In 2007, Leny Strobel developed a list of traits possessed by individuals who have awakened into a different sense of being, often as part of their reconnection with their Filipino heritage and growing awareness of babaylan practices.
1. She understands European and American colonial history and its psychic and epistemic violence on herself and her people.
2. She understands that her presence in the US is a product of this history. The narration of US history as it relates to the Philippines should be understood as an imperial and colonial narrative in need of critique and revision.
3. She does archeological psychic work to uncover, discover, or reimagine, what her Filipina indigenous memory is trying to teach or reveal to her.
4. Filipino indigenous memory reveals intuitive knowledge about who she is as an indigenous woman. Indigenous Filipino theorizing includes language-based concepts like Kapwa, Loob, Damdamin, Diwa, Dangal, Paninindigan — that gives a decolonized Filipina a narrative that anchors her identity and her life work in Filipino values.
5. She recognizes that the framework of indigeneity and decolonization can serve as a powerful critique of modernity and its discontents. After all, modernity is the newbie on the block (only 500 years old and yet has brought more havoc on the planet than anything before it).
6. A decolonized Filipina knows herself as a “self-in-relation” (kapwa) rather than the product of the western and liberal notion of the self as an “individual with free will” acting out of its self-interest.
7. A decolonized Filipina understands that the location and position of her Fil Am community need to be reframed away from the model of assimilation into US society. The assimilationist model has long been debunked as an unviable and an unsustainable one.
8. A decolonized Filipina in the US understands that she lives on stolen land from indigenous peoples on this continent. What are the implications of such realization? What is the connection between the taking of the Philippines by colonizers and the taking of this continent?
9. A decolonized Filipina understands the uses of history in order to be an effective and powerful woman in the US context. If NVM Gonzalez is correct in saying, “To be a good American, you must be a good Filipina first,” how does a US-born Filipina begin to articulate what it means for her to be a good Filipina?
10. A decolonized Filipina has a global perspective that is informed by what the rest of the planet has to say and not just the US perspective.
Contributed by Leny Strobel, originally posted on Kathang-Pinay, 24 October 2007.
Links accessed 7/5/09.