You Are Not Forgotten: The Role of Indigenous Peoples in the Recovery of WW2 American MIA in the Philippines

National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines

Globally, over 72,000 servicemen of the United States of America were reported lost, missing-in-action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted-for at the end of the Second World War. And out of this number, more than 10,000 were reported in the Philippines – the highest concentration of American MIAs anywhere in the world. The US Government has since made efforts to locate, recover, and return these WW2 MIAs to their families for burial with full military honours. Through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and its strategic partnerships with the National Museum of the Philippines and the University of Illinois at Chicago, recent investigations in the Philippines have confirmed the locations of some of the MIAs in the remote ancestral domains of the indigenous communities of the country. This presentation examines forensic archaeology and ethnoarchaeology as effective tools in the recovery and identification of the American WW2 MIAs in the Philippines. This paper also highlights the active involvement of indigenous communities in the success of recovery missions.