Iban migration to the north

Iban migration to the Mukah, Balingian, Anap and Bintulu Rivers.

After Penghulu Minggat had attacked the Iban of Ensiring, a man named Kelukau migrated with his followers from Julau to Mukah. He was later followed by Penghulu Takin and his people. From the Skrang Penghulus Jelani and Merdan led their people to migrate to Bintulu in the Fourth Division.

From the upper Krian, Penghulu Umpang, the son of Chambai, born at Nanga Dran, Paku, led his people to the Balingian River. He was the first Iban leader to migrate to the Balingian, a river located in today’s Third Division.

From his first settlement near Nanga Pelugau, Penghulu Umpang and his followers moved down and settled in the Arip tributary on the true left side of the Balingian. While here they profited from the high price of jelutong, as this type of wild rubber was plentiful in the vicinity. The money they earned from this commodity was invested in Mr. Ong Ewe Hai’s bank in Kuching.

When the price of jelutong was down, Penghulu Umpang persuaded the Iban to plant sago and rubber along the lower banks of the Balingian and its tributaries. Penghuiu Umpang had four sons, Mulok, Kantan, Ambun and Lembang. Besides these he adopted two daughters, Tiong and Lenta, and a son named Nyegang. He died at the age of ninety years and was greatly mourned by his people.

He was succeeded by his eldest son Mulok, who, following in his father’s footsteps, led his people to work hard in order to earn sufficient food and money. Some years after he had become Penghulu, Mulok’s household suffered from smallpox, which killed him, Kantan, Lembang and some others. After his death, Penghulu Mulok was succeeded by his brother Ambun.

When he was Penghulu, Ambun led his people to plant rubber at Salian, adding to the rubber gardens he had planted with his deceased brothers. During the Japanese occupation, due to a false report, he was accused by the Japanese Military police (kempetai) of having collected followers to rebel against the government. Due to this, Penghulu Ambun was executed without trial by the kempetai at Mukah near the end of World War II. After Ambun’s death his only daughter and her family returned to their old country in the Paku River, where they have lived to the present day.

Iban migration to the Anap River was jointly led by Berasap and Berain in about 1888. After this river had been populated by Skrang and Saribas Iban, Berasap was appointed Penghulu of the downriver area, and Bunya of the upper river. Berasap was succeeded by Penghulu Taboh. When Taboh resigned he was succeeded by Penghulu Begok who, at his resignation, was succeeded by Penghulu Buan. In the upper river, when Penghulu Bunya resigned, he was succeeded by Penghulu Kana, who was succeeded by Penghulu Banying.

Migration to the Niah and Suai Rivers.

The first Iban migration to the Niah River took place in 1934 when Awang Itam was a Native Officer at the Niah sub-District Office. The first group of migrants was led by Panau of Skaloh from the Skrang and Undup Rivers in the Second Division.

A month later came Renggan and his followers from the Tatau River. Renggan and his people migrated to Niah to follow his uncle Lium who had married a Penan woman named Durang, the sister of Tabilan of the Niah River. Three years after the arrival of Panau and Renggan and their followers, Manggoi and Andam came to the Niah River with their followers from Simanggang. The rest of the Niah Iban arrived later than these three groups. After the Niah River had become thickly populated with Iban, the Rajah appointed Manggoi to be the first Penghulu in that area.

The first Iban chief to migrate to the Suai River was Utik, son of Tugang of Bangat, Skrang. He was the nephew of the well-known warrior Jabu apai Umping of the Bangat in lower Skrang. After he had become friendly with the local Penans, Untik went home to call his relatives to join him. These people now live at the house of Mamat, a son of Utik, at Basri Dangkar in the upper Suai River. The second Iban group to come to the Suai was led by ex-Police Inspector Gindi from the Undup near Simanggang.

Skrang Iban migrated to Bintulu:

During the last decade of the 1800, at the times of Rajah Charles Brooke, a number of Skrang Iban, led by Penghulu Jelani, went for a trading venture to the Bintulu region. While there, they look for wild rubber like jelutong, jangkar, kubal, dambar kelasau, nyatu rian and various rattan materials which they could trade for cash. They traveled to the Pandan area, Ulu Kemena, Sera region and eventually setting up base camp at Sebauh. This trading venture is also taken as an opportunity for them to scout for potential new settlement for their community in line with their past pioneering ancestors activities for sustainable development of their descendant.

