Appell, George N.. The ecological and social consequences of conversion to Christianity among the Rungus Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia

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Title: The ecological and social consequences of conversion to Christianity among the Rungus Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia

Published in: Sociocultural change, development and indigenous peoples, edited by Tan Chee-Beng

Published By: Sociocultural change, development and indigenous peoples, edited by Tan Chee-Beng Singapore: Board of Editors, Contributions to Southeast Asian Ethnography, 1997. 61-99 p.: ill., maps

By line: G. N. Appell

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2002. Computer File

Culture: Rungus Dusun (OC13)

Subjects: Theoretical orientation in research and its results (121); Topography and geology (133); Flora (137); Tillage (241); Water supply (312); Environmental quality (318); Religious offenses (688); Spirits and gods (776); Religious denominations (795);

Abstract: In this article G.N. Appell examines the influence of Christianity on Rungus ecology. Have Christian notions about human domain over nature affected how the Rungus treat their environment? Appell argues that Christianity has had an indirect effect by undermining the supernatural sanctions and ritual activity that supported ecological conservation. Christianity has given the Rungus a new world view to cope with the changes wrought by modernization. It also protects the Rungus from the retribution of malevolent spirits, the ROGON. For example, the ROGON would bring sickness to anyone who cut trees in a sacred grove. Rungus Christians now cut down the sacred groves--some, hundreds of acres in extent--with impunity. The result has been a drying of the Rungus environment and loss of game animals. Also the Rungus now sell their domestic animals, which were sacrificed to the ROGON in the past and were an important source of protein. The ROGON were also a sanction against the violation of sexual taboos. Today illicit sexual relations have increased and with it venereal disease.

Document Number: 7

Document ID: oc13-007

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 94-99)

Field Date: 1959-1963, 1986-1992

Evaluation: Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard ; 2000

Coverage Date: 1959-1994

Coverage Place: Kudat District, Sabah, Malaysia

LCSH: Dusun (Bornean people)

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