Introduction / History In the past, Mbaloh was a term widely used in Serawak and also in KalimantanBarat. They had been recorded and written by missionaries who spread Catholicism to the interior people in Kalimantan Barat. Apparently, this indigenous people referred to themselves as Banuak'a or indigenous of the land, and today, they divided into few Tamanic speaking groups; a) Tamambaloh who live in Batang Embaloh, b) Tamankapuas who live in Putusibau n Medalam, c) Kalis who live in small Kalis river of Manday River. "Mbaloh" who moved to Sekadau and NangaTaman and didn't return back to their origin village are called Tamansesat Tamansekado and changed their language to Malayic.
Where are they located? Although in general these Tamanic group might disagree among themselves regarding their own different names of their tribes, all accept the term "Maloh" from outsiders. Today, most Embaloh can be found in Kapuas Ulu regency in Kalimantan Barat and they still live in Interior upriver of Embaloh. Maloh also can be found in some longhouse in Serawak, especially Lubok Antu Katibas river and Kapit but the majority of them had converted their language and culture into Ibanic and almost all of these Embaloh able to speak their own Tamanic mother tongue. Recently, a few Embaloh people migrated to central Sarawak to seek for better wage to suppo
What are their lives like? The Maloh language falls under Tamanic categories, which is very different from their neighbors of Iban,Kantuq and Kaya'an. A theory about the similarity of Embaloh and Bugis had made some ethnological researcher to conclude that Tamanic was related to Sulawesi culture but the local Embaloh-Tamanic doesn't find any similarity in language. Regarding their Tamanic heritage, the Embaloh believed that they had been indigenous to the region upriver of Embaloh and the name Embaloh was taken to indicate where they had been living for centuries. Embaloh class society are divided into a few groups: the Samagat (noble class) are mostly the headmen or medical/ritual experts, the Pabiring (middle class) are traders, the Banua (commoners) and the Pangkam (slave). Maloh villages are called Banua and may consist of a few row of longhouses called "Sau."
What are their beliefs? Western missionaries came to the interior of Borneo to spread Christianity during the Dutch colonial era. The Embaloh were among the first interior indigenous to convert to Catholicism and learn western education in the Catholic missionary school. Protestants also managed to convert Taman Kapuas, especially along the Sibau and Mendalam rivers. Catholicism and Christianity have become part of the Embaloh way of living even though animism and old traditional taboo and law still take place, especially in ritual ceremonies or traditional celebrations
References Interview with Embaloh natives: Alex, Maria and the Anak Borneo group. Sarawak Museum Journal by Tom Harrisson (Museum curator) during his interview with Embaloh people. Catholic Missionary in Benua Martinus Kapuasulu.
Kalimantan Barat Province, northeast Kapuas Hulu regency, upper Kapuas river, Embaloh, Leboyan, Lauh, Palin, Nyabau, and Kalis tributaries; smaller area south of the Kapuas, the Mandai river and Batutenobong. (Source: Ethnologue 2016)