“Indigenous Responses to Colonial Incursions” Conference

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The Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) is hosting the “Indigenous Responses to Colonial Incursions” Conference on 23-24 August 2021 via Zoom and can be viewed live on Facebook.

My talk, “Lagutaw’s Revolt: The Timeless Import of a Short-lived Resistance,” reflects on a little-known uprising led by the Kalinga hero Lagutaw in the late 1700s against the Spaniards in northern Philippines. The paper is an expanded, academic version of a short essay I posted on this website.


The Spanish Empire facilitated global trade and scientific development across four continents and three centuries. Conversely, it also  brought disease, death and division to its colonies, especially in the American and Asian continents. In the Philippines, Spanish colonization was no less destructive of the lives and cultures of the natives many of whom rose against the invaders. In the late 1700s, a revolt against the Spaniards led by the Kalinga warrior Lagutaw erupted in northern Luzon amidst a smallpox pandemic. The otherwise dramatic event, as narrated by William Henry Scott, was short-lived and marked a resounding suppression of indigenous resistance against Spanish rule.

This paper analyzes the Lagutaw narrative using an Indigenous paradigm which necessitates the deployment of selected concepts and principles drawn from Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP), particularly those from the cultural repertoire of the Kalingas. It discusses how the Lagutaw narrative illustrates the natives’ responses to colonial incursions (i.e., submission and defiance), and the Iberian colonizers’ tactics of conquest (i.e., reducción, indoctrination, and political appointment). It also reflects on the implications of this historical text on contemporary exchanges among academics involved in Indigenous Studies.

Key Words: Spanish colonization, pandemic, Indigenous Peoples, Kalinga, Lagutaw, indigenous resistance

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