Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: aborigines in taiwan
Monday, 14 November 2011 18:25

The Mission of This Generation

Change is in the Air, Twenty Golden Years

From the 1990s, the concept of multiculturalism gradually took shape, as Taiwan amended its constitution and underwent social changes. 1996 saw the establishment of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, in accordance with the constitution, and with an integrated administrative body, which led progressively to the formation of a legal and political framework for indigenous peoples.

To those of us in our fifties and sixties, maintaining our indigenous cultural practices was an important responsibility, as we had experienced tribal life, had attended traditional rituals and could still talk to the elder generation in our native tongues. I absorbed myself in aboriginal literature, as well as investigating and translating traditional indigenous rites, taking advantage of my own reserves of knowledge on traditional practices, in the hope of preserving it for the indigenous peoples to come in the next 50 years. It was my fervent wish that aboriginal children 50 years from now would be different from my generation, struggling to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors due to a lack of information about their past.

Lighting the Kindling to Weld a New Perspective on the World

The organization of the 'Taiwan Indigenous Students Cultural Exchange Program' was an experimental attempt to encourage younger people to better themselves. The program was aimed essentially at broadening the horizons of young aboriginal people, meeting with people with a similar historical experience to us, and allowing for comparison of policy and strategies that perhaps Taiwan can learn from, as well as sharing the unique innovations that we have to offer the world. The program was planned over the course of the last few years in cooperation with other bodies, but the result was not quite what aboriginal youths had hoped for, therefore, this year the program was changed substantially, the students themselves put forth a proposal, and designed their own agenda for the visit, with groups formed from different schools.

This was a breakthrough, on the one hand it increased the participation of the young people in the program, and on the other it made them responsible for their own choices. The advocacy and responsibility of participants had to be balanced somewhat, as young people tend to plan that which they are used to, so we couldn't expect them to come back with a broader global perspective in that instance.

Ploughing Deeply, to Cultivate Cultural Soil

A lot of problems are often not simply indigenous problems. Indigenous industry is an example of this; it doesn't function in and of itself, but rather follows mainstream society. It is perhaps possible to think outside the box on this issue, and hand over responsibility for conservation and forestry over to indigenous peoples. If there was a budgetary consideration to train indigenous peoples to change the focus of their industries to conservation and forestry, restoring stability to the environment, then this would be, at least from the aboriginal point of view, a great step forward.

If these principles were to be clearly adhered to, indigenous industry, in terms of ecology, culture and existentialist concerns, would be greatly benefitted. We have to find certain industries which would engage in dialogue with contemporary society and not just doggedly attempt to keep up with mainstream culture. I believe this is the right path.

By Ta-Chuan Sun, edited by Raining Be, translated from the Chinese by Conor Stuart
Photo by Yuanxi Chuang

Video filmed by Yuanxi Chuang, edited by Nicholas Coulson, subtitled by Conor Stuart

For readers in Mainland China:

 


Friday, 04 March 2011 17:21

The Wushe Incident, 80 years on

“My people are being forced into too much labour work, causing great anger amongst them.
After the incident the two of us were captured by our people, we cannot do anything, we must go now…”

Suicide note written by Ichiro Hanaoka (Dakis Nomin) and Jiro Hanaoka (Dakis Nawi)

Foreign rulers

Every foreign ruler who once governed Taiwan had to face the problem of governing the indigenous people. In the time of the Qing government, the Hans were not only developing the land of the plains, but they were also developing the hill and mountain areas. To prevent the indigenous people from human-headhunting, the Qing government would setup mountain-pass-defences (building lookout-posts and sending people to guard them). At the same time, the Qing government were also recruiting tenant-farmers to develop land, often transcending the territory of the indigenous people, making their living space smaller. Armed conflicts between the Hans and the indigenous people became inevitable.

The Qing government imposed an isolation policy on the indigenous people when they were governing Taiwan. In the 61st year of the Kangxi Emperor, after the “Cishan Zhu Yi-gui incident”, the government banned the Hans from entering the mountain area.

In the time of Qianlong, plain resources gradually depleted as a result of Han development, the living space of the plains was getting smaller and smaller. The Qing government adopted the “To protect the indigenous people and their wealth” policy, banning Han from tenanting and selling the lands of indigenous people. However, even with this policy in place, the indigenous people were still losing their land continually invaded by the Han, causing regular conflict between the two sides.

When the Japanese began governing Taiwan, about 35 000 indigenous people had been “converted” or “half-converted” into Han and there were about 112 000 – 113 000 indigenous people still living in the mountain area. The ideology behind governing the indigenous people at the time was similar to how white American settlers invaded and occupied the lands of the Indians - the “civilised” people assume the right to develop the lands of the “uncivilised” people, rationalising the action of taking resources from the mountain area. To govern the indigenous people, the Japanese government would arrange marriages between Japanese and indigenous people, in an attempt to lessen the hatred the indigenous people had for the Japanese. The Japanese government encouraged police officers who were working in the mountain area to marry daughters of the indigenous people’s chieftains. However, after these police officers returned to Japan, they often left their wives behind, or even induced them into prostitution in Japan and Taiwan.

Conflicts due to politically-motivated marriages

There were both happy and unhappy cases in this type marriage. An example of a fortunate case would be Taimu, who became the wife of the prestigious head of the Wushe police branch after her Japanese husband Satsukai Tasukumasu was promoted to the position. Another example would be Beika Leida, the daughter of the chieftain of Maliba tribe. Beika Leida married to Shimoyama Jihei and had two sons and two daughters. Shimoyama Jihei, however, remarried a Japanese girl and returned to Japan. He left Beika Leida and the four children behind in Taiwan. Luckily for Beika Leida, the Japanese arranged for her to work in a local police station so she had something to do for a living. In contrast, Tewas Rudao, the younger sister of Mona Rudao, wasn’t as lucky. Tewas married Kondou Gisaburou who was later re-assigned to the police station in Hualien Harbor. Although Kondou Gisaburou brought Tewas Rudao with him to Hualien Harbour, he died in a mission falling down a valley. Tewas returned home to Mahepo Community by climbing across numerous mountains. She later married a man from her tribe and bore two daughters, but unfortunately they both died later. The Japanese never looked after Tewas from this time onwards. For Mona Rudao, what happened to his sister would make him anti-Japanese, a factor in the rise of the Wushe Incident later on.

Twenty days before the Wushe Incident (in the morning of year 1930 October 7th), two Japanese police officers - Katsumi Yoshimura and Okada Takematsu, were walking past the house of Mona Rudao, the chieftain of the Mahepo tribe. At the time, a youngster of the Mahepo tribe, Daho Mona Rudao and a girl Rudao Bawan were holding a wedding ceremony. Members of the tribe came to celebrate the occasion by killing cows and sheep for a feast. The oldest son of Mona Rudao, Tadao Mona saw Yoshimura walking past, so he invited Yoshimura to come inside for a drink. However, Yoshimura saw Tadao was holding a piece of meat on his hand, stained with blood. He disliked Tadao’s “dirtiness” and assaulted Tadao with his cane. For an occasion that was meant to be joyful, Tadao got angry and together with Mona Rudao’s second oldest son Bassao Mona, pushed Yoshimura to the ground. Mona Rudao later brought his two sons to apologise to Yoshimura by offering him a gift of wine; however, Yoshimura did not accept the apology, he told Mona Rudao that the incident has already been reported to higher Japanese authorities and that Mona Rudao and his two sons would receive punishment soon.

When the Japanese were governing Taiwan, not only were there tragedies caused by the arranged marriages, many construction works were also being carried out which forced the indigenous people into labour works; if they refused, then they would be severely punished. The Japanese police officers were forcing the indigenous population to provide their construction labour for free. The Japanese government continued to open up new construction works and set up police stations at every tribe and fortified point, as well as building roads, suspension bridges, Japanese dormitories and so on. During the construction period, the Japanese did not take into consideration whether it was the hunting or the harvesting season for the indigenous people, the Japanese blindly forcing them to continue construction. This stirred dissatifaction amongst the indigenous people and further built up their resentment towards the Japanese.

 

The break out of the Wushe Incident

On October 28th of every year, the Japanese government house would hold a shrine festival to commemorate Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa. October 27th was the day when Wushe would hold its annual athletics festival. About two hundred Japanese attended the festival; police officers were unarmed on that day.

While the Japanese national anthem was being played at the festival, the indigenous people, who were in the area preparing for an ambush, rushed into the sports venue and began killing the Japanese. The festival was turned hellish scene.

During the Incident, a Han shopkeeper - Liu Liang-tsai - who flaunted his powerful connections to bully others and had been named by the indigenous people as a “fake Japanese”, was killed as they vented their resentment. Another two Han were mistakenly slaughtered as they were wearing Kimonos at the time. The rest of the victims were Japanese. A total of one hundred and thirty-nine Japanese died in the incident and seven police stations were burnt down.

The Wushe incident stunned the Japanese officials. The government sent out about four thousand police officers and troops using canons, aircraft and other weapons to attack the Wushe area. However, the Japanese were still unable to force the surrender of the anti- Japanese uprising. In the end, the Japanese adopted the “using indigenous people to fight against indigenous people” policy, encouraging and rewarding other tribes who did not participate in the Wushe incident to turn against those who did. Different tribes set about killing one another, causing great misunderstanding amongst the tribes.

The Japanese who survived the Wushe Incident became even more hostile against the surviving family members of the anti-Japanese indigenous uprising. In April of the sixth year of Showa (year 1931), the Japanese ordered the Atayal people who had been forced to join the Japanese army to slaughter a hundred and ninety-five surviving family members of the anti-Japanese indigenous people who were unarmed, and decapitated a hundred and one heads of these people. This event is known as the Second Wushe Incident.

In the eighth year of Showa, indigenous people found a human’s remains which was much taller than an average man, it was determined to be the remains of Mona Rudao.

 

The tragedy of the Hanaoka brothers

Cultural differences (the Japanese did not respect the customs of the indigenous people - such as face tattooing, the practice of “putting one’s hand on another’s shoulder and drink like brothers” and so on), together with the arranged marriages policy and forced labour upon the indigenous people, all contributed to this tragic slaughtering event. However, hatred doesn’t solve the problem, if there is a lesson to be learnt from this piece of history, it is that rulers have to be more respectful of those who are being governed.

In the Wushe Incident, every victim and their surviving family members have their own stories to tell. Among them, what happened to the Hanaoka brothers would probably be the most tragic of all.

The Japanese have always seen the Hanaoka brothers as a successful case of the indigenous people being “moralised”. The elementary school in Wushe normally only accepted Japanese students, however, the Japanese were trying to lasso and “civilise” the indigenous people, so they sent the Hanaoka brothers and others to Japanese schools to study.

Ichiro Hanaoka graduated from the training school at National Taichung University of Education. He became a level B security guard at the Wushe branch. Jiro Hanaoka graduated from the advanced course at elementary school in Puli, he was a guard in Wushe. Both Ichiro and Jiro accepted marriages arranged by the Japanese government.

Right after the Wushe Incident, there was a rumour that the incident was instigated by the Hanaoka brothers and they were accused of having betrayed the Japanese. After the Japanese regained Wushe, they found a suicide note outside Jiro’s house which was wriiten by Ichiro and Jiro ”We are leaving this world now. Our people are being forced into excessive manual labour, causing great anger. After the incident the two of us were captured by our own people, we cannot do anything, we must go now” The Hanaoka brothers, who received Japanese education, got caught in between the complex racial issues of the two sides. Ichiro and Jiro took twenty-one of their family members to Kotomi mountain where they committed suicide. Ichiro cut the throats of his wife and children before committing “harakiri” (putting a knife into his own stomach to commit suicide). Jiro and his family members adopted the traditional Atayal way of hanging themselves on a tree to commit suicide, only his Japanese wife lived. It is said that she did agree to die with the rest of the family, however, her husband Jiro convinced her to live on in order to protect the baby in her. His wife became the most important survivor and witness of the Wushe Incident.

Whenever there was a discussion on the Wushe Incident about the Hanaoka brothers in the past, different speculations would come up. Some suspected that the Japanese murdered the Hanaoka brothers and their family members and then made the murder scenes look like they were committing suicide. Some said that the Hanaoka brothers were on the Japanese side, while others said they were on the side of the indigenous people. Teng Hsiang-yang, a scholar of tribal history who found the widow of Jiro Hanaoka, stated that when Jiro was committing suicide, he was wearing the Japanese feather- constructed clothing inside with traditional Seediq Bale clothing on the outside and equipped with a Seediq Bale knife on his waist. After the widow saw the suicide scene of Jiro Hanaoka, she said: “Jiro must have so much he wanted to tell us.” She also said: “the Hanaoka brothers were on both the Japanese and the indigenous people’s sides, they died gracefully! Not only were they conducting themselves in such a way that they were able to face the Japanese who brought them up, but also their own people!” “They would not have died so gracefully if they were strongly leaning toward either the side of the Japanese or the indigenous people!”.

Translated from the Chinese by Jason Cheng. Illustration by Şirin Tanrıtanır


Tuesday, 01 February 2011 12:13

A Tsou tale: Homeyaya

As with the rest of Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples, the Tsou (鄒族) of Alishan have had difficulty maintaining their distinct culture and language under the Japanese and Chinese regimes of the 20th century. As with other tribes, most of the 7,000 Tsou are Christian, but they are more committed than most to the continued practice of pre-Christian religious ceremonies. The Tsou have a number of significant annual rituals, such as the Mayasvi (瑪雅士比) ‘Victory Ceremony,’ but it is the Homeyaya (小米收穫祭) or millet harvest festival is that calls all Tsou back to their home villages every summer.

Held sometime after the annual harvest, Homeyaya does not have a fixed date. Major festivals like Mayasvi or Homeyaya can only be held in the kuba, or ritual pavilion, of a village with a traditional chief—conditions which today are only met by the villages of Tapangu 達邦 (Dabang) and Tfuya (特富野). These larger communities known as ‘Hosa’ are the center of Tsou tradition, and many of the wealthier families have traditional bamboo rooms attached to their modern Taiwanese style houses. The private religious ceremony is held at night, finishing before dawn, which marks the beginning of the festival component, both more celebratory and more public. Guests visit the home of every friend and relative that has one of those traditional rooms, eating and drinking at long, low tables stocked with Taiwan Beer and rice wine (米酒) and local foods like wild boar, deer, or chicken. The Homeyaya concludes with a convocation of the village elders.

While Tsou settlements such as Laiji Village (來吉) were devastated by Typhoon Morakot in 1999, Tapangu survived.

 

 

 

Tsou3

 
 
 

The entrance to the Tapangu Hosa

Tsou4

 
 
 

The ceremonial rooms are constructed out of bamboo in the traditional style, and decorated with hunting tools and trophies

 
 
 

Tsou10

Locally raised and hunted meat is served along with soup in a bamboo pipe bowl.

 
 

Tsou6

 
 

A Tsou elder and his wife

tsou13

The kaba or ritual pavilion

tsou14

The kaba or ritual pavilion. The signs read ‘No admittance except for ritual personnel’ and ‘No women allowed’

Tsou8

Homeyaya ends with a council of Hosa elders

Tsou17

Cultivation of Alishan tea is a major industry for the village

 
 
 
 
 

For more information on the Tsou traditional ceremonies please browse the following links:
 
 

Monday, 28 December 2009 20:03

Renovate the riverside for a new city image

Creating free public spaces

The cleanup of the Danshui River has already produced a gradual improvement in its water quality. Combined with the development of wetlands it has formed an ecological corridor which also provides an alternative for urban sewage treatment, meeting with the energy saving, low carbon emission objectives of a sustainable city. The next step is to make the creation of urban open space for the Taipei metropolitan area, a part of the overall environmental policy.

The main necessary condition of an urban open space is that of public accessibility. When building an open space, it must be open to the public. The public should be aware of these places, have access to and be able to conduct their activities in these spaces and the spaces should be connected to the public transport routes, such as bicycles, walk paths and so on.

In addition to this, how open an open space is, depends on the freedom it provides. Contrary to normal urban construction areas, open spaces are far more than a part coloured in green on a land use map. They should provide the potential for spontaneous activity which the citizens are free to choose and it should encourage social interactions. It is for these reasons that the community building work currently being promoted with the Amis Sijhou tribes on Xindian Riverside in Taipei County has extra significance.

The rich city culture of the urban Aborigine tribes

The Sijhou tribes are located on the Xindian waterfront. Both the flood prevention path and part of a bicycle trail pass in front of the Sijhou tribe. When the middle class families from the city cycle the bike routes during their leisure time, they pass by the Sijhou tribe and see our community gathering and eating areas enhanced by the friendly, hospitable atmosphere of the Amis. This community eating space, which is called Badousi in the Ami language, also displays the vitality of this Ami community.

This Ami settlement on the riverside, is most certainly not a dark corner of the city, nor is it built illegally. On the contrary, the Xindian Sijhou tribes bring the ocean culture all the way from the Hualien-Taidong coastline. Since migrating to the cities, the culture now manifests itself as a lively social interaction space in our urban open space. Thus, they must not be marginalised outside the city.

The Sijhou housing issue therefore warrants the ending of selfish interests from those at Taipei County’s Water Resources Bureau and the Indigenous People’s Bureau, amongst others. They must break through the undue legal and formal restrictions, to create an opportunity for an historical breakthrough on Taiwan’s urban Aborigine housing rights. Resolving this problem will allow the Environmental Protection Bureau to build on their success cleaning the Danshui River and the Water Resources Bureau to continue cleaning the Sijhou area of the river, at the same time further enriching Taipei’s urban culture.

