Recognition and contestation of indigenous land rights in the Philippines
Shu-Yuan Yang (Academia Sinica)
Paper short abstract:
This article investigates the historical processes through which the concept of indigeneity gained state recognition in the Philippines and analyzes the making of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) and the contestation it generates.
Paper long abstract:
The concept of indigeneity has strong historical connections with settler colonialism. However, it receives state recognition in the Philippines in the late 1980s even though the country is not a former settler colony. The success of local land rights movement in drawing discourses from the burgeoning development of global indigenism or indigenous transnationalism has contributed to bringing about such recognition. This article investigates the historical processes through which the concept of indigeneity gained state recognition in the Philippines and analyzes the making of the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) and the contestation it generates. The challenge of the IPRA's constitutionality in the Supreme Court has resulted in the diminishment of indigenous peoples' rights to natural resources within their traditional territory. In my fieldsite, the Bugkalot (Ilongot) were awarded the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in 2006, but their attempt in using the IPRA and the CADT as weapons against hydro-electronic dam and gold mining projects achieve little success. Conflicting state mandates and inadequate capacity in state institutions have produced dispossessory effects despite the existence of legal institutions that were designed to protect indigenous land rights.
On being "indigenous peoples": connecting local practices with global context