PARTICIPATION AT UNPFII
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
almost all territories inhabited by the Indigenous peoples of the world, there
is an increasing pressure on indigenous lands, territories and resources due
to commercial interests that result in land conflicts, evictions and use
change. For instance the Ogiek community in Kenya face pressures
resulting for the governments decisions and efforts to
Side Event is aimed to connect different initiatives aimed at monitoring
pressures over indigenous lands, territories and resources, thinking forward
to promote inter-linkages and synergies for data collection and use.
Friday, 30 May 2014
Traditional Knowledge is also Science, Indigenous Peoples Assert
some time American soldiers, who were then based at their military bases in
Clark and Subic Bay in central Luzon had tapped some indigenous Aeta to teach
them about how to survive in a jungle. Former nomadic hunters and gatherers,
the Aeta taught American soldiers how to trap wild game and identify edible
plants and medicinal herbs and how to apply these for injuries. E-Newsletter
published by Tebtebba * 30 May 2014 A lumad mother and daughter engaging in
their traditional livelihood in Mindanao, southern Philippines.
the American soldiers and other non-indigenous Filipinos mastered the art and
science of jungle survival, they parted ways with the Aeta. From what they
learned, they developed a training course about jungle survival and have been
teaching this to other soldiers.Other Filipinos who learned from the Aeta also
have been teaching the course to interested enrollees on jungle survival. The
sad part, according to Aeta elder Salvador “Ka Badong” Dimain, is that
this training course has been patented or copyrighted. He said the course is
now taught by so-called “jungle survival experts,” thus depriving the Aeta
of a livelihood as trainers or teachers in jungle survival. The travails of
the Aeta elder from Maporac, Zambales were just among the issues and concerns
raised during an October 2013 workshop in Quezon City about the protection and
promotion of traditional or indigenous knowledge.
38 indigenous representatives from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao participating,
the workshop was organized by the Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity Program
of Tebtebba in coordination with Sildap, a non government organization working
for indigenous peoples in southern Philippines, and the Task Force on
Indigenous Peoples. Dimain’s concern about the patenting of their jungle
survival can be legally contested. But this requires a tedious and expensive
process, said Jing Corpuz, Tebtebba’s legal officer. To protect them from
another appropriation attempt of their traditional knowledge, indigenous
communities can come out with what is called “community protocol” or
community laws and rules on intellectual property, she advised.
Resource Management Other indigenous leaders shared their traditional
protection, conservation and management systems. Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid
representatives asserted that their type of kaingin (shifting cultivation)is
“sustainable.” One method the indigenous community from Mindoro has
practiced for generations is leaving a former kaingin farm fallow for at
least five years. “We stress on this (fallow period) to allow the soil to
regain its fertility,” said youth leader Maramie Diego. In doing so
the indigenous communities there have maintained their forest cover and
watersheds, thus ensuring a sufficient supply of water for their farms and
homes, he added.
Aeta of central Luzon also have established a way of protecting and managing
their forested environs to support and sustain not only people but animals and
other wildlife species as well. In hunting, for example, they have established
a hunting and gathering season, according to young Aeta elder Joseph Salonga.
Hunting deer and wild pigs is from May to September. During the rest of the
year, hunting is forbidden as female animals are pregnant. Harvesting honey is
from December to May as bees stock their honey for their own consumption
during the rainy season. Salonga proposed to inform the local government about
these traditional practices and thus forge a memorandum of agreement so local
government and communities can work hand in hand.
indigenous leaders highlighted that their traditional farming involves diverse
crops as against the monoculture of "modern” agriculture. Since crops
are diverse in a traditional farm, indigenous communities are assured of a
variety of foods for their health and nutrition, thus assuring them “food
security,” said Matthew Tauli of the non-government Montañosa Research and
Development Center (MRDC) based in Sagada, Mountain Province.
indigenous communities’ traditional crops have been threatened by hybrid
varieties and more recently by genetically modified seeds, said Tauli. One
disadvantage of these hybrid and genetically modified seeds is that they
cannot be replanted and they can only promise good production if applied with
chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The result: farmers have to solely rely
on agri-chemical companies for their seeds and other inputs. This is in
contrast to traditional farming in which farmers have full control over their
seeds as long as they continue to propagate these.
indigenous participants tackled other threats and challenges and how to
respond to these. One is how to transmit Matthew Tauli of MRDC. to the
youth indigenous knowledge and good cultural practices and values, which
indigenous communities need to survive. The good news is that there are
current initiatives and programs on these.
Cordilleras in northern Philippines has organizations, which have been
promoting local indigenous cultures and practices. Youth leaders Mattyline
Camfili and Renalyn Tubao, for example, have become ambassadors of Cordillera
indigenous culture through the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordillera or DKK.
