During World War II the Japanese occupied Borneo and treated the locals with disdain. The Japanese regularly massacred the indigenous people, especially the Dayaks of the so-called Kapit Division in southern Borneo. This ill-treatment sparked the Dayaks to join with the allied forces against a common enemy. A group of American and Australian military leaders trained the Dayak in guerrilla warfare in the jungle. During the ensuing years the Dayak managed to capture or kill 1,500 Japanese and fed the Allies vital intelligence about Japanese held oil fields.
Head hunting is a highly ritualised pastime for the tribes. Vengeance and vendettas are common reasons to partake, but not the only reasons for head hunting. Head hunting is thought to help soil fertility, give a person strength, it’s used as a dowry, to strengthen buildings, protect against attacks, increase your status and help you expand your territory. It’s deeply rooted in the ancient mists of time and will not easily be erased from their culture.
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