Santal tribe, India
Jun 13 2013

Preserving the culture: CFCA’s work with indigenous communities, part 1


Do you know your roots?

The spring/summer issue of CFCA’s magazine, “Sacred Ground,” features our work with indigenous communities all over the world.

Read more interesting facts about these communities and how their cultures contribute to their self-identity.

CFCA works with families all over the world offering hope and restoring dignity through sponsorship.

Indigenous communities have been marginalized in many places around the world, which is why CFCA has crossed paths with them.

The indigenous groups CFCA works with represent diverse regions, cultures, races and religions.

“Indigenous communities embody a wealth of wisdom and experience that are invaluable to all of humanity,” said Dan Pearson, CFCA director of international programs. “Like any complex system, diversity makes humanity stronger and more resilient.”

In this first of a three-part series, we present two of the indigenous communities we work with in Asia.


Asia: India
Santal indigenous community

  • The Santals depend on nature for their survival. Agriculture is their way of life.
  • As their villages are spread across four Indian states and are miles away from towns, they create their own communities with whatever resources are available. They build houses with mud and clay supported by bamboo sticks and cover the roof with grass, straw and tiles made of mud.
  • The Santal people take nothing for granted, and they have a lot to share about using scarce resources in the most sustainable ways.
  • Their culture and religious observances are colorful, dynamic and unique. To the Santals, dancing is essential to life.
  • Slowly their agricultural lands are being usurped, leased for other purposes on a long-term basis, putting their way of life in jeopardy.

Read more about the Santal tribe in India


Asia: Philippines
Dumagat indigenous community

  • The Dumagats believe that all forms of life are a gift of nature.
  • They once lived in the lowlands but were slowly pushed into the mountains of the northern Philippines. They have lived there for a thousand years, but never had official rights to their lands.
  • The National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) awarded the recognition of ancestral domain to the Dumagats on Nov. 12, 2012, in Antipolo City, Philippines. The recognition was an important step in the process to obtain official title to more than 46,000 acres of land.
  • Many Dumagats have a tradition of sleeping on the ground because they desire to be close to the earth.
  • From March until mid-May each year, many Dumagat families build temporary homes of leaves and branches along the riverbed. It is a time when they gather to be close to nature and celebrate with singing and dancing.

Read more about the Dumagat community

Sponsor a child, youth or aging friend from India or the Philippines to help support CFCA’s work with indigenous communities.

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