A beautiful space for sharing stories

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.