Jakun people

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Jakun blowgun hunting party (1906)

Jakuns are a group of Orang Asli (indigenous people) of the Malay Peninsula. They are closely related to the Malay people and are probably a branch of the proto-Malays, whom the 19th century researcher A. R. Wallace called "savage Malays". They are also related to the Orang Laut, another indigenous group that lives along the coasts and depends on fishing.

The Jakuns are taller than the other aboriginal peoples of the Malay Peninsula, the Semang and Sakai tribes. Jakun people typically have olive-brown to dark copper skin color. Some have intermarried with ethnic Malays or Chinese. Those who marry Malays largely convert to Islam; families with Chinese ancestors may practise Chinese folk religion in addition to Jakun customs.

Jakun teenagers playing pick-up sticks in a community centre.

Jakuns are mostly located in the south of Pahang and north Johor[1] Before the colonial era, many Jakuns would enter the jungle on a seasonal basis to harvest forest products. Most Jakun communities in the modern age have a settled lifestyle and stay in permanent villages practising agriculture. Like many other Orang Asli groups, however, they suffer from inadequate access to public schools, which can be far away from the communities.

Non-Orang Asli Malay language speakers occasionally use the word "Jakun" as an insult for an unsophisticated person. This is considered derogatory and racist.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Origins, Identity, and Classification, Centre for Orang Asli Concerns