Head Hunting William Jones

Latest News: CCP’s Cinemalaya Festival premiered Headhunting William Jones Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 12:45. Film was sold out!

  Headhunting William Jones
A 90-Minute Video Documentary
   Philippine © 2016 Collis H. Davis All rights reserved.

This is excellent historical research: a deft exploration of a part of American colonial history that’s largely inaccessible from scholars. Until now, until your film. You and Violeta Hughes have done immeasurable service to Philippine (and American) history by the telling of the life and tragic death of a major American anthropologist. Thanks for sharing this excellent film documentary. Students, historians and scholars should view your film.

To me, your work on the mysterious death of William Jones has always been the most fascinating Fulbright research project during my term at PAEF. Being associated with Franz Boas, being a PhD, and a Native American all add to the research magical brew. I’m proud that Fulbright was a part of your important research project.”
Alex Calata 7/23/2016, former Director of the Philippine-American Educational Foundation.


This video documentary tells the story of the extraordinary odyssey of an Oklahoman Fox native from Indian Territory to the Harvard Club to the wilds of headhunting country of Northern Luzon, Philippines, 1907-1909. "Headhunting William Jones" explores themes of the assimilated Native American, the ethnologist as American patriot, and the scientist as Victorian. "Headhunting William Jones" is important to the field of Philippine-American history as William Jones can be regarded as a prism-like figure through which the complex motives of 20th century American Expansionism can be seen. In terms of biography, while William Jones's stellar success in educational achievement was touted as an affirmation of the U.S.'s Federal Indian educational policy, his failure to distinguish between his highly judgmental moral views of his Ilongot hosts and that of purely scientific observation as an ethnologist reveal character flaws in the scientist that eventually cost him his life. Substantively, the work will consist of interviews of scholars -- anthropologists and historians -- on both sides of the Pacific, as well as Ilongot elders; and visually, it will utilize contemporary videography of the Cagayan River Valley and the Oklahoman landscape, period still photography (some which was shot by Jones), archival film footage, computer graphic 3-D animation and the artwork of Frederic Remington and other painters of the American West whom Jones admired and wrote about while he was a graduate student at Harvard University. This production will feature a sound track of narrational voices set to a score composed and arranged by a composer to be announced consisting of newly-interpreted period melodies of the turn-of-the-century United States, including excerpts from period music music and that of the Ilongots.

Prior to my arrival in the Philippines in 1995 as a Fulbright Scholar to conduct research for a documentary film titled "RICE: A Cultural History", I had conducted some initial research in 1994 on the Federally-supported Indian education program (1877-1923) at the then Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute with a documentary research and development grant, and it was at this time that I stumbled upon the story of William Jones. As one of Hampton's esteemed and most celebrated Indian graduates, Jones' unexpected death in Northern Luzon (March 28, 1909) resulted in an understandably biased account of the incident favoring Dr. Jones, and by implication the interests of the Institute. Called "An Indian Martyr to Science" by Major George Bowers (Bowers 1925, LIV:145-153.), formerly a Philippine Constabulary officer who befriended Jones, the anthropologist was eventually enshrined within the righteousness of the American pacification program of the Philippines that was designed to quell resistance to U.S. Colonization in the early Twentieth Century.

Quirino-NuevaVizMap001But after having been in the Philippines for a few weeks, I was urged by my University of the Philippines colleagues to investigate La Solidaridad, the famed Ermita-based bookstore, and it was there that I came across The Ilongots: 1591-1994 (Salgado, 1994). I realized then that there was a lot more to the story than I first surmised while in the Hampton University Archives. Although Salgado's book had a very distinct political agenda (Ilongot opposition to the Ramos administration's Casecnan and Diduyon hydroelectric dams), this book's references indicated to me that this story was worth looking into more deeply. I also pursued another source, Prof. Renato Rosaldo of Stanford University where he was chair of the Anthropology Department. It was the biography, William Jones: Indian, Cowboy, American Scholar, and Anthropologist in the Field (Rideout 1912) that led to Rosaldo's doctoral dissertation. (Rosaldo 1970) And finally, it was the existence of William Jones's field diary (Jones 1907-09) that cinched it for me. So, with Fulbright's concurrence, I decided to table my rice research and focus on the William Jones story. What developed out of this initial research was a 17-min videotape. Since the completion of this work-in-progress, more footage has been shot in Apayao, Isabela and Quirino provinces, Northern Luzon, Philippines, including an interviews with Ilongot elders and the son, Pepito Dumaliang, whose father, Romano Dumaliang, Jones's assistant in the field, who recalled the stories about William Jones.

WJParentsSMVdBorn of mixed parentage, "more white than Indian" as Jones was heard to say while a student at Hampton (Rideout 1912, 27), his Indian grandmother, the daughter of a Fox chieftain, reared him after his mother, Sarah Penny Jones, died when he was a year old. At the age of nine, the death of his grandmother brought him under the care of his heretofore-absent father, Henry Jones. Following a three-year stint in an Indiana-based boarding school, Jones returned to his father's home in the Indian Territory and began to work as a cowboy for the next three years. In 1889, he was recruited to an Eastern school, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia, the only historically-African American institution to educate Native Americans under the same roof (1877-1923).

