Tidung people

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Tidung people
Tidong people
A traditional Tidung house, baloy from North Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Total population
76,000 [1]
Regions with significant populations

27,000 (North Kalimantan)[2]

28,515 (Sabah)[3]
Tidong languages (Nonukan Tidong language, Sesayap Tidong language), also Indonesian/Malaysian
Related ethnic groups
Murut, Banjarese

The Tidung or Tidong (Dutch: Tidoeng) is a native group originating from northeastern part of Borneo and surrounding small islands. They lived on both sides of the border of Malaysia and Indonesia.[1] They are closely related to other native people in northeastern Borneo, such as Banjarese, Bulungan, Kutai, Murut and Paser.

Tidung speak Tidong language, a Bornean language.[4] The Tidong are mostly farmers practising slash-and-burn agriculture. Some are ocean fishermen. They grow sweet potatoes, cassava, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Their farming methods are often accused of being the main cause of forest fires in Kalimantan. Generally, the Tidong are Muslims.


The term tidung in Tarakan language of the Tidung people literally means "hill" or "hill people". As with many other tribes of the Malay Archipelago, the term tidung is a collective term used to describe many closely related indigenous groups. The different groups of Tidung people describe themselves in all cases as Tidung people, however, they are summarized by modern ethnology as a common people group due to similarities in cultural and religious traditions.[5]

Settlement areas[edit]

The traditional territories of the Tidung people are at the Sembakung River, East Kalimantan and Sibuku River of their headwaters to the estuary north of Tarakan Island, Indonesia thence along the coast; south to the river-mouth of Bolongan River and northward up to Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia including Cowie Harbour. An enclave of Tidung people located at Labuk River, opposite the city of Klagan.[5]


For Malaysia in the state of Sabah, the census of 2010 (Census 2010) indicates a population of 28,515 Tidong.[3] Whereas, Tidung people in other states have no statistical relevance.

For Indonesia, the population of the Tidung people is estimated about 27,000 in the year of 2007.[2]


The Tidung language spoken by the Tidung people is also part of other Murutic language, which in turn belongs to the Western Malayo-Polynesian languages.[6] The Tidung language is spoken in different dialects, namely:-[7]


  1. ^ a b "Tidong". Joshua Project. 
  2. ^ a b M. Paul Lewis (2009). "Summer Institute of Linguistics". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. ISBN 15-567-1216-2. 
  3. ^ a b 2010 Population and Housing Census. Communication from the Statistical Office. 2010. 
  4. ^ Lewis,, M. Paul (2009). "Tidong. A language of Indonesia (Kalimantan)". Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version. 
  5. ^ a b Frank M. LeBar & George N. Appell (1972). Ethnic Groups of Insular Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Andaman Islands, and Madagascar. Human Relations Area Files Press. p. 169. ISBN 08-753-6403-9. 
  6. ^ D.J. Prentice (1970). S.A. Wurm & D.C. Laycock, ed. The linguistic situation in northern Borneo in: Pacific Linguistic Studies in Honour of Arthur Capell. Pacific Linguistics, Series C. 
  7. ^ "Tidung". ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2017.