Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Media Release

Australia joins the Philippines in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Month


MANILA, 08 October 2018 – The Australian Embassy will join the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Dayaw: Philippine International Indigenous Peoples’ Festival 2018. The festival, organised by NCCA and the Province of Capiz, is the largest gathering of Indigenous groups in the country and attracts participants from other countries. Festival activities include cultural performances, fora, culinary arts demonstration and Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (Gamaba) exhibits.

“Dayaw is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the similarities between Australia and the Philippines, both having vibrant Indigenous cultures that form a vital part of our national identity,” Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely said.

To mark National Indigenous Peoples Month, the Australian Embassy Manila invited eminent academic Emeritus Professor Mary Ann Bin-Sallik, AO to the Philippines. Professor Bin-Sallik is a Djaru Elder from Australia’s East Kimberly who was the first indigenous Australian to graduate as a trained nurse; to be employed full-time in the higher education sector in Australia; and the first to gain a Doctorate from Harvard University.

During her visit to the Philippines, Professor Bin-Sallik will present at Dayaw’s Maaram conference in Roxas City and will deliver talks at the University of the Philippines Iloilo and Manila campus. She will also take part in the launch of the Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route exhibit in Roxas City, a collection of graphic prints of Indigenous Australian art curated by the National Museum of Australia.

“We are very pleased to have an Australian of Professor Bin-Sallik’s calibre as delegate to the Dayaw Festival. Her involvement in government, university and community advisory and review groups has greatly influenced education and equity policies for Indigenous Australians,” said Ambassador Gorely.

“On a personal level, this visit is a ‘homecoming’ for Professor Bin-Sallik. Her maternal grandfather is originally from Antique and was among the ‘Manila Men’ or young Filipinos who migrated to Australia in the early 20th century to work in the pearling industry,” the Ambassador said.

Australia celebrates its Indigenous heritage with the annual observance of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week in July to honour the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Professor Bin-Sallik was named 2016 NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year.

Australia's partnership with the Philippines on indigenous issues extends to development cooperation. Australian Government assistance to Philippine Indigenous peoples has helped improve education with the implementation of targeted curriculum benefiting more than 60,0000 children under the Philippines' Response to Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Education (PRIME) programs with the Department of Education.

Over the years, the Embassy's Direct Aid Program has provided approximately PHP17 million to programs which contribute to indigenous people's welfare.