National Indigenous Peoples Month - During National Indigenous Peoples Month, we spotlight the indigenous people of the Philippines' long struggle to assert and protect their rights.

National Indigenous Peoples Month 2024 – October 2024

National Indigenous Peoples month in October is a Philippine observance that aims to support and raise awareness of indigenous cultural communities. It is hoped that more Filipinos will be aware of the numerous contributions of National Indigenous Peoples Month. Indigenous peoples make up at least 10% of the total population in developing countries such as Southeast Asia. The Philippines alone has over 50 distinct indigenous cultural communities that inhabit the archipelago’s lands. These Indigenous peoples are well known for their rich artistic and cultural heritage, expertise in specific occupations, and mastery of the land that has sustained them for centuries.

History of National Indigenous Peoples Month

Indigenous people are traditional communities that have continuously occupied the land they live on and whose histories predate the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521. The Moro people of Mindanao, the Lumad people, the Kalinga people, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Igorot, Bikolons, Aetas, and Agta are among these communities. Before becoming fishermen and rice farmers, their forefathers were hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists.The indigenous cultural communities of the Philippines have a long history of struggle for their rights, ancestral domains, and autonomy. The indigenous people of the Philippines have responded to outside oppression with a variety of movements and responses over the last 100 years. This period culminated in Spanish “civilizing” missions that attempted to destroy or eliminate local cultures through forced conversions, assimilation, and transformation.The initial reaction was one of defiance. Indigenous peoples fought alongside Filipinos of Spanish descent in the Philippine revolution against Spain. However, following independence from Spain in 1898, the Filipino upper class excluded indigenous people from its definition of “Filipino people.” Instead, they only considered Filipinos of Spanish ancestry and culture. As a result, indigenous peoples are still subjected to oppression and discrimination.In recent years, some indigenous groups have reawakened the need to reclaim their birth rights and autonomy as distinct peoples within the Philippine nation-state. Indigenous Peoples’ Movements: Past and Present provide a historical overview of these struggles to reestablish indigenous identity and autonomy throughout history.

National Indigenous Peoples Month timeline

Spain Arrives

Ferdinand Magellan arrives in the Philippines, marking the beginning of the Spanish colonial period.

The Philippines Becomes Independent

Emilio Aguinaldo declares the Philippines independent from Spain and announces himself as president.

The Word is Used Officially

The United Nations uses the word ‘indigenous’ officially.

National Indigenous Peoples Month is Declared

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issues Proclamation No. 1906, designating October as the month to honor indigenous peoples' contributions to the country and to promote their welfare and cultural rights.

National Indigenous Peoples Month FAQs

Who belongs to the indigenous people of the Philippines?

The Igorot, the Lumad and the Mangyan. However, an official figure for the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines has yet to arrive. It is estimated that the country’s indigenous population is between 10% and 20% of the national population, which currently stands at around 102.9 million.

How many indigenous tribes are there in the Philippines

The Philippines is a culturally diverse country with an estimated 14 to 17 million indigenous peoples belonging to 110 ethnolinguistic groups.

What do you call the natives of the Philippines?

Filipinos or Mga Pilipino are the people who are citizens of or native to the Philippines.

How to Observe National Indigenous Peoples Month

  1. Donate to indigenous activists and groups

    During this National Indigenous Peoples Month, you can support them with a donation. I will help to fund grassroots mobilizations for environmental justice for indigenous communities worldwide.

  2. Bake some indigenous eats with the family

    With so many different types of indigenous foods to bake, this task is not only enjoyable but also educational. Depending on the ingredients available and the age of your child, you could try baking 'puto' (rice cake), 'bibingka' (rice cake with coconut and carabao cheese), or 'kakanin' (rice cake with coconut and carabao cheese) (rice cakes including Biko and Suman). Many recipes can be found online.

  3. Participate in events hosted by indigenous people

    Attending and participating in various events organized by indigenous communities will be an excellent way to learn more about our indigenous brothers and sisters. Have your family and friends tag along if they wish — the more, the merrier!

5 Interesting Facts About Indigenous People

  1. 370 million indigenous people

    You may have never thought about it, but more than 370 million native people live on this planet in 90 countries.

  2. They experience more violations

    UNESCO says that indigenous peoples experience more violations of their rights today than they did ten years ago.

  3. Inhabiting approximately 22% of the world's land

    Indigenous people occupy a significant portion of the world's land surface, and they are thought to live in harmony with 80% of Earth's plant and animal species.