Samuel C. Armstrong, the son of Hawaiian-based missionaries and a former Union Army General, founded Hampton Institute in 1868 to educate newly-emancipated blacks in Hampton, Virginia. Only a decade later, Armstrong seized upon the opportunity to educate Native Americans by following the example he established for black "uplift" during the post-Civil War period of The Reconstruction. White reformers like Armstrong saw new opportunities to foster the Assimilation and Civilization of dispossessed Indians (from their tribal grounds into reservations) and to bring them into the American mainstream and, at the same time, leverage new Federal funding for the Institute to the tune of $167 per head. "An assemblage of ideas -- that had been applied to a few tribes much earlier -- the replacement of tribal identification by identification with race and American citizenship, of communal land holdings by individual homesteads and private property, of native languages by English, and of the Great Mystery by Christianity -- came to the forefront of Indian reform. Behind this policy was a commitment to ‘education’ as the vehicle for a complete cultural transformation of the Indian." (Lindsey 1995, 12)

In his third year at Hampton Institute, Jones became a Christian and joined St. John's Episcopal Church, the Nation's oldest Anglican congregation (founded 1610), as an "honorary white"1 unlike his African-American classmates who were barred from joining any "whites only" institution due to the State of Virginia's racial segregation laws. Jones proved to be an exemplary student at Hampton and went on to higher educational achievement in the ensuing years by attending Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts, Harvard College and Columbia University where he earned a Ph.D. in ethnology under Franz Boas.

TSSAkiMaruPrior to his Philippine expedition on the Aki Maru (1907), an appointment he reluctantly accepted, Jones had performed pioneering research on Algonquin (Algonkin) languages and Indian folklore throughout the Midwest and parts of Canada, some of which was featured in his Ojibway papers never completed, unfortunately, due in part to his illness in June, 1905 (Rideout 1912, 123) and the distraction of his preparation for his Philippine research under the auspices of The Field Museum of Chicago.

Anthropologist, Robert Hall, wrote that "Jones' description of the Fox soul release and spirit adoption ceremony was one of the early and classic descriptions of ceremonies of that kind (Hall 1997,44)...and following up on the implications of Jones' paper takes one into theoretical areas of innovation, diffusion, and evolution, into contacts as far a field as the Plains Apache, Mesquakies of the Upper Great Lakes area, and the high civilizations of Mexico." (Hall 1993) Ironically, there is no recorded evidence of whether Jones was himself ever treated to a Fox spirit adoption ceremony following his untimely death in the Philippines, even in absentia. Staff members at the Fox Reservation in Oklahoma informed this researcher in 1999 by telephone that while such records were maintained by the tribal administration none were found in Jones' case.2

a_RSWoodwardOther questions abound about Jones's inability to secure steady employment in the Carnegie Institution of Washington or the Bureau of Ethnology despite being among the Nation's first ethnologists of Native American ancestry, including James R. Murie (1862-1921), another Hampton alumnus. In a 17 May 1907 letter to H.B. Frissell, Headmaster of Hampton Institute, R.S. Woodward (right), President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (DC), expressed exasperation about Franz Boas' constant lobbying efforts on behalf of Jones in winning a permanent post at the Carnegie. Woodward first stated in his letter that Jones was delinquent in completing research projects (on Algonquin religious practices) already funded by the Institution and that this alone disqualified Jones from any further consideration. Woodward's second point was that

“Professor Boas seems to feel that there is a great danger of losing an able man by permitting him the freedom of apron strings. I have no sympathy with this view. My opinion is that one of the best good fortunes that could happen to Dr. Jones would be to feel the freedom and the responsibility of such independent work as he may do in some foreign country.”

FranzBoasWhat did Franz Boas mean when he suggested to Woodward that Jones was not, by implication, "ready" for the "freedom" that Woodward was advocating? And was not Woodward being slightly hypocritical in suggesting freedom and independence for a researcher who was unable get his research done on time in spite of an extension grant? (Woodward, 1907) Is this not an illustration of the so-called "white double-standard" that blacks frequently experience in the U.S.? Was it, in fact, race discrimination that lay behind the official reasons for a denial of an appointment? Woodward already knew at this time Jones had the Philippine option available to him, so this state of affairs made it very convenient for Woodward to dismiss Boas' professional concerns (and possibly a political problem for Woodward) by invoking a kind of grandiloquent destiny for Jones' "professional development," who was 36 years of age by then.

