Celebrating Indigenous Wisdom and Knowledge
By Maurice Malanes, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
A story was told about a team of city-bred researchers who wanted to know how the Aeta people were coping after Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991. After an hour of uphill trek, the researchers, along with a tribal elder as guide, chanced upon some wild guava trees with ripe fruits.
Excited with what they saw, they stopped and had a field day munching on the ripe guavas. After they had their fill, they harvested more, filling their pockets and bags. To their surprise, however, the Aeta guide picked only a couple to eat.
When they asked why he ate only two despite the abundance, the elder said: “There would be many travelers passing through this trail so it would be good to leave some for them.”
Often told and retold in many conferences, the story has become a classic illustration of indigenous wisdom, which is usually cited during the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples’ Month every October and in some homilies delivered by priests and pastors.
It has become a metaphor for two distinct paradigms—one represented by the team of “schooled” (and thus Westernized) researchers and the other represented by the “unschooled” guide, who has learned and kept the wisdom of his ancestors.
The first is based on consuming and amassing more than what one needs, while the other is based on knowing one’s basic needs and having a deep concern for others, including those of the next generations. The latter perspective is largely cultural or a way of life, which is deeply rooted in indigenous peoples’ belief and value system.
Read the article.
PHOTOS BY EV ESPIRITU / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON