The origin of Dau Iban

The Dau Iban:

Migrations of Iban from the Kapuas into Sarawak have continued down to relatively recent times. Nine generations ago a group of Iban under Chief Telu Aur lived near the mouth of the Kapuas. From there Telu Aur led his people further upriver. They settled at the middle of the Kapuas where Telu Aur died.

He was succeeded by his son Demong Suran, who took his people to live in the upper Kapuas River where he in his turn died of old age. After Demong Suran had passed away, his son Ambau (not Pateh Ambau) became chief. While he was the leader of his group, Ambau took his followers from the Kapuas basin to the Batang Ai and settled at Seram. Later he moved to Pangkalan Tabau, above the present town of Lubok Antu.

From Pangkalan Tabau, Ambau moved upriver and lived temporarily at Lubang Baya. From there he returned again to Pangkalan Tabau, where he died, murdered by his slaves who purposely capsized his boat at the Wong Mutan rapids.

At the death of Ambau, his son Liang became chief. Liang lived at Lubang Baya tributary near the source of the Batang Ai. He was a brave warrior who fought the Punans in the upper river.

When Liang died he was succeeded as chief by his son Bayang. It was this chief who led his people from Lubang Baya down the Batang Ai and up the Undup tributary in the Batang Lupar to settle at Klasin. After Bayang and his people had lived at Klasin for many years, they moved westward to Sungai Raya, a left tributary of the Undup. From this locality they moved to Rijang not far away from the present town of Simanggang, east of the Undup region. Bayang died at Rijang and was succeeded as chief by his son Nyanggau.

When he was chief, Nyanggau moved his longhouse to Lemas where he and his followers settled for several years, till they were attacked and defeated by Indra Lela and his forces from the Skrang. Due to this defeat, Nyanggau and his people fled away to settle at Dau, in Indonesian Borneo.

After they had lived at Dau in what was then Dutch territory for about a decade, Nyanggau and his followers were called back to Sarawak by Mr. Brereton, then the Resident at Skrang. When they returned, they settled at Embawang in the Dor stream, instead of resetting at Lemas. But because they had lived at Dau in Dutch Borneo after their defeat by Indra Lela of Skrang, they have continued to be called the Dau Iban to the present-day. On their arrival in Sarawak from Dau, the Dau Iban community divided up and settled at Embawang, Klauh, Melugu, Gua, Nyelan, Engkeramut, Selepong and Puak Ai where their descendants still live to the present-day.

After some years at Embawang, Nyanggau and his people moved to Lemas as previously arranged by Mr. Brereton. Nyanggau died at this settlement and was succeeded as chief by his son Gaong. When Gaong was chief, he led his followers from Lemas to Klauh where they settled for many decades. After Gaong had died he was succeeded by his son Lansam who also died at Klauh. After Lansam, his son Gendang became chief. At Gendang’s death, succession passed to his nephew Junau, who, at the time of writing, continues to live at Klauh.

Extracted from articles originally written by Benedict Sandin & Professor Clifford Sather.
Re-compile for weblog publication by Gregory Nyanggau Mawar.
Published in the Sarawak Museum Journal, Volume XLVI, titled “Source of Iban Traditional History”, Part 1, 2 & 3.



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