The Men Did Their Best To Save The
Contents, The Rapid Current Making It Impossible For Us To Stop Until We
Were A Hundred Metres Further Down, Where The Dayaks Made Ready To Gether
Up Boxes And Other Articles That Came Floating On The Current.
lost, but everything got wet.
ARRIVAL ON THE MAHAKAM RIVER - AMONG THE PENIHINGS - LONG KAI, A PLEASANT
PLACE - A BLIANAS SHIELD - PUNANS AND BUKATS, SIMPLE-MINDED NOMADS - EXTREME
PENALTY FOR UNFAITHFULNESS - LONG TJEHAN
A few minutes later we came in sight of the Mahakam River. At this point
it is only forty to fifty metres wide, and the placid stream presented a
fine view, with surrounding hills in the distance. In the region of the
Upper Mahakam River, above the rapids, where we had now arrived, it is
estimated there are living nearly 10,000 Dayaks of various tribes,
recognised under the general name Bahau, which they also employ
themselves, besides their tribal names.
The first European to enter the Mahakam district was the Dutch
ethnologist, Doctor A.W. Nieuwenhuis, at the end of the last century. He
came from the West, and in addition to scientific research his mission was
political, seeking by peaceful means to win the natives to Dutch
allegiance. In this he succeeded, though not without difficulty and
danger. Although he was considerate and generous, the Penihing chief
Blarey, apprehensive of coming evil, twice tried to kill him, a fact of
which the doctor probably was not aware at the time.
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