KSC Seminar Series: Between Commerce and Animism: The Semelai of Malaysia
From Lynn Arnold
Peninsular Malaysia forms one side of the Strait of Malacca, the busiest shipping lane in the world. The Semelai are one of the eighteen Orang Asli (indigenous peoples) of Peninsular Malaysia. There are about 10,000 Semelai today but when Professor Emerita Rosemary Gianno first went to learn about their forest product collecting and trade in 1980, there were only about 3,000. In this presentation, she discusses aspects of Semelai soul-flight shamanism and attempt to place Semelai in their historical context, living in a lush tropical rainforest in proximity to the maritime Silk Road.