Decolonization is the process of undoing colonial systems and mentalities that centre Western societies, beliefs, and perspectives. In so-called Canada, this process starts with acknowledging Indigenous peoples ownership and rights to these lands and the acceptance of those rights by Canadian settlers.
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 saw this as theirs to conquer. The land was not “nobody’s land.” It belonged and still belongs to the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.
Colonization is So 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 approach certain topics, and to actively stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island 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 a singular event in history. It is an ongoing system.
We, as Filipinx immigrants in so-called Canada, are settler immigrants.
We benefit 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 stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, especially those whose land we are 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 Spain, briefly by Japan, 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 any 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.