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The Lumad and Moro of Mindanao

1 January 1993

There are two main indigenous groups in the south of the Philippines: the Lumad and the Moro. Together, the Lumad, who have retained their traditional beliefs, and the Islamized Moro communities, regard themselves as the original inhabitants of the greater part of the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Both these peoples have shown themselves to be enduring in the face of Spanish and US colonization, and the policies of the predominantly Christian Philippine national government.

The Philippines is a country with a low per-capita income and a growing and land-hungry population. In order to solve some of these problems, including a worsening energy crisis, the government is attempting to exploit Mindanao’s abundant natural resources – but this directly conflicts with the interests of the Lumad and Moro. The situation is inextricably linked with the fact that, since 1972, the government has been engaged in a war of attrition with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who have been fighting for political control within Mindanao.

The Lumad and Moro of Mindanao outlines the origins of these two peoples, historical issues of land ownership and settlement programmes, the effect of big business and development, the campaigning strategies of the Lumad, and the Moro’s journey to self-determination. Written by Professor B.R. Rodil, a member of the Tiruray Lumad community, this is a timely and essential exploration of the situation of these two indigenous groups who have been increasingly marginalized by the central government of the Philippines.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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B. R. Rodil