Reaching the intersection of Indigenous and modern : a critical analysis of disaster risk management modernization in Ivatan Indigenous communities
Fresnoza, Eli Paolo
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Known for their Indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices (IKSPs) in managing disaster risks, the Ivatans of Batanes Province in the Philippines are faced with the pressures of modernizing such generations-old traditions. While noble in intent, the technologically-driven narrative of managing disaster risks idealized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) brings to question the change it influences on Ivatan Indigenous communities. The intersection between Ivatan IKSPs and the NDRRMC’s initiatives reflected epistemological contrasts of positivist vis-à-vis constructivist approaches that warranted a critical view. Drawing new understanding and knowledge using the critical paradigm required an Action Research-driven methodology. Specific data gathering and collaboration methods included desk research; validation of an Ivatan DRRM IKSP inventory; FGDs and workshops that delved into understanding community and Local DRRM Council perceptions and critiques; and a workshop to craft recommendations for integrating Indigenous and scientific resiliency systems. Research findings pointed out hegemonic, top- down-centric policies that insisted outsider-oriented, technical solutions that were ineffective to the local context and were potentially damaging to traditional cultural systems and practices of resiliency. However, Ivatans were also faced with endogenous agencies such as the strong thrust for modernity through technology that may potentially wane traditional resiliency practices. Outcomes from community workshops also revealed a paradigm shift in society to integrate the scientific and traditional as a continuous evolution of IKSPs and resiliency in light of the increasing threat of climate change disruptions.
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