Decolonization is not only an action that must be taken but a state of mind that may have more to do with acknowledgment of Indigenous land claims in so-called Canada, and of acceptance of those rights by settler-Canadians. European settlers viewed what they called the “New World” as terra nullius, which translates to “nobody’s land”. They saw a vast landscape uninhabited by Europeans and therefore theirs to conquer. The land was not nobody’s though. It belonged and still belongs to the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.
Colonization is deeply embedded into the culture of the Philippines that decolonization of our culture is complicated, difficult, and tiring work.
It requires us to be mindful of the language we use, to question the way we may approach certain topics, and to actively stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of so-called Canada and the Indigenous peoples of the Philippines.
Settler colonialism refers to how European settlers in North and South America, Africa, and Asia claimed the land they arrived on as their own, built colonies of people who were not indigenous to the land, and never left. Although what we refer to as the period of colonialism has ended, its repercussions are still felt around the world. Colonialism was not an event in history, but an ongoing structure. Settler immigrants are those who arrived, stayed, and were born on stolen land.
We, as Filipinx immigrants in so-called Canada, are settler immigrants.
We benefit day to day from stolen land and unceded territory whether we choose to recognize it or not. As Filipinx settlers in so-called Canada, it is our responsibility to pay our respects and acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, and unceded land we live on.
While many associate Tagalog as the language spoken by Filipinx, Sliced Mango Collective understands that the Philippines is home to a myriad of different languages that are not Tagalog or Tagalog-based.
The Philippines has a complicated history with language due to the colonization and occupation of the islands, first by the Spanish, then briefly by the Japanese, and by the United States. The official national languages of the Philippines are Filipino (colloquially known as a standardized version of Tagalog) and English.
Understanding this, we acknowledge that part of decolonization is moving away from the narrative that the Philippines is a homogeneous nation with only one ethnic and cultural group that speaks one language. Furthermore, we understand that many Filipinx-Canadians have a complicated relationship with languages from the Philippines. While there are those who are fortunate to be able to speak the language(s) of their parents and/or grandparents fluently, many of us are only vaguely familiar with certain words, communicate primarily in English, or have no understanding of Filipinx language.
Sliced Mango Collective recognizes all languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines and diaspora. Finding your voice within the Filipinx-Canadian diaspora involves self-reflection and reconciling your use of language with what might be expected from you as a Filipinx-Canadian. Sliced Mango Collective is happy to accept written work in (or a mix of) any Philippine dialects including but not limited to: English, Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilocano, Bikol, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, Waray, Kapampangan, and Pangasinan.