KOTA BELUD: Teachers at SK Bangkahak are making efforts to elevate the status and preserve the cultural significance of ethnic Dusun Tindal's traditional garment known as Rinangkitan.
They have taken the initiative to research about the garb and presented the original garments that were worn by women in Bangkahak in the past during the Karnival Bahasa Kadazandusun and Tinimungan Tradisi Bangkahak that was held in Kampung Bangkahak Lama here Friday (Aug 12).
The unveiling of 100-year old Rinangkitan outfits highlights the necessity of documenting and preserving the authenticity of the older forms of Dusun Tindal traditional attire, according to a statement released.
According to the research conducted by the teachers, there is evidence to suggest that the garment has existed since 1920 and was worn by Bangkahak women.
A small but dedicated group of Bangkahak women have also been working to recreate the traditional garments by returning to the use of threads made from tree barks.
Making a book about Rinangkitan and its history is also in the works.
State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who was present at the event, believes the passion demonstrated by teachers and villagers will inspire and enable young children to understand about their heritage and the need of preserving cultural identity.
"I'm glad to see such strong dedication and cooperation between school and the village community in protecting culture, which is crucial to our identity and the local economy as a whole and the tourism industry.
"I believe that Bangkahak's cultural traditions are its greatest asset, and if expanded further, it may be an appealing attraction," he said, adding that the Sabah Tourism Board was committed to provide rural community with assistance in developing tourism product.
While Sabah is best known for eco-tourism, Bangkuai said cultural tourism is also popular among tourists looking to immerse themselves in a new culture.
He urged the Bangkahak community to be creative and innovative in identifying opportunities to promote their areas so that they do not fall behind in the tourism industry.