Pustaka’s webinar to focus on significance of leaves


By Nazrinzulaiqa Hasbi

KUCHING: The Sarawak State Library (Pustaka) will hold a webinar entitled “The Significance of Leaves within the Ethnic and Indigenous Community” on Sept 19.

The webinar will focus on the importance and the use of native leaves, particularly among Sarawak’s various indigenous communities in line with the Sarawakiana Festival 2021 themed “Daun” (leaves) this year. 

“The webinar aims to document and preserve traditional indigenous knowledge and shows how the indigenous knowledge is preserved and transmitted from generation to generation,” said Pustaka in a statement yesterday (Sept 15).

The webinar also highlights the danger of this knowledge becoming extinct soon due to changes in lifestyles among the younger generation.

It also shows how ingenuity and creativity are practised in the indigenous communities not only for survival but for cultural or religious practices.

“Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understanding, skills, and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interactions with their natural surroundings.

“For rural and indigenous peoples, local knowledge aids decision-making in fundamental aspects of day-to-day life,” said Pustaka which has invited four speakers from various backgrounds in Sarawak and Canada to share the uses of leaves in indigenous communities.

Senior lecturer at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University Malaya, Dr Wwelyne Jeffrey Jehom will talk on “Leaves for Indigenous Essentials in Sarawak” which focuses on the use of leaves among the Bidayuh Padawan community.

In addition, Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Borneo Studies, University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Dr Valerie Mashman will present her talk which focuses on leaves from two species of plant used in the making of hats by the Orang Ulu.

Meanwhile, the chairman of IFLA Indigenous Matters Section, Camile from Taltan Nation covers the general use of leaves used for sacred medicine while Historian of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, Dr Naxaxalhts’l shared his knowledge handed down from his ancestors on the usage of cedar trees including the leaves and its many usages within the indigenous tribe of Stó:lō.

Dr Norseha Unin, as a moderator, will provide an insight on the indigenous knowledge and communities in Sarawak and an introduction on the use of “Daun” as the main theme for this year’s Sarawakiana Festival.

The webinar will be held at 10am on Sept 19 and can be viewed via Pustaka Sarawak’s Facebook page (pustaka.sarawak) as well as its YouTube channel (Pustaka Sarawak).

For further inquiries, contact Dayang Nut Syima Awang Adrus at 082-440488 or via email cmasyima@sarawak.gov.my.

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