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Any member of a non-Muslim indigenous people of the southern and western interior of the island of Borneo. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance but distinguishes the indigenous people from the largely Malay population of the coastal areas. Most Dayaks are riverine people who live in small longhouse communities. Children live with their parents until marriage, and boys, who usually seek brides outside their own village, go to live in their wife's community. Their subsistence economies rest on the shifting cultivation of hill rice, supplemented by fishing and hunting. They number more than two million.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Dayak, visit Britannica.com.