All’s well that ends well?
Representatives of Nas Academy met with Whang-Od and other members of the Kalinga indigenous community on Sunday, October 24, to make a formal apology after the online learning platform’s much-publicized conflict with the acclaimed tattoo artist over an online course.
At the meeting, held in Barangay Buscalan, Kalinga, with the aid of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR), the Nas Academy team met with Whang-Od and the chiefs of Kalinga’s Butbut tribe to apologize for the controversy, as well as to share a traditional meal symbolic of their reconciliation.
In early August, Nas Academy was criticized after it posted a purported online course on traditional tattooing featuring Whang-Od, which Whang-Od’s grandniece, Grace Palicas, called a “scam.” Though the academy took down the course in response, it insisted that it had gotten consent, showing a video of Whang-Od affixing her thumbprint onto a contract.
The NCIP-CAR then investigated the conflict, and later affirmed that Whang-Od had not consented to the course.
It found that Nas Academy did not “explain or discuss” provisions of the contract to Whang-Od, and that “what was assured of her is external to the terms of the contract.”
It also questioned the validity of the thumbmark affixed onto the contract, noting that it was different from a thumbmark Whang-Od affixed onto a clean piece of paper.
At the reconciliatory meeting, Kalinga Representative Allen Jesse Mangaoang conveyed the request of the tribal elders that the erroneous contract be declared null and void, which was later affirmed by Nas Academy’s legal team. – Rappler.com