Among other things, the DKK focuses on indigenous
performing arts such as dances and songs and its members have performed in various parts in the country and abroad.
is the Lin-awa Center, a Baguio City-based center that aims to transmit
Kalinga culture and values in an urban setting. Since Baguio is where many
Kalinga youth study and where others seek employment, some Kalinga
professionals and leaders thought of establishing a center where young people
learn about how to play their traditional musical instruments, perform their
dances, socialize and share and celebrate “a state of well-being.” The
center, said its head Lucy Ruiz, seeks to help Kalinga youth to become
“proud of our roots” and “not let discrimination put us down but rather
delight in our differences.” On their own, many indigenous communities have
established ways to transmit traditional knowledge to the young.
Magbukun Aeta tribe of Bataan faces near extinction of its indigenous language,
which embodies the community’s customs, traditions and values. But the tribe
has made it a point to train educators to teach children about their own
language. Aeta educators are aware that should they fail to teach the young
about their language, there will come a time when a big library of traditional
knowledge will be lost altogether as key elders pass away.
indigenous leaders underscored the challenges and threats to their human
rights and dignity and how they have responded to defend these. The indigenous
community of Sagada, Mountain Province, for example, was able to prevent a
company from building a telecommunication tower in a place the community
highly regards as one of its sacred sites, said Sagada-based researcher and
writer Gina Dizon.
also reported about how the community stopped a British filmmaker from filming
how Sagada coffins were made for lack of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)
from the residents. Seeking the residents’ FPIC is not enough as the
permission of the spirits of the dead is required, according to tradition and
this entails costly elaborate rituals. Dizon thus suggested the need for
policies to protect indigenous communities from visitors or outsiders with
certain vested interests. Another issue highlighted was land grabbing. Ibaloi
elder Vicky Macay narrated how wide swaths of Ibaloi lands were lost as a
result of colonization and past and present government land laws and policies.
representatives from Mindanao in southern Philippines underscored challenges
related to political governance. They particularly cited the issues they face
as they aspire to engage with local governments through indigenous peoples’
mandatory representatives or IPMR.
IPMR is provided for by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act or IPRA. Each
local government unit - from the barangay (village), municipal to provincial
level - is required to have an IPMR. Ideally, the IPMR is one way where
indigenous communities can actively participate in local governance,
especially focusing on indigenous peoples’ issues and concerns. Apparently,
however, the role of the IPMR has to be better understood and appreciated by
indigenous peoples and government officials.
Department of Interior and Local Government and the National Commission of
Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) must take the lead in orienting indigenous
communities and local officials about the roles and responsibilities of IPMRs,
said indigenous leaders. Indigenous peoples also must be vigilant against
attempts by some politicians to strategically place their IPMRs for political
gains, according to Allan Deli-deli of Sildap. To the indigenous Arumanen
Manuvu, an IPMR must be selected based on how indigenous communities choose
their leaders, said Manuvu leader Datu Roldan Babelon.
the IPMR’s role is crucial, other leaders suggested the need to train
potential indigenous leaders to engage with local governments. Tebtebba’s
executive director Victoria Tauli-Corpuz proposed a training or conference
center for IPMR where resource persons from such groups as the Ateneo School
of Good Governance could be tapped. She also encouraged indigenous leaders to
demand the NCIP to hold mandatory trainings for IPMRs. “Once chosen, an IPMR
must assert and strategize programs beneficial for indigenous communities,”
likewise highlighted the importance of indigenous education, drawing from
indigenous knowledge and local context the mass education of children in
indigenous communities. In support of indigenous communities’ alternative
education initiatives, Tauli-Corpuz suggested the need for a plan or strategy
for a community enterprise maximizing local resources (e.g., traditional
livelihoods and crafts, etc.) to help sustain indigenous peoples’ education.
“We can also demand that government, as part of its duty, to allocate to
allocate funds for indigenous peoples’ schools managed by non government or
peoples’ organizations,” she said.
Cariño, a formed CBD program staff of Tebtebba, shared that one way by which
each indigenous community’s traditional knowledge could be enriched was
through exchange visits. She cited past exchange visits held in Bukidnon,
Baguio City, Zanboanga, Bataan, Sagada, Compostela Valley and Palawan. Subject
to availability of funds, more exchange visits will be organized later, she
said. An encouraging development is that more and more among the international
community now acknowledge that traditional or indigenous knowledge is equal to
science, according to Len Regpala of Tebtebba’s CBD Program.
sharing their stories, the participants proposed ways to transmit indigenous
knowledge to the young and how to further enhance this as one way to cope with
the demands of the future. As one concrete proposal, “Why not a university
on IKSP (indigenous knowledge, systems and practices)?” asked Datu Ed Banda
of Davao. Banda’s proposal was followed by a similar one - a center for all
indigenous voices in Asia.
Knowledge Council And to ensure that a lead group would sustain what has been
tackled and agreed upon, the participants unanimously pushed for the formation
of a national council on traditional knowledge. They agreed to call the
council, Pambansang Ugnayan para sa Pagsasabuhay ng Katutubong Kaalaman
(National Initiative for Applied Traditional Knowledge). Members of the
council come from the country’s major islands. Luzon has four
representatives; Mindanao, four; and the Visayas, three. (Redith Morales,
Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity Program and Maurice Malanes, Tebtebba
Indigenous Information Service) Alan Deli-deli of Sildap.