Definition of Terms

At the start of each class, we have a litany of Definition of Terms. It’s really a simple gesture but at the start of our ID241 (Interior Design and Philippine Society and Culture), I was glad/shocked/surprised and at the end reinforced that our pre-conceptions of what these terms are.


Indigenous is largely understood as local, being from here, related or rooted. Indigeneity is a self-designating term meaning “belonging to a place.” It is not always possible to live in the place to which one belongs, but “indigenous” peoples are native,” (born to if not always in) lands among relatives. The west dominates nature whereas Indigenous peoples ‘live within environments, not over against them.’ – Harvey, G. (2000)

Graham Harvey (2000): refers to people who identify themselves as belonging to a place. It descrives people who maintain a fundamental respect for a long-standing tradition as embodied in elders, ancestors, the land and ‘other-than-human persons.’ When combined with his definition of religion, we are led to conclude that amongst self-defined indigenous peoples respect for the tradition of the place to which they belong (although not necessarily live in) is celebrated ritually and remembered orally in order that the community may experience optimal health and well-being.

Indigenous Heritage and Self-Determination by Tony Simpson


Traditionally, locals are defines as those with a specific territorial connection mainly because they live and work in the area.
-Claiming Rural Identities: Dynamics, Contexts, Policies edited by Tialda Haartsen, Peter Groote, Paulus P. P. Huigen

Pertaining to, characteristic of, or restricted to a particular place.
Pertaining to a city, town or small district rather than an entire state or country (as defined by online dictionaries)


A native or inhabitant of the Philippines

More surprisingly (and with a pang of truth), the Urban Dictionary Defines Filipino as:
A race that is asian by geography, but has little in common with other asian nations. A hard working, industrious, and very strong family oriented people, but notoriously useless at organizing anything beyond chaos as a nation of people.

As our laws otherwise state that being Indigenous is being a part of an ethnic tribe, by the definition of G. Harvey, aren’t most of us indigenous to the Philippines? If we are not indigenous, are we just locals? Why are we offended when we are called indigenous?

Let the tropical rains wash the Western tint from your eyes


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