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Title: Excavating a hidden bell story from the Philippines: a revised narrative of cultural-linguistic loss and recuperation
Contributor(s): Kelly, Piers  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016-08
DOI: 10.2979/jfolkrese.53.2.04
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Stories of hidden valuable artifacts are told in many parts of the Philippines. One such tale is of a church bell, concealed to prevent theft but now beyond reach (Motif V115.1.3, Sunken church bell cannot be raised). Typically, these stories are transmitted orally. However the small Eskaya community of southeast Bohol maintains a written version of a lost-bell tale included in a larger intergenerational archive of hand-copied literature. Since the early 1980s, the Eskaya have been an object of media interest for having consciously created their own "indigenous" language, writing system, and literary tradition. This paper examines the meanings of the Eskaya variant of the lostbell story in the context of community aspirations for recognition as an indigenous minority. In the Eskaya version, pre-Hispanic native faith is valorized over the corrupted Christianity introduced by Spain. The deliberately concealed church bell and its promised future retrieval recapitulates wider postcolonial narratives of cultural-linguistic suppression and revitalization, underscoring the agency of Eskaya people in their retrieval (or reinvention) of a pre-colonial indigenous identity.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Folklore Research, 53(2), p. 86-113
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1543-0413
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 479999 Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130702 Understanding Asia’s past
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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