4th Int’l Babaylan Conference set for Sept. 20-22 in Ontario
TORRANCE, Ontario — The Center for Babaylan Studies (CfBS), in partnership with Kapwa Collective, is hosting the Fourth International Babaylan Conference on September 20-22, at the YMCA Camp Pine Crest in Torrance, Ontario, Canada near Wahta Kanien’Keha:Ka Territory.
The conference will provide a space for the exploration of “what it means to re-root ourselves in our indigenous heritage as Filipinos living in the diaspora and on lands not our own,” according to an event press release.
“As part of this theme, the conference will engage the question of unlearning settler colonial privilege and re-learning just relations with land, waters, and all beings and connecting responsibly with the original stewards of Turtle Island (where the majority of the participants are from).”
The Fourth International Babaylan Conference builds on the groundwork laid in the past conferences. In the first and second conferences, participants learned about Filipino indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSP). The third conference highlighted the value of collective healing with the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island through recognition of the shared (as well as diverse) native, historical and cultural experiences, needs, and worldviews of the two communities.
In this conference, CfBS and Kapwa Collective seek to draw from the wellspring of their Filipino ancestral wisdom to offer seeds of hope for a time beyond their own. Hoping to be enriched by their learnings and the ties built with the Wahta Mohawk community during conference preparation, they seek to find new ways to live with grace, wholeness, and beauty in these dire and uncertain times of climate change and ecological collapse.
The importance of this conference is reflected by one of the statements from Dr. Leny Strobel, founder and former Executive Director of CfBS:
“The Filipinx value of kapwa [the self in the other] is always inclusive,” she says. “We are extending our historical lens from 500 years of modernity to 10,000 years of how we have lived on the planet, changed its landscape and created the problems we have now. We hope that it will encourage participants to become more reflective of how we can face the crisis of our time. She also emphasized, “We are not people separated by land but people connected by water.”