Orang Ulu

Orang Ulu ("people of the interior" in Malay) is an ethnic designation politically coined to group together roughly 27 very small but ethnically diverse tribal groups in northeastern Sarawak, Malaysia with populations ranging from less than 300 persons to over 25,000 persons. Orang Ulu is not a legal term, and no such racial group exists or is listed in the Malaysian Constitution. The term was popularised by the Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA), which was formed in 1969.

Two Dayak Orang Ulu men from Sarawak, Malaysia, playing the sapeh.

The Orang Ulu tribal groups are diverse, they typically live in longhouses elaborately decorated with murals and woodcarvings.[1] They are also well known for their intricate beadwork detailed tattoos, rattan weaving, and other tribal crafts.[2] The Orang Ulu tribes can also be identified by their unique music - distinctive sounds from their sapes, a plucked boat-shaped lute, formerly with two strings, nowadays usually with four strings.[3] They also practice Kanjet, a form of traditional dance.[4]

A vast majority of the Orang Ulu tribes are Christians, but old traditional religions are still practiced in some areas.

Orang Ulu classification

There are about 27 small Dayak people groups that are classified as Orang Ulu such as:-

  • Apo Kayan people
  • Murut people
  • Punan
    • Uheng Kereho [8]Pemkab Kapuas Hulu (2021). "Bupati Kapuas Hulu Menyerahkan Surat Keputusaan tentang Pengakuan dan Perlindungan Masyarakat Hukum Adat Punan Hovongan dan Dayak Punan Uheng Kereho". Info Kapuas Hulu. Retrieved 2023-01-03.</ref>
    • Hovongan
    • Bukitan people
    • Lisum[6]
  • Apo Duat

Notable people

See also


  1. Jeffrey Jalong (2001). Kalong: Seni Motif Tradisi Orang Ulu. Kementerian Kebudayaan Kesenian dan Pelancongan Malaysia. ISBN 967-903-035-0.
  2. Patricia Hului (2016-05-25). "Dying Tradition of Orang Ulu Rattan Weaving". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  3. Jeffrey Jalong (2007). Sape: Seni Muzik Terbilang Orang Ulu Sarawak.
  4. Jeffrey Jalong (2012). Kanjet: Seni Tarian Tradisional Orang Ulu Sarawak. Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara. ISBN 978-967-5552-22-9.
  5. Erivina. "Our People - Orang Ulu". Sarawak Tourism. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  6. Wendy Hutton (2000). Adventure Guides: East Malaysia. Tuttle Publishing. p. 130. ISBN 962-593-180-5.
  7. Nizam GTZ. "ORANG ULU". The Patriots. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  8. Frans Welman (2011). Borneo Trilogy Sarawak: Volume 2. Booksmango. p. 138. ISBN 978-616-245-089-1.
  9. Andrew, Sia (2 July 2008). "Baru Bian, the first Lun Bawang minister, fought hard for Sarawak natives' land rights". The Star. Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  10. Joseph Masilamany (19 June 2018). "Baru Bian's long haul from Long Luping". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
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