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(P10) Coastal societies or maritime hunter-gatherers? Maritime adapted peoples in the context of contemporary and historic developments within Southeast Asia

Friday 27th July, 9:00 – 10:30 AM and 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM. Room: SK202

Convenors: Phillip Endicott, Musée de l'Homme; Jaques Ivanoff, Musée de l'Homme; Maxime Boutry, IRD 

Populations scattered along the west coast of Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Borneo, Sulawesi and the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines, share a history of association with the sea or activities related to it. They also speak dialects of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family, which is estimated to have expanded throughout the region around 4,000 years ago. This orientation to the sea is a common link but only one of a number of flexible strategies used to engage with the continental societies around them, which can include farming, iron-forging, and pottery-making. The engagement with mainstream society is usually a two-way process of engagement whereby hunters of the sea may abandon many of their traditional practices, while groups coming into contact with them often incorporate a new corpus of knowledge into their own use of space and resources. This is often part of sociocultural strategies of engagement in symbiotic networks that encompass a complex coastal society. These strategies increasingly face new challenges, including the on-going process of national integration, the privatisation of fisheries, and the leisure industry. On a regional scale, there may be long histories of interaction between different groups of sea nomads, and collectively with other parts of Island Southeast Asia and beyond. The remit of this session is to bring together researchers specialising in archaeology, social anthropology, comparative linguistics, historical ethnography, and population genetics, to share their findings and explore ways of better integrating these different lines of evidence within a common approach to peoples of the sea. Presentations based on an interdisciplinary and/or interregional approach, are particular welcome. 

 Papers

Part I

 

9:00 – 9:20 AM. Examining the genetic evidence linking Taiwan and the Philippines to the expansion of Malayo-Polynesian languages

Phillip Endicott, MNHN, France

Enquiries into the history of Austronesian speaking populations commonly use archaeology, language and genetics to reconstruct the past. This paper critically examines this approach and presents novel insights from genetics.

Long abstract: The Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian linguistic phylum is unique among the major language families of the world in its maritime mode of dispersal, which facilitated its recent range expansion from Island Southeast Asia to Madagascar in the west to Rapa Nui in the east, ~3,000-1,000 years ago. In Island Southeast Asia, which had already been settled since the Pleistocene, this late Holocene expansion must have involved a process of language shift but the extent to which this was accompanied by displacement, replacement or absorption of preexisting populations is uncertain. Moreover, archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that maritime trading networks existed throughout Island Southeast Asia since the early Holocene, and maritime resource procurers, speaking Malayo-Polynesian languages, can still be found from the Philippines to Myanmar. This paper will review the genetic evidence for a major demographic expansion within Island Southeast Asia associated with the expansion of Malayo-Polynesian. In particular, it will focus on the possible links to Taiwan and the Philippines, and consider the extent to which data from archaeology and genetics should be expected to reflect language change.

 

9:20 – 9:30 AM. Discussion

 

9:30 – 9:45 AM. Recovering from near extinction. Genetic diversity of the Thao/Ngan tribe of Taiwan (邵族 Shào zú) using Y-Chromosome, mitochondrial DNA and HLA gene systems

Jean A Trejaut and Marie Lin, Mackay Memorial Hospital (Molecular Anthropology), Taiwan

Analyses of HLA, Y-SNP and mtDNA F4b, B4b1a2 in Thao indicate stronger female affinity with Bunun, and common ancestry with other Austronesian agriculturists dating back to early Holocene/mid-Neolithic eras (~3 to ~10 kya).

Long abstract: Despite some serious attempts in retracing the line of descent of the Sun-Moon Lake Thao indigenous peoples of Taiwan, using folks-tales, linguistics, physical anthropology and ethnic studies, the history of their heritage still remains uncompleted. Their origin has alternatively been associated with Western plain tribes of Taiwan, several disparate mountain tribes, and in the last 400 years, their culture and genetic profiles have been strongly reshaped by the arrival of the Han. In the last century, they have been forcibly displaced several times by the Japanese for the construction of a dam, and almost faced extinction and acculturation. Here, the genetic information obtained primarily from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), then Histoleukocyte antigens (HLA) and Y-Chromosome (17 Y-STRs and 81 Y-SNPs) is used to shed more light on the origin of a cohort of 30 Thao individuals. The Thao tribe is compared to 900 other Taiwan Mountain and Plain tribe indigenous individuals, 400 Non-Aboriginal Taiwanese and Han from East China. More mtDNA sharing than Y-chromosome between Thao and Han indicates that women moved more widely among groups and corroborates the idea that the Thao strongly conserved their original patrilocal practice, but their battle to revive their culture and language continue.

