The IKAT Institute Research Program

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The IKAT Institute Research Program

In this program, the IKAT Institute carries out rigorous studies and research focusing on Indigenous Peoples' Knowledge, Systems and Practices (IKSPs).

It includes the activities of Documentation, Publications and Dissemination in which the systematization and specialized ordering of documents and information, one of IKAT Institute’s goals, is pursued. With the consequent output, the Institute shall be a potential clearinghouse and an information resource in the service of the public as a whole.

Indigenous knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth will cease to exist unless it is formally documented and preserved. Documentation also facilitates easy access to indigenous knowledge so that those interested stakeholders could familiarize themselves with it. The IKAT Institute shall act as a clearinghouse for collecting, documenting, preserving and disseminating information on indigenous knowledge systems and practices of various communities in Northern Luzon (Amianan). The IKAT Institute will publicize IK activities and services through publications (print and electronic), exhibitions, workshops, conferences and seminars. Dissemination of the information, especially in IP communities, shall also the responsibility of the IKAT Institute.

The IKAT Institute researchable areas include (but not limited) to the following:

1. Reference Works

This focus area deals with the compilation of various reference works (e.g., dictionaries, bibliographies, etc) that will facilitate research in indigenous knowledge systems and practices.

2. The indigenous knowledge systems and practices and indigenous technology

This research focus will consist of basic research to expound on the fundamental philosophy of IKSP, to enhance our understanding of it, as means to accord it protection and to raise its social value and status as a system of knowledge. Central to this focus will be the creation of the necessary intellectual space and capacity for the development of conceptual and analytical framework for IKSP in Northern Luzon. Research in this focus area will deal with issues of origin/production, utilization, transmission, evolution, and preservation of IKSP.

3. Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Health Systems

Northern Luzon has an extremely rich bio-diversity, which has remained largely unexplored. Coupled with that is extensive indigenous knowledge relating to the use of herbs and plants, on one hand, and animal products, on the other, for the treatment of disease. The focus in this research area will seek to bring this knowledge to the fore in order to investigate its potential use and integration into modern medicine and to potentially reap socio-economic benefits for the communities where such knowledge resides. At the heart of this research focus will be indigenous medicine and pharmacology, encompassing human health and indigenous medicine, maternal and child health, sexual health and disease, and veterinary medicine and animal health. Research projects in this area will as far as possible, have to integrate the following elements: indigenous taxonomy and systematics; chemical, pharmaceutical and biochemical studies; and most importantly, the socio-cultural context of the medicinal and health systems.

4. Built Forms and Architecture

What lessons and concepts can be derived from indigenous built environment to areas of spatial planning, housing, infrastructure development, and rural development in contemporary situations. Land resource management, social context of house building, and the management of the environment.

5. Indigenous Food Systems

The focus in this research area will be on indigenous methods and systems of dealing with food supply such as preservation, processing and production, as well as value addition through other approaches and the use of modern (bio-) technology.

6. Performing Arts and Literature

  • Music (including Musical Instruments)
  • Dance
  • Stories, Songs, Poetry, Proverbs, Riddles

    7. Socio-cultural Systems

    This research area will deal with the contrasts, impacts (historical and current) and dynamics of the modernity versus traditionalism divide. The main focus of research in this section will be on the delineation of indigenous socio-cultural systems, for example, ethical and legal systems; education, training and learning systems; economic systems; conflict management and conflict prevention systems; religion and culture; indigenous notions of science, mathematics, and technology; impact of modern technologies (and the cultural homogenization they bring) and the manner by which indigenous communities are resolving and/or balancing these issues; as well as the interface between these and other systems of knowledge.

  • Political Beliefs and Political Organization
  • Social Values, Ethics and Legal Systems
  • Education and Training, Apprenticeship
  • Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution
  • Kinship systems
  • Spirituality

    8. Arts, Crafts and Materials

    The goal of this research thrust will be to create space for the systematic examination (within holistic research and scholastic framework) of the socio-cultural context of indigenous arts and crafts and related matters such as gender roles and relations (with respect to usage patterns, rights, perceptions); and materials acquisition, development, innovation, transfer, composition, usage, design and sustainable utilization. Examples of arts, crafts and materials to be covered by research in this section will include, (but not limited to):


    The focus of research in this category will be on the review of the knowledge and skills in the areas of:

  • Textile weaving technology
  • Dyeing techniques and various sources of dyes – natural and synthetic
  • embroidery techniques
  • Clothing designs and patterns
  • Cloth symbols and symbolism; decoding cloth symbols for evocative messages


    The focus of research in this category will be on the review of the knowledge and skills in the areas of:

  • Clay types
  • Kilns and firing techniques
  • Kilns and firing techniques
  • Rituals associated with pottery

    Wood carving

    The focus of research in this category will be on the review of the knowledge and skills in the areas of:

  • Staff and walking sticks
  • Doors
  • Sculptures and Murals
  • Combs and dolls

    Tools and equipment

    The focus of research in this category will be on the review of the knowledge and skills in the areas of:

  • Smelting technologies – rituals associated with smelting
  • Indigenous mining techniques
  • Symbolic aspects of metallurgy

    Beads, Hairstyles, and Personal Adornment

    The focus of research in this category will be on the review of the knowledge and skills in the areas of:

  • vi) Basket weaving
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    The IKAT Institute Education Program

    In this program, the IKAT Institute pursues to hold formal, non-formal and informal education with their IKSP and rights as the focal point.

    In formal education, this program provides assistance to multicultural education. From the output of research on IKSP, the IKAT Institute provides training for teachers and administrative personnel in the areas of contents and methods, thus achieving the revitalization of instruction. The IKAT Institute will develop and conduct education and training programmes and design curriculum materials on indigenous knowledge for inclusion in the curricula of formal schools and for use by extension and other development workers.

    In the non-formal and informal education, the IKAT Institute provides opportunities for IPs to perpetuate their cultural heritage through the School of Living Tradition.

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    The IKAT Institute Community Extension Service Program

    In this Community Extension Service program, the IKAT Institute proposes to provide capacity-building activities such as livelihood training support to elevate the life of indigenous communities and peoples.

    The IKAT Institute also provides technical assistance in the administrative area to the priorities of the IPs, which are: Development Projects, Youth, Elderly and Women's Activities. Legal Assistance, Environmental Assistance, Institutional Strengthening, and Assistance in Intercultural Education.

    Development Projects. The IKAT Institute provides support in this area, given the need of the communities and organizations to obtain technical and administrative elements in order to optimize resources and carry out development activities.

    Youth, Elderly and Women's Activities are very important indigenous issues. In projects which benefit them, the IKAT Institute provides support specifically in the areas of the formulation and execution of the same.

    Legal Assistance. The existence of abuses against the dignity and rights of the indigenous peoples and the need to recover and strengthen the laws and regulations related to indigenous peoples, has led the IKAT Institute to develop this aspect of its program.

    Environmental Assistance. The IPs have a long history of the indigenous relationship with environment, storing in their IKSP, different techniques for and traditional knowledge of protection of the environment. From its researches, the IKAT Institute provides assistance for the efficient protection of the Environment.

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