Thu, Jan 04, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Murdered Aboriginal icon remembered in new book

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A biography and musical works of an Aboriginal leader executed 53 years ago were published yesterday by the Council of Cultural Affairs to present "valuable historical and cultural assets to not only Aborigines but to all Taiwanese."

Better known by his Chinese name of Kao Yi-sheng (高一生), Uyongu Yatauyungana was the mayor of the Tsou Aboriginal township of Wufeng (吳鳳) -- since retitled Alishan Township (阿里山) -- in