A strong flavor of Aboriginal culture with sculptures and decorations permeate through the "homestays" and houses in the settlement. Images of Aboriginal life are scattered everywhere -- paintings on walls and wine pots dotted along the paths.
"But we have ruled that our tribe cannot raise dogs, pigs or chickens to keep the environment clean," said Tu Chuan (杜傳), the Wutai town chief. "There also cannot be karaoke activities after 10 in the evening to keep the area quiet."
It is a mixture of tradition and modernity: retaining the valuable cultural assets and chasing away the old habits that are frowned upon by contemporary society.
"We are encouraging Aboriginal tribes everywhere to build houses with modern interiors and facilities, yet with traditional exteriors and decoration, so that whenever an outsider walks into the settlement, he will immediately recognize it as an area inhabited by Aborigines," said Lin Chiang-i (林江義), director of the planning department at the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples.
"Right now it is very difficult to tell one tribe from another. Most tribes have lost their own identities and have similar appearances. We want to correct that, and help each tribe to rebuild their neighborhood with their original culture, so that people can identify the tribe easily when they walk into the area," Lin said.
The government-sponsored Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park (
The 82-hectare park preserves the traditional buildings from nine official Aboriginal tribes and shows each tribe's own dances and songs.
"We are careful about maintaining each tribe's own features and characteristics in the performances, unlike most shows you would see in the plains which now take a bit from every tribe and mix everything together," said Katohai (
"What distinguishes us from the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village (九族文化村) is that while they have mixed different tribal features together to design entertaining programs for visitors, we insist on separating each tribe's features," Katohai said.
Last year President Chen Shui-bian's (
With this policy in mind, the council proposed the "New Tribe Movement" (原住民新部落運動), which focuses on industrial development in the tribes and recovering their traditional appearances.
The council is also hoping to help Aboriginal youths get jobs in their hometowns.
"We hope to encourage the local people to take up the mission of recovering traditional cultures, get work and make money in their own tribe," Lin said.
However, some believe that this goal may be difficult to achieve.
"Sometimes you have to ask what kind of jobs the young people can do in the tribes," Tu said.