Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - TUD-UM

he col­o­niza­tion by the Spaniards ini­tially paved way for the Indige­nous Peo­ple (IPs) to be placed in a pe­jo­ra­tive light, even to the de­mo­niza­tion of their cul­ture. IKSP or Indige­nous Knowl­edge,Sys­tems, and Prac­tices have been bas­tardized and slan­dered in or­der to flush out the peo­ple from their moun­tains and into their house of praise - call­ing IPs In­fieles (un­faith­ful) or Sal­va­jes (sav­age or wild). The Amer­i­cans, with the soft power of ed­u­ca­tion, fur­ther meld and im­bibed in us a cul­ture of white-wash­ing and sham­ing those who would not meet their pig­men­ta­tion stan­dards and while both Cau­casian races wounded not only the IPs in their pur­suit of ac­cul­tur­a­tion, they too, trans­ferred our pride from root­ing the IPs to the mere pride of be­ing col­o­nized by them (Mon­tanyosa, 2014). Step­ping on our IP her­itage also en­velopes the prob­lem of low­er­ing our women’s value: the sta­tus of babay­lans and binukots for ex­am­ple, who wielded cul­tural, spir­i­tual, and some­times politico-eco­nomic prow­ess be­came di­luted as the aswang, man­anang­gal, and other evil crea­tures per­me­ated our cul­ture in the at­tempt to so­lid­ify Chris­tian Pa­tri­archy.

The ques­tion then needs to be asked - has our sovereignty and free­dom for the past cen­tury been ben­e­fi­cial to our al­ready shrunken cul­tural mi­nor­ity? Did it cre­ate pos­i­tive change for our indige­nous broth­ers and sis­ters?

In this day and age, the not-so-so­cially aware Filipino might even ask an Igorot or an Aeta, or any IP some very bizarre and su­per­flu­ous queries such as: is it true that you have tails at­tached to your bod­ies? How did you learn to speak Ta­ga­log? Do you live in trees? - such ques­tions not only in­sult the ones asked, but it is a per­fer­vid in­di­ca­tion that most of our coun­try­men re­main ig­no­rant and ob­vi­ously lack the proper in­for­ma­tion (as it can be pin­pointed to our colo­nial and com­mer­cial ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem).

It seems that we are do­ing noth­ing, but many of­fi­cials say oth­er­wise.

The gov­ern­ment, of course, plays an im­por­tant role in the pro­mo­tion of IP cul­ture as well as en­gen­der­ing the 14 per­cent of our pop­u­la­tion to be well heard in reg­u­la­tion mak­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion -specif­i­cally the dis­tri­bu­tion of their an­ces­tral lands (Hechanova, 2015). The Of­fice on North­ern Cul­tural Com­mu­ni­ties and its south­ern coun­ter­part, the Of­fice on South­ern Cul­tural Com­mu­ni­ties have been merged into the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Indige­nous Peo­ples (NCIP) with the Re­pub­lic Act 8371(Indige­nous Peo­ples Right Act) of 1997 as its fore­run­ner in strength­en­ing and sup­port­ing its ex­is­tence in the ex­ec­u­tive wing of our gov­ern­ment. The main pur­pose of this RA is to ac­knowl­edge and rec­og­nize in the leg­isla­tive as­pect, the rights of the IPs to their an­ces­tral do­mains. Un­for­tu­nately, the gap between the de jure or law­ful recog­ni­tion of IPs’ rights and their de facto or in-re­al­ity con­cretiza­tion of land claims merely mir­ror the fact that there is no clear on-ground im­ple­men­ta­tion of said act (“Philip­pines Indige­nous Peo­ples ICERD Shadow Re­port”, 2009); to add to this trou­bling re­al­iza­tion, the Re­galian Doc­trine of­ten times en­com­passes the an­ces­tral claims - as it is present from the gov­ern­ing laws of the Span­ish col­o­niza­tion in our coun­try and even in our cur­rent con­sti­tu­tion (“WHAT IS THE CON­CEPT OF JURE RE­GALIA?”, n.d.):. The

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