Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bird-catching with a tepee – Kedayan’s blast from the past

BEKENU: The Kedayan traditional art of catching birds in the forest is diminishing with the dying breed but efforts are being made to expose the younger generation to this practice of their rich heritage in indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions.

Yusof bin Lamat, 61, is one of the remaining of his generation of skilled bird catchers using the technique of luring feathery prey into a structure made of nipah palm leaves and rotan which looks like an (American) Red Indian ‘tepee’ or wigwam (a conical tent) from afar.

Called ‘Bumbun’, the catcher will play a “dukuk” made of bamboo to catch the attention and lure the birds into the tent.

“It takes about four to five hours to put up such a structure,” Yusof said.

The Kedayan community in Kelulit, is bringing this traditional structure back to the public sphere, to expose the younger generation to the dying art.

To propagate the art, a Bumbun was built at Kampung Pejuang in Kelulit, the home village of Rosey Yunus, Bekenu state assemblywoman and Assistant Minister of Family Development and Early Childhood Learning.

In her childhood days, Kedayan traditions included ‘Angkatan’ mobile huts which farmers built to rest while keeping their children safe when they are out to work the paddy fields.