Before delving into the details of this story, some background regarding the role of anthropology in the Philippines during the American Colonial period, covering the years 1901-1910 is in order. With the annexation of the Philippines by the Americans in 1898, new forms of science, including anthropology, were instituted here. The Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes was formed with an ethnological mission to study the level of "social advancement" of newly incorporated groups (read, non-Christian tribes), and administrative, to recommend policies for their control and "uplift" as part of a "civilizing" process. A focus on the non-Christian tribes aimed to "supply many of the justifications for American retention (of the Philippines as a colony): 'tribalism' as an argument for American nation building and 'backwardness' requiring paternalistic American guidance." (Kramer 1998, iv)

Rudyard Kipling, in his turn-of-the-century poem, "The White Man's Burden", gave voice to the mission of Americans in the Philippines and extolled the virtues of "selfless, unrewarded, unappreciated service, undertaken because of the inescapable responsibility to bring the benefits of Western civilization to those without it: (Jenista 1987, 240)

      Take up the White Man's burden --
      Send forth the best ye breed --
      Go, bind your sons to exile
      To serve your captives' need;
      To wait, in heavy harness,
      On fluttered folk and wild --
      Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
      Half-devil and half-child.

      (Kipling 1899, stanza 1)

It is fair to say that Jones subscribed to Kipling's exhortation and the purposes of anthropological research in the Philippines. Lending credence to Jones's concurrence with the general directions of the anthropological project was an unofficial offer made to him by a Mr. Brink of the Division of Education that would give Jones "a governorship of a sub-province of wild people". In his November 28, 1907 letter to George Dorsey, Jones discussed his interest in accepting the offer, saying "that the essential thing wanted was a man who would be in sympathy with the people and would get them in something like the right attitude toward the government and its purposes." Brink cited two other instances in Philippines in which "men had been made governors of sub-provinces and had been left to prosecute special work in which they were interested." As of this writing, I have not found Dorsey's reply to Jones's governorship query.

In fact, Jones was a passionate American patriot who exhibited a keen intolerance for anti-American conduct among Filipinos while he was in Manila gathering his field gear for the trip the north. A story in the Philadelphia Ledger after Jones's death, and attributed to George Dorsey of The Field Museum (Dorsey 1909), reported an incident in which Dr. Jones knocked a Filipino man down on the ground at the Luneta when he refused to take his hat off during the playing the American anthem, "The Star -Spangled Banner". This revealed an unexpected side of the anthropologist that was to rear its ugly head on several occasions during his tenure among the Ilongots, including the moment when three Ilongot men moved against Jones with extreme prejudice.

Pung-guLandingSmAnd finally the bottom line question, what went so terribly wrong that fateful Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock, March 28, 1909 on a gray sand-spit at Pung-gu (120° 33´ longitude 16° 10´ latitude) landing? This was to have been the second such meeting for Jones to collect the remainder of balsa rafts he had ordered constructed by villagers from Panipagan and Kagadyangan, neighboring villages up-stream. Jones recorded in his diary, erroneously dated "Friday April 2," but actually it was Saturday March 27th, that he had issued an ultimatum to the two hamlets charged with delivering the six remaining rafts via one of Chief Tacadan's runners. In the message he threatened to detain Tacadan in Dumabato further downstream if all rafts were not delivered. From all accounts, William Jones, who had reached the end of his patience (and good judgment) after seeing that not all the rafts had been produced, (meaning that Kagadyangan brought three of six while Panipagan brought one of four), attempted to guide Tacadan to his boat or banquilla to take him to Dumabato.

a_GermanLugar1904mauve02This action provoked an assault on him by three of the 18-20 Ilongots who were present and curiously fully-armed. But it was Palidat (with whom Jones used to live), Magueng and Gacad who delivered the fatal blows to Jones, wounding him in the head, arm and chest respectively with head knives and spears3, according to testimony given on May 27, 1909 by Romano Dumaliang in the Court of First Instance, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, The United States vs. Palidat, Magueng and Gacad.

a_baroto-boatGreyWhat accounted for Jones's impatience and the consequent pressure he put on the villagers to make these rafts in the first place? Former governor W.C. Bryant, of Nueva Vizcaya, recounting the incident four decades later in a letter to Dr. Clifford G. Gregg, Director of the Field Museum (Bryant 1952), explained that Col. George Bowers had taken all of the available rafts down to Echague several months earlier, and wondered why Jones didn't use a larger type of craft called a baroto to ferry his collection. Based on this researcher's familiarity with the Cagayan River's level during late March (very much the dry season), Bryant's suggestion was uninformed at best. If a barato is considered to be a "larger type of craft", meaning larger than a 12-15 -foot craft called a banca or banquilla, then its draft would have been too deep to navigate most portions of the river between Pung-gu and Dumabato (known as Maddela today). Bryant also stated that bamboo wasn't plentiful up-stream in any event, and for Ilongots to search for the bamboo at this time of the year would have unnecessarily endangered themselves to having their heads taken by members of neighboring but rival Ilongot villages. According to Jones's own March 19th, 1909 letter to Dr. Dorsey about the scarcity of bamboo, Jones noted that, "The bamboo material is just far enough away to make it risky to go for it and as I write a bunch of men have gone out to search for two youths who went for bamboo yesterday and have not returned." (Rideout 1912, 188) During my recent trip up-river April 28, 2001, Romy Tiangson, my New Tribes missionary guide, informed me that it would take a full day's hike to reach the area where I was able observe plentiful bamboo sought for Jones' balsas (rafts). Therefore it is safe to conclude that Jones clearly understood the difficulties he was asking the Ilongots to undergo, but after a previous episode of broken promises, Jones was in no mood to compromise. Jones had lost his head before without repercussions; but now that this involved Tacadan, the revered and respected elder, whom Jones detained against his will the evening prior to the Sunday rendezvous, a decision was probably taken Saturday evening, March 27th, to kill Jones. This would explain the presence of 20-armed men with head knives, bows and arrows, and spears, according to Romano Dumaliang's court testimony.

