via Philippine Inquirer, 11 December 2020: Editorial by Stephen Acabado and Marlon Martin on how recent archaeological findings are complementary to the origin myths of the Ifugao people. Their recent work on the Ifugao rice terraces suggest that the movement to the highlands were a form of resistance to the Spanish colonisers in the last 400-500 years.
The Ifugao origin myth and other community stories help make sense of the archaeological findings from the Old Kiyyangan Village. Without the knowledge passed down by the ancestors, scholars are left to hypothesize about what happened in the past. However, the active involvement of the Kiangan community in the pursuit to learn about their past provide us with the tools to claim Ifugao history as told by Ifugao themselves.
These community stories do not contradict the archaeological findings; rather, they complement each other. More importantly, community stories serve as a counterpoint to colonial and nationalist narratives and serve to facilitate the decolonization of history. The story of the Old Kiyyangan Village and the short history of the terraces represent how Indigenous history empower descendant communities. As an example of this narrative, the Kiangan community initiated the development of an animated video that details how the Ifugao successfully resisted Spanish conquest.
The story of the Old Kiyyangan Village is a story of Indigenous peoples struggles against historical hegemony. Using Ifugao heritage as an example, we argue that a deeper understanding of Philippine Indigenous history is not only empowering, it is also meaningful as it makes us perceive history from the standpoint of the Indigenous. Incorporating Indigenous explanations and community stories facilitate conversations about the colonial foundations of Filipino identity.