I came acrros a book recently that held me reading till the last page. The book is titled "Why warriors lie down and die?". It was written by a community development worker, Richard Trudgen. He wrote through his own experience dealing with Yolnu of Arnhem land in Northern Territory, Australia.
The story of Yolnu is just an instance of sad history of indigenous peoples all around the world. It tells a very powerful lesson that human being has the ability to survive and to prosper if they have power to control their own life. Yolnu history tells that, mass killing that their previous generation had gone through did not kill the community - they survived and thrived as warriors. But take the power to control their own life, it is the true and real destructive weapon that has massive greatest effect to the whole community. They live but a living hell.
The only means, the author proposed, is empowerment - allow them to take charge of their own life, recognize and respect their system of life and law as valid, give them their means to continue their life on their own term.
When I read the book, I actually remember about a Jakun family who live within a palm oil plantation in Rompin. They collect scattered palm fruits to eke out their living - a story that was told by an MP in the course of my fieldwork. I also remember about the Temiar who put up timber blockade in Gua Musang last week. I was frustrated to read the response by those in the authority that simply use the cliche to brush aside their claim - frustrated especially because those who said so was a person highly respected in the community as a religous leader.
I hope the life of these people would get better.