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THE AETA PEOPLE: INDIGENOUS TRIBE OF THE PHILIPPINES

November 15, 2012

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THE AETA PEOPLE: INDIGENOUS TRIBE OF THE PHILIPPINES

 
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Aeta Struggle For Autonomous Land

 

Early Aeta Video Footage, Philippines

 

The Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta,”), Agta or Ayta are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines. They are considered to be Negritos, who are dark to very dark brown-skinned and tend to have features such as a small stature, small frame, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair with a higher frequency of naturally lighter hair color (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They are thought to be among the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations.

The Aeta were included in the group of people termed “Negrito” duringSpanish colonial rule as Negritos. Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are known as “Pugut” or “Pugot,” a name designated by their Ilocano-speaking neighbors, and which is the colloquial term for those with darker complexions. In Ilocano, the word also means “goblin” or “forest spirit.”

A trio of Aetas performing on stage at a show inSM City Clark.

 

History

The Aeta people in the Philippines are Australo-Melanesians. Today other groups of Australo-Melanesians are the Aborigines in Australia, Papuans and the Melanesians of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia etc. The history of the Aeta continues to confound anthropologists and archaeologists. One theory suggests that the Aeta are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines, who, contrary to their sea-faring Austronesian neighbors, arrived through land bridges that linked the country with the Asian mainland about 30,000 years ago. Unlike many of their Austronesian counterparts, the Aetas have shown resistance to change. The attempts of theSpaniards to settle them in reducciones or reservations all throughout Spanish rule failed.

The Aeta are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the Philippines. Aetas are considered as the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations. They are nomadic and build only temporary shelters made of sticks driven to the ground and covered with the palm of banana leaves. The well-situated and more modernized Aetas have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. They live in houses made of bamboo and cogon grass. Aetas are found in Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Angeles, Olongapo, Panay, Bataan and Nueva Ecija. But because of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, some of them moved to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac.

 

Young girl of Mariveles, 1901

Mining, deforestation, illegal logging, and slash-and-burn farming has caused the indigenous population in all parts of the Philippines to steadily decrease to the point where they number in the thousands today. The Philippines affords them no protection. In addition, the Aeta have become extremely nomadic due to social and economic strain on their culture and way of life that had previously remained unchanged for thousands of years.

Demographics

The life expectancy at birth of the Aeta is just 16.5 years, with only a third of children surviving to adulthood at 15 years – at which point life expectancy is still only 27.3 years. Young women reach full adult height (average 140 cm) at age 12 or 13. The most thorough longitudinal study done of any Aeta group (or any ethnic community) is available on the Web.

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Culture

Language

All Aeta communities have adopted the language of their Austronesian Filipino neighbors, which have sometimes diverged over time to become different languages. These include, in order of number of speakers, Mag-indi, Mag-antsi, Abellen, Ambala, and Mariveleño.

Religion

There are different views on the dominant character of the Aeta religion. Those who believe they are monotheisticargue that various Aeta tribes believe in a supreme being who rules over lesser spirits or deities, with the Aeta of Mt. Pinatubo worshipping “Apo Na”. The Aetas are also animists. For example, the Pinatubo Aeta believe in environmental spirits such as anito and kamana. They believe that good and evil spirits inhabit the environment, such as the spirits of the river, sea, sky, mountain, hill, valley and other places.

No special occasion is needed for the Aeta to pray, although there is a clear link between prayer and economicactivities. The Aeta dance before and after a pig hunt. The night before Aeta women gather shellfish, they perform a dance which is partly an apology to the fish and partly a charm to ensure the catch. Similarly, the men hold a beedance before and after the expeditions for honey.

In the mid-60s missionaries of the American-based Evangelical Protestant mission group New Tribes Mission, in their effort to reach every Philippine tribal group with the Christian Gospel reached out to the Agtas/Aetas. The mission agency provided education including pastoral training for natives to reach members of their own tribe. Today, a large percentage of Agtas/Aetas of Zambales and Pampanga are Evangelicals. Jehovah’s Witnesses also have members of the Aeta people. (See 1993 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Clothing

Their traditional clothing is very simple. The young women wear wrap around skirts. Elder women wear bark cloth, while elder men wear loin cloths. The old women of the Agta wear a bark cloth strip which passes between the legs, and is attached to a string around the waist. Today most Aeta who have been in contact with lowlanders have adopted the T-shirts, pants and rubber sandals commonly used by the latter.

Practices

The Aetas are skillful in weaving and plaiting.

