Progress and preservation: Dayaks in palm oil country hold on to traditions

The indigenous Dayak people of Kalimantan, Indonesia are working with an agribusiness giant to retain their time-honoured customs and practices while expanding the local economy.

As the chief of a Dayak council, Florianus Tihai leads his community with a clear vision for the future: achieving development while preserving cultural traditions. 

A fifth-generation descendant of the indigenous tribe in Manis Mata sub-district, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Florianus faces the challenge of supporting industrial projects in his province while protecting the rituals and customs fundamental to his Dayak heritage.

“The most important thing in my life is family, especially my wife and children. I hope they keep their Dayak beliefs descended from their ancestors, that is our hope. They can continue on our community as Dayak people along with our neighbouring tribes here in this land,” he said.

Acknowledging the importance of tradition to the local community in which it operates, agribusiness Cargill Tropical Palm has donated a community hall that serves as a social centre for religious and cultural activities. The company operates a palm mill in Manis Mata.   

Find out how else the proud Dayaks of Manis Mata are working together with a giant multinational company to make Florianus’ vision of the future a reality. 

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