Indigeneity and Empowerment: The Politics of Ethnic Labeling in the Philippines

Author(s): Stephen Acabado; Marlon Martin

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Contested Landscapes: The Archaeology of Politics, Borders, and Movement" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The 300+ years of Spanish, and later, American colonial administration in the Philippines provided the backdrop to regionalism and distinct ethnolinguistic boundaries that borders into prejudice. This is highlighted by the acrimonious relationship between upland and lowland Filipinos, where the idea of being colonized/uncolonized became the foundation of their identities. As an example, this presentation provides a case study that argues that Philippine ethnolinguistic identities were crafted in the last 150 years. Of particular interest is the identity of the Ifugao, whose cultural identity is centered on their rice terracing tradition and the dominant historical narrative of being ‘uncolonized’. Recent archaeological findings contest these descriptions as the shift to wet-rice cultivation and drastic landscape modification occurred soon after contact with the Spanish in the late 1500s. This presentation argues that current Philippine historical narratives perpetuate the colonial-era ideas that people outside the bajo de campana and/or the reduccion system were uncivilized.

Cite this Record

Indigeneity and Empowerment: The Politics of Ethnic Labeling in the Philippines. Stephen Acabado, Marlon Martin. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451845)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 92.549; min lat: -11.351 ; max long: 141.328; max lat: 27.372 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24024