Activist moots a unique calendar for the Dayak nation

The Tumbang Anoi Peace Accord signed in 1894 ended tribal wars

KOTA KINABALU: Thousands of Dayaks from all over Borneo and from across four countries will descend on Tumbang Anoi in Central Kalimantan in July in a historic event to commemorate 125 years of the Tumbang Anoi Peace Accord 1894.

The event, to be held in mid-July, is to create awareness among the Dayak people about their identity and their history, said Jalumin Bayogoh, event committee member for Sabah.

The Tumbang Anoi accord ended headhunting and tribal wars among the Dayak in Borneo and restored order and traditional governments of the people.

Representatives of some of the Dayak tribes arriving at Tumbang Anoi in 1894

Jalumin said the committee has proposed that Dayak people should have their own calendar, with 1894 to be counted as the first year. “This is because we want our future generations to always remember their history and a calendar could be the springboard for us to teach them about our civilisation.”

He said people in Sabah’s Kadazandusun ethnic group are Dayak: these included the Kadazan, the Dusun, Lundayeh, Murut, and Rungus people. “Unfortunately, we are all divided because we want to defend our own unique culture although we know we are from the same stock,” he told FMT.

“We want to instil positive values in our younger generations and give them a sense of pride in their own identity. Being a minority in our own land is not easy. So, look at the bigger picture. We are one big family with all the Dayak on this island,” he said.

“We need to educate our people and unite them. As it is, our numbers are small even when all the tribes of the Kadazandusun are combined. But if we think of the bigger picture, we are part of the huge Dayak nation, with those in Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.”

Activist Jalumin Bayogoh.

Before the Tumbang Anoi accord, the practice of headhunting was so prevalent that the Dusun would pray not to cross path with the Murut or risk getting killed.

The accord also ended slavery and long-standing vendettas between families and tribes, and recognised traditional forms of government. It also ended the Dayaks’ nomadic practices as they settled in certain areas, and abided by the resolutions ending all types of disputes between tribes.

Sabah’s delegates to the event include the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association and other Kadazandusun Murut associations. The Sultan of Brunei has pledged to send his emissary while Sarawak is expected to send a few hundreds of representatives from various associations.

Historical records show that the 1894 meeting involved 160 Dayak tribes with more than 1,000 influential personalities and those with deep knowledge of the customs and practices of the Dayaks at the time.

The cost was partly borne by the Dutch East Indies government as well as by Rajah Brooke of Sarawak.

During the three-month summit, tribal chiefs deliberated on various laws and misunderstandings and problems among the tribes. The Headhunting War was stopped and 100 resolutions proclaimed, for adoption by all Dayak tribes.

Some of these resolutions are found in the Sabah and Sarawak native laws to this day such as rules on engagement, weddings and inheritance.