The Lumad of Mindanao
The indigenous cultural communities (ICC) in the Philippines are believed to make up about ten percent of the national population. Also known as cultural minorities, they had been pushed to the mountains and forests by lowlanders ever since towns and cities were built. Most of the ICC do not possess money or private property and, widely discriminated against, find it hard to integrate with mainstream society. With the destruction of the forests as well as with efforts of the lowland majority to assimilate them into Christian culture, the ICC struggle to protect their ancestral domain and cultural identity.
In 1986, fifteen of the more than eighteen ICC in Mindanao adopted the term lumad, a Bisayan word for “native” or “indigenous,” to distinguish themselves from the Christians and Muslims in Mindanao. Republic Act 6734, enacted during Corazon Aquino’s time, used the term to differentiate these ethnic communities from the Bangsamoro people.