After they returned to Skrang from this trading venture, Penghulu Jelani, together with two of his followers, Penghulu Merdan and Jengging, organized a trip to Kuching in 1884 (remembered as the year of Karakatau volcano eruption – Lampong Pechah). Their purpose was to meet with Rajah Charles Brooke and seek permission from him for his people to settle at their newfound land in the Bintulu region.

In Kuching, they went to the Istana and were escorted to meet Rajah Charles Brooke. Penghulu Jelani recalled in the later years that he was very much intimidated by the personality of the Rajah. When the Rajah asked him the purpose of his visit, Penghulu Jelani nervously explained that he would like to seek permission for his followers to settle at a place called Sera in Bintulu region. Rajah Charles Brooke immediately approved the request. He promised Penghulu Jelani that he would inform the Administrative Officer in Bintulu (Kunsil), Abang Galau, about his approval.

In 1886, Penghulu Jelani led his followers from Tajur, Skrang and migrated to Sera in Bintulu. Other people in the area also followed and they includes those from Rembai, Entulang, Mujan, Nyakai and their relatives who had settled in the Undup region decades earlier. As for Penghulu Jelani followers from Tajur, he had representatives from fifteen bilik joining him in his team.

Iban migration to the Baram.

After the Batang Baram region was ceded by the Sultanate of Brunei to the Raj of Sarawak, some Sea Dayak leaders of the Second and Third Divisions applied to the Second Rajah, Sir Charles Brooke, G.C.M.G., for approval to migrate to the area.

Early in the 1890s Berendah of Skrang migrated with his followers and was ordered by the Resident Mr. Charles Hose to settle at Dabai above the present town of Marudi. After him came Kalang, also from Skrang, with a group of settlers. They were asked by Mr. Hose to settle at Sungai Berit above Lubok Nibong. Two years later another group came, led by Inggir of the Batang Lupar. Inggir and his people were given land by the Resident at Sungai Nipa, a left tributary of the Bakong. About three years later Rhu, Leban, and Apai Samban came from Skrang, and they were ordered to live in the Bakong proper. At the end of that year came Jampu, also from the Skrang, and he was asked by Mr. Hose to settle at Sungai Liam, another tributary of the Bakong River.

In 1896 Ngadan, a son of the well-known Chulo “Tarang” apai Dungkong of the Krian, Kalaka, came with Saribas people to settle at Malang, a branch of the Bakong River. His brother Tujoh. Who was the seventh child of Chulo “Tarang” (Tujoh means “seven”), and his cousin Jampang whose nickname was “Pintu Meru”, and a third son of Kedit “Rindang” of the Paku separated themselves from Ngadan. Tujoh led his followers to settle at Puyut, while Jampang settled at Lubok Nibong above the town of Marudi.

It was during this migration that Jampang and his brother-in-law, Graman “Tungkat Langit” of the Padeh, took a famous guchi jar with them to the Baram. This was the jar which Graman’s grandfather, the OKP Dana “Bayang”, looted when he fought against the Undup Dayaks near Simanggang in the days of the first Rajah. This jar was thought to bring luck; therefore all Dayaks who knew its legend were eager to drink water from it. At present, it is in the possession of Badong, a grand-daughter of Jampang of Lubok Nibong, Baram.

After the arrival of these Skrang, Saribas and Batang Lupar migrants in the Baram, Ganai “Buloh Balang” came from Bangat in the Second Division. He and his followers were ordered by Mr. Hose to live at Biar on the Bakong River. The rest of the Iban migration to the Baram took place after the year 1900. When the Iban first arrived in the Baram they met with the Narom people who lived below Marudi. Although the Naroms have all been converted to Islam now, they still live separately from the ordinary Malays at Marudi who profess the same religion. The Naroms speak their own language as well as Iban and Malay.

