Posted on 04 December 2013
In October 2004, the Lun Dayeh, Kelabit, Lun Bawang, dan Sa'ban people of the highlands of Borneo established a trans-boundary organization of indigenous people
The highlands of Borneo are located in the far interior of the island, in the "heart" of Borneo and are divided between the neighboring and sovereign states of Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah) and Indonesia (North Kalimantan). The highlands of Borneo comprise the Ulu Padas area in Sabah, Bario, often known as the Kelabit highlands, Ba’ Kelalan and Long Semadu in Sarawak, and the Krayan in Kalimantan (Indonesia).
The highlands include among the largest surviving intact forested and traditionally farmed catchment area on the island of Borneo. They are also home to a rich assemblage of megalithic monuments witness of a history of long settlement in the area.
While administratively divided between two countries, the peoples of the Highlands share a common linguistic and cultural heritage, and a common homeland. The close ethic and family ties of the peoples of the Highlands are one of the main reasons for the intense social and economic interactions that take place in the highlands across the international border between Indonesia and Malaysia.
And in October 2004, elders and representatives of communities from the Highlands in the Heart of Borneo in Malaysia (Bario, Ba’ Kelalan, Long Semadoh, Ulu Padas) and Indonesia (Krayan and Krayan Selatan) met in Long Bawan (Krayan) to establish the Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Borneo (FORMADAT).
The chosen logo states: People in the Heart of Borneo. This is the most important message that the communities wanted to get across: there are communities who claim the highlands as their ancestral land, there are people in the Heart of Borneo at the border between Indonesia and Malaysia who have been conserving and managing the forest and rice fields in sustainable and traditional ways.