When I think of indigenous rights, I cannot help but to think of my heritage, and in this, that of my mother’s. She is Dayak Bidayuh, and sadly enough, before the last time I visited, I hadn’t been there for eight years straight. There was and still is this phobia, of not fitting in, of also fretting about this and that, about culture shock in your own family members (let’s not even talk about country). And this, too, applied (does it still?) to my Punjabi relatives on my father’s side.

Nevertheless, I have always had a fascination for the indigenous peoples of the world. I was born in Australia, and though at a very young age, friends and teachers alike seemed as though they associated Australia with “the West”, I grew up to think other wise. I loved their art, their gorgeous people with sun-kissed skin, even to the extend of having a forest name after a bird the Aborigines called “kookaburra”, and not to mention, the envy I still have for this special, so God-like and spiritual relationship that the indigenous peoples have with their surroundings.

Today, when I think of indigenous peoples, it’s not exclusive to those of the “native land” or those who have a certain type of blood running through their veins. Edward S. Curtis and Bruno Manser are like familiar friends that put a great smile on my face. I have created a relationship with these individuals, alive or not, who are so different, yet so alike, understanding one special thing that bonds us together. It is not about race, definitely not religion and don’t even mention politics.

Then again, let’s go to the very fine root of it all, rewinding back to the mere DNA that makes us who we are. Let’s go back before race, and even before heritage. -It’s really the beautiful fact that we’re all of the Human race. And… Then again… Even if were so different, what is so wrong about that?


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