Women exclusively weave winnows and mats. Only men make armlets. They also produce raincoats made of palm leaves whose bases surround the neck of the wearer, and whose topmost part spreads like a fan all around the body.

Medicine

Aeta women are known around the country as experts of herbal medicines.

Art

A traditional form of visual art is body scarification. The Aetas intentionally wound the skin on their back, arms, breast, legs, hands, calves and abdomen, and then they irritate the wounds with fire, lime and other means to form scars.

Other “decorative disfigurements” include the chipping of the teeth. With the use of a file, the Dumagat modify their teeth during late puberty. The teeth are dyed black a few years afterwards.

The Aetas generally use ornaments typical of people living in subsistence economies. Flowers and leaves are used as earplugs for certain occasions. Girdles, necklaces, and neckbands of braided rattan incorporated with wild pig bristles are frequently worn.

Music

The Aeta have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles – ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeta_peoples

http://originalpeople.org/the-...-of-the-philippines/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

THE BLACK ROOTS OF THE FILIPINOS: MOORISH HISTORY – BY FILIPINO

Our ancestors in the Philippines are ebony Black, from the ancient pygmy tribes Aeta, Ati, Dumagat, Mamanwa, Tagbanua etc. We even share their facial features, even though most of the rest of us were mixed with Malayo-Polynesians, Chinese and Spanish and so our skin is now brown and so some of us have some Asian and European features too.

There is an old Philippine story we still tell among ourselves of how 10 Datus (chiefs) from Borneo arrived on the island of Panay in prehistory. They were running away from the expansion of Muslim kingdoms over their old Srivijaya kingdom in what is now our kin nations of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. There, the 10 Datus met the paramount king of the original Black Ati people called Marikudo, who traded some of his coastal land with Datu Puti, the prime minister of Rajah (king) Makatunaw for a salakot (conical hat) made of pure gold, silk and other gifts; then honored the oath in a blood-oath ritual which we call “sandugo”. He agreed that the Ati share the land with the many thousands of Malayan refugees called Visayans, and as the sandugo was already done, both groups (Visayan and Ati) were immidiately to be considered as kin, so of course we intermixed. The Ati who returned to the hills had a terrible harvest many many years later, and famine ensued. They made their way down to the coast and their Malayan cousins (the Visayan people) remembered their sandugo with them, and provided their Black kin with food and provisions. The Ati and Visayans feasted as a result of the end of the famine. To this day this feast still exists called “ati-atihan” (To blacken) in which the Malayan descendants of the 10 datus in panay island blacken their faces in gratitude and dance to the same rhythm they danced with to celebrate the sandugo of blacks and malayans (when the Spanish came, they forced the natives to dedicate it to the Child Jesus/Santo Nino, but we Filipinos know the 10 Datu story and know the real reason why it is still performed).

Our islands became rich, so much so that the other Asians called us Suvarnadvipa (land of gold). One group of Visayans moved north to become the Tagalog people, who are the people of Manila our capital city, and their language is the government language now of our country. When the Spanish colonizers came in the 1500s, they changed this peaceful coexistence.

This is how the Tagalog (main ethnic group of Manila) upper-classes looked when the Spanish first arrived in the 1500s:

filipino tagalogs 1505

Note the black skinned chief with brown skinned queen, the two native groups in the Philippines, and all the gold and silk worn.

When the Spanish came, they force converted the mixed coastal Malayan population like the Tagalogs and Visayans to Catholicism, and the Aeta/Ati fled to the forests and island interiors to escape the Spanish. The Spanish then indoctrinated the coastal people against their own dark brown skin and slowly, a self-denigrating culture appeared, along with a history in which they were put onto sugar and hemp plantations, the Spanish soldiers, priests and hacienda owners raped the serf women and stole from villages, and many uprisings were quelled with bloodshed.

In the 19th we won our freedom from the Spanish, albeit for a short while, because the Americans then took over and immediately called us the “Niggers of Asia”. In some ways they were worse than the Spanish. This is how they depicted us in their newspapers:

filipino negros

We are now an independent nation, but we have so many scars from our past that as a result, so many of our women are caught up with whitening their skin nowadays to look “mestizo”, due to post-colonial mentality. Shade-ism exists in full force in our media, and the poor in our country who do not finish their full education have no idea that they too are the descendants of Black people, and are quick to call on how different the Aeta are in their nappy hair, shorter stature and darker skin tones.

Despite this ignorance among some, there will always be Filipinos who will pass our ancient history down to our children, as those who came before us did. Hope this history shares light on the Black history of the Philippines from a Filipino person, which you will not find in Eurocentric history books.

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