The Outstanding Side of the Batek Indigenous People
The Hero of the River
The Batek Indigenous people or its educational term is Bateq Nigerito, who lives in the jungle and through the river. Their main transportation is a raft or fiber boat. Movement through these waterways is to transport themselves from one location to another since they are living a nomadic life. In addition, it has also become the “toys” to entertain the Batek Nigerito children. They built this raft by using the materials that they collect from the forest such as bamboo that are over ten feet long.
Apart from rafts, fiber boat is transportation with engines. However, due to the high cost of buying, managing, maintaining, repairing and also the relatively high cost of gasoline, not many Batek Indigenous people are able to afford it. Because of this, rafts are the most convenient and affordable option for them.
The main source of food for the Batek Aboriginal people is by hunting either from the river or from the forest. Among the animals that they hunted are squirrels, frogs, monkeys, fish and many more. These animals are hunted and killed using the handmade blowpipe that is made from bamboo. The sharp tip of the bullet that is called damak is poisoned. Damak is used as a ‘bullet’ to kill these feral animals.
Their great skills in shooting the blowpipe have been taught and learned since they were little. At the beginning of the blowpipe lesson, the Batek Aboriginal children will be trained to use the blowpipe by tying their stomachs with rattan to see their strength in shooting the damak by blowing it out of the blowpipe. If the rattan is cut off naturally, the child is considered as eligible and ready to go for hunting with the adults.
Whenever they go hunting, they will bring the antidote to the poison that they put at the tip of their damak as a precautious step in case of emergency or accident.
Natural Resources Explorers
Apart from their hunting activities, they are also experts at exploring natural resources such as wild yam, sweet potato, fruit, guava, bamboo, rattan, resin, honey and more. It is the responsibility of the Batek men to travel to the forests in search of natural resources that have an economic value. Meanwhile, Batek women are rarely out for hunt using the blowpipe as they will usually find food, herbs, sweet potatoes and fish that can be eaten immediately.
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