The Penan’s Lament: “The Forest is Our Skin”


Unimaginable tragedy befell the so-called “original peoples” in the wake of the oceanic voyages of discovery by Christopher Columbus and the Portuguese and Spanish adventurers in the late 15th century.

While Columbus’s attempt to reach India via a western sea route was blocked by two huge continents, Vasco Da Gama’s expedition to get to the same destination via an eastern sea route was successful as far as the original intention was concerned.

The discovery of the continents of America spelled brutal conquest and even more brutal diseases, and led to the wiping out of the civilisations found there; whichever peoples survived did so in decimated form.

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