A decade after the first Iban had migrated to the Baram, a man named Jawa from Sabelak in the Krian brought his followers to Limbang. Shortly after their arrrival the Kadayan along the Mandalam tributary rebelled against the government. Munan, the Penghulu Dalam of Sibu, and Kalong “Mali Lebu” of Paku were commanded by the Rajah to quell the trouble with their Iban forces.

Iban migration to Sibuti.

In 1927 Sergeant Barat and T.R. Dian anak Kinchang applied for permission from H.H. the Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, to migrate to Sibuti. Their application was approved and Dian went first to live in Sibuti in the same year. In the following year ex-Sergeant Barat came with his followers and joined Dian’s longhouse at Mamut. They lived together at this settlement for five years, and then separated in order to expand their agricultural lands.

After they had separated, Dian and Barat visited the Undup near Simanggang for the purpose of inviting their relatives and friends to migrate with them to Sibuti. After they had persuaded enough followers, they returned to Sibuti. On Dian’s return he moved down to live at Pidek, while Barat and his followers stayed on at Mamut. Iban migration to Sibuti.

In 1927 Sergeant Barat and T.R. Dian anak Kinchang applied for permission from H.H. the Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, to migrate to Sibuti. Their application was approved and Dian went first to live in Sibuti in the same year. In the following year ex-Sergeant Barat came with his followers and joined Dian’s longhouse at Mamut. They lived together at this settlement for five years, and then separated in order to expand their agricultural lands.

After they had separated, Dian and Barat visited the Undup near Simanggang for the purpose of inviting their relatives and friends to migrate with them to Sibuti. After they had persuaded enough followers, they returned to Sibuti. On Dian’s return he moved down to live at Pidek, while Barat and his followers stayed on at Mamut.Iban migration to Sibuti.

In 1927 Sergeant Barat and T.R. Dian anak Kinchang applied for permission from H.H. the Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, to migrate to Sibuti. Their application was approved and Dian went first to live in Sibuti in the same year. In the following year ex-Sergeant Barat came with his followers and joined Dian’s longhouse at Mamut. They lived together at this settlement for five years, and then separated in order to expand their agricultural lands.

After they had separated, Dian and Barat visited the Undup near Simanggang for the purpose of inviting their relatives and friends to migrate with them to Sibuti. After they had persuaded enough followers, they returned to Sibuti. On Dian’s return he moved down to live at Pidek, while Barat and his followers stayed on at Mamut.

From ancient times the Iban have valued old jars, such as kuna, irun, belanay, jabir, panding, alas, rangkang, mandoh, jumat and gemiang, But the most valuable are jars of the following type:

Type of jars = Value in $
Salang-alang = 150.00
Rusa Salang-alang = 200.00
Begeri = 200.00
Rusa Begeri = 200.00
Rusa Randok = 250.00
Betanda Begeri = 200.00
Betanda Bendar = 280.00
Menaga = 300.00 – 350.00
Ningka Menaga = 320.00 – 370.00
Ningka Bendar = 400.00
Ningka Betanda = 320.00
Sergiu = 600.00 – 900.00
Guchi = 700.00 – 1,000.00

The reason these jars were valued by the Iban was that in ancient times, if anyone was guilty of murder, adultery, theft, or owed a debt, he would become a slave of the person he had wronged, or was indebted to, if he could not repay his debt or the fine imposed on him. Before money was widely used, fines were paid in jars (cf. Sandin 1980a: 3-4). Later, after the abolition of slavery by Rajah Charles Brooke in the 1880s, when money was still very difficult to earn, all fines Imposed by the government could be settled by the surrender of a jar to the court to avoid imprisonment of which the Iban were much afraid.

In addition to this, no chief was recognized as influential or powerful who did not possess valuable jars. In the eyes of the Iban one enemy killed in war was equivalent in value to two captives or two rusa type jars. If a chief or a warrior of good family was able to obtain a head, one or more captives and one or more jars, he would be recognized as raja berani, meaning “rich and brave”. It was because of this that thousands of Iban lost their lives in foreign lands from 1868 to 1908, seeking to acquire jars. From 1909 to the 1920s the Iban stopped hunting for jars in foreign lands, but they continue to buy them, if any were brought by traders to their longhouses.

Source: http://gnmawar.wordpress.com/jerita-lama/iban-migration-peturun-iban/early-iban-migration-part-3/

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