärer (1946), pp. 3
External Links
References
Baier, M. (2007). "The Development of a New Religion in Kalimantan, Central Borneo". Asian Anthropology, 6 (1), 169-182, DOI: 10.1080/1683478X.2007.10552574

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

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

Emerson, R. (1946). Education in the Netherlands East Indies. The Journal of Negro Education, 15(3), 494-507.

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

Ethnologue (Map of Kalimantan). (2014). Map of Indonesia, Kalimantan. Ethnologue. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/ID_k__

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

Indonesia, Kalimantan [map]. (2015). Paul, L. M., Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (eds.). Ethnologue: languages of the world, eighteenth edition. Retrieved from http://www.ethnologue.com/map/ID_k__

Kalimantan. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Kalimantan

Keesing, F.M. (1934). Modern Samoa: Its Government and Changing Life. London, UK: Allen and Unwin Ltd. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/OU08%27%29&docId=ou08-006&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP

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.

Miles, D. (1970). "The Ngadju Dayaks of Central Kalimantan, with Special Reference to the Upper Mentaya." Cross-Cultural Research, 5, 291-319. DOI: 10.1177/106939717000500405

Scharer, H. & Needham, R. (Trans.) (1946 / 1963). Ngaju Religion: The Conception of God Among a South Borneo People. Berlin (?): Springer Science.

Schiller, A. (1997). Small Sacrifices: Religious Change and Cultural Identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia. Oxford / New York: Oxford University Press.