UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications
Badjau also known as "Sama Dilaut" Pitek, Emily
The Badjau of Tawi-Tawi Island (also known as the Sama Dilaut) is a subculture of the larger Samal culture. The Badjau group is distinguished by their nomadic, boat-dwelling lifestyle, which consequently allowed for the preservation of their indigenous religious beliefs (which differ from the Islamic beliefs of the landdwellers). This entry focuses specifically around the time of 1963, “when the traditional culture of these people was still intact” (Nimmo, 1990:4). At this time, Badjau religious beliefs were not distinguished from other aspects of life; this entry therefore considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society at large. Badjau supernatural beings include an otiose high god (Tuhan), non-human spirits (saitan), ancestral spirits (ummagged), vengeful ghosts (pangguah), and a variety of other ghouls/monsters. Religious practitioners known as djin (shamans) communicate with spirits, officiate rites of passage, and serve as ritual leaders. Magic is also present, and include the practices of anting-anting (the wearing of protective amulents), and kabolan (spells and formulas used to being about desired ends such as weather changes). The most important social unit of the Badjau is the nuclear family, which will occasionally come together at moorages to form family alliance units that cooperate for work activities and religious ceremonies. In addition to family alliances, the Badjau recognize about seven localized kin groups (comprised of related family alliance units that regularly moor together). Localized kin groups are led by a headman, and usually contain at least one djin. Social organization among the Badjau is fluid and constantly changing as families move from moorage to moorage.
Item Citations and Data
Attribution 4.0 International