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Coming in early 2021…

A story about the land is a story of its people. Enfolded in the varied landscapes of the Philippine archipelago are communities that have remained rooted in place against great and unrelenting adversity: those whom we call “indigenous.” From 2011 to 2020, Jacob Maentz paid visits to these marginalized communities to listen and learn from the land from within, that is, from the people who have called it home since time immemorial. 

What unfolds in this book is the photographic narrative of Jacob Maentz’s close and continuing collaboration with various indigenous and national minority communities in the Philippines. Ever mindful of the trust placed in him as honored guest, and of the power of his position as an outsider, the experience and wisdom these communities chose to share with Maentz indelibly shaped his journey to unlearn and reimagine his own understanding about the intimate, intricate, and inextricable relationships between place and people.

In a symposium of dialogues and essays, this book will further reflect on indigeneity as cultural identity, as rallying banner, and as multitudinous question. The text will explore even as it introduces the diverse concerns of indigenous communities: the importance of solidarity in the clash between self-interest and shared interests; the submerged history of political resistance; alternative education and traditional knowledge systems; food sovereignty; the idea of indigenous peoples as environmental frontliners leading the race against irreversible ecological devastation; and the successes and challenges of reclaiming land recognition after centuries of colonization and modern development aggression. With his lens and his presence, Maentz listens, sees, and holds space for those who have never left and who continue to fight to live.

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