PunguBalsaPredictably, Dean Worcester, Secretary of the Interior (1901-1913), condemned the slaying of Dr. Jones by fully laying fault with the Ilongots. "Many of them show a large amount of Negrito blood, and as might be anticipated, they are an irresponsible, treacherous, and somewhat murderous lot, as demonstrated by the recent unprovoked murder of Dr. William Jones, of The Field Natural History Museum, near Dumabato." (Worcester 1909, 131) But from the outset, there were dissenting opinions expressed, even officially by other Constabulary officers, who investigated the incident, in contradiction to the official line espoused by Worcester. Lt. Wilfred Turnbull, fluent in the Ilongot dialect, questioned Jones' actions, and explained that an initial batch of rafts were constructed but were washed away by a rising river, confirmed by Jones' diary (Jones 1907-09, IX: 52). "This necessitated the bringing of bamboo from a distance, drying it for several weeks, and then making new rafts." Turnbull added, "The attack was in no wise premeditated and was purely the result of momentary anger and fear for the old man (Tacadan) on the part of the young men." (Turnbull 1909) But why then were there 20 some armed men present to deliver four of six requested rafts? It would have required only two men per raft to pole the rafts to the rendezvous.

a_PaulCFreer_3Grey_aThe researcher for this documentary commissioned the construction of one raft by the Ilongots and learned that it only took 3-hours to fabricate, not counting the time required to retrieve the bamboo. Why Turnbull would say that the bamboo required drying for several weeks is unclear. Although the dates recorded in the diary of the last week of Jones' life are inaccurate 4, he indicated he had received nine rafts (Jones 1907-09, X: 18) as of "March 29th," but sent word for 6 additional rafts for delivery on Sunday, March 28th. (Jones 1907-09, X: 20) Jones' diary does corroborate that the river was swollen from constant rains during the last week of his life. 

Upon receiving word of Jones' demise, the reaction of the Bureau of Science5, which initially heralded the arrival of Drs. William Jones and Fay Cooper-Cole, and Ms. Laura Benedict6, all of whom were on expeditions sponsored by The Field Museum  of Chicago, was one of silence. The distinguished Journal of Science, published by the Bureau under the leadership of Paul C. Freer, never published a word about Jones's death, a conclusion I've reached after having checked every issue of the Journal up to five years after the incident. Evidently no love was lost between Jones and Freer based on a comment Jones made to George Dorsey, Chief Curator, Anthropology, in a January 8, 1909 letter discussing whether to assist Freer's museum project with artifacts Jones might collect for them. "Personally, I have little desire to collect for the Bureau, but will do so if our interests will be helped thereby. It's selfish, but they are haughty and damnably condescending," averred Jones. (Jones 1909, 12 )

FayCooperColeIn 1909, when Faye Cooper-Cole completed his research on the Cordillera, he routinely if not shamelessly published his article in the Journal of Science, never mentioning the demise of his own Field Museum colleague. It should be noted that Freer made sure that the Bureau devoted a full page obituary on his behalf in the Journal a few years later. I would surmise that the entire field of anthropology was silent about Jones' death except for Jones' mentor, Franz Boas who published several obituaries in Hampton Institute's journal, Southern Workman (Boas 1909, XXXVIII: 6, 334), and one in the American Anthropologist (Boas 1909, II:1, 137-139). Aside from Boaz' statements, the silence by the field betrayed its acute embarrassment over the incident. This, of course, raises uncomfortable questions about Jones's training and about his state of mind at what seemed like the conclusion of his expedition. In one his last letters to a friend dated February 25, 1909 began to speak of extending his stay indefinitely: "My work makes me lead the life of a gypsy, but it suits my heart nevertheless. I was born out of doors [a reference to his childhood as an Indian boy on the plains of Oklahoma], and the only sheltered life I have had was when you and I came to know each other [during Jones' college years]. Now it looks as if I shall keep on under the open sky, and at the end lie down out of doors, which, of course, is as it should be." (Rideout 1912, 196)

