Greater Kaohsiung has lifted restrictions on annotations for Pingpu (lowland) Aborigine ancestry in household registration documents, which goes into effect soon. Greater Kaohsiung residents or direct blood relatives of people who were registered as “cooked” (assimilated, or shu in Chinese) Aborigines — Pingpu — in household registration census records during Japanese colonial rule, or who have documents for temporary residence or cancellation of residence from that period, will be able to add their Pingpu ancestry to their current household residence documents.
Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tseng Tzu-wen says that the move is meant to help people make a record of their ancestry, and does not interfere with regulations regarding identity and evidence in the Status Act for Indigenous Peoples. People can apply of their own accord to do so and can authorize someone else to do it for them. The household registration offices will not take the initiative or force people to annotate their Pingpu descent, Tseng says.
During Japanese colonial rule, “assimilated” or Pingpu Aborigines would have the word “cooked“ marked in the “ethnicity“ column of the household registration records.
Prior to the merging of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County, the Siraya Pingpu Aborigines were considered to be part of Kaohsiung County. A matrilineal society pushed off their land by the Han Chinese, the Siraya originally lived in Greater Tainan, but were forced to migrate to Chiashien, Liouguei, Neimen and Taoyuan districts in the Kaohsiung area.
The former Kaohsiung County government conducted a census in April of 2009 that included all of the county’s household registration offices, and among the more than 14,000 lowland Aborigines in the area, Liouguei District had the highest number (3,853), followed by Neimen (2,888) and Chiahsien (1,409) districts.
In order to help people find their roots and because of geographical proximity and the fact that they are in the dispersed area, the Greater Kaohsiung, Greater Tainan and Pingtung County governments are all offering the service of annotating household registrations for people with Siraya ancestry or who are descendants of Pingpu Aborigines during Japanese rule.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)