CTPILS held a successful two-day workshop entitled "Environment and Social Systems: Historical and Ecological Workshops in a Dynamic World"
Date : 2019-06-04 Department : 民族系By Department of Ethnology
Last year, the National Chengchi University (NCCU) established the Science and Technology Innovation Center for Taiwan-Philippines Indigenous knowledge, Local Knowledge and Sustainable Studies (CTPILS). Through research and academic collaboration, CTPILS aims to provide a platform for four universities, namely, NCCU, Ifugao State University (IFSU), University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM), and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), to jointly work in looking for solutions to common problems confronting the indigenous peoples in Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Pacific Islands.
In pursuit of providing the four universities a platform for academic collaborations and exchanges, the Center organized a workshop entitled "Environment and Social System: Historical Ecological Workshop in a Dynamic World." Held on May 25 and 26 last year at the College of Education Auditorium, the workshop, which comprised panel discussions and keynote lectures, saw various experts, scholars, and indigenous community members from Taiwan, the Philippines, and the United States sharing valuable expertise and experience.
The first day of the workshop began with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NCCU and IFSU and the formalization of collaboration between NCCU and UHM. Following this, Dr. Nancy Ann Gonzales, IFSU's Vice President for Research, Extension, and Development gave a speech on how the University collaborates with the Ifugaos and incorporates the latter’s indigenous knowledge and insights into their school’s academic programs.
On the same day, Mr. Marlon Martin of the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo), a non-governmental organization that pushes for autonomy and interventions that preserve traditional agricultural and indigenous knowledge in the province, provided the workshop’s first keynote lecture. He presented an overview of the Ifugao province and people, covering topics related to their language, geography, knowledge and belief systems, cultural practices, and governance systems. Moreover, Martin shared the issues facing the Ifugaos, such as disappearing knowledge systems due to social and environmental changes brought upon by modernization and globalization.
Subsequently, Dr. Francisco Datar of the University of the Philippines at Diliman also gave an essence lecture on how globalization and market economy have affected the traditional rural island communities in the Philippines. Drawing on his experience in Bataan, Behia, and Oson, he discussed that while economic changes can be beneficial in the short run, the process can also harm traditional societies in the long term (e.g., ethnocide, outmigration). Prof. Datar asserted that communities have started coping with these inevitable changes, perhaps leading to the creation of a new culture he termed ethnogenesis.
The workshop also featured three-panel discussions: (1) Environment, Climate Change and Current State of Ecological Research in the Philippines and Taiwan; (2) Community and Practice: The View from the Ground; and (3) Regional Environmental Management.
In the first panel discussion, scholars from Hawai'i, Taiwan, and the Philippines covered topics ranging from water rights and water governance to indigenous knowledge. The second-panel discussion, on the other hand, saw presentations from indigenous weavers from Ifugao, Philippines, and Wulai, Taiwan. The third panel featured the talks of scholars and community leaders from the Philippines and Taiwan; they highlighted the utmost need to consolidate indigenous knowledge and practice with methodologies, educational, curriculum, policies, and governance systems.
The participants of the workshop also learned the issues and challenges confronting the indigenous communities in Taiwan and the Philippines, which can only be solved, according to the discussants, if people unite their efforts in pushing for legal protections and sustaining knowledge, culture, and traditions of the indigenous people. In this light, the organizers manifested that the potential solutions to the problems facing the natives can be crafted and realized through increased collaborations and discussions amongst the partner universities and stakeholders.