February 26, 2024

A new edition of renowned scholar June Prill-Brett’s book, “Tradition and Transformation: Studies on Cordillera Indigenous Culture,” has been released.
Edited by UP Baguio Literature emeritus professor Delfin Tolentino Jr., it was first published in 2015 by the Cordillera Studies Center (CSC) and was named as the “Best Book in the Social Sciences” in the 35th National Book Awards in 2016.
“Tradition and Transformation” is an anthology of some of Prill-Brett’s most important works on the indigenous societies of the Cordillera.
It draws from her 25 years of work in the field that is now referred to as “Cordillera studies.” Her scholarship, which may be best represented by the book, deals with Cordillera indigenous political institutions, local concepts of territorial boundaries, common property regimes, agricultural practices, customary laws governing the use of natural resources, gender relations, tribal war, old burial practices, and indigenous rituals.
Putting together Prill-Brett’s scholarly articles in one volume partly addresses the relative inaccessibility of many of her published researches on Cordillera society and culture.
Prill-Brett, who is professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines Baguio, obtained her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Anthropology from UP in 1987. In recognition of her contribution to the academe, the UP Press published the book, “Cordillera in June: Essays Celebrating June Prill-Brett, Anthropologist” (2007) edited by Prof. Bienvenido Tapang Jr.
As cited by Tolentino in his preface to the second edition of “Tradition and Transformation,” Prill-Brett’s “opinions on issues affecting indigenous peoples are often sought, and the authority of her studies on the Bontok and other Cordillera societies has received consistent confirmation from peers here and abroad.” This reputation, Tolentino continues, “rests on the coherence of her analysis and the density of the ethnographic data that backs up her findings.”
Work on the second edition of Prill-Brett’s award-winning book began in early 2018. It was followed after all copies of the book were sold out. The new edition comprises 13 chapters which include most of the chapters emended and a new chapter included, aside from the redrawn maps, a new book design, and the new addition of an index.
The new chapter, titled “Splayed Feet: An Ecological Adaptation of Mountain Populations” (Chapter 12), which is also a revised version of an earlier work, is about the phenomenon of physical deformity of the feet among the Bontok which had been often used by many in the past “to denigrate the Cordillera native as less than human.”
The original version, which was published as a monograph by the CSC in 1987, is among the many research outputs published by Prill-Brett including the book “Pechen: The Bontok Peace Pact Institution” (CSC, 1987).
The 2019 edition of “Tradition and Transformation” was introduced in a program during the gathering of the UP Baguio community in December last year.
Copies of the book are available at the bookshop of Museo Kordilyera and other bookstores. Queries may be emailed to [email protected]. – UPB release