THE IFUGAO HUT HEALING PROJECT for the Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign
In April until December 1904, the St. Louis World’s Fair in Missouri was held to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, and was billed by the Western press as an international and historical exposition that showcased the march of progress and modernism under the United States empire. To provide a stark contrast to this modernity, a number of indigenous tribes and colonial subjects were brought in and made to live in reconstructed villages, showing the differences of their lifestyles from those living in America. One of these tribes was the Igorot from Northern Philippines, described in press advertisements as “savages” who were “headhunters” and “dog-eaters.” As a result of being sensationalized in the newspapers, the Igorot Village – with its huts and 110 members composed of men, women and children – became the most popular exhibit at the fair, earning the highest admission returns of $200, 387.18 during the opening. Subsequently, for the next eight months, the Igorots were placed on display, “studied, inspected, stared at, peered at, denigrated, pitied, and despised,” by thousands of fairgoers who reveled in their daily eating practice of killing dogs for their meals. It was said that the Fair administration required the natives such daily dog feast to ensure “visitorship to the World’s Fair” and continue with the profit making enterprise of putting “human beings in a human zoo.” At present, descendants of the Igorots in America, together with a large number of Filipinos, cite the lingering sense of shame, guilt and depression related to the abuse and defilement of their ancestors at the Igorot Village during the 1904 St. Louis Word Fair in Missouri.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
The Ifugao Hut Healing Project was initiated by Mamerto Tindongan, an Igorot shaman steeped in the indigenous healing tradition of his Philippine tribe. He is also an Ohio-based immigrant who had been formally initiated as a priest and healer by his Native American mentors. Mamerto carries both Eastern and Western healing practices and believes that performing a ritual at the former site of the St. Louis Fair will help address the deep psychic wounds of his people and the continuing gap between the East and West. The ritual will request the participation of the Igorot and other Filipino American communities, and the American community members themselves. The coming together of communities to acknowledge, understand, and honor the past is an essential step to healing historical trauma and redirecting energies of discord and disharmony towards positive resolution.
And for more information about the artist visit http://www.tindonganwoodsculptures.com
A Project of the Center for Babaylan Studies
contact: Mila Anguluan-Coger, Project Coordinator