 

9:45 – 10:00 AM. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms of the Saisiyat aboriginal group of Taiwan. Search for a negrito signature

Lan-Rong Chen, Ying-Hui Lai, Jun-Hun Loo, Jin-Yuan Huang, Marie Lin, and Jean A. Trejaut, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan

The search for evidences of a Negrito genetic signature in the Saisiyat and Atayal tribes of Taiwan using Discriminant Analysis of Principal Component from a 1300 Mitochondrial DNA dataset may support Taiwan aboriginal folktales.

Long abstract: The genetic profile of non-Negrito groups in the Philippines is markedly different from the Negrito groups (NG) where mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups B4b1a2, B5, D6a, M, M52a, and N11b are prominent. While NG have never been seen in Taiwan, all Taiwan mountain tribe aborigines (TwMtA), most particularly the Saisiyat tribe. Using the genetic affinity between the Philippines and TwMtA, we aim to search a Negrito genetic signature, principally in Saisiyat and its close neighbors. Discriminant Principal Component Analysis was first used to determine the genetic relationship between TwMtA, Filipino and non-TwMtA groups (Non-TwA). The unique presence of mtDNA haplogroup D6a2 in Saisiyat, Atayal and the Philippines NG most likely characterize a Negrito signature in Taiwan. Further, the sharing of similar cultural components and the higher presence of D6a2 in Atayal than in Saisiyat suggest an ancestral relationship between the two tribes. The molecular variation of D6a2 suggests a possible NG presence in northern Taiwan in pre-Holocene to early Neolithic. Since then, it is most likely that the physical characteristics, languages, and most of the genetic makeup of the NG in Taiwan have been diluted as the result of migration from the mainland in the last 400 years.

 

10:00 – 10:15 AM. Genetic differentiation between the Atayal and Truku Taiwan tribes. Which one came first?

Ying-Hui Lai, Jean A. Trejaut, Marie Lin, and Lan-Rong Chen, Mackay Memorial Hospital Molecular Anthropology, Taiwan

Corroborating linguistic studies, the Y-chromosome profile of ~2,000 individuals in Asia suggests that the Truku tribe split from the Atayal during the first millennium after the arrival the first seafaring Austronesian agriculturists in Taiwan.

Long abstract: Studies of archaeological remains suggest that sailing Proto-Austronesian agriculturists from Southeast Asia settled Taiwan ~6,000 years ago. Linguistic studies further suggest that the Truku tribe is a sub-branch of the Atayal tribe. However, this relationship is still debated. To resolve this genetic relationship, the Y-chromosome profile of ~2,000 individuals in Taiwan and other groups in Asia was investigated. 96 slowly evolving Y-chromosomal markers (Y-SNPs) and 16 Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) analyzed using statistical software “Bayesian Analysis of Population Structure” (BAPS). Firstly, while haplogroups O1a1*-P203 frequency was higher in Taiwan Mountain tribe Aborigines (TwMtA) than among Taiwan plain tribes (TwPlt), Taiwan Han (TwH) and Fujian Han, its diversity in TwMtA was the lowest. Secondly, the BAPS analysis, for K=2 to K=30 suggested strong relationship between Atayal and Truku and supported our previous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. Further, both, the lower Y-STR diversity of Truku than in Atayal, and a network using seven O1a Y-STRs, indicated that Truku branched from Atayal 5,500 to 6,500 years ago. This corroborates linguistics studies and suggests that Truku split from the Atayal tribe during the first millennium after the arrival the first seafaring Austronesian agriculturists in Taiwan.

