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Hosted by the Center for Babaylan Studies and Kapwa Collective

Wahta Mohawk Territory

YMCA Camp Pine Crest

Torrance, Ontario, Canada

September 20-22, 2019  





Across intellectual, artistic, and practice-based communities, the term ”indigenous” has been taken up as a nexus-point that urges reflection and action. This deceptively simple question of the term’s meaning is especially pressing for diasporic and other allied communities who find themselves living on other native peoples’ lands. This includes first to third-generation citizen-subjects of a colonial state, populations increasingly enveloped in urban infrastructure, generations impacted by technology, and societies reduced in their capacity to live in balance with their environments (which is most of us!).


In this gathering we invite folks to explore the question: What does it mean to do “indigenous work” as diasporic Filipinos within these challenging contexts? How does an understanding of our impact as “settlers” on the indigenous lands we occupy in the diaspora guide us toward the intention of honoring what it means to be “rooted in place”? How do we move towards a way of being that aligns our own liberation work in collaboration and mutual accountability with the land’s Original Peoples and other historically marginalized and displaced peoples? How do we integrate this task with the related project of grounding ourselves in Earth Community and learning respectful co-existence with all living beings within our respective land bases? In figuring out a contemporary ethos based on what we can understand about ancestral spirit worlds and lifeways, generations of Native and diasporic peoples are coming together with a common interest in returning to wholeness and healing of wounds caused by historic and ongoing violence and our contemporary culture’s disconnection and isolation. Therefore we pose the question: How do we responsibly navigate the waters of remembering and work to recover our “Indigenous Spirit”?  How do we draw from our Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices to find insights and wisdom?


We are accepting proposals for 60-minute workshops (creative/interactive), 60-minute panel or roundtable discussion; 15-20 minute paper presentations, and 15-20 minute storytelling/personal narrative presentations.  Collaborative proposals are welcome and encouraged. Please address one or more of the following themes:



What does “listening to the land mean”? How do we allow ourselves to be taught by our land bases?  How do we learn to feel the rhythms/resonances/reverberations of the land in our bodies? How might we embody land-based Spirituality?


Topics for this sub-theme may address the following, but not exclusively:

  • Creating practices that encourage respectful recognition of, and ritual relation with, plants, animals, rocks, water, etc. )

  • Recovering “indigenous” spirituality in the face of land displacement, climate change / extinction, systematic violence against indigenous leaders, and corporatization (consumption, individualism, technological addiction, etc.)

  • Challenging the globalization (reduction) of spiritualities (as mere enhancements of middle class lifestyle)

  • Engaging shadow-work and confronting “spiritual bypassing” (sidestepping the continuing historical trauma of colonization)

  • Building relationships with communities suffering impoverishment, dispossession, and disempowerment as a result of settler colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, etc. through learning to live in situations of shared jeopardy with the marginalized (refusing “privileges” of flight, upward mobility, etc.)



How do we begin to understand the differences between performative solidarity vs.consensual allyship? How do we practice respect, compassion, and accountability in our communal relationships?  How might our practice of spirituality constitute everyday acts of Liberation for the Earth and all her beings? How do we sustain ourselves in our commitment to justice and healing work (what are our medicines / protections)?  


Topics for this sub-theme may address the following, but not exclusively:

  • Deepening perspectives on issues such as Cultural Appropriation (or theft) / Gatekeeping; Nativism (search for purity or “authenticity”) / Hybridity (or cultural mixing); Respect / Romanticism (or idealizing)

  • Exploring indigenous understandings of transgenerational relationships in an age that fetishizes youth: Eldership / Apprenticeship / Elder-care in the absence of place-based intact villages; Indigenous protocols for relating to Elders

  • Practicing healing arts (body work, ancestral medicines, etc.) as resistance and empowerment (How does practice of a specific healing modality address the body-mind-spirit connection and/or resist commodification of spiritual practices?)

  • Reclaiming and recovering ancestral traditions (gongs, tattooing, weaving, oceanic voyaging, etc.), as diasporic and decolonizing settler peoples as aids for indigenous re-membering while avoiding cultural appropriation and intellectual theft

  • Centering the experiences of the new generation (especially those living at the margins of society, such as queer and trans and youth) who are dealing with challenges, that include eco-anxiety (fear, anger, grief, despair, and even suicide) about the climate crisis; the impact of family separation/reunification due to global labour migration; and the spiritual disconnections that arise from reconciling our self-identity with societal expectations.

  • Re-learning food as a primal pedagogy of the sacred (food as medicine; commensality as the basis of reciprocity and respect; compost as nurture and destiny, etc.)



What does it mean to seek to recover “indigenous” lifeways in the face of historic colonization, ongoing racism, heteronormativity, and the continuing oppression and targeting of people of color (in particular, First Nations and Middle Eastern/Muslim communities)? What frameworks of understanding enable us to perceive/feel our connection with those rendered marginal and invisible (e.g., the way prosperity and privilege are built on the back of poverty and disprivilege)?  


Topics for this sub-theme may address the following, but not exclusively:

  • Combating racism in the complexity of diasporic existence (wrestling with the differences between, and intersectionalities of, indigenous identities and racial identities).

  • Wrestling with the spectrum of patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, heteronormativity, etc. as a colonial legacy.

  • Sharpening awareness of the possibilities and limitations of virtual networks in comparison with place-based communities (what is lost when communication is mediated rather than face-to-face?)

  • Maturing capacities for both confrontation and de-escalation in alliances between diasporic communities, settler activists, and original peoples focused on indigenous concerns and issues (e.g., what does kapwa look like between the diaspora and the homeland, when it prioritizes indigenous experience?)

  • Creating capacity for resistance and resilience in the space of class-privilege in the diaspora (imagining and animating resistance to empire, globalization, linguicide and ethnocide)

  • Re-envisioning “success” and naming “challenge” in the struggle to decolonize / re-indigenize in the diaspora

  • Exploring ways of maintaining and upholding sovereignty in the digital sphere and information governance (how do Indigenous and Racialized communities find ways of resisting colonial violence and data extraction and surveillance?)

Deadline for Submission Extended to April 30, 2019

We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will join us in Torrance, Canada in September 2019!


For more information and updates, please check the conference Facebook page, CFBS website, or join our mailing list.

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Call for Proposals

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