“Borneo is historic Dayak land. We Dayak have our obligation to take care and maintain it. Whatever happens, we must defend it.”
- Pa’ Lucas
Living hand-to-hand with the forest
The Dayak encompass a rich society of native tribes who rely on many endemic plants, and a wide variety of small animals, found in these forests. Extensive deforestation has them poised at a difficult crossroads that offers no easy solutions.
For many generations the Dayak have practiced a sustainable form of farming. Clearing small plots of land, they shift from one area to another. After a 10 year period they end up back where they started. Their original plot, now fully recovered, is ready to be replanted and the cycle begins anew. They are traditionalists, who long ago recognized a part of their world as forever off limits to cultivation or encroachment. They believe the trees of the forest are what keep the rivers flowing clear.
Wendi Tamariska is the Sustainable Livelihoods Manager for Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program, known as Yayasan Palung. He was born in Bengkayang Regency. His mother is from East Kalimantan, his father is from the West. Wendi spends most of his time working to educate communities about how they can better protect their local forests and creatures. Through his eyes, and in his voice, we witness the crisis in the Bornean rainforests.
Meet the Dayak
These are some of the Dayak tribal members who bring this story to life.
“We do not want any companies littering and ruining our forests, we will not give this chance to them. Our forest will remain intact and green because of our struggle to defend it. It is the future of our posterity.”
“My best memories from when I was young is when I lived in the forest. My parents taught me to live independently because the forest has so many things. They taught us to live without help from others, to live off the forest.”
“Now it’s all about money, there is no honesty, no happiness. When we are in church singing along, it’s not happiness, not from the bottom of our heart. Real happiness is when we sing alone in the middle of forest.”