Bukitan people

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For the "Orang Bukit" ethnic group of the Dayak Klemantan people branch, see Ukit people. For the "Orang Bukit" ethnic group of the Dayak Ot Danum people branch, see Meratus Dayak.
Bukitan people
Beketan / Bakatan / Manketa
Sarawak; a Bakatan tribesman. Photograph. Wellcome V0037433.jpg
A Bakatan tribesman from Sarawak, Malaysia.
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysia: 289 (2000)[1]
Bukitan, Malay, English
Christianity (predominantly), Animism
Related ethnic groups
Ukit people, Sian, Kejaman, Sekapan and Lahanan

Bukitan (also known as Baketan) is a small tribe living in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia and East Kalimantan of Indonesia. They are found in Bintulu district of Sarawak. Not many of these people are left due to intermarriages with other tribes, adopting Iban people agricultural practices and way of life.[2]

Cultural history[edit]

The origin of the Bukitan is from Palin, Kalimantan. They moved into Sarawak via Lubok Antu and settled there for a few years (legend has it was for about a few hundred years). Then, in came the marauding Ibans from Kapuas (in Kalimantan), a powerful headhunting tribe at that time, attacking them and chasing them out of their homeland.

They fled to Saribas which is what is now in the Betong Division. There, they settled and built their community. During those years, they co-existed with the Ibans, after a peace sealed by the marriage of the daughter of their leader Entinggi to the son of the Iban chief Tindin.[3]

After many years, due to some misunderstandings, war broke out with the Ibans and they lost. They again fled to various places before settling in Sungai Merit, a tributary of Batang Tatau river in Bintulu division and its vicinity until today.

Evidence of Bukitan existence can be found in areas such as the Saribas (Paku, Layar and Rimbas)[4] and Lubok Antu in the form of burial grounds, name of places and ancient orchards.

Notable Dayak Bukitan people[edit]

  • Jonathan Tinggang Ngabang, a high jumper Malaysian athlete.[5]


  1. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr, ed. (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. SIL International. ISBN 1-55671-159-X. 
  2. ^ Jean-Francois Bissonnette, Stephane Bernard & Rodolphe De Koninck (2011). Borneo Transformed: Agricultural Expansion on the Southeast Asian Frontier. NUS Press. ISBN 9971-69-544-8. 
  3. ^ Barau Anak Gelayan (2016). Nalong Anak Buda, ed. Betie Tajak Ngakak Tajai Ngelayang. Johnny Anak Chuat. ISBN 967-10174-8-7. 
  4. ^ Rob A. Cramb (2007). Land and Longhouse: Agrarian Transformation in the Uplands of Sarawak. NIAS Press. ISBN 87-7694-010-1. 
  5. ^ "Host state treats Sarawak athletes to Gawai gathering". The Borneo Post. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-26.