As you notice, this is my second article about the topic indigenous people. I write this article to understand better the challenges and the changes that indigenous people have experienced. These are just my thoughts, opinions and prior knowledge about the IPs. Please do respect, and if ever I have put wrong information just tell me so that I can make changes about it. Thank you and enjoy reading!
The Philippine Indigenous People already have a political and social unit before the colonizers invaded the country. They already have a form of exchanging goods and products from neighboring countries. IPs during the pre-historic period live without the control of other people, they live in their own choices and decisions. They work for their own consumption. Also, they have rules and regulations in their community which is good for everyone, like the peonage. When the colonizers came, indigenous people experienced a lot of challenges, that brought threats to their lives. Such as extortion, slavery, poverty, hunger, exploitation, physical abuses, killings, loss of habitat, and displacement. And some indigenous people leave their lands and live in a far place to avoid these kind of treatment and contact from the colonizers. These things happened as the colonizers want to control and manipulate the native Filipino to follow their wants and rules. Since the colonizers came to the Philippines for their natural resources, spread religion, and civilized the country. In addition, they used the Philippines for their economic growth during the American colonization. Where they said that such development is for the Philippines, but the native Filipino remains poor and low.
Another challenge that indigenous people experienced during the colonization period is the changes in their environment. The colonizers came into the country with their culture, language, and customs, which was incorporated for a long time by native Filipinos. And this leads to a culture change experienced by natives. From their accustomed life to a foreign one which has a big difference and facing a lot of circumstances. Just like the livelihood of indigenous people that is on agriculture and shift into constructing structures and other public works. From their native language to mixed with Spanish and English. From their cultural rituals and beliefs to Christianity. And a lot of changes that indigenous people experience. For them to survive in a new environment, an adaptation process was employed. But through this process, it resulted to cultures with colonizers mixture, or forgotten and fades.
Education was the biggest change that the colonizers brought. Filipinos are being educated, and they already adapt the cultures, language, and customs of the colonizers. And people create standards in society and standards of professionalism. In the contemporary period, indigenous people still experienced the challenges that indigenous people experienced during colonial rule. But not anymore with the hands of colonizers but in the hands of fellow Filipino people who looked them as marginalized people.
Indigenous people preserve, conserve, and protect their ancestral domains as it is their practice to care for nature and natural resources. The government focused on the development and economic growth of the country. The indigenous people are one of the poorest groups in the country, so they are one of the target beneficiaries of it. There is an existing law that protects the right of indigenous people. The indigenous people who are displaced encountered discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice in their newfound place to settle.
Why does it happen? Why does indigenous people still experience these challenges? It is because people don’t have enough knowledge and understanding about the IPs situation. In connection to history, it is because of how the colonizers’ value about development matters. And also because Filipino observe the colonizers’ treatment to indigenous people. The indigenous people and nonindigenous should both know the rights of IPs and their situation. Because the indigenous people must get the development that they want and not be left behind. They will get the respect from their fellow countrymen.