As far as this researcher has been able to determine, Jones was still engaged to his fiancee Ms.Caroline Andrus (non-Indian), a staff member of Hampton's Indian program. Proof of the fact that they had not severed their relationship can be inferred from the unsworn will Dr. Jones left to Andrus bequeathing all of his money to her. According to American school teacher, Horatio Smith, a friend of Jones in Isabela Province, Jones wrote another will updating the first, but the Field Museum claimed the updated will was lost in transit upon the recovery of Jones's effects. In a 20 October 1909 letter to Caroline Andrus, Smith informed Andrus that he decided to duplicate Jones' will with an authenticated copy before the Museum's S.C. Simms arrived in the Philippines to recover the Jones collection and personal effects. (Smith 1909)

HenryCJonesVdTrue to form, Smith's shrewd assessment of The Field Museum's untrustworthiness was borne out by its subsequent claims that Jones' updated will was lost in transit. But Andrus eventually prevailed in her battle with The Field Museum by using the authenticated duplicate will to successfully negotiate the return of Jones's personal effects, remaining salary and burial remains, even clashing with William Jones's father over other personal property left with the Museum in Chicago.

According to correspondence located at the Peabody Museum, in 1948 Caroline Andrus, in anticipation of her own death, instructed curator, Don Scott, to burn hundreds of letters of William Jones, material which might have shed more light on Jones's state of mind during his Philippine sojourn7. Dean Worcester, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, said, "I knew him (Jones) intimately. He was one of the best fellows, and when in a normal condition displayed great tact in getting on with the wild people, but at the time of his death had been living for more than a year (approximately 17-months) among the Ilongots, with inadequate food, and without white companions." (Worcester 1913)

In a videotaped interview8 with an Ilongot elder in his 80's (Davis 2001), Tao Olympio Toledo, who heard the stories about Dr. Jones from his parents, clarified several questions raised in previous reportage going back to 1909-12.

For example, when asked why the Ilongots killed Jones, Mr. Toledo said the people became angry with Jones for rejecting so many of the crafts and artifacts he asked them to construct for his museum collection. This "complaint" was reflected generally in Jones' March 2nd diary entry regarding the poor quality of the crafts such as house models, baskets, fish traps, weapons, jewelry and other "plunder" as Jones was fond of terming his collection. (Jones 1907-09, X: 7) Toledo apparently had no information about the matter of the missing rafts, which seemed to be the triggering event leading to the assault on Jones after many earlier provocations as the Ilongot viewed them. It is generally accepted that Filipinos have a "slow fuse" when it comes to expressing anger, but once exhausted, extreme violence is typically the result. As a standard operating procedure, Jones would typically manipulate any Ilongot community into giving him artifacts for his collection in exchange for goods -- beads, wire, salt and cloth -- but by showing his dissatisfaction about things he received, he would shame them into producing “higher” quality items, usually by saying that another village does better work or that he'll give the appointed tasks to another community. On March 17th, 1909, Jones described in his diary how he fired his German Luger near Ilongots to stop them from going over the other side of the river (allegedly because they had taken some items from his camp.) (Jones 1909, X: 15)

More seriously, the field diary revealed Jones to be a morally judgmental scientist.

    Since the foul weather set in (October 10, 1908), this house has
    been a general gathering place for the greater part of Tamsi.
    The people come out of their shelters and lounge about in here
    until after the morning meal. When their bellies are filled they
    depart. Their aspect is most repelling. Hands, faces, and their
    bodies are smeared with blotches of various kinds of dirt; and
    their stiff hair is disheveled. As they sit and scratch their lousy
    (a reference to lice) selves they seem more like beasts than
    human beings. (Jones 1908, VII: 52 )

In diary entries too numerous to mention, Jones makes repeated references to Ilongot hygienic habits, how men but mostly women urinate, their sometimes "immodest" ways of sitting or squatting thus revealing their private areas to a visiting observer or their physical endowments, usually referring to a women's breasts, etc. These references raise questions about the essential nature of Jones' investigation.

3IlongotsIt was the uneasiness of the colonial administration about Jones' death that goes to the heart of American-tribal relations. It came down to an uneasy equation of how to balance the apparent insult to American national pride in the slaying of Jones against American policy objectives of retaining the loyalty of Non-Christian groups. News of Jones's death was widely reported in the American press and consequently resulted in a swift retribution by the Constabulary. In a reign of terror characterized by pillaging and burning numerous Ilongot villages and their granaries, the Constabulary not only reinforced its pacification agenda (which included the cessation of headhunting) but also forced the eventual recapture of the escaped Jones' assailants by pitting one village against another. As documented by Renato Rosaldo, Lt. Wilfred Turnbull, of the Philippine Constabulary, was not above collecting heads taken by rival villages to appease the Americans, and in this instance seven heads were turned in toTurnbull by September of 1909. (Rosaldo 1980, 260-261) Left, postcard courtesy of Jonathan Best depicting the defendants.

When the defendants' death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands on March 21st, 1910 in The United States vs . The Ilongots Palidat, Dean Worcester, the well-known spokesman for American Colonial policy, flip-flopped on the issue and started placing the blame on Jones. The Court, in overturning the decision of the Court of First Instance in Bayombong, N.V., found that the three accused Ilongot men, although regarded as "uncivilized", "... committed the fatal act from what was to them a high sense of duty and obligation, that of the protection of their chief, and not from cruelty and malice."


