Daya (Dayak) is a generic term which means different peoples of the interior of the Malaysian and Indonesian islands of Southeast Asia.

Daya The term is derived from an old root meaning Austronesian "upstream" and is found in the traditional ethnonym of many of these populations (Kayan, Kenyah and Ngaju Borneo, Gayo in northern Sumatra, or Toraja Toraya in South Sulawesi). Other examples are provided to the Philippines (Mandaya), Taiwan-Formosa (Siraya) and even Madagascar as "Merina, which has evolved from * i-na-raya [ref. Required].

In ethnology from the colonial period, the Daya were classified as "proto-Malay" (alongside the Batak and Toraja) supposed to belong to a first wave of settlement that would have preceded the coastal people, including Malaysians and the Javanese, qualified as "deutéro-Malay." Today, this interpretation is obsolete. In fact, Daya not differ from their cousins Coastal (often themselves former Daya, although many groups daya down in turn former sailors had drawn up late to inland) as a lesser foreign acculturation, particularly in relation to Islam.

In folklore European tourist, Daya went willingly for fierce "headhunting" because of old customs of beheading enemies defeated. But nowadays, people daya (a term that the Malays Coastal speak often with a glottal stop final, transcribed Dayak, with a pejorative nuance) consists in part of ethnic minorities heavily Christianised, often Protestant denomination. A minority of them, however, chose to convert to Islam, without renouncing their identity daya.

Some people like daya Iban of Sarawak (Malaysia) and Ngaju Kalimantan are among the most modern peoples of Southeast Asia. Their elites everywhere constitute a significant fraction of the national elite of their respective countries (university professors, high-level scientists, senior officers, directors or other famous artists, and so on.).

These people speak languages of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages, divided among the following groups:

* Barito
* Kayan-Murik
* "Land Dayak"
* Malaïque (different dialects of Malay)
* Northwest.

The Grand Dayak (Dayak Besar) was the name of one of the federal territories of the ephemeral "Republic of the United States of Indonesia" created on December 27, 1949 at the Conference of the Round Table, and replaced on August 17, 1945 by the "Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia".

The territory is roughly that of the present province of Central Kalimantan.

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