Iban Families

2009-15-HENRY-GERIJIH

The Iban people have been migrating across Borneo for many generations.  Their migration to Sarawak and into the various rivers of the Second Division, and later to other parts of Sarawak will be written here up to the best of my knowledge. This article is based on oral history that has been past down from one generation to another.  Unfortunately, there is little written evidence of this migration process.

According to the Iban legend, the ancestors of the Iban people lived at a very remote place in the Middle East.  This Middle Eastern origin was mentioned in the beginning of a few of the longest Tusut1.

Some legend says that Bujang Ganggam lived in the large forest, while  Bujang Mereti lived in the wilderness and Bujang Biak takes his hat and explores the lands.

This Bujang lived in a fairyland guarded by Kumang, whose back was white scorched by the setting sun.  It was also the land of Lulong, who carried her basket to look for snails below the river of the under world.  According to the legend this land was situated opposite the present-day Holy Land of Mecca.

The Iban migrated from the Middle East to Sumatra and from there some of them continued to explore the island of Borneo where they lived in the Kapuas River valley for a long time.  It is during this period that the most famous Iban gods including Singalang Burong are to be found in the genealogy.  It was here that men mingled with gods and learned the customs, which still characterize the Iban way of life.

The Kapuas basin is the most important source of the various migrations mentioned in the tusut.  There is also some indication that two other groups of non-Kapuas ancestors led by Sabatin and Drom landed at Cape Datu at the extreme western end of Sarawak territory.  From this group, not only the Iban but also the Melanau and other people as well.
The second group of non-Kapuas ancestors came from Java and landed on the coast of Borneo near Merudu Hill not far from Brunei Darussalam.  At least one famous descendant from this group later returned to Indonesian Borneo, where he met and inter-married with the forbears of pioneers whom later migrated back to Sarawak.

This article was written based on my interview with the late Henry Gerijih of Paku, Samu in the Betong Division.

Notes: If you have photos of the places and people mentioned in any of the articles, please email it to me for inclusion in the article. Your contribution will be acknowledge accordingly.

Footnotes

  1. Tusut is the Iban term for tracing their family tree. []

Comments

  1. Dear James,

    Thank you for posting ‘Apai Tuai Gerijih (Apai Jatan)’s photo here. His demise leaves such a big void in our lives and I am grateful to people like you, who continues to strive to keep Apai Tuai’s legacy and love for the Iban culture and tradition alive.

    Salam ari kami di Doha, Ad Dawhah, Al-Qatariah

    1. I owe the late Henry so much in terms of the tusut, Iban culture, etc.. Nadai peluang aku bebayar except to share what he has shared with me. Ngambi ke penemu iya enda abis enda lengis serta ulih ditambung ngagai anak, uchu ichit.

      1. Manah endar penemu nuan, James…..keep up your commendable effort…

      2. I was born in Kapit and my grandmother was the immediate cousin of Temenggong Jugah anak Barieng. However, my mother was a Chinese from China, so how much Iban is in me? How’s my Iban Ancestry line goes? Thanks

  2. Amat tuk..Iban come from yunnan china. Each races in this world comes from africa.How can iban come from the middle east. Iban culture are strongly influence by dhamic religion as well as china.

    1. kme,

      Same as what I was told. A mainland chinese who’s quite familiar with Yunnan was astonished when he saw so much similarities between Ibans & yunnan tribes.

  3. Nyau ingat ke bisi macha ensera iya ke di pebasaka niang Henry Gerijih lebuh sekula perameri di Bukit Balai School Tubau, Bintulu. Rindu amat macha bup dalam jaku Iban lebuh agi bedau BLB kelia.
    Nyau ngenang ke tusut- manah amat kena bagiga kekaban, kepenatai asaldiri empu ETB.
    Amat ga bansa etnik China ditu nyau ka sama sebaka enggau bala kitai di Borneo dalam ngepan gari enggau main asal sida iya.
    #Aku gawa (PLM) ba LNG Plant Yinchua, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Province, PRC. Kala gawa ba Egypt & Qatar. Ukai ngelankung diri tang ngambi ke nyadi peransang bala anembiak rebak baru- anang alah bulu laban orang!
    Salam ngagai nn JJ

