Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Martha McCollough

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor Martha McCollough

Lincoln, Nebraska, May 2012


Copyright (c) 2012, Angela Mae C. Buenafe


Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs’) collective rights over their sacred and cultural properties are inherent human rights recognized in international declarations like the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN-DRIP) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The incorporation of these international declarations’ standards within the United States (US) and Philippine federal laws conflicts with the attainment of Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights to protect and preserve Indigenous Peoples’ sacred cultural properties. Through a critical and Indigenous methodological framework of legal pluralism, this study describes how the Omaha sacred (medicine) bundle and the Ifugao sacred bulul are currently protected and preserved within Indigenous/customary laws of their respective communities, vis-à-vis the federal laws which also provision the management of sacred cultural properties of Indigenous Peoples (i.e. the US’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, and the Philippines’ Cultural Properties Protection and Preservation Act or P.D. 374). The results of this study outlines the political, cultural, and socio-economic complexities that revolve around the protection and preservation of indigenous knowledge within Indigenous communities; and identifies its direct implications to the actual attainment of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and human rights as stipulated in the UN-DRIP and ICESCR.

Adviser: Martha McCollough

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