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Open Access Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The sudden fall of the authoritarian New Order in May 1998 drastically changed the landscape of Indonesian local politics. Newly found political freedom as well as opportunities made available by decentralization policies generated strong political and social movements in the regions. Most of the modern literature on the Dayaks of West Kalimantan published before 2000 focussed on their socio-anthropological or economic aspects and did very little to address the political evolution of the Dayaks. This is the introductory chapter of the book, which explores the causes of the drastic changes experienced by the Dayaks of West Kalimantan in the political world since Indonesia's independence in 1945. To identify the main causes of the changes, the book examines Dayak political history since the time of the Malay sultanates up to the present time.

Keywords: colonial era; Dayak political history; West Kalimantan



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