Editorial: International Day of World Indigenous Peoples

www.nordis.net

“Karit iti panag akem ti Elders ket: Awan sardeng nga ag adal, Kanayon nga agurnos ken agsimpa iti organisasyon, ken Sustenido nga agtignay.”

Congratulations to the Metro-Baguio Tribal Elders and Leaders for a successful 6th general assembly. Though having hibernated for a short while the achievements in their 6th assembly has shown they have stretched and flexed their muscles well for another long spirited haul towards upholding indigenous peoples’ democratic rights in metro-Baguio in unison with indigenous peoples of Cordillera, Northern Luzon and the whole country; at most.

One elder traced their history as migrants or permanent and temporary residents in Baguio, many of whom have come to seek employment and livelihood, or to seek sanctuary from the militarization, displacement in their communities, and for better education facilities. In the fulfillment of these purposes they needed, like all of us do, shelter, public services: water, light, health and sanitation, and on top of these was the problem of tribal wars at home or in their ‘il ili’, where the act of bales (revenge) between the warring tribes is extended to the city that is a whole different territory that is foreign or is not covered in the “rules of conduct” of these tribal wars. The elders of the different ethnic communities from the northern provinces of the Cordillera deemed it important to protect the migrant Cordi population as well as the locals of Baguio City. So they organized their ranks for these purposes. They have gained the respect and recognition from the commuities that they led, from their neighbors and from the local government units.

Markedly, they have prioritized the defense of the ancestral land/domain as an organizational purpose which many narrowly looked at as a recognition of defending their home lands or their ili only. As their organization grew and matured, the membership have come to appreciate that the local indigenous peoples (sometimes referred to as the early Baguio settlers) who may have not been as warlike as other Cordillerans continue to be nor as close-knit, but as indigenous peoples of or early settlers in Baguio, the Ibaloys continue the struggle in defense of what is left of their ancestral lands and domain, for dignity, their culture, for the collective right to self-determination and for their rights as indigenous peoples too. After all, these Ibaloys with pride claim it “all started here” (the native title).

The Benguet, Ifugao, Bontok, Apayao, Abra and Kalinga indigenous peoples have a common territory in the Cordillera domain. Progressively uniting and organizing our ranks as indigenous peoples to serve for the common good of our communities is a way of building our nation and a way to insure progress is for all. To stand up for progressive and good governance against the plunder and greedy misuse of our common resources is paying forward for the continuity of generations. This is a most fitting celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Let us join the world’s indigenous peoples and unite on the call … “Daga, Biag, Kinabaknang … Salakniban!” # nordis.net

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