In today’s conversation, Native Pulse discusses militarism in the Pacific with frontline leaders, Rurelyn Bay-ao (Manobo-Lumad) and Cara Flores Mays (Chamoru). We explore military buildup in Guåhan (Guam), women’s rights advocacy in Mindanao, community responses to Covid-19 impact, and much more.
Rurelyn is a 19 year old Manobo-Lumad youth leader, land defender, and womxn’s and LGBTQ+ rights activist, native to Talaingod in Pantaron Mountain Range, home to one of the largest old growth forests left in Mindanao, Philippines. As the Youth Coordinator of Sabokahan Unity of Lumad Women, Philippines’ Focal Person on the Executive Council for Asia Indigenous Youth Platform (AIYP) and a spokesperson of Save Our Schools (SOS) Network, she is devoted to connecting and mobilizing indigenous youth locally, nationally, and globally in the fight for self-determination and defense of ancestral lands. Rurelyn is the grandniece of Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, the first Manobo woman to be named tribal chieftain who is honored for having played an integral role in organizing a victorious tribal war against Alcantara and Sons logging company in the 1990s.
Cara is an Indigenous Chamoru filmmaker and activist based in her homeland of Guåhan (Guam). Cara’s commitment to culture and community are a driving force behind her work. She is the founder and director of Nihi! (Duk Duk Goose, Inc.), a non-profit that provides affordable adult Chamoru language classes and produces culture-based media to equip the next generation of protectors by affirming Chamoru and regional identity and by uplifting indigenous voices from Guåhan and across our region. In addition to her work for Nihi!, Cara directs and produces indigenous films. Cara was a core member of We Are Guåhan, a community education group that advocated for protection of homelands and community under threat of the military buildup.
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Facebook: Sabokahan IPwomen