Accepted Paper:

Mobility and sedentarization among the Philippine Agta  


Tessa Minter (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper documents mobility and sedentarization of the Philippine Agta. It explores 1) the drivers and patterns of Agta mobility 2) its relation with past and current development policies towards sedentarization 3) ongoing shifts in Agta settlement patterns as a consequence of recent events.

Paper long abstract:

This paper provides an ethnography of Agta mobility, based on field work conducted in the northern Philippines over the past decade. The Agta are a population of about 10,000 people, living in small settlements spread out along the coasts and mountain-interior of northeastern Luzon. They largely follow a hunting-fishing and gathering lifestyle, which includes a relatively mobile settlement pattern. Firstly, this paper aims to document Agta mobility by exploring its drivers and by showing how it is both facilitated and limited by kinship relations. It will also discuss how mobility varies regionally and seasonally. Secondly, the paper will focus on Agta mobility in relation to development policies in the Philippines. This will include a discussion of past and recent efforts at sedentarization, as well as government's misconceptions of Agta mobility in relation to ongoing ancestral land titling processes. Finally, the paper will explore ongoing and future developments that are likely to influence Agta mobility. These concern Agta parents' recent emphasis on enrolling their children in formal education and the approval of a road construction project that will traverse Agta living areas. An underlying question of the paper is how anthropological knowledge on mobility could contribute to improved policy formulation.

Panel P038
Sedentarization and concentration among nomadic peoples (Commission on Nomadic Peoples/NME panel)