The Nakamata is a coalition of 10 indigenous groups in Central Mindanao, The Philippines. The groups have joined together to peacefully and legally reclaim ancestral territory.
Profiled here are six of the Nakamata leaders:
The Chairman of Nakamata
Datu Kalalagan Winifredo Sumael, 55, is the chairman of the San Miguel Tribal Organization. His elders bestowed upon him the title Datu kalalagan (datu means chief) because of his kindheartedness (kalalagan). His favorite spot in their ancestral domain is Maray-maray, so named after the creek in the area. This is where he grew up and learned the ways of the Manobo tribe. SMTO's ancestral domain covers about 1,000 hectares.
Vice chairperson of Ancient Ancestry
Datu Bangusayanga Johnny Guina, 36, a Talaandig and chair of the Portulin Tribal Association, inherited the name of the earliest ancestor his parents can recall. This is in recognition of the kind of leadership that he showed, especially in times of crisis. (He himself could not explain what Bagusayanga means).
PTA's ancestral domain is approximately 7,000 hectares, 5,000 of which is forest area. The forest is his favorite spot because it is where, he says, "he feels most at home and at peace with himself." He considers the forest as the tribes' life-source, a place where they get their medicines, building materials and food.
The Datu (Chief) of Awareness
Datu Makapukaw Arnulfo Sali-ot is former chairman of Samahang Kabuhayan ng Manobo Pulangihon. The title Makapukaw was bestowed to him by Manobo elders in recognition of his efforts to raise awareness (pukaw)of the tribe's right to self-determination.
At a very young age, Datu Makapukaw was the first in the area to successfully legally reclaim a plot of land to live on. He continues to be instrumental in organizing the coalition.
His favorite spot is called Mulita, named after the river in the area. This is where he grew up and discovered the Manobo way of life, of indigenous knowledge and practices, including traditional ways of resolving conflicts.
Keeper of the Song
Datu Petronilo Cul-om, 58, is chairperson of the Nagkahiusang Tingog sa Manobong mag-uuma sa Mulita Association (NAGTIMMMA), bordering the area being surveyed during the murders last year.
Datu Cul-om is a Manobo. He points to the area near Maray-Maray creek as his favorite spot. The area, part of more than 2,000 hectares of their ancestral domain, is also their source of food and medicine.
Indigenous Land, Indigenous Datu
Datu Hinubong Diator Laguas is chairman of the Kimaya Tribes Association.
Hinubong means "he who can solve problems". The datu is 50 years old. He has no particular favorite spot in the 50-hectare ancestral domain that he is claiming. The domain is where his parents and grandparents propagated indigenous trees, a fishing and hunting area, and where they gather medicines.
Honouring the Murdered
Danilo Paca is the new chairman of the Tribal Organization of San Jose. Danilo, 36, assumed the leadership after the murder of Samuel Bento last September 2001. Samuel Bento was murdered while bringing supplies home on a local bus. The murder happened three days after he had announce the tribe's official land claim. (see 'Chronology' section for details). Danila Paca was chosen by the community to fill the chairman's position, because he is the "most active, has ability to lead and doesn't easily get angry." TOSJ has a claim of 1,029 hectares. His favorite spot is a place kalled kasapi because of the abundance of maratisa trees. These trees, nearly gone now, used to provide the tribe with building materials.