JR Guerrero first felt the call of the indigenous when he met Kathara Philippines in 2002. “It was a faint knock in my bone that left a heavy mark.” JR has ever since listened to it grow. Through music and dance as a Kathara performer, JR explored the idea of re-indigenization and what that meant for him as settler on Coast Salish.
Currently serving as the Society finance officer, JR was instrumental in establishing the Society in its infant stage (2012). JR remembers, “I was president, performer, visionary, publicist. treasurer, outreach, event planner, graphics designer, social media, etc” owing to the hard work that he and colleagues put into Kathara in its early years.
By way of a self-directed immersion program in 2013, JR was adopted by the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe whose territories are located at the foot of Mt. Apo in Mindanao. A ritual facilitated by tribal elders led by Datu Rodolfo and Datu Gummpun welcomed JR to the tribe. As a result, a sense of deep commitment was instilled, and a promise made to the tribe.
JR continues to volunteer with the performance group by playing drums, gong (8-piece metal brass bells), and other Philippine indigenous percussion instruments.
With over 15 years work in social services, JR has helped youth, newcomers, and families settle into their new lives, education, and careers. Currently a Career Advisor in the Downtown Eastside of, JR helps support multi-barriered clients achieve independence through employment.
JR’s dream is to one day see all Filipinos in diaspora embrace de-colonization as they navigate their new lives on Turtle Island.