Ironically, this was the position Worcester would have favored long-term insofar as American policy toward the tribal peoples was concerned. Rodney J. Sullivan succinctly demonstrated in his book on Dean Worcester, "Exemplar of Americanism", that Worcester was essentially a separatist when it came to integrating tribal people with the lowlander Filipinos. According to Sullivan, Worcester was only concerned with tribal people to the extent that they could be used politically in campaigns against independence and to preserve their lands from Filipino settlement but at the same time make them available for American investment and to enrich himself in the process.

a_Gen._James_Francis_SmithSmI should caution the reader in thinking that this episode about Jones' death is his only legacy. Jones was credited with having advocated on behalf of the Ilongots leading to "legislative and administrative measures as have been adopted, calculated to better their condition, that were based directly on information which I received from him," wrote Governor-General James F. Smith upon learning of Jones' death. According to a 1925 Southern Workman journal article on Jones, Maj. George Bowers wrote of Jones' successful efforts in brokering a peace between the Panipagan and Dumabato communities, former adversaries prior to Jones' arrival. (Bowers 1925)

Finally, I see striking parallels to the novel Heart of Darkness (Conrad 1899) by way of explaining what might have happened to Jones in the midst of his solitude in Ilongot country. Although Worcester claimed Jones developed an "abnormal" (mental) condition because he lived "with inadequate food, and Bruner-Scheulewithout white companions," both of these "explanations" are factually untrue; to the contrary, Jones had close friendships with Constabulary officers Lt. Schuele and Col. Bowers and saw them on one or more occasions while up-river, and for food, he had a steady diet of fish, venison, wild carabao, chicken and wild boar and domesticated pigs, just to name a few, but this is not to minimize the effects of his isolation necessarily. Unlike, Fay Cooper-Cole, who brought his wife, Mabel, to the field, Jones (although engaged to Andrus) felt he had neither the financial ability to marry Caroline nor the desire to bring her along provided they did marry prior to the expedition.

Drawing from a collection of previously published critical insights assembled by
Harold Bloom (Bloom 1996), points in common with the Jones story might include:

    1. A turn of the century story setting where European and American
    colonial expansionism was at its height in Africa, Latin America and Asia,

    2. The quest of a journey up an unknown, reputedly dangerous
    river as in the Congo and the Cagayan,

    3. "Fable of divided consciousness, between the warring values of
    passion and restraint," (Cox 1974)

    4. Dramatic tension between a hedonistic and moralistic view of life
    or existence,

    5. The central figures die at the end of the tale (including the
    Coppola/Brando version of Kurtz), and

    4. Kurtz's bride-to-be, Intended, and Jones's fiancee, Caroline , both
    of whom were shielded from the ugly realities of "primitive" places
    and horrific acts, what Brando's character, Kurtz, called, "The horror."

This is a story that is about the enigma of William Jones, the man. In spite of his impressive accomplishments in academia and in his field research in Indian folklore and linguistics, William Jones began to experience some sense of powerlessness after completing his doctoral work. It is quite clear that Boaz, his mentor, could make no headway with two major ethnographic institutions in terms of securing Jones a permanent appointment to continue his Algonkin research. Jones quipped "the whole situation was exceedingly absurd". (Rideout 1912, 121) By accepting an offer from the Field Museum to go the Philippines, Jones forfeited all of his training that had prepared him for a career very different from that which he was about to embark upon in 1907. In the early months of his sojourn among the "wild" people he basked in the adoration of the Ilongots who saw him as a "God"-like figure. He was even critical of the Philippine Constabulary for their senseless destruction of Ilongot homes simply because the residents were not there. (Jones 1908, III: 7) But Jones was still quite "needy" in the sense that he wanted to recover his own sense of power or self-esteem after a long drought of professional disappointments from 1905 onward.

Unlike his experience in the U.S., Jones was able to exercise considerable freedom of movement and personal power in his dealings with Ilongots, and who revealed his political ambition in proffering the idea of securing a sub-provincial governorship. He worked and lived in a state of limbo: institutionally, he was a civilian scientist belonging neither to the Colonial Administration of Worcester nor to the Philippine Constabulary; emotionally, he was whiplashed between his sexual preoccupations and that of his Victorian sense of revulsion at the many things he observed and wrote about, and culturally, he was a figure of indeterminate identity who oscillated between the Indian world and the mainstream white America, but ultimately found acceptance in neither.

