Datu Migketay Saway, Talaandig chieftain said Sagyawan Tumimanwa, 21 and Mutikas Lleses, 20 started their study of law this semester.
Sagyawan told MindaNews in a telephone interview said they need to study law because many lawyers turn down their tribe's request for counsel on matters like ancestral domain issues. Most of the lawyers, he said, are not familiar with the indigenous peoples' customary laws and their issues.
Both students finished Sociology at the Bukidnon State College in Malaybalay City.
Sending the two young men to law school is an investment for the future, Saway said, adding the tribe's struggle for recognition, self-determination and management of natural resources as well as that of the rest of indigenous peoples in Mindanao, still has a long way to go.
Saway said the tribe had difficulties attending to requirements imposed by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in processing their ancestral domain claim due to technical and financial constraints.
Saway said indigenous peoples have to invest in educating the youth both in formal and indigenous means to help empower them.
Saway also cited the need to engage the tribe's "young blood" to re-learn their history. Saway said much of the problems of Lumads in Mindanao are rooted in forgetting its history and culture.
"The solutions could be just in the indigenous community's backyard with its own customary practices and laws, and not outside," he said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)