Interviewing Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao, Philippines: An Emerging Challenge to Social Researchers

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Indigenous Peoples (IPs) have been marginalized by various forms or sorts of discrimination. Ensuring for the respect of their ancestral lands has still been compromised by bickering and debate at the national and local level despite the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act or IPRA (R.A. 8371). The IPRA should have been the national legal instrument in protecting the interest of the IPs. Hence, various investigations have been conducted to a minimum extent, at least, to alleviate their meager social conditions. Yet, ethical considerations in research in terms of documenting their oral history and recent experiences, especially with the advent of development concepts from the West and the issue of development aggression, are still a question. Thus, this paper describes prospective challenges that social researchers must undertake in their conduct of research in commonly known-traditional communities in Mindanao (Southern Philippines). This is being illuminated by the experience of a young researcher (the author) who ventured into studying indigenous people and children in conflict-affected areas; with emphasis on ethical considerations and culturally appropriate approaches in interviewing and documentation techniques.

The study further looks into the selected IP communities that the researcher has gone to, particularly relating his experiences in noted conflict affected IP communities in the far-flung areas of Davao. A brief discussion on the impact of development to the oral history of IPs in Mindanao will somehow elaborate this issue; as well as the application of community organization and development perspective. Moreover, the paper discusses the importance of culturally sensitive interviewing techniques by enumerating noted ethical considerations in social research as applied to these communities. Finally, this study presented various recommendations in applying suitable research techniques in data gathering for IP communities by citing related sources relevant to oral history.


Keywords: Indigenous Peoples, Interviewing, Culturally-Appropriate Culturally-Sensitive Methods, Social Researchers, Conflict-Affected IP Communities Southern Mindanao
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Anderson Villa

Lecturer/Researcher, Social Science and Education Division, Ateneo de Davao University/NETSCO
Davao City, Davao, Philippines

Anderson Villa has recently obtained his master’s degree in Health Social Science (MHSS) at the De La Salle University – Manila, Philippines (2007) through a Ford Foundation study grant. He had also received a graduate degree in Applied Social Research (MASOR), from Ateneo de Davao University (Davao City) in 2006; and finished his bachelor’s degree in (AB) Political Science in the same university in 2003. Presently, he is connected with the Social Science and Education Division of the Ateneo de Davao University while working as a researcher with the Network towards the Empowerment, Transformation and Sustainability of Communities and Organizations (NETSCO). He has presented and published a number of research papers/articles in conferences focusing on health and development, social research & socio-political issues, youth leadership, and on indigenous peoples' concerns.

Ref: I08P0934