Netizens on both sides of the Nas Academy and Whang-od dispute have shared their sentiments on social media. In this article Professor Nestor Castro, a specialist on cultural, ethnicity, and heritage, has shared his opinion on the issue.
Nas Academy, the online platform of Nuseir Yassin (a.k.a Nas Daily), announced a course on Kalinga traditional tattooing to be lectured by none other than the famous traditional tattoo artist herself, Whang-od. The online course is called Whang-od Academy and would allegedly “reveal all the rituals, tools, and methods for making the traditional tattoos”.
It was then made in public as a “scam” by Whaong-od’s grandniece, Gracia Palicas, and claimed that her grandaunt never signed any contract with Nas Daily nor with Nas Academy.
“Some people are taking advantage of our culture. PLEASE HELP US STOP this disrespect to Apo Whang Od and the Butbut Tribe,” posted by Palicas on her Facebook account.
Nas Daily answered back with a video that Whang-od had put her thumbprint in a contract signifying that the planned Whang-od Academy is not a scam.
The problem and solution
“Nas Daily does not understand Kalinga culture. Whang-od is not just an individual artist but she is also a member of the Butbut Tribe of Kalinga,” Castro wrote on his Facebook.
With this Castro added that the “consent of the Butbut tribe is necessary” if this art of traditional tattooing will be revealed publicly.
Furthermore, the “Philippine law Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations requires Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) when the knowledge of indigenous peoples is used for commercial purposes, added by Castro. The signing of the contract should also be witnessed by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Nas Daily has millions of followers worldwide and it is indeed a great platform and exposure of Whang-od’s traditional tattooing style if it is the ultimate goal. This will not only benefit those who want to learn Whang-od’s style but also preserve its heritage.
If the contract is fair and the intention is good, this misunderstanding can still be corrected if proper protocols are met. It is still not too late.
You can read Prof. Castro’s complete post on his Facebook account on this link.