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Wild Man from BorneoA Cultural History of the Orangutan$
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Robert Cribb, Helen Gilbert, and Helen Tiffin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837143

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837143.001.0001

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Darkest Borneo, Savage Sumatra

Darkest Borneo, Savage Sumatra

Chapter:
(p.85) 4 Darkest Borneo, Savage Sumatra
Source:
Wild Man from Borneo
Author(s):

Robert Cribb

Helen Gilbert

Helen Tiffin

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824837143.003.0004

This chapter argues that the Western habit of attributing to the Dayaks in Borneo and the Gayo in northern Sumatra superstitious beliefs about the orangutan tends also to assume that local informants were the naiïve subjects of investigation, rather than active participants in a myth-building process. In the twentieth century, John MacKinnon described as “most frequently recurring” among the Dayaks a story in which a human woman, kidnapped and kept by an ape, gave birth to his son. When she seized a moment to escape, the orangutan chased after her with the child. This incident has been widely discussed in literature on the nature of rape within human societies.

Keywords:   Dayaks, Gayo, John MacKinnon, human societies, rape, myth building

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