ELL: SIL and tribal societies.

Matthew McDaniel akha at LOXINFO.CO.TH
Mon May 1 23:30:27 UTC 2000

Some time ago I was invited to go to Mindanao to the Tboli tribe,
the American ambassador was coming to see them. I was curious.
We met in a town where there had been a meeting with the SPCPD,
the Southeren Philippines Council for Peace and Development,
headed by Nur Misuari, the former rebel leader of the MNLF (Moro
National Liberation Front) - not the MINL, who makes not troube together
with the Abu Sayaf -
We left from there in a van, a muslim was sitting beside me, he belonged
to the tribe of the Tiduray from Maguindanao. He told me that he decided
to become muslim since he could not take the actions of the christians
specially the SIL.
He told me that the SIL make people who are just grade 2 or 3 (elementary
school) to pastors, those guys then head a church and meddle in politics.
In their place such a pastor even told them: "We are going to get donations
and then we will have our own weapons". The missionaries until now even
burn the sacred itual objects indigenous people use in planting!

When we arrived in Tboli Town at the municipal hall, the ambassador arrived
with his wife, the head of USAID and the head of defense, no press was
allowed. There was a little ceremony, some talks, then lunch. I sat
with the head of defense - I asked him why the SIL interferes that way -
but he told me that they don't do this, he knows them well..
He was not only in charge of Southeast Asia, he also goes to Germany to
visit the bases there......an important man.

Not long after the VFA was ratified by the Senate of the Philippines,
silently the Americans had prepared their return to the country by building
an international port, in international airport and a roadsystem.

Now suddenly the trouble has escalated, kidnappings etc, does this not
all sound familiar?

SIL has even their own airport in Bukidnon, so that their 'linguists',
disguised missionaries can visit better the 50 tribes...
One old lady who has been in the country for more that 40 years told me
that the nature spirits are from the devil. This is what she has been
teaching, so it does not matter anymore when you cut trees, as long as the
are away.
She has lived in the Tboli community for such a long time, going back again
to her refuge in a comfortable home in the SIL center. But when there was
a conference with the tribal leaders nearby the center and they did not
have a place to sleep, she was not willing to let them stay in the
dormitory over night.
She is not 'bad', she is a very sweet old lady and believes in her mission,
not realizing how much she has destroyed of the real culture in those more
than 40 years.
She was also the person who brought Elizalde there, the spanish Senator
who 'worked' with the tribes and used the women, who was supposed to have
'discovered' the Tasaday as the last primitive tribe on earth in the
70's -
from there on corruption startet, the real chiefs were replaced with those
of the choice of Elizalde, who even played god by threwing money out from
a helicopter etc.

there is more to that
just to give you a little overview

The worst is that the SIL also influenced the creation of PANAMIN, the
organization of the government headed then by Elizalde and the muslims were
separated from the other tribes. Previously they all belonged to one
organization, whether they had become christians or muslims, but SIL wanted
them separated, look at the trouble now in the South of the Philippines.

Nur Misuare tried to bring them together and the indigenous tribes had
great hopes in him, but he also fell for the offers of the Americans who
promised financial assistance etc., he did not see the pattern behind.
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