All that Fits: Books on Cordillera Heroes


This week was National Heroes Day (August 27). May we add substance to the holiday by sharing some publications we know of on Cordillera Heroes—indigenous peoples and advocates in the region who dedicated and sacrificed their lives in aspiration of a better world for the future generations of indigenous peoples. They are ordinary people with outstanding life stories of courage, dedication and commitment to serve the people, often against a backdrop of repression and tyranny.

It is hoped that the following suggested books will be of interest to you or at least pique your curiosity. Some of them are children’s books—may it inspire co-parents to encourage their kids to read (and I mean physically read a book) especially at this challenging age of technology.

  1. Lakay Billy: Defender of Indigenous People. Lakay Billy is the latest work of our friend Luchie Maranan. I would like to share Luchie’ dedication of the book from her Facebook post on August 22: Ang aklat na ito ay ambag ko sa pagmumulat sa mga bata at kabataan tungkol sa ating kasaysayan at mga bagong bayani na nakitunggali’t lumaban sa diktadurang US-Marcos. Si Atty. William F. Claver ay naggiit ng kawastuhan ng pakikisangkot ng mamamayan para sa katarungan at karapatan sa sariling pagpapasiya ng mga pambansang minorya/katutubo/lumad sa malagim na panahon ng batas militar at pagkaraan ng edsa revolt. Isama sana natin ito sa mga babasahin ng bagong henerasyon. Itakwil ang rebisyonismo sa kasaysayan!Billy Claver was the founding chair of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA). From our archives I remember most his iconic photo (dramatic in sepia) driving a point during the 1985 Cordillera Peoples Congress in Bontoc, Mountain Province. I also will not forget his reunion with pioneers of CPA during the CPA 10th Congress in 2009, some already gone ahead to the skyworld: Padi Eduardo Solang, Mother Petra Macliing. His involvement in the people’s movement is written first-hand by fellow CPA pioneer Joanna Carino in her tribute.
  2. Selected speeches and statements of Atty. Billy Claver are published in William ‘Billy’ Funa-ay Claver: Towards Genuine Implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Law in 2011 through the efforts of KASAPI, CPA, Tebtebba and Northern Dispatch. The speeches are categorised in the following themes and is an important resource: Indigenous Peoples Rights and Philippine Sovereignty, On Cordillera Autonomy, on Armed Conflict and Human Rights and On Rural Development.
  3. The Pangat, the Mountains and the River. Also written by Luchie Maranan, this book tells the story of the heroism of the Kalinga and Bontoc indigenous peoples (men and women) during Chico Dam struggle, highlighting the leadership of Macliing Dulag. The book encourages the passing on of simple yet time-tested values to the younger generation: nurture and defense of our ancestral land and resources; courage, unity and collective action in times of great adversity and when life itself is threatened. I hope nephews Chico Liwid and Ilian Bagani enjoyed reading this.
  4. Cordillera Heroes published by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in 2014. To aptly describe let us borrow from the editors (Luchie and Jill Carino): “For this book we have picked 23 heroes and martyrs who come from different social sectors, communities, organisations and historical era in the Cordillera struggle. They include elders, defenders of land and resources, pioneers of organisations, development workers, organisers, development workers, human rights defenders, lawyers, teachers, artists and youth. They were ordinary people yet they led extraordinary lives and made significant contributions that will never be forgotten”. #

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