  4. Nadai salah bejako baka ni ngemangsang ka menoa diri madah ka penusah diri.Tangkitai mimit pan nadai bekira ka penusah perintah ka ngiga duit kena nyapi rayat kena meri makai bala nembiak sekula ngirup pago tengah hari makai lemai betaun taun .Orang ka minta tulong maioh orang ka mayar cukai mimit ulih dikira enggau jari.aku ukai ngeripih ka sapa sapa. Enti kitai amai ka ngemansang ka menoa diri anang kelalu ngetan ka tanah diri empu enti utai nya nguntong ka semoa.Enti semoa orang sama sepenemu sama ngering ka tanah diri seinci pan jalai enda ulih gaga siti projek pan enda ulih gaga bakani menoa ulih mansang bakani dayak baru ulih mansang nya ukai daya baru dayak lama.Laban semoa utai ka digaga semuanya atas tanah rumah atas tanah jalai atas tanah kelapa sawit atas tanah tiang lampu atas tanah projek ka mesai semut pan atas tanah.Engai ka kitai lalu enda nemu seinci endor ngaga jalai nya bisi orang empu magang .Ngaga siti jalai aja seribu satu penanggol perintah dia Numbang kasepun jambu orang dayak baru nyabong nyawa enti mimpi enda manah tau ngambi nyawa.Sepun utai ditanam ka di pansa siko mega orang bediri ngetan ka kayu nya.

  5. Enti ka nunda penemu dayak lama nya aku enda meri jalai seinci tanah ka dipansa jalai ngagai rumah daya lama nya.Semua utai ka deka kikemansang ka dalam mimpi nya nguna tanah mega.Aku dayak tang aku enda ulih ditipu orang ka bepolitik kena ngulih ka gaji tiap tiap bulannya.

  6. Tusah bejako enggau uk tu laban nyangka kelalu lama belajar di menoa orang nyau enda tentu nemu jako kitai iban.AKU IYA NYEBUT AQUE.Enti bejako enggau dayak ngena jako daya ga kitai unggal.Munyi ko melayu masuk kandang kambing mengembik .Enti uk tu nyadi pengari tusah bendar orang tuai ka enda sekula bejako enggau uk tu.Kitai semina berunding ka diri empu aja mimit pan nadai berunding ka penusah jabu ngiga duit kena ngemansang ka menua .Bakani ni cara ngiga penatai duit rakyat.Ditanam ka sawit atas tanah mega beri anak chapi ngambi ka ditupi atas tanah mega gaga ka jalai numbang ka pun temedak mega.Gaga ka rumah enggai ka nembiak ka bejalai sebelah nya tindik ka paku mega .Enti pia manah agi enda iboh muka mulut awak ka menua nyadi babas nadai charut ka tanah .Siti projek seribu penanggul pansut dia enti sepuluh projek berapa.Laban kitai enda kala nyalah diri empu.TU meh senang aja takut ka tanah enggai ka diambi anang nyebut ngemansang ka menua.ukai salah orang tang tempik pala diri empu.

  7. ENTI RIMAU DUDUK ATAS KERUSI JAGA KITA IBAN NYA NANDA KA BISI REMAUNG NYUBOK ATAS TITI.

  8. Isnin tak mahu makan gula gula.Selasa menyalahkan orang sebab tak bagi gula gula Rabu mulut penuh dengan gula gula.Khamis bagi orang gula gula kiri kanan poket penuh gula gula. Jumaat menyalahkan jabu sebab tak bagi gila gula Sabtu berjanji mahu jadikan sarawak negeri gula gula.Hari minggu baru orang tahu semua bohong punya cerita.

  9. Enti dayak baru merintah sarawak iya enda tan lama laban bam ka nengali semoa utai.Ngasu Ngangau nesau bangsa bukai leboh bulih rusa diempa nengali nadai magi enggau orang nya kebuah enda tan lama,Aku ukai bula tang ari dulu suba nyangka kitai enda mansik enggau silik.SNAP enda sampai lima tahun PBS sabah enda sampai lima tahun Teruk sekali PR perak semilan bulan aja .Namakebuah Laban sama sama tamak berebut ka nyadi menteri besai.Kedua laban bula diempa janji diri empu.BN enda samasemua bangsaka enggau ngasu bisi ampit magang taja pan enda maioh tang bangsa bukaika nyukong magang.BN enda milih teeempat betanding dini dini ulih menang enda baka pembangkang semina betanding ba endor bangsa diri aja nama kebuah laban iya ngasai ka bangsa bukai enggai nyukong iya.Uji pikir manah manah ka ulih kitai.

