2nd nat’l conference on Indigenous Knowledge held in NorthCot

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato (MindaNews/21 February) – The three-day 2nd National Conference on Indigenous Knowledge opened today (Feb. 21) at the Southern Christian College (SCC) in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

The national conference has for its theme: “Asserting Customary Resource Use: Reclaiming Free Prior and Informed Consent and Transmitting Indigenous Knowledge”. The keynote address is to be delivered by Timuay Custodio “Sumalem” Saliling, adviser to the Ilelama Council of Timuays in the PPALMA District of North Cotabato that encompasses six municipalities. Some 100 participants, resource persons and guests are expected from all over the country.

One activity highlight of interest is the “commemoration of the historic decision of the US Supreme Court recognizing the doctrine of native title, as asserted by the Ibaloi people of Baguio City on February 23, 1909.” A simple ritual on the morning of February 23, 2012 shall be conducted to remember this important date in the history of indigenous peoples (IP) in the country.

The objectives of the conference are: 1) To bring together and study researches and documented experiences of indigenous peoples, NGOs, academe on Customary Resource Use, Free Prior and Informed Consent, and Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge; 2) to achieve a wider understanding of legal pluralism and the interrelation of customary, state and international law and governance in relation to Indigenous Knowledge; and, 3) To identify ways forward in promoting and protecting Indigenous Knowledge, and engagement in ongoing policy-making processes.

Research and experience papers, parallel discussion sessions and workshops, exhibits of educational materials on indigenous knowledge, sharing and exchanging seeds and a solidarity night will cap the conference. The three streams of the conference are: Stream I: Asserting Customary Resource Use; Stream II: Reclaiming Free Prior and Informed Consent; and, Stream III: Transmitting Indigenous Knowledge. As part of these streams, a sampling of panel sessions include the ecosystem approach in the Cordilleras, Mindanao case studies, transmitting Indigenous Knowledge through customary institutions, defending the Uma, Northern and Southern Luzon case studies, on forests, marine/coastal Palawan, formal indigenous people’s education, and alternative IP education. A presentation on IPs and political advocacy will be made by Congresswoman Nancy Catamco of the North Cotabato congressional second district.

The conference is sponsored by the EED Philippine Partners Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (EED-TFIP), which is a network of non-government organizations in the country supporting the cause of indigenous peoples rights, with support from the Church Development Service (EED) of Germany and Tebtebba Foundation, the indigenous peoples’ international center for policy research and education based in Baguio City. The conference co-organizer and host institution is the SCC-Community Education Research and Extension Administration (CEREA). The venue of the gathering is at the SCC-Bishop Proculo and Eleuteria Rodriguez (BPER) Hall in Midsayap. (Marrio R. R. Mapanao / MindaNews contributor)