Prof. Joseph Ongkiko is known among civil society and government executives as a lively and effective leadership development teacher. He’s “Ka Boyet” to his family and friends. In his capacity as Senior Consultant at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), Ka Boyet initiated a working relationship with leaders of certain Indigenous Peoples in Turtle Island (North America).
With a bachelor’s degree in Development Communications and a master’s degree in Development Management from the University of the Philippines, Ka Boyet spent years learning and working with church leaders, government agency executives, academic leaders, and civil society leaders as a pastor, organizational executive, teacher, and consultant. He currently serves as Director for Transformational Development at the Asian School of Development and Cross-Cultural Studies (ASDECS). Through him, ASDECS and PBCI found some points-of-convergence to be effective partners in community transformation and peacebuilding.
This endeavor to connect PBCI with certain indigenous leaders in the US started with a communiqué from Prof. Philip P. Arnold — Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at Syracuse University, core faculty member of Native American and Indigenous Studies, and also the Founding Director of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center in Liverpool, New York. He invited Ka Boyet to participate in the Indigenous Values Conference which was held last 18-19 August 2018 at the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center. This conference was held in coordination with the Onondaga Nation.
PBCI’s participation in this endeavor is made financially possible through a grant from Ka Boyet’s friend and ministry partner, Mr. Rich Gutowski, Founder & CEO of Stonegate Brokerage which is based in Paterson, NJ. Because of his long-term partnership with Ka Boyet in the field of transformational development, Rich once said: “I am starting to feel like an honorary Filipino.”
PBCI joins Ka Boyet when he said, “We’re grateful to Rich for his generosity.”
Ka Boyet’s love and concern for the Indigenous Peoples began in the early 1990s. “God continues to speak clearly through, and with, the Indigenous Peoples,” he stated in an email to Rich and other Indigenous theologians. “Through my engagements with Dann and PeaceBuilders,” Ka Boyet testifies, “my passion for the IPs continues to be nurtured.”
Ka Boyet provides leadership and guidance to PBCI in the area of Leadership Training & Development Communications. He invited Ms. Jobelyn Basas (known in her tribal community as Sihaya Ansibod) to attend the said Indigenous Values Conference.
As Peace and Reconciliation Field Director in Mindanao and herself coming from an Indigenous People (IP) called Erumanen Ne Menuvu, Sihaya would greatly help enhance PBCI’s networking capacity with global IP leaders. Under the mentorship of Ka Boyet, Sihaya is expected to grow in her relationship-building capacity in establishing an on-going, trans-oceanic, and inter-tribal dialogue and cooperation between the IPs in Turtle Island (North America) and the IPs in this archipelago (Philippines).
For two more weeks after the Conference, both Ka Boyet and Sihaya will visit various IP communities and peacebuilding partners in Turtle Island (North America) guided by the following objectives:
- to exchange stories;
- to explore points-of-convergence;
- to work together in repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery; and,
- to exchange notes on advocating the adoption and contextual implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The Doctrine of Discovery: Misusing the Name of Christ. In the 1400s, a series of Papal Bulls were declared and sanctioned explorers to invade, colonize, and exploit lands and peoples around the world. The Doctrine of Discovery is the unsound theological basis for the colonialism and imperialism that still oppress many Indigenous Peoples today. These were done by the European imperial monarchs in the name of Christ.
The following 45-minute video explains how this doctrine affected the Indigenous Peoples of the Turtle Island (North America) and other IPs around the world, including the IPs in this archipelago the colonizers started referring to as The Philippines: