ISE Field Fellowships support individuals working on traditional resource rights, applied ethnoecology, ethics, resource management and social justice issues in the field. Fellows may be Indigenous peoples or from local communities, or may have worked with local groups for many years. They may or may not be undertaking academic research and may be established and experienced, or ‘emerging leaders’. The main objective is to support outstanding individuals helping to provide concrete solutions to problems identified by local groups.
The Field Fellows receive $20,000 per year for two years. Funds can be applied to costs of field and project work, or to cover an individual’s time; the fellowship is intended to support individuals doing excellent work, without attaching many strings or creating bureaucratic demands on their time. A solid track record is necessary, but priority will be given to individuals undertaking their work outside traditional financial and institutional support structures, and therefore with more significant need of assistance.
2012-2014 Field Fellow – Datu Mantangkilan Cumatang
Datu Mantangkilan Cumatang, more commonly called Amay, is the head claimant of the Agtulawan Mintapod Higaonon Cumadon (AGMIHICU) ancestral domain in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. He leads Mintapod, one of the 13 gaup or villages of AGMIHICU. He is a well respected figure not only within his ancestral domain but also among all the Higaonon people in Northern Mindanao. He has proven leadership in community forestry and strong guidance in the protection of Mt. Kimangkil, one of the sacred mountains of Northern Mindanao. In addition, he has effectively practiced and used his immense traditional ecological knowledge to ensure the conservation of their forest. Their forested ancestral domain is testament to the effectiveness of Amay’s steadfast leadership and his unyielding practice of Higaonon’s indigenous knowledge. For years he has maintained his strong commitment to preserve their forest, especially their sanctuary (patagonan). He has a deep sense of rootedness to the forest and to their culture and continues to inspire the youth, even those who have earned college degrees, to continue working for the protection of their ancestral domain and the improvement of the lives of their fellow Higaonon.
Amay’s first activity report begins:
On December 2011, the Non-Timber Forest Products Task Force (NTFP-TF) announced to Datu Amay Mantangkilan Cumatang and the community of Mintapod that Amay had been awarded the ISE Darrell Posey Field Fellowship for his outstanding devotion to protecting the community’s ancestral domain. Amay became a nominee for this Fellowship through the efforts of Ms. Genevieve J. Labadan who interviewed Amay about his life and his experiences in conserving and protecting the their natural resources. The NTFP-TF nominated Amay for the Fellowship because they believe that Amay is truly worthy to be accorded the recognition he deserves.
Planning of Amay’s activities was then conducted at Malaybalay City, Province of Bukidnon with Fr. Vincent Cullen Tulugan Learning and Development Center (FVCTLDC), the Non-Timber Forest Product-Task Force (NTFP-TF), Benny Cumatang and Amay himself. These plans include activities for:
(a) Patagonan/sacred forest conservation in the region,
(b) Registration of Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs),
(c) National Greening Program (NGP),
(d) Cultural development and conservation, which includes support to HAMOG, a Higaonon youth group of AGMIHICU created for the promotion of cultural and traditional conservation in the community, and
(e) the establishment of Livelihood Programs, similar to the Patuga Agricultural Development Project, that includes mainly livestock, farm tools and irrigation projects for the community of Mintapod.
Read updates on each of these activities in the full report.