The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) observes 9 August as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is complemented by the observance of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations.
Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.”
Culture, as many of us are aware, is not a concept frozen in time but one that’s full of vitality. Like other indigenous minority communities in Malaysia such as the Kadazan and Iban, the survival, health and development of Orang Asal culture are inextricably linked with their traditional lands.
Let’s be real though – our Orang Asal have been to hell and back. It is hard to believe how much suffering one group of people can go through, and it is hard to fathom that indigenous people still get treated with zero respect in some places.
Their living conditions including poverty, the destruction of the community’s habitat and possible contamination, plays a role in repressing them.
It’s time we stop turning a blind eye when it comes to Orang Asal issues. They need to be supported and given the capacity and autonomy to make decisions for their own land and culture. But where do we start?
Well, thanks to environmental activist, @notsoaidil, known previously as @sunfloweraidil, we have a place to start as he shared seven Instagram accounts that empower indigenous people.
Now you can increase your knowledge and awareness regarding Orang Asal issues, affairs and projects…
Without further ado, here are seven IG accounts that empower the Orang Asal community: