Lakbay Lumad USA: The Continuing Journey of Mindanao’s Indigenous Peoples for Peace with Justice

Stop the Killings - Save Our Schools - Protect Indigenous Life

COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU
Lakbay Lumad USA: The Continuing Journey of Mindanao’s Indigenous Peoples for Peace with Justice

US Speaking Tour 2016
Washington DC: April 15-18 | Los Angeles: April 19-25 | San Francisco Bay Area: April 26-May 1 | Chicago: May 2-5 | Minneapolis/St. Paul: May 6-8 | Portland, OR: May 9-16 | New York/New Jersey: May 17-23

Meet indigenous Lumad leaders from the Philippines, as they travel across the U.S. to raise awareness about the politically-motivated violence and forcible displacement they are experiencing, and how this repression is linked to U.S. foreign policy and multi-national corporate interests in the region. Learn about the Lumad’s inspiring efforts to stand up for their rights and defend their ancestral land from militarization and corporate greed. Support the Lumad by joining the campaign to Stop the Killings, Save Our Schools, Protect Indigenous Life.

Sponsored by: the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-US Network | Salupongan International
| United Methodist Women | General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church | Asia Pacific Forum-Church World Service

Co-sponsors and endorsers (partial list): Anakbayan USA | Colloquium of Native American and Indigenous Studies, Northwestern University | Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation | International Public Policy Institute | Kaibigan Filipino Organization | Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network | Kinding Sindaw | Land Is Life | Northwestern University Asian Studies | Oregon Free Trade Coalition I National Association of Filipino American United Methodists | Philippine Solidarity Task Force of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, UMC I Philippine Study Group of Minnesota | Portland Rising Tide | Portland State Kaibigan | Western Methodist Justice Movement | Women for Genuine Security

BACKGROUND
Since 2010, the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao and its forests, mountains, and agricultural fields have become battlefields, making farmers and indigenous people victims of widespread, intensive military campaigns.

In the 5-1/2 years since President Aquino took office, over 70 indigenous people--mostly Lumad in Mindanao-- have been killed for their courageous stand to defend their ancestral land from economic and ecological plunder. More than 40,000 Lumad have been evacuated and forcibly displaced due to militarization, aimed at clearing the land for mineral and coal mining operations and the expansion of corporate agribusiness and logging operations. Even churches providing sanctuary for those besieged by military violence and indigenous community schools have come under attack through military occupation and the vilification of their leaders.

The reasons behind this campaign of repression against the Lumad are clear. Mindanao is resource rich: the Philippines has the world’s third largest gold deposits, more than half of which are in Mindanao. Over 500,000 hectares of the island is covered by mining concessions, and 700,000 hectares are covered by banana, pineapple, oil palm, and other plantations. Mindanao is also heavily militarized: at least 56% of the Philippine Army forces are deployed in Mindanao, along with paramilitary units under their direction implicated in numerous human rights atrocities. Despite its egregious human rights record, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) currently receives millions of dollars in military aid from the United States.

But the Lumad continue to stand up for their rights. In October 2015, 700 indigenous people from Mindanao traversed more than 1,500 kilometers to bring their cries for justice to the seat of political power in Metro Manila. There they spent one month under the banner of Manilakbayan: Journey of Mindanao from the Margins to the Center, raising public awareness, meeting with government officials, and demonstrating at the headquarters of the corporations plundering their lands.

This coming April-May, we will have the opportunity to meet some of these indigenous community leaders during their historic speaking tour to the United States: “Lakbay Lumad USA: The Continuing Journey of Mindanao’s Indigenous Peoples for Peace with Justice.”

Starting in Washington DC, the Lakbay Lumad tour will bring representatives of various tribes as well as faith-based advocates from coast to coast and through the midwest, to speak on their own behalf about the violence and forcible displacement they are experiencing at the hands of the state. They hope to educate people in the U.S. about the situation of politically motivated repression in the Philippines and its links to U.S. foreign policy in the region, connect with people in the U.S. facing similar struggles, and build solidarity with one another. Ultimately, they hope to inspire individuals and organizations to join them in immediate action to Stop the Killings, Save Our Schools and Protect Indigenous Life, including providing concrete support to Lumad schools and community projects.

We hope you will join us in this rare opportunity to bear witness to the plight and resilience of the Lumad.

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/LakbayLumadUSA/ 
Robin Navarro