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The Agta People is a photographic reflection of the demographic and cultural change of the Casiguran Agta people over the past half century. This book contains 1,054 photographs of Agtas, taken by the Headlands from 1962 to 2010. Each photo has a caption which includes the name of the individual, names of their parents and spouses, their birth and death dates, the percentage of Agta ancestry, and the year the photo was taken.
Images in The Agta People are generated from the Agta Demographic Database: Chronicle of a Hunter-Gatherer Community in Transition, published on-line in 2009. According to the wishes of the Agta community, this database is accessible to anyone and provides detailed information about the individuals in the photographs, as well as vital statistics about the Agta population.
The Agta People was first published in the Casiguran Agta language in 2009. In 2010, the Headlands personally distributed free copies of that edition to every Agta household. The present English edition is intended for anthropologists, demographers, social scientists, and students who have shown interest in the culture, history and population dynamics of the Agta people.
The paragraphs below are taken from the foreword by P. Bion Griffin, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii
A casual observer may not be aware of the range of contributions the Headlands have made to both the Agta people, the Philippines, and to the discipline of anthropology. The Agta People represents a labor of love to all three; one needs to look to the book’s sister publication to appreciate the priority given to the Agta hosts. The Agta People is an English translation of an “identical” volume in the Casiguran Agta language: Letrato Na Agta: Agta a Tolay a Megiyan ta Probinsiya na Aurora Adene ta Banwan na Casiguran, sakay ta Dinalongan, sakay ta Dilasag, sakay ta Dinapigi (Isabela) Isla na Luzon, Pilipinas. I include the full title, which lists the places the Agta reside, so that the reader will realize the importance of this book, in their own language, to the Agta pictured within. All Agta families have now received their copies.
A lesson we learn from The Agta People is that long-term ethnographic fieldwork, undertaken with personal commitment and with language fluency, has tremendous advantages for both the host community and of anthropological knowledge. Tom and Janet Headland have, however, through their publications and their care of members of the Agta community—care too great to explore here—achieved much by concentrating in one host group for decades. The depth of close personal relationships that have come out of this ethnographic lifestyle is seldom found in our discipline nowadays.
Thomas Headland is an international anthropology consultant with SIL International and adjunct professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He is also a fellow of the American Anthropological Association. His Ph.D. is in ecological anthropology from the University of Hawaii.
Janet Headland has served as a field linguist with SIL in the Philippines for a quarter century. She is a BA graduate from Bethel University (St. Paul). She and Thomas have published many scholarly articles and four previous books on the Agta culture and language; they also translated the New Testament into Agta. The Headlands’ three children were born in the Philippines and grew up in Agta communities.
Ray T. Uehara received his BS in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his MS in computer science from the University of Southern California. He has been a programmer with SIL International since 1994, specializing in academic and administrative software and databases. He co-authored the Agta database with the Headlands and provided the technical assistance for generating the present volume from that database.