What's at stake here?
An irreplaceable tropical forest with unique biodiversity found nowhere else on planet Earth.
A forest people, with a forest culture and language 5000 years old
Forest spirits as ancient as the beginning of time.
What difference does it make?
The best way to protect the environment is to protect the indigenous people who have lived in harmony with the planet for 5000 years. If the destruction doesn't stop, the whole human race is looking at extinction.
Everyone who breathes. Our existence depends on the health of the earth.
Earthwalkers care. Support them, join them, be an Earthwalker by your actions.
The Four Tribes of southwestern Mindanao are among those tribes that remained largely isolated from other peoples from their origins some 5,000 years ago until the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. These are the Tboli, the Ubo, the Manobo Blit and the Tasaday. While most other tribes of the Philippines have endured one or more of four different colonizers over the past five centuries, The Four tribes have come in contact with their colonizers only within the last 60 years. Their colonizers were neither Arab nor European, American or Japanese, but Filipinos from other islands who had been to some large degree westernized over a period of 400 years of their own colonization.
The seven marks of colonizers are clear in the case of the 4 tribes:
- Entry unbidden into lands of a defenseless people; unilaterally declaring themselves the rightful owners and authority over all the lands and natural resources, imposition of the colonizers’ languages, culture and laws
- Relentless exploitation of all natural resources
- Denial of human rights to the people indigenous to the land
- Impoverishment of the indigenous peoples while the colonizers prospered; ravishment of the environment.
For The Lake Sebu Ancestral Domain, colonization has been at its most virulent, mainly because of the idyllic scenery, three tiny lakes, 7 waterfalls. mountain climate, picturesque tribes, agribusiness possibilities, gold ore deposits, forests and a host of other “resources” that could be commoditized for the profit of settlers and other investors. Having no recourse to protection from the law, which -- even had there been adequate laws at that time – would have been administered by a settler government, a system totally alien to the mindset of the indigenous tribes, a government that was and remains still to a large extent a government by settlers, through settlers and for settlers. The tribal peoples had then no option but to organize themselves for their own protection and survival. Over the next 30 year period the Four Tribes received considerable aid and direction from a Catholic Mission which helped them resist and to a large extent they held the process of colonization at bay, giving many indigenous people a chance to get educated and otherwise strengthen their position vis-à-vis colonization. In 1991 the management of the mission was replaced by less assertive leadership and resistance to colonization dwindled.