For 33 years, Cordillera Day was annually observed by progressive indigenous peoples organizations led by the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA). Cordi Day, in short, begun from the Macli-ing Memorial commemorating the day the Pangat was treacherously killed by soldiers of the State. It initially was a day to remember the honorable warrior’s lifeworks and selfless sacrifice but it also has grown to be an annual venue to share the collective actions of groups and communities in their common struggle to defend the ancestral domain, of building their unities to advance their community, to share their triumphs at determining their future as indigenous peoples, and many more.
It was not like the government or church sponsored fiesta of commercial entertainment, sales or modern music. Nothing like the Panagbenga or Strawberry Festival. It commanded everyone’s attention, serious and focused attention at every part of the program and it was roaringly cheered on by all its participants especially during the cultural presentations.
Even the kitchen brigade were attentive to what was going on at the stage. Each member of the audience, visitor or local had assignments and responsibilities somehow to the on going program, discussions, cultural rendition, watching out for the children, even interpreting the proceeding for a foreigner or non-ilokano speaking observer or participant.
From a beginning participation of 2000 in the early 80s it has now reached a participation of 6000 representatives. This includes local, national and international advocates, friends and solidarity partners. It has grown so large that to ensure better integration, communication and building quality relations between peoples, the main organizer and host, CPA, has decentralized its annual Cordi Day.
But this year, it is again a centralized celebration. Outside the country it is celebrated by colleagues, friends and Igorot groups in Hong Kong and Canada.
Indigenous peoples communities, organizations and advocates all around the world shall also send their greetings and messages usually read during the program here.
It is now a three day program. This is one great gathering where people depart with an updated worldview, lifted spirits heightened by a promise that a united nation of people can move their communities forward the way it must and the way they wanted.
Though it took the CPA, with other national minority groups and organizations, advocates and the nationalist movement 33 years to be able to build the memorial monument to remember Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc, Sr. and Lumbaya Gayudan, there never was a better time than now. Let us remember the values, honor and dignity of their life’s work. The youth now have a future to uphold in the continued defense of the ancestral domain. Mabuhay! # nordis.net