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  President's Report 2001  

August 15, 2001

Dear Fellows and Members:

Let me first discuss a possible project that might interest the Council members.

Elders of Borneo Recovering Lost Identities

Two years ago I was visiting the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta Canada. This is an important site to the Native American Indians. At the site was an exhibition of photographs entitled "Lost Identities: A Journey of Rediscovery". These were historic photographs of Aboriginal peoples from Alberta. The Archives and Museums of Alberta are trying to identify the names, places, and events of the people in these historical photographs. It struck me that this is the kind of work that should now be going on in Borneo.

The exhibit had the following information:

"Photographs can speak. They can whisper or shout. They can lie. Many photographs, though, are silent. When people, events, or other details, which appear in photographs, are not known, the images have lost their voices. The Aboriginal people who are the main focus of this exhibit are unidentified: the photographs are voiceless.

"The purpose of the Lost Identities project is to encourage the documentation of historical photographs of Aboriginal peoples by means of community participation. Most of the early photographs of Aboriginal peoples held in archives and museums are unidentified except in the most superficial way. This project will focus on input from Aboriginal elders in identifying the people, places, and events depicted in these historical images. The project will involve communities directly in recording aspects of their own history as well as adding to our documentation of important historical resources....

Lost Identities will travel to the Aboriginal communities where the photographs were taken and will ask the people to find the voices buried in the pictures. It is a journey of rediscovery."

I wanted to share this with the Fellows and Members of the Council in the hopes that some of you might be instrumental in developing a similar project in the various parts of Borneo before all knowledge of the personages that appear in the many historical photographs is lost.

Death Notice: Professor Derek Freeman

Derek Freeman died on Friday, July 6, 2001 at his home in Canberra. He was a close friend and colleague. His work spanned several disciplines, and he broke incredibly important ground in them all. His ethnography of the Iban of Sarawak forms the canon against which all other Bornean ethnographies will be measured. In 1994 Professor Freeman was awarded the Borneo Research Council medal given to those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the social, medical, and biological sciences in Borneo.

I shall never forget him telling me on the way to my fieldwork among the Rungus what a magnificent body of oral literature the Iban had created, equivalent in beauty and scope to that of classical Greek religion. He always thought of the Iban as being an ideal society, in which individuals were able to make those important choices that determined their life chances.

His intellectual stimulation and drive will be sorely missed.

A full obituary will appear in the next issue of the Borneo Research Bulletin.

Report on the Publication Program

Monograph Series: This past year the Council has published a new monograph:

Eva Maria Kershaw's A Study of Dusun Religion in Brunei: Ethnic Priesthood on a Frontier of Islam. 2000. Price $38.50.

Christine Helliwell's "Never Stand Alone": A Study of Borneo Sociality. 2001. Price $35.00.

The Council is preparing for publication:

Borneo Diaries of I. H. N. Evans, 1938-1942, A. V. M. Horton, Editor.

It is hoped that this will be published by September.

Occasional Papers Series: This new series was established with the publication of:

Foong Kin's Social and Behavioral Aspects of Malaria Control: A Study Among the Muruts of Sabah, Malaysia. 2000. Price $20.00.

Other Publications: The BRC has other internal publications which members and fellows may purchase. These are:

Complete Membership List: US$3.00

Policies on management of the Council: US$3.00

Style Sheet for Monographs and Occasional Papers: No charge

Borneo Classic Texts in Oral Literature: The Tun Jugah Foundation is publishing in cooperation with the Council the following volumes in the Borneo Research Council Classic Text Series:

The Encyclopedia of Iban Studies, Volumes I-IV. Joanne and Vinson Sutlive, General Editors. 2001. Price US$300 plus US$25 shipping.

Seeds of Play, Words of Power, with Introduction and English Translation by Clifford Sather. There is also a paperback edition.

Information on ordering these volumes may be obtained from

Tun Jugah Foundation
Attn. Wan Mohammad Hj. Wan Ibrahim
P.O. Box 734
93714 Kuching
Sarawak, Malaysia

Dissertations on Diskette: This is a new series managed by Robert Winzeler. It's purpose is to make available dissertations that are published in various countries but which are not otherwise available. Further information on this important innovation can be found in the forthcoming Bulletin.

The Borneo Research Bulletin: This series continues under the able editorship and hard work of Clifford Sather and the long hard work by Phillip Thomas in making the text ready for printing. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude!

Volume 31 (2000) was mailed out on July 26, 2000.

We hope this year that we will have another issue of the Bulletin out so that we are finally on track and not delayed in publication of this.

Web Site:

The Council is very lucky in having James Chin volunteering to run the Council's web site. It is a touchy job keeping a web site in operation. We owe him a great deal of thanks for all his efforts in keeping Borneo scholars up to date and in touch with each other.


Vinson Sutlive has suggested that we introduce a student membership rate. This is at: US$10.00 and adjusted for various countries as below.

The Council office has recently had a visit from Bob Reece. And he has given us a great deal of good advice on the operations here. He has also suggested that the Fellowship and Membership fee be increased by $5.00 each. And we would welcome comments on this suggestion.

The fees currently are:

All other countries

Peso 626.25

Peso 501.00

MR 9.50
Rp. 26,068
Peso 125.00
US$ 5.00

Rp. 52,136
Peso 250.00


It costs the Council $16.00 to print each Bulletin and an average mailing costs of $3.75, for a total of $19.75

Because of the generous contributions of various Fellows and Members the Council has been able to continue its publication program.

