In a first, group to record oral history of Sarawak communities

In a first, group to record oral history of Sarawak communities

There is not much written history about the more than 6,000 longhouse and village communities, says Scrips

MIRI: Native rights group Society For Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak (Scrips) has embarked on a pioneering effort to preserve native history.

It has set out to document the oral history of the many different indigenous communities living throughout this vast state.

The group is trying to get all the native folks to jot down the historical developments of their respective communities. This includes those in remote longhouses and as far back in time as they can, said Scrips secretary-general Michael Jok.

He told The Vibes today that Scrips is training as many community folks as possible to get them to be the frontliners in putting down into print the oral history of their cluster of population.

Unless this is done, there is the danger that the present and next generation of native Sarawakians may lose all traces of their historical roots, he said when interviewed.

“Scrips is embarking on this project to document the development history of the indigenous ethnic groups as this will be of historical significance for future generations.

“At present, there is not much written history about the more than 6,000 longhouse and village communities in Sarawak.

“There are some books written on the general history of the different tribes but not on the specific history of particular grassroots settlements like longhouses, scattered villages, resettlement schemes and others.

“Most of these grassroots history are still in oral form.

“We want to train the folks in specific settlements to jot down the oral history known to the community elders as these folks are like living history books.

“If they pass away, their oral history knowledge dies with them and will be lost forever,” said Jok.

He said Scrips is bringing their noble project to all corners of Sarawak.

This Sunday (December 18), the Scrips training team is organising a course on The Documentation of Indigenous Community Oral History at Grand Supreme Hotel in Kuching.

“The participants will be taught on both the oral and written history. And then we will show them the process of how to document one’s own community oral history.

“This documentation is very important and meaningful to all the Indigenous communities in Sarawak as there is not much history written about each community up to the present day.

“This course is a kind of DIY (do-it-yourself) training. The documentation will be your community’s legal documents in the future.

“As the African proverb goes, ‘every time an old man dies is like a library that burned’,” he pointed out.

The registration fee is only RM200 per participant which includes food and drinks, course notes plus a certificate of attendance.

Those who wish to join can contact the organisers Awang Ahmad at 010-975 6596 and Michael Jok at 019-858 3907.

Jok urged those interested to register here. The training course is open to the public.

source – The Vibes

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