Author(s): Tasrifin Tahara
This article describes the history, culture, and livelihoods of the ethnic Bajau people in Indonesia. Special focus is placed on the Bajau tribes that live and own fisheries on Sei Batang Island in the province of North Kalimantan along the Indonesia-Malaysia border. Data was gathered from in-depth interviews with fishermen and local figures of the local Sei Batang Bajau community. Secondary data was collected from historical archives, previous studies on the Bajau tribes, and other relevant literature. Though the Bajau have historically been known as people of the sea – their homes and settlements even appear as if to float above the sea surface – the Bajau tribes living along the Indonesia-Malaysia border are unique for their atypical identity as “land Bajau” and the environmental and cultural issues they face as a historically overlooked ethnic group in Indonesia. This paper also discusses the legal issues that arise from the Bajau tribes’ activities along the Indonesia-Malaysia maritime border.