Last August 15, the day after the opening of the KADAYAWAN 2017 at Magsaysay Park, the team together with other partner organizations and with several interns from The Netherlands and Vietnam, participated in a traditional oral storytelling with the elders and deputy leaders of the Ata , Matigsalug and Obu Manuvu tribes.
The conversation concentrated on three particular Indigenous Peoples, mainly, the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources, the rights to cultural identity and rights to their special and important spiritual relationships with their lands, waters, and resources and to pass these rights to future generation.
All of the elders emphasized the essential role of oral tradition as a way of passing down their culture and beliefs to their children especially in the aspect of nurturing the land and their traditional ways and rituals. The elders hoped to lessen the gap between them and the young who have gone distant from the ways and the culture of the tribe due to the influences of social media. The elders and the young leaders of the tribe are working on preserving their cultural identities through strengthening oral traditions and reviving their old ways that can still be adapted unto the present times.
The listeners were also able to share their own insights as well. For Eric Peter, the activity was like a beautiful space where people get to listen and tell stories. According to Serge Hollander, having differences is given and there is beauty in that. Diversity and being able to share it is where people learn most from each other. For Nam, the activity widens her perception about the indigenous people and their struggles for cultural identity and preservation.
As a whole, oral storytelling hoped to provide insight into the way in which the tribes identify and understand their own cultural identity and beliefs in relation to the present changes and struggles of upholding their cultural rights. Moreover, the occasion hoped to strengthen a sharing conversation among the visitors and the tribes through listening and understanding cultural narratives.
August is the month that kindled the heart of the emerging Tagakolu youth leaders from the three villages in Malita, Davao Occidental. The activities were made possible because of the unwavering support of our partner, the Missionaries of Jesus, the Malita Tagakolu Mission who has been working in the community for years.
The youth leaders have tilled the lands of their respective communities. There were 20 youth from Kalatagan who ploughed the land where they can plant rice, and, 32 youth from Kangku who cleared of the grass. While 24 youth of Upper Tical started to rediscover their ways of traditional farming or "pawa". These processes are part of the Tagakolu traditional sustainable land care. However, before they even start the process of traditional farming, a "panawag-tawag" or a traditional prayer is offered to praise "Tyumanem" God, and seek guidance and encouragement to continue to cultivate these emerging Tagakolu youth leaders.
In this month of September, we are inviting you to join us in nurturing and cultivating leaders towards a culturally appropriate growth and life-giving development, and for more rewarding harvests in the coming years ahead.