Semang - Settlements



Until recently most Semang were nomadic, living in temporary camps lasting from one night to six weeks, and some still are. The camps consist of a cluster of lean-to shelters, each housing a conjugal family, a widow or widower, or a group of unmarried adolescent boys and/or girls. Camps range from two to twenty shelters—about six to sixty people. Camp composition varies as families move in or leave to join other camps. Since the 1960s the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has attempted to settle many Semang in "regroupaient projects" with Malay-style wooden houses. Typically these are used only as base camps by groups that also live in forest camps. The agricultural Semang groups—Lanòh, Mendriq, and Batèk Nòng—live in small semipermanent villages.

Nomadic groups make small lean-tos of palm thatch. Western Semang groups sometimes arrange their lean-tos in two rows facing each other to form a communal tunnel-hut with openings at each end. More permanently settled Semang live in small Malay-style bamboo and thatch houses or, in the regroupments, in plank houses built by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.


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