Batak and Chokwe

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The Batak and the Chokwe Cultures

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The Batak and the Chokwe Cultures
The Batak are among the nearly seventy indigenous peoples in the Philippines. Their location is the northeastern part of the Palawan, a fairly large island of the archipelago southwest. Their name “Batak” is derived from a Cuyunon word which means “The mountain people”. This is because their traditional habitat was around the mountains. There are only approximately 500 Batak remnants. The anthropologists consider the Batak to have a close relationship with another Negrito tribe, the Ayta. They appear to be small, dark skinned and have short “kinky” or curly hair. Sometimes, the Batak go for hunting trips in the forest, a
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The people also believed in a supernatural being that they referred to as Kalunga, Nzambi. This supernatural being was believed to be the creator of the world and all mankind. The Chokwe people had certain figures and objects that represented their ancestors, for example, a mask, which was used when inaugurating the king. The figures and objects such as masks and certain carvings represented the beauty of the Chokwe people and some also served as role models. The figures were believed to have a connection with the ancestors and therefore they protected the people from evil and other supernatural enemies. Chokwe’s spiritual religion was based on their connection with nature in some manner. For example, the sand, which they used in drawing, was seen as an intermediary between the people and the divine powers. The masks and other objects represented the inner feeling of the people and their relationship with their God.
The people also believed that the diviners (tahi) had a responsibility of unveiling the causes of misfortunes or outbreaks in the community. The diviners were also believed to have powers that channeled the ancestral spirits and supernatural forces, which affected the lives of the people in the community. There was also a belief that offending the ancestors would lead to misfortunes such as: bad luck, diseases or even death. In

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