Non-Christian, Salvaje(s), Infiel(es)

Working Definition:

For the American colonial government, along with Filipino elites working with American colonists, adherence to Christianity was considered a necessary precursor for civilization and self-governance. Administratively, the colonial government divided the Philippines into “Christian” and “non-Christian” locales, affecting the types of schooling, economic structure, and oversight these areas received. The Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, managed by the Secretary of the Interior, sought to conduct ethnographic investigations of “non-Christian” individuals for the purpose of governance and possible assimilation within “civilized” society. During the Spanish colonial occupation, salvaje and infiel both signalled similar ideas about people who were not Christian.

Related Terms:

  • Benevolent Assimilation
  • Civilization, Civilized, Uncivilized
  • Primitive
  • Race
  • Savage

Suggestions for Further Reading:

David P. Barrows, “Circulation of Information, Instructions for Volunteer Field Workers, The Museum of Ethnology, Natural History and Commerce,” The Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, December 1901.