Conflict between ethnic groups involving Dayak ethnic group has shown to have an impact on the strengthening of Dayak ethnic identity. The solidarity spirit among this ethnic group has become increasingly stronger and contributing to the success of the political elite of this group in having power. The strong solidarity of Dayak ethnic group is not only profitable to the ethnic politics, but also the success of the economic organization of Dayak themselves. "This can be seen from the success of the Credit Union in West Kalimantan that cannot be separated from the various efforts made by local elites to exert influence in the community," said Vice Regent of Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, Drs. Andreas Muhrotien, M.Si., when conducting an open examination of his Doctoral Program of Religious Studies and Cross-Cultural Program, Monday (7/11), at the UGM Graduate School.
Andreas mentioned the strengthening of Dayak identity is inseparable from the influence of the Catholic religion. Initially, the Dayak terminology was used by the European people to distinguish the Muslim population. The term Dayak in the Old Order had a bad connotation, with the hint of humiliation. A number of bad characteristics that exist in Borneo natives are always attached to the Dayak people. Catholic missionaries use the terminology in the spread of Catholicism. "And in the end the word Dayak eventually could unite the non-Islam Borneo indigenous. In this case, the role of the Catholic Church becomes undeniable," said the man born in Magelang, June 27, 1954.
In his dissertation entitled Reconstruction of Dayak Identity in the Era of Regional Autonomy in West Kalimantan, Andreas said that the Catholic Church also plays a role in the birth of Dayak Unity Party. While in the era of regional autonomy, Dayak identity became stronger, especially relating to the election of the West Kalimantan Governor.
This is reflected in various political campaigns ahead of the elections. Awareness of the importance of names, religion, culture, and human resources reinforce the desire of Dayak people to confirm its existence. "Local political conditions that tend to promote issues such as ethnic, cultural, and religion equality provides ample spaces to the native people to have strategic positions in local government which may also be indicated as a hint of Dayak identity strengthening, especially at the local level," Andreas who graduated cum laude concluded.