I must emphasise that the Ami are people of the water who they do not fear rivers and oceans. They are different from the Han Chinese so deeply rooted to the land and are even further from bureaucratic culture and the rationale of modern engineering. The Ami knowledge of the wetlands combined with their agricultural production and fishing operations, makes for an excellent cultural and ecological classroom. The Sijhou urban Aborigine culture is not merely a marginal culture waiting to be reeled in and integrated by the government; furthermore, Taipei’s urban culture is not one full of ideological bias, one that disregards citizens of different ethnicities, sex or class, and one where all conform to an identical urban culture. The Xindian Sijhou tribes are part of the city, and urban aborigines are citizens.

Following the shaven head protest by the indigenous movement with film director Hou Hsiao-hsien on Ketagalan Boulevard, the strong support from the Mayor of Taipei County Chou Hsi-wei, the efforts of the Water Resources Bureau and a whole year of participation on the design by the students and teachers at NTU’s Graduate School of Building and Planning, we have now reached the final mile in the plan for the Amis culture park. We call for the National Property Administration to use the cheap rent model employed on school land in the USA and for the Indigenous Peoples Bureau to compile a register of the remaining inhabitants in the Sijhou Ami Culture Park area so that an official document requesting support with expenses can be presented to the central Council of Indigenous Peoples, allowing for the commencement of the next stage of the building process. This last bit of effort is still required for the realisation of this beautiful dream.


Remodelling space, reshaping our urban image

The wetlands and the ecological corridor of the Danshui River are also areas of open land with water flowing through them; thus they are also the borders between districts. No matter which shore of the river one is on, when one looks back over the city you get a special view of the skyline, helping us to know the city and creating a unique urban image. Therefore the relaxing of restrictions and size management for urban design should compliment the remodelling of our urban image rather than working under commercial and developmental pressures and giving up controls on size and height, leading to an enormous quantity but exaggerated density, and a lack of variety in the size of constructions. This damage is a legacy of the rapid urban development administered in Taipei County and also a burden of the Urban and Rural Development Bureau.

The remodelling of the urban open space on the Danshui riverside is a new opportunity to recreate our urban image. The limits on construction on both sides of the Danshui River are indeed too relaxed and the skyline is too homogeneous, appearing flat and uninteresting. Crossing the river during the daytime, is nothing like experiencing the picturesque River Seine in Paris, nor is the night time crossing anything in comparison to the silhouette of Shanghai’s Huangpu River or the Pearl River in Guangzhou. Therefore if there are some high-rise buildings to serve as landmarks, it could help strengthen our urban identity.

Translated from Chinese by Nick Coulson
(Photo by Wu Jinyong)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 00:00

The "Blackboard Revolution"

Sixteen years ago, Chang Shu-mei came to teach at Wu Lai Middle School. She already had 13 years of teaching experience before that. She had high expectations when she first came in the mountains, but after a year, she began to doubt of herself. The educational method which evaluated grades by written examination just put a bored grin on aborigine children’s faces. As the teachers had to finish the programs in a certain time, she had no choice but to “accelerate” the speed of teaching. But the children could no longer understand anything at all. This situation got worse and worse. So Shu-mei thought: “Have I done something wrong? Where did I go wrong?” The confidence built by long experience of teaching had disappeared in a minute.

At that time, she met Professor Guo Jing-zi, who had just come out of the research lab of the special education department. After she consulted Professor Guo, she knew how to change the teaching method. Her “Blackboard Revolution” started. Shu-mei had changed her way of teaching and designed various teaching materials made to meet aborigine children’s needs.
The atmosphere in the classroom has changed; children have started to get more concentrated. During math class, which was the toughest before, the math formulae are not “spoken” anymore from the teacher’s mouth, instead they “grew” from a big tree on the blackboard. And all the other courses, including Chinese and English, are also taught in a different way.

Wu Lai is the only aboriginal town in Taipei County; National Wu Lai Elementary and Middle School is located on the intersection of Nan Shi brook and A Yu brook. Tayal Children (coming from the five main villages in the town— Zhong Zhi, Wu Lai, Xiao Yi, Xin Xian, and Fu Shan Village.) represent 80 percent of the students. In order to make them understand their own culture, to recognize the importance of their cultural inheritance and to participate in the development of Tayal tribes in Wu Lai, Shu-mei has also asked the adults to teach their skills of knitting. She encourages the students to participate in traditional rituals and ceremonies, and has asked the elderly to take part in native language education. She also takes her students to visit bamboo forest, to explore the sources of hot spring water, to visit the workshops of knitting, forest management spots, and hot spring hotels in Wu Lai …


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