Was it because of Jones' highly assimilated character, by virtue of his education and training, that he lost touch with a side of himself as a Native American that understood what it meant to be in the position of the Ilongot as a despised indigenous group, distrustful of all outsiders since Spanish times? I believe Jones began to unconsciously adopt the mentality and values of the Philippine constabulary, many of whose members had once intruded on Indian lands as the U.S. Calvary in the American west, as his time with the Ilongots wore on. The diary clearly shows Jones' increasing contempt for the Ilongots with respect to a host of "issues", including their inability to deliver perfection in terms of handicrafts9, their repeated lying to him about what they could deliver and when they could deliver, their social behavior, hygienic habits and constant begging for handouts. What I have gleaned from having reviewed much of this material again for this video is that Jones' expectations far exceeded the Ilongots' ability to deliver on their promises, whatever the reasons may have been for their shortfalls. Jones' loss of this perspective inevitably led to an increasing intolerance and anger on his part until both he and the Ilongots reached the point of no return.


The opening and closing of this work is more than likely to feature the "wide-open spaces" of the Philippines and/or the American West, either through Remington's paintings and/or video footage, cross- or match-cut together.

ApayaoChapel02Sandwiched in-between is a narrative structure of flashbacks interwoven or intercut with my original footage serving as unifying devices, e.g., Philippines (1) aerial flight up the Cagayan River from Aparri (at the river's mouth) as an evocation of the Coradian journey up the Congo into the Heart of Darkness, intercut with flashbacks which provide parts of the exposition of the story; and (2) location photography of Pung-gu Landing with Ilongot guides and further up river in a banca. Intercut flashback material will include images and footage of the Oklahoma Indian Territory, Hampton University, Harvard University (Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, San Juan Hill, Cuba, Admiral Dewey's attack on the Spaniards in Manila Harbor, subjugation of Filipino insurgents (insurrectos), 1898-1903, Franz Boas, American Museum of Natural History, Indian folklore and language research, 1902-1906), Jones's Cagayan Valley landscape shots, including an Episcopal chapel erected in his memory by his fiancee, Caroline Andrus, located 200 kilometers northwest of Echague in the Sierra Madre mountains of Apayao (121° 14´ longitude 17° 48´ latitude).

Headhunting William Jones will employ several points-of-view, one third person (filmmaker), the other first person consisting of Jones' narrational voice the latter of which evolves into a subset of contrasting private and public voices exemplified by Jones' diary entries versus his letters to professionals and friends in the closing months of his life. Other narrational voices, chiefly his correspondents and associates will be utilized as well.

Interview subjects include: Philippines: Professor Wilhelm G. Solheim II, Anthropologist at University of the Philippines; Pepito Dumaliang, son of Romano Dumaliang, Reverend Mark Malapit, Episcopal priest at the Andrus-funded chapel in Apayao province; Fr. Pedro V. Salgado, O.P. writer about the Ilongots; Monica Santos, anthropologist and Landingan Ilongot village elder, Olympio Toledo who heard the stories of Jones. U.S.A.: Professor Paul Kramer, Johns Hopkins University (now Vanderbilt Univ.) historian who has written on U.S. expansionism and anthropology in the Philippines; Hampton, Virginia: Mary Lou Hultgren, Specialist in Native American Culture and history at the then Hampton Institute, now University.

Audio-visual resources include: Original photography in the Philippines and U.S. (similar to footage in sample videotape, but in Mini-DV format); The Field Museum of Chicago Archives (photos, including images made by Jones plus those of other researchers, artifacts of the Jones 1200-piece collection, and documents); University of Michigan Filipiniana Collection, including the Dean Worcester Collection of photos and documents at U. Michigan Museum of Anthropology; National Archives in Washington, DC and Bethesda, MD on Colonial Administration of Philippine Islands (Bureau of Insular Affairs), including stills, motion pictures, and documents; the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives; Library of Congress motion picture collection; Harvard University’s Peabody Collection; Hampton University Archives; the American Museum of Natural History in New York City; the Sac & Fox Nation, Stroud, OK; the University of the Philippines Library; the American Historical Collection (now housed at the Ateneo de Manila University-Quezon City; and various historical societies of states such as Oklahoma, and the Frederic Remington Museum in up-state New York; and, possibly the estates of Henry M. Rideout, Jones biographer and Harvard classmate, and Edward Willard Deming, sculptor and friend of William Jones during his New York years, Horatio Smith, Charles Schuele, George Bowers and possibly Romano Dumaliang. Gramophone recordings (on wax cylinders) from Northern Luzon of the American period, including more contemporaneously recorded folk music of the Ilongot, Tinguian and Isneg tribes of Northern Luzon.

Drawing from Jones' own research into spirit adoption rituals practiced in the Fox community, I considered employing as a motif the symbol and metaphor of the owl (representing the soul of the deceased) who wanders forever in sadness because the soul was never released from this uncertain state of existence through the adoption ritual, which might have been the case with Jones' death. After having traveled to Stroud, OK in 2004, it appears that there is no surviving record of Jones's spirit adoption ceremony that would have involved his father and perhaps Jones' half-brother or -sister. Sac Indians were very reticent to discuss any details they might have known about an alleged spirit adoption rite performed on behalf of William Jones. This researcher was unable to locate father Henry Jones’s burial site either because he was misinformed by the tribal chief or that she simply did not know herself of the whereabouts of the site. I later learned that William Jones would not have been eligible for a Fox spirit adoption ceremony in any event because he was confirmed as an Episcopalian while at Hampton Insttute. Besides, anthropologist Robert Hall, who wrote about William Jones’s research into spirit adoption ceremonies, shot down this idea.

