Macario Lacbawan

Macario Lacbawan, doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology

My research is among the Ikalahan people, an indigenous community in Northern Philippines. It traces how legal recognition of their indigeneity reconfigures indigeneity as being uniquely tied to the environment. In other words, the legal recognition of Ikalahan people’s rights to their land demands that they re-fashion their ancestral domain into an ecological space governed by the logic of environmental conservation. Rather than enriching their engagement with their land, the legal association between indigeneity and environmentalism facilitates villagers’ expulsion and estrangement from the forest. I document the new kinds of relationship to space, morals, and inequality that result from this change.