When and where does Filipino American history begin? Is it on October 18, 1587 in Morro Bay, California? According to our guest in this TFAL episode, this date and time only reinforces a settler colonialist narrative. Writer and public historian, Adrian De Leon, argues that “Filipino America” actually began in the 1760s in the Philippines. Certainly a highly polemical take in Filipino American history for sure, yet De Leon’s shift in periodization offers a new perspective on our history and presence in the United States that begins to address our role in settler colonialism.
On a social media post during Indigenous People’s Day, we posed several reflective questions:
- Whose land are we on?
- As Fiipino Americans, do we even know?
- How are we also complicit in settler colonialism?
- How much do we know about Native Americans and their experiences?
- How do we go beyond land acknowledgments and cultural celebrations and truly support Native peoples/ First Nations?
- How do we not appropriate Native cultures despite our own indigenous practices?
- What does “land back” mean to us when we’re trying to get our piece of the US pie?
- How do we support sovereignty among Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, mainland US, and even Palestine/Israel – places where so many Filipinos have settled?
We mentioned that there are no easy answers. In this TFAL episode, we attempt to tackle these questions with the brilliant Adrian De Leon. Listen as we discuss settler colonialism, what it is and how to begin to address it as Filipino Americans. We also dive into Filipino Martial Arts and its politics. Finally, and most importantly, Joe and Adrian talk about how Jeremy Passion’s “Lemonade” could very well be the Filipino American anthem…to millenials anyway.
Any thoughts on settler colonialism and our role in it as Filipino Americans? Let us know your thoughts! Leave us a voicemail (805) 394-TFAL or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Picture: Ilocano Migrant’s Monument along the Airport Road in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.