by Mark Ambay III
On 22-18 April 2017, almost 2000 indigenous Mangyans and indigenous rights advocates gathered in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro to forge solidarity against continued encroachment of so-called development projects on Mangyan ancestral lands. The Mangyan peoples continue to struggle for their right to self determination, and these images can convey only a very small portion of that struggle.
In many indigenous cultures, defense of family and/or community and ancestral lands is part of their way of life. This Mangyan child looks like she, too, stands ready to defend her tribe’s ancestral lands.
Corporate plunder of Mangyan ancestral lands continue despite resistance from the Mangyan peoples. Indigenous children will be most affected because the destruction of their ancestral lands also means loss of their culture and heritage as indigenous peoples.
Indigenous youth use cultural presentations as a way to communicate their resistance against corporate encroachment on ancestral lands.
Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of development aggression. Many indigenous rights activists become victims of extrajudicial killings. A good number of the victims are male, and their wives are left to fend for themselves and their families.
A Mangyan youth braves the sweltering noontime heat to protest the law allowing large scale mining in the country. Most of the mining areas are found on or near ancestral lands.