 

10:15 – 10:30 AM. Demographic history of Sama-Bajao ethnolinguistic groups of Southeast Asia

Maximilian Larena and Mattias Jakobsson, Uppsala University

The Sama-Bajao ethnolinguistic cluster are a diverse group of culturally and linguistically distinct peoples of Maritime Southeast Asia. Using high-density SNPs, we for the first establish the genetic relationships of Sama cultural communities of southern Philippines.

Long abstract: After two decades of economic growth based on the development of fisheries, Moken sea-nomads of the Myeik Archipelago (Myanmar) experienced many changes due to the migration of thousands of Burmese to the islands with whom they intermarried, heading toward a more sedentary lifestyle. Due to a renewed effort to develop tourism to the Archipelago, mixed communities of the islands are confronted to a wide range of land appropriation processes, whether for agricultural, touristic or fisheries purposes. While interaction between Moken and Burmese islanders were long structured by a gendered division of the territory (Moken women “belonging” to the sea and Burmese men to the land), new economical interests have led these communities to redesign their relationship to the archipelagic territory. New modalities of appropriating the islands play with competing norms – i.e. Moken legitimacy inscribed in orality and written Burmese inscriptions that endure as physical markers of the territory. This paper seeks to explore the changes in how local populations craft their claims on this territory between land and sea, and how these claims affect the mixed communities’ social organization, down to the very foundations of each population’s identity.

 

Part II

 

11:00 – 11:15 AM. Recognition of an ethnic identity: a dilemma of the Bajau in Mindanao, Philippines

Erlinda Burton, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan

The Bajau in Mindanao displaced by political, and social conflicts and had gone to live around urban centers to survive. Their ethnic identity as indigenous people was questioned due to nature of their ancestral domain.

Long abstract: The Bajau or Sama di Laut are boat-dwelling nomads who still inhabit some littoral islands of Sulu and Mindanao, who were dependent on the sea resource for their sustenance. Because of political,and social conflicting conditions, they were pushed to move to the mainland of Mindanao, specifically, the urban centers in order to survive through begging. The Bajau are unwelcomed in areas where they had taken refuge. Most of them are settled in the most deplorable areas usually close to the seaports where they became a sight of spectacle to ship passengers who were throwing coins into the water which the young Bajaus quickly retrieved by diving. On the other hand, the local government had not come up with any measure to alleviate the conditions of the Bajau in their area. Furthermore,the government agency responsible to look after the welfare of the indigenous people had declined to give recognition to the identity of the Bajau; instead they were lumped with the islamized Filipinos. Thus the Bajau found themselves in a limbo wherein they have no recognized ethnic identity. Accordingly, they have no ancestral domain because their habitat is the sea, therefore they do not belong to the indigenous people group.

 

11:15 – 11:30 AM. Sea peoples’ creolism and its political settings in Southeast Asian maritime world

Kazufumi Nagatsu, Toyo University

This presentation explores the ethnogenesis of a creole group of “sea peoples” and its political settings in the Southeast Asian maritime world. The discussion focuses on the Sama-Bajau.

Long abstract: This presentation explores the ethnogenesis of a creole group of “sea peoples” and its political settings in the Southeast Asian maritime world. “Sea people” designates a prototypical group that formed on the basis of the ecological environment of Southeast Asian maritime world, i.e., an archipelagic terrain predominantly characterized by tropical seas and rainforests. The discussion focuses on the Bajau (or Sama). With an approximate population of 1,100,000, most of the Bajau live along coasts or on islands. Their settlements are widely dispersed over the southern Philippines, Sabah, Malaysia, and eastern Indonesia. The purposes of this presentation are to 1) demonstrate the geo-demographic features of the Bajau’s diasporic distribution and population flow, 2) trace the brief histories of the ethnogenesis of the Bajau as a creole sea people, and 3) examine their interactions with external authorities to depict the political settings whereby such an ethnogenesis has repeatedly occurred. In order to understand the characteristics of the settings, this study introduces the concept of a “frontier” in light of the discussions on the “frontier society” in Southeast Asian studies. This study is based on the joint research project with Prof. R. Ono.

