The Penans Stand By Their Land

After millenniums of hunting and gathering in the forests of north Borneo, the few hundred Penans who still cling to nomadic ways find themselves besieged by the full force of the 20th century. Loggers have invaded their turf, which is part of Malaysia, scarring the land, felling fruit trees, killing game and polluting rivers. Missionaries vie for the Penans' souls, while development-minded officials disparage their existence as primitive.

These nomads, however, possess an abiding belief that their way of life is precious. During the past few years, they have mounted a stirring, nonviolent campaign to defend the forests, which are their...

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