And lastly, a 2-minute 3D-computer animation reenactment was developed based on published accounts of Romano Dumaliang's sworn testimony of the slaying of William Jones. Akin to forensic video reenactments, this animation consisted of the principals involved in the incident as it attempts to reconstruct what happened.


Through the illumination of the Jones story, audiences will become acquainted with little known American-Philippine history of the early 20th century, the state of early ethnology and its interrelationship with the American colonial administration in the Philippines, and the character study of a Native American uneasily negotiating the fault lines of three worlds.



    1 For readers not familiar with the term, "honorary white", it was coined in South Africa during its Apartheid era (1948-1990) when certain privileged black South Africans and African-Americans were permitted to attend events which were traditionally reserved for whites only. Within the American South, it refers to the peculiar race politics of Jones' time in which Native American students, attending Hampton Institute, enjoyed a slightly elevated status over that of blacks who only gained their freedom from slavery some 20 years earlier.

    2 As reported by Robert hall in recounting Jones' research on spirit adoption ceremonies of the Fox and other regional groups, the imagery of the ceremony is of keen interest to this researcher/filmmaker. I am considering using this image of the wandering owl as a symbolic if not poetic motif that would eventually be explained at some point within the documentary. As of this writing, I am satisfied that the question of whether Jones was given a spirit adoption ceremony has been laid to rest. He was not given a spirit adoption ceremony due to the fact that he became a confirmed Christian in the Episcopal congregation of St. John’s church in Hampton, Virginia, per comments made to me by Fox Indian officials in Stroud, Oklahoma.

    3 Romano Dumaliang served as the State's sole witness to events that led to Dr. William Jones' death. The defendants were sentenced to death May 27, 1909 in the Court of First Instance, Bayombong, N.V. The case was automatically remitted to the Supreme Court of the Philippine Island, which commuted the death sentences to life imprisonment on March 21, 1910, Philippine Reports.  Vol. 17, March 21, 1910.  Review of Judgment of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Vizcaya. Case 5620  U.S. vs. The Ilongots Palidat et al. Re. Dr. Jones Murder. Pgs. 595-599. In the meantime, Palidat and Magueng escaped while in transit to prison and were never apprehended again. Gacad was released from prison after serving 6 years at the initiative of American “Thomasite” schoolteacher, Benjamin Nutter.

    4 Since the last entry in Jones' diary is marked "April 2nd" but in actuality it was Saturday, March 27th, therefore his March 29th entry was actually 4 days earlier or March 25th according to this researcher's calculation. It appears that Jones had received nine rafts at this time, well in advance of the fateful rendezvous at Pung-gu rapids where he was expecting 6 more but received only four. By this reckoning, Jones gave up his life over a shortfall of two rafts, or was it six rafts? In an affidavit given to Lt. Bruner on 3 April 1909, Romano Dumaliang said Jones ordered a total of 10 rafts, which would have resulted in a total of 19 rafts if one counts the 9 received earlier in the week.

    5 Bureau of Science was formally established in 1901 and was originally called the Bureau of Government Laboratories.

    6 Professor Fay Cooper-Cole was assigned to the Cordillera to study the Tinguian group while Laura Benedict was assigned to the Moro region.

    7 In a 20 March 1913 letter to Theodore Roosevelt, Dean Worcester, wrote to clarify what he claimed was misinformation that appeared in Roosevelt's Outlook magazine article, "The head-Hunters; and Hull House". Worcester wrote, "The truth is that William Jones lost his life as a direct result of foolish action on his own part...Had he been in a normal condition he would have never have done this; first, because he had no right to call on the Ilongots for rafts in the first instance; and second, because they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Filipinos of Echague, with whom they had had endless trouble and whom they greatly feared."

    8 In April, 1999 and 2001, interviews were conducted in Quirino Province at various sites related to the Jones incident, including Pung-gu landing where Jones was assaulted and Sinabgan (Landingan), Nagtipunan municipality. Romy Tiangson, a long-time New Tribes missionary in the Ilongot community, served as guide and translator for the documentary production. Please note that some the names of sites and locations have undergone many changes, and no one map accurately depicts these out of-the-way places according to either their historical names or to physical locations.

    9 It should be noted here that this researcher has viewed most all of the recovered Jones collection at The Field Museum of Chicago and videotaped selected items. It is also a known fact that Jones had been to Mayoyao in Mountain Province and had seen the quality of the Infugao crafts. Most would agree that the Ilongot basketry and similar crafts do not match those of the Ifugaos for quality or beauty. Jones might have been frustrated by this state of affairs and did not want to be embarrassed professionally by the "poorer" quality of his Ilongot collection. This is not say that Ilongots had nothing redeeming about all of their crafts as their jewelry and their hornbill headdresses are quite beautiful and unique in the opinion of many anthropologists.

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