The Misuse of the Word " Dyak
two classes, which have been called by Mr. Brooke Land and Sea Dyaks " (P* x65). Sir James Brooke's words are: "The Dyaks are divided into Dyak Darrat [darat a dry land in Malay] and Dyak Laut [laut= sea in Malay] or land and sea dyaks. The Dyak Lauts, as their name implies, frequent the sea ; and it is needless to say much of them, as their difference from the Dyak Darrat is a difference of circumstance only." (Keppel ii. 174). But since then further intercourse with both peoples has shown a very wide difference in almost every particular. Regarding the use of the word darat, Dalrymple (p. 40) used it : " The inland people of Passir (E. Coast) are called Darat."
Sir James Brooke appeared as the champion of the oppressed people now known as the Land Dyaks. It was through them he got to know of the Sea Dyaks, and no doubt the Land Dyaks spoke of those " men " as dayah, and hence he could only come to the conclusion they were the same people. As for the Sea Dyaks adopting the name of the Dyaks at all that would only be on a par with their adopting the name Iban on the Rejang river as mentioned by Mr. Everett.
Whether the explanation I have just suggested as to the origin of the use of the word Dyak be the correct one or not, there remains the fact that the word should not be extended to any other peoples than those known as the Land and Sea Dyaks. It is even doubtful whether we should speak of Sea Dyaks, but then in their case we have the excuse that there is no other collective name for them.
Design by a Kayan Chief. See p. 38. (Lady Brooke Coll.)Design by a Kayan Chief. See p. 38. (Lady Brooke Coll.)