 

11:30 – 11:45 AM. Of pirates and fish people: coastal societies of maritime Southeast Asia in the eyes of medieval Arab travellers

Aglaia Iankovskaia, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences

The paper attempts a review of references to the coastal societies of Maritime Southeast Asia found in medieval Arab travel accounts.

Long abstract: The paper attempts a review of references to the coastal societies of Maritime Southeast Asia found in medieval Arab travel accounts. Arabic sources, along with Chinese accounts, appear to contain some of the earliest evidence for the history of these populations. Having been visiting the Straits of Malacca starting from the first centuries of Islam, Arab merchants and sailors report of their encounters with various communities scattered along its coasts, either at sea during pirate attacks, in busy Malay port-polities or at desolate shores where travellers shipwrecked or anchored in search of fresh water and barter trade in jungle products. Notwithstanding their brevity, Arabic accounts appear to provide some insights into maritime activities of the medieval predecessors of modern Orang Laut and other maritime adapted communities of the region. Even fictional motifs seem to bear a glimpse of the crucial role of the sea in the life of Southeast Asian coastal populations, as it is echoed by the fantastic images of fish people depicted in the medieval Arabic literature.

 

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM. Coastal societies or maritime hunter-gatherers? Maritime adapted peoples in the context of contemporary and historic developments within Southeast Asia

Jacques Ivanoff, CNRS; Maxime Boutry, IRD

The binomial organisation and the pivot strategy (Moken/Moklen, Samal/Sama) is a very old and well organize system which prove that the Sea Nomads are also Land Nomad and that the classification between sea and land is not enough.

Long abstract: Sea Nomads have a deep knowledge of the sea and the forest. Burmese and Moken want to keep this know-how alive and we (GDRI) are willing to give back through a Museum what we got and help their integration and cultural preservation. But first they have to adapt to population they encounter and learn during their migration. The binomial organisation and the pivot strategy (Moken/Moklen Samal/Sama) is a very old and well organize system which prove that the Sea Nomads are also Land Nomad and that the classification between sea and land is not enough. Moken the well-known sea nomads have a knowledge of the land as much important than their knowledge of the sea. This is important to understand the way nomads could go along a scale of environment going from the mountain up to the sea depth. Binomial organization and pivot strategy create a web between also the scattered groups on the littoral in the mangrove and the islands. We can understand this web from Mergui to Riau. This technique allows the passage of nomads through dominant population as the binomial organization shows a technique which allow them to make their way from Taiwan to the Mergui Archipelago. 

 

12:00 — 12:15 PM. Between land and sea: social organisation of Moken-Burmese communities of the Myeik Archipelago (Myanmar)

Maxime Boutry, IRD

The social organisation of mixed Burmese-Moken communities is in great part shaped by their relationship to the binomial land and sea nature of the archipelagic territory, evolving according to new economic stakes affecting the archipelago.

Long abstract: Despite some serious attempts in retracing the line of descent of the Sun-Moon Lake Thao indigenous peoples of Taiwan, using folks-tales, linguistics, physical anthropology and ethnic studies, the history of their heritage still remains uncompleted. Their origin has alternatively been associated with Western plain tribes of Taiwan, several disparate mountain tribes, and in the last 400 years, their culture and genetic profiles have been strongly reshaped by the arrival of the Han. In the last century, they have been forcibly displaced several times by the Japanese for the construction of a dam, and almost faced extinction and acculturation. Here, the genetic information obtained primarily from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), then Histoleukocyte antigens (HLA) and Y-Chromosome (17 Y-STRs and 81 Y-SNPs) is used to shed more light on the origin of a cohort of 30 Thao individuals. The Thao tribe is compared to 900 other Taiwan Mountain and Plain tribe indigenous individuals, 400 Non-Aboriginal Taiwanese and Han from East China. More mtDNA sharing than Y-chromosome between Thao and Han indicates that women moved more widely among groups and corroborates the idea that the Thao strongly conserved their original patrilocal practice, but their battle to revive their culture and language continue.

 

12:15 – 12:30 PM. Discussion

 

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