How do hunter-gatherers learn? The transmission of indigenous knowledge among the Agta of the Philippines

The Agta of the Philippines depend on extensive knowledge of their natural environment for their livelihoods. However, little is known about the transmission of this indigenous ecological knowledge. This paper examines the transmission of knowledge on hunting, fishing and gathering among the Agta in San Mariano, Isabela Province. We used observation, interviewing and knowledge tests as methods of inquiry. Our results show that knowledge transmission happens on-site, is gender-specific and that pathways of knowledge transmission differ per livelihood activity. Learning among the Agta takes place stepwise but less systematically than suggested by earlier research on knowledge transmission among hunter-gatherers. We found that observation, imitation and individual experimentation are important modes of learning in all livelihood activities. Contemporary environmental and social change, particularly deforestation and formal education, have far-reaching implications for knowledge transmission and identity in Agta society