World Indigenous Day

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World Indigenous Day Celebration in Kuala Lampur -- Sambutan Hari Orang Asal

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Mindah Budi of the Temuan tribe was happy during the celebration since she was able to get together with her fellow indigenous friends. She and her fellow indigenous people of the Tiga Tiang Satu Tongkat (which means that three villages were under the rule of one chief) performed the Rentak Balai Dance which is a dance only performed during special occasions or celebrations within the Temuan tribe.

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During the performances and the celebration, Lee said that the importance of the International day of the World’s Indigenous People celebration was to recognise them as the original people of Malaysia.“We should accord them the respect and recognition. Unfortunately, they are not in the forefront of the country. Hence, it is important to instil political awareness and let them know their rights,” he said.

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Ali Wayah, one of the indigenous people of the Temuan tribe, makes handicraft like baskets, decorative items and a showcased which is a mix of traditional and modern weaving styles. “If everyone sells the same type of works, then it is nothing special. Hence, I mix some modern motifs in my works. However, I still make traditional craft” he said.

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Every year since 1994, the International Day of the World's Indigenous people is celebrated on August 9.

This year in Malaysia, the event celebration took place at the Bagan Lalang beach in Sepang on August 7 and 8. The event was launched by Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment assistant exco member Edward Lee.

The Monash University Volunteer Program was invited to attend the celebration.

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There were cultural performances and craft for sale, yet the International Day of the World's Indigenous People had a more important agenda that is to raise awareness about the rights of the Indigenous People.

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The celebration this year was different from previous years since the indigenous people in Sabah and Sarawak also joined in. Last year in Shah Alam only had participation of the indigenous people in the Peninsula. Sarawak Rural Woman Association president Hellan Empaing said that the celebration can strengthen ties within the Malaysian Indigenous People in Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula. “We can share our experience in terms of fighting for our rights and solving problems, especially land issues. It is also a chance for us to share our traditions and cultures,” she said.

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While the celebration was going on, there were couple of stalls selling handicraft made by different tribes. Also some books related to the indigenous people and their plights were being sold. Cultural performances were held at different times.

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