  10. BN sarawak sigi manah nya kebuah lama merintah laban enda minta sesin pan cukai tanah ari bangsa kitai.DAP PKR sigi ka ngaga pala tanah laban iya ka ngumpol cukai ari orang ka bisi pala tanahIya tentu minta nitih ka pemesai tanah kitai.Ni pengelama kitai tan mayar nya enti enda tebayar tentu iya ngerampas tanah nya,Uji peda di selangor HBK laun mayar cukai DAP PKR ngerampas tanah nya ukai nya besai datai tikau tisi sepiak sema jako. PERUNDING KA MEH ulih kitai.

  11. Aku ukai ngering ka sapa sapa .Kitai iban endang sigi amat apai saloi Enggai meda mayau ka diganti enggau chit diasoh nyaga kulit kayu endor nyimpan padi.Bala apai saloi sapa ketuai DAP Sapa ketuai PKR sapa ketuai Pas bisi kita meda kitai iban.Berapa iko kitai ibanka dipeda leboh maia mesyuarat parti sida . Uji peda ulih kita semua nama sida ti bisi megai pengawa dalam parti sida bisi sida mai kitai iban. Tentu nadai ngundi aja iya minta tulong kitai iban.Orang ti bepenemu milih mata ginti ari ikan ka udah dalam periuk.Orang ti bepenemu iya milih anak babi enggau kandang ari iya ka milih babi udah dalam periuk.Orang ti bepenemu milih anak manok ka agi mit ari iya ka milih manok ti udah dalam kali.Orang ti bepenemu ulih ngemansang ka diri taja pan tanah enda besai.Orang ti beli ka betanam ka kelapa sawit enti tanah iya ka mesai ruai lima pintu.Orang ti beli minta utai ka ngenyang ka diri tekala nya,Bakani tau nadai pemansang nama engi kami bisi deh.nanam getah koko baja racun duit lima ribu semua perintah meri tulang aja enda ulih ngereja ka diatu teres baja anak kelapa sawit baja semua perintah tanggung dalam tiga taun nanam aja kitai empu.Perintah nadai ngambi tanah nya semina nulong aja.Enti enda ga ulih ngemansang ka diri ukai salah perintah salah diri empu.

  12. BN sarawak sigi manah laban nadai minta cukai ari tanah kitai rumah panjai ari kelia.laban iya nemu kitai enda tebayar ka tanah nya.Tang enti kitai ka ngaga pala tanah nadai mega salah. DAP PKR sigi gaga enti tanah bisi pala ngambi ka iya nyamai ngumpul cukai tiap tiap taun.Enti iya ka ngambi tanah kitai ditiki ka iya cukai tanah sampai dua tiga ribu sepintu tiap taun nitih ka pemesai tanah nya .Ni pengelama kitai tan mayar cukai nya tiap taun. Enti kitai enda tebayar ka cukai tanah tentu dirampas.Aku ukai ngemula ka kitai sama kitai ti sama iban laban di selangor ukai nya besai datai tikau ari sepiak sepiak sema jako laun mayar cukai taja pan ulih bayar tanah dirampas PKR DAP mega.Anang agi tanah kitai ka enda dipeda tisi sepiak sepiak.Ulih ka enda tebayar ka nya.Indah cukai pintu 20 setaun maioh enda ulih bayar.
    Anang baka orang ka ngulih ka rusa tang tetimbak ka jelu aji. Manah agi nesal dulu ari ti nesal ka dudi ari.

  13. Terima kasih aki taib laban enda ngumpul cukai tanah adat bumiputera ari suba.Tan ka sarawak ari dirampas parti ari semenanjung.Enti parti ari semenanjung merintah tentu iya ngumpul cukai tanah kitai iban kitai deka mayar tiap tiap taun .Enti iya ka ngerampas tanah ditiki ka iya cukai dalam setaun .
    NI PENGELAMA KITAI TAN MAYAR CUKAI NYA>Enti di semenanjung datai tikau ari sepiak sepiak tanah enda ulih bayar anang agi tanah kitai iban enda dipeda tisi sepiak sepiak.
    Minyi ko orang ka ngulih ka rusa tang tetimbak ka jelu aji.Anang ka ditipu dayak baru ti semina makai duit aja.Anang ngenusah iban ka dudi ari .

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