  4. 5,000 communities

    Around the world, there exist approximately 5,000 indigenous communities that speak 4,000 different languages.

  5. 15% of the world's extremely poor

    Despite constituting only 5% of the global population, indigenous peoples account for 15% of the world's extremely poor.

Why National Indigenous Peoples Month is Important

  1. Indigenous cultures matter

    It is important to observe the indigenous peoples of the Philippines because their cultures matter. They have a lot to contribute to the cultural diversity of Filipino society. Many indigenous Filipinos are farmers and fisherfolk. They protect their ancestral domains from illegal logging and mining activities that destroy the environment.

  2. Overseeing the latest issues of indigenous peoples

    This month is also a time to take stock of the continuing challenges and opportunities for indigenous peoples in their country. This includes problems that have been brought about recently.

  3. It educates us about their culture

    Through various activities and programs, the indigenous people will share their culture and tradition with us. We can learn more about them and how much they have contributed to our nation's growth.

National Indigenous Peoples Month dates

Year Date Day
2023 October 1 Sunday
2024 October 1 Tuesday
2025 October 1 Wednesday
2026 October 1 Thursday
2027 October 1 Friday
International Coffee Day
World Vegetarian Day
​International Day of Older Persons
Chinese National Day
National Black Dog Day
National Homemade Cookies Day
National Hair Day
National Fire Pup Day
​Pchum Ben
National Lace Day
CD Player Day
Model T Day
International Music Day
Balloons Around the World Day
Filipino American History Month
World Ballet Day
National Day of China
Teacher's Day in Uzbekistan
ROK Alliance Day
Nigeria Independence Day
Cyprus Independence Day
World Sake Day
Tuvalu Independence Day
International Raccoon Appreciation Day
National Fruit at Work Day
Investiture of the Captains Regent in San Marino
FGTeeV Chase's Birthday
Peter Thomas's Birthday
Julie Andrews's Birthday
Latisha Scott's Birthday
Dorian Hunter's Birthday
Jurnee Smollett-Bell's Birthday
Matthew Daddario's Birthday
Priah Ferguson's Birthday
Delianna Urena's Birthday
Zach Galifianakis's Birthday
Nathaniel Drew's Birthday
Myles Parrish's Birthday
RD Benji's Birthday
Brie Larson's Birthday
Drew Chadwick's Birthday
Isis King's Birthday
National Walk Your Dog Week
Elderly Filipino Week
Health Literacy Month
​​Italian American Heritage Month
Eat Better, Eat Together Month
Emotional Wellness Month
German American Heritage Month
National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
​National Dental Hygiene Month
​National Depression Education and Awareness Month
National Dessert Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Pasta Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
​National Pizza Month
​National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
National Pretzel Month
National Sausage Month
Polish American Heritage Month
​Fair Trade Month
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month
Vegetarian Month
National Chiropractic Month
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
​Blindness Awareness Month
AIDS Awareness Month
Down Syndrome Awareness Month
​National ADHD Awareness Month
​National Critical Illness Awareness Month
​National Ergonomics Month
​National Liver Awareness Month
​National Protect Your Hearing Month
​Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
​World Menopause Month
​National Physical Therapy Month
​National Book Month
LGBTQ+ History Month
National Crime Prevention Month
Church Library Month
Halloween Safety Month
Go Sober For October
Italian American Heritage and Culture Month
Financial Planning Month
International Walk To School Month
National Apple Month
National Non-GMO Month
National Pescatarian Month
Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month
Bat Appreciation Month
National Cookie Month
National Medical Librarians Month
​National Learning and Development Month
Contact Lens Safety Month
Country Music Month
National Animal Safety and Protection Month
National Church Safety and Security Month
Head Start Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month
National Arts & Humanities Month
National Cookbook Month
Long Term Care Planning Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Audiology Awareness Month
National LGBT History Month
​National Bullying Prevention Month
Eye Injury Prevention Month
World Animal Month
National Pet Wellness Month
World Autism Month
Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month
World Habitat Awareness Month
Museums and Galleries Month
National Pitbull Awareness Month
Squirrel Awareness Month
National Orthodontic Health Month
​​Global Diversity Awareness Month
Family History Month
International School Libraries Month
Hog Out Month
Prenatal-onset GBS Disease Recognition Month
​Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Work and Family Month
​National Spina Bifida Awareness Month
The Big Draw
National Indigenous Peoples Month
American Pharmacists Month
Black Speculative Fiction Month
​Healthy Lung Month