The Kubu (also known as the Anak Dalam, or the Anak Rimba) are among Southeast Asia’s last and best known hunter-gatherer tribes. My wife and I visited these good people and while there spent some time sharing with them some gifts made by American school children.


Girl from the Anak Dalam tribe, holding a doll made by our daughter.

The Anak Dalam inhabit the foothills of the Bukit Barisan mountain range, within Jambi Province’s Bukit Duabelas National Park.

For a living the Anak Dalam engage in trading of jungle products, like skins of animals, damar, benzoin, and camphor. The Anak Dalam have not remained exclusively within the “hunter-gatherer” classification. They have been known to turn to farming at times, and some work on palm oil and rubber plantations. My wife and I met one man from this tribe who was working for a Jambi friend of ours in his snake skin business.

P. sharing gifts with the Anak Dalam children. The gifts were made by American school children.

For the most part the Anak Dalam live highly mobile lives and live in small groups. In this structure there is an absence of class division, and the leadership comes from those who are older.

Typical of all “primitive” hunter-gatherer tribes, the Anak Dalam are facing the potential extinction of their unique culture during the upcoming decades. Previous primitive tribes have lost their unique cultural distinctions, and the Anak Dalam may also lose theirs as they are absorbed into neighboring tribes.