About Dayak Tomun
Dayak Tomun is a Dayak ethnic group that live along Lamandau river and smaller streams in the Regency of Lamandau. Tomun means “Meeting”. There are a few sub ethnic groups in the area, and each has its own dialects. It is said that their ancestors came from Pagaruyung Kingdom in Minangkabau, which was why some of the words ended with “o”, similar to that of Minangkabau. Also, the typical long house (or Betang House”) has a roof, similar to that of Minangkabau.
The people in this village make a living from traditional farming such as rice, vegetable and fruits and catch fish from the river. The Dayak Tomun plant paddy on hill slopes rather than the traditional rice planting with irrigation for which reasons harvest is only once a year. Once harvested, the farmer would separate the rice hull from the grain. This process takes about two hours by either pounding the rice husk with a heavy wooden stick in a wooden bowl called Palung, or by crunching them for two hours by foot.
Lamandau Regency is one of the thirteen regencies in Central Kalimantan. Its capital city is Nanga Bulik.
As Tanjung Puting National Park is no longer used for the release of rehabilitated Orangutan, Orangutan Foundation (www.orangutan.org) uses another conservation area in 54,000 ha Lamandau WildLife Reserve (not open to public).
Sumpit or Blow Gun
Similar to that of American Indian blowgun, Sumpit is used for hunting by the Dayak Tribes; historically, it’s used for killing enemies secretly. When shot accurately, the poisonous arrows could instantly kill the victims instantly.
The Long House or Rumah Betang
The long house is a stilt house made of wood. It can accommodate a few families. There is no partition in the house but the front part of the house is typically used to receive guests, while the area in the rear is used for sleeping. Kitchen is located at the back of the house. There is no in house bathrooms.
When you enter a long house of Dayak Tomun, you will see one set of traditional musical instruments placed near the entrance. It consists of gamelan, cymbal, gendang or two headed drums and Gong. A gong is an East and Southeast Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat, circular metal disc which is hit with a mallet. When played together, the sound produced was lively, and often it is accompanied by ballad.
Whilst the village is bound by local law, it also still uphold its custom law. Any disagreements or dispute must be resolved by the elder members of the tribes. The guilty party will be summoned and evaluated, a decision is taken on a consensus basis. Once decided, the guilty party will be given penalty in the form of ceramic jars. The numbers of jars are to be decided depending on the verdict. The ceramic jars are often used as measured of wealth and are used as dowry as well.
After giving an opening speech, our host asked us to introduce ourselves and started to assemble the people to perform Bagondang Dance or the Hornbill Dance. The dance consists of three sets of rituals performed by couples accompanied by the traditional musical instruments. Each dancer will put a sarong wrap around the waist before it begins.
First, the couple sit across each other and greeted each other with hand gesture, after which each was served with one slot of local rice wine or “Tuak”. Each couple started to dance in a circle, of which movement was slow and elegant, resembling a flying hornbill. In Dayak’s culture, Hornbill is associated with peace and harmony and is considered the King of all birds. The men’s moves were livelier. By the end of the dance, you can see the change of mood from solemn becoming jovial as the Tuak started to take effect on the dancer. You will be ask to participate in the dance, so be prepared.
After the dance, each guest will be performed Ikat Tongang ceremony. Before it started, each guests will be need to wear traditional head cover. One by one, the wrist of the guests will be tied using ropes made of wooden roots, a gesture given for strength, safety and protection throughout the stay. Once worn, it is not supposed to be released until it come off by itself. The elderly member will throw rice over your head and serve Tuak again. The serving of Tuak is served to honor the guest, and the series of ceremonies performed signified the acceptance of the guest to the village for being part of the community.
Rice Wine or Tuak
It has been the culture of the tribes to make fermented rice wine for hundreds of years, consumed during ceremonial events including wedding and funeral. Besides rice wine, it is common for both men and women to chew betel nut with tobacco.
Lemang is a Southeast Asia traditional food that made from glutinous rice, coconut milk and salt, it is cooked in a bamboo stick with banana leaves in order to prevent the rice from sticking to the bamboo.