Environmental Challenges and Traditional Food Practices: The Indigenous Lundayeh of Long Pasia, Sabah, Borneo





Lundayeh, indigenous minority, traditional food practices, deforestation, logging, hunting, paddy cultivation, Sabah, Borneo


In this paper we focus on the Lundayeh indigenous minority in Long Pasia, Sabah by examining how their traditional food practices help them navigate environmental challenges. Deforestation and logging threaten the very core of the Lundayeh identity because the community’s livelihood as subsistence farmers depends on hunting as well as gathering forest resources. This paper argues that, despite the continuous challenges, Lundayeh food practices, albeit exercised in modified forms, provide an avenue to revisit past traditions in order for the community’s indigeneity and sovereignty to survive and be safeguarded. The findings of this research project suggest that through hunting techniques, foraging, paddy cultivation, agricultural cooperative work, as well as religiously sensitive food adaptation practices, the Lundayeh’s relationship with the land endures, which in turn, secures the community’s indigenous identity.

Author Biographies

Kavitha Ganesan, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Kavitha Ganesan is a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah and has been primarily working on Malaysian Literature in English with a particular interest in female life-writings. Her current research interest is in areas related to postcolonial indigenous studies.

Anantha Raman Govindasamy, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Anantha Raman Govindasamy is an Associate Professor in politics at the Center for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. His research area focuses on Malaysian and Southeast Asian politics. He has contributed to journals such as the Australian Journal of International Affairs and Asian Journal of Political Science.

Jane Kon Ling Wong, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Jane Wong Kon Ling (Ph.D. Linguistics) is a lecturer at the Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning of Universiti Malaysia Sabah. She teaches Meanings in the Contexts of Communication. Her research and publication interest covers the native languages of Sabah and the Malay dialect of Sabah.

Shaffarullah Abdul Rahman, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Shaffarullah Abdul Rahman is a Senior Lecturer at Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Dr. Shaffarullah completed his Ph.D. at Monash University. His main research focuses on religious diversity at the intersection between politics, philosophy, and religion. His current research is mainly on the issues concerning trans-border indigenous culture.  He has also collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines of literature, politics, and linguistics.

Kennedy Aaron Aguol, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Kennedy Aaron Aguol’s (Cert. Food Processing Technology [Fermentation Tech], Diploma of Agriculture Science [Mycology], Bachelor of Fishery Science [Aquaculture], Master of Science Biotechnology [Microalgae Biotechnology]) area of expertise is Microalgae Biotechnology, Aquaculture Live Feed & Food Production. His research interests are Functional Feed, Microalgal Biotechnological innovation, communication for food security development, indigenous heritage food production, indigenous food mycology and fermentation, and indigenous self-sufficiency using Aquaponic from renewable energy.

Jamsari Hashim, Universiti Sabah Malaysia

Jamsari Bin Hashim’s (Bachelor of Human Sciences [Communication], Master of Social Sciences [Communication Management]) area of expertise is media. His research interests are technological innovation, communication for development, traditional media, social media, and public relations. He is pursuing a doctoral study in media.

Bilcher Bala, Universiti Sabah Malaysia

Bilcher Bala (Ph.D. History) is a lecturer at the Faculty of Humanity, Art, and Heritage of Universiti Malaysia Sabah. He conducts lectures on American History. His research and publication interest covers Peace Corp in Malaysia and History of Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.


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How to Cite

Ganesan, K., Govindasamy, A. R., Wong, J. K. L., Rahman, S. A., Aguol, K. A., Hashim, J., & Bala, B. (2020). Environmental Challenges and Traditional Food Practices: The Indigenous Lundayeh of Long Pasia, Sabah, Borneo. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.19.1.2020.3734