Vancouver, Coast Salish. Aug 19, 2016 – The Centre for Babaylan Studies (“CfBS”) is co-creating with Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Collective Society the Third International Babaylan Conference on September 23-25, 2016 at the YMCA Camp Elphinstone, Squamish Territory on Unceded Coast Salish Territories of BC. Babaylan is a Filipino term that means shaman or healer representing the healing objectives of this conference.
The Conference highlights the collective resilience of colonized societies in the Philippines and in North America, and on how a persistent return to indigenous practices can bring about healing. Makasaysayang Pagtatagpo or Historic Encounters between Filipinos and Turtle Islanders: Revitalizing Ancestral Traditions Together is about building mutual respect for experiences and world views we hold in common, our historical differences, and our diversity. Our hope is that through this encounter, we can recognize shared needs and an explicit commitment to respectful connection and effective collaboration with each other.
One of our keynote speaker this year is an Indigenous woman leader from Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines. She has tirelessly served to promote peace, dialogue, and her people and land’s self-sovereignty amidst the violence that has torn the region for decades. As a young girl she was identified by her elders as a baylan (healer-leader) in the community. September 2016 marks her farthest journey out of her homeland: her first time in Turtle Island will represent a momentous opportunity to share with us about the survival of her people in the context of complex and difficult realities in Mindanao; this journey will also serve as her period of rest and return to the calling of baylan. Come join us in the Third International Babaylan Conference to meet and learn from this extraordinary woman of steadfast strength and fearless spirit!
Another keynote speaker include Lily Mendoza, a Filipino-American professor who specializes in critical intercultural communication. She is the author of numerous publications and is a distinguished scholar whose interests include indigenization and indigenous studies, communication, culture and ecology, cultural politics, identity and belonging, and race and ethnicity.
The participation of Squamish Chief Ian Campbell, Mandy Nahanee and other local indigenous attendees highlights the growing connection between local Filipino communities and indigenous peoples on Coast Salish Territories. A canoe and blanket ceremony will mark the beginning of the conference on September 23 Friday.
The opening plenary panel will include “Indipinos” (Mix Indigenous and Filipino) Rulan Tangen who is Kapampangan and Metis, Diveena Marcus, of Filipino and Pomo heritage, and a local Filipino and Coast Salish participant. We are using the popular term “Indipino,” but also acknowledging other terms that may be specific to each person and clan.
Conference presenters in panels and workshops will address conference themes on settler identities, healing through the arts, and re-indigenization practices. Explore with us through our panelists the issues implicated in settler colonialism, identity, and gender politics. Gain blessings to witness the embodiment of culture and decolonization through creative expression in art, performance, and music.