Invoice for Fees

It is time now to invoice for Fellowship/Membership fees in the Council for 2001 as per the enclosed.

Some have already paid for 2001, and this should be noted in the enclosed invoice stamped "PAID". If there is any error in this, please let us know.

Let me again draw your attention to the 10% discount on all BRC publications available to Fellows of the Council.

In this regard, we have enclosed a list of BRC publications and an order form.

Methods of Payment of Fees and Publication Orders

Let me again state that arrangements have been made for payments to be made by Visa, Mastercard, currency, or check. Only currency in Malaysian ringgit, British pounds, or U.S.A. dollars are acceptable. Money orders in U.S.A. dollars are also acceptable.

Checks drawn on U.S.A. accounts should be made payable to the Borneo Research Council.

Checks drawn on British or Malaysian accounts should be made payable to George N. Appell. (These will then be transferred to the BRC account in the U.S.A. via G. N. Appell's accounts in those countries.)

Financial Statement

It has not been possible to complete the financial statement at this point for two reasons. First, we have discovered that the Council is logged in with the United States Internal Revenue Service to make its reports on a fiscal year basis. We had assumed that the Council's financial statements were on a calendar year. Consequently, we will have to redo the past three years.

Second, we have had a turnover in the position of bookkeeper, which has put things in a bit of a mess. We now have a new bookkeeper who will be redoing our financial statements sometime in July.

We have had approximately:

Income: $12,942.07

Costs: $15,444.09

As a result of the turnover of personnel, some fellowships and memberships were not adequately serviced. I hope this will not happen again.

New Members and Fellows

The Council has a policy of welcoming new Fellows and Members by letter and sending the last issue of the Bulletin to let them know that they are logged in as Fellows or Members. This has not always been the case this past year, but in the future it will be continued as before.


We have found in one case that a mailing arrived completely mangled so that the addressee's name could not be read. Please let us know if you have had difficulty with our mailings and give us suggestions on how to improve this.

Mailing Costs

The U.S. Postal Service has made major changes in its rates that adversely impact the Council. First, there is no longer an overseas book rate. All mailings must go first class (surface).

Second, the rates within the U.S.A. have been materially increased.

As the Council subsidizes the costs of each of its publications, it has been necessary to raise shipping rates.

Domestic shipping rates have been increased to $5.00 for the first publication and $2.50 each for additional publications.

Overseas surface is now $7.00 with $2.50 for each additional publication.

6th Biennial Conference

Negotiations are in progress with representatives of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah to hold the next conference in Sabah. Further information can be obtained from:

Dr. Jacqueline Pugh-Kitingan

Box 46

Likas Post Office

89400 Kota Kinabalu



E-Mail for Invoices

Dr. Reed Wadley has suggested that to save money the Council should consider sending invoices by e-mail to members and fellows. And he has also suggested that we should consider publishing on the internet. These suggestions are very useful and most interesting. We would appreciate any comments on these thoughts by those who have a better familiarity with these issues than I.

Council Office

The new office manager is Ms. Elizabeth C. Goudreau

Ms. Goudreau will be taking over the management of the membership services, financial accounting, mailing of publications, filling orders for publications, etc. Any questions you have on these matters should be addressed to her.

Mrs. Bubier who has been filling in during this period will be spending her time now on processing manuscripts for publications.


The Council could not maintain its publishing program without the kind and generous financial contributions of the many fellows and members. As you can see from the above, the Council subsidizes all its publications, including the Bulletin. None carry its own weight. We want to express our thanks to those who have made contributions over the past year.

Contributors to Endowment Fund

Ms. E. Kim Adams, Mr. Ralph Arbus, Mr. Patrick Cassels, Dr. Carol J. Pierce Colfer, Dr. Jay B. Crain, Dr. Otto Doering, Dr. Michael R. Dove, Dr. & Mrs. Allen Drake, Dr. Linda Kimball, Mr. Godwin Limberg. Mr. James McLellan, Professor H. Arlo Nimmo, Dr. Rodney Needham, Professor Robert Reece, Dr. Graham Saunders, Dr. Phillip Thomas, Dr. Reed Wadley, Dr. W. D. Wilder, Dr. Robert L. Winzeler.

Contributors to the General Fund

Antiquarian Booksellers 'Gemilang', Dr. G. N. Appell, Mrs. Laura P. Appell-Warren, Mr. Ralph Arbus, J. B. Blanche, Dr. Clare Boulanger, Dr. & Mrs. Tan Chee-Beng, Dr. Jay B. Crain, Dr. Carol J. Pierce Colfer, Dr. Amity A. Doolittle, Professor Ian Douglas, Dr. Michael R. Dove, Dr. Richard Fidler, Ms. Judith Heimann, Dr. Christine Helliwell, Professor Virginia Matheson Hooker, Mr. A. V. M. Horton, Mrs. Eva Maria Kershaw, Professor Victor T. King, Mr. Stuart T. Lyman, Mr. James McLellan, Fru Ida Nicolaisen, Ms. Vicki Pearson-Rounds, Dr. Ralph Schlömer, Dr. Bernard Sellato, Professor F. Andrew Smith, Dr. Jack Stuster, Mr. & Mrs. James Warren, Dr. Robert L. Winzeler, Dr. Leigh Wright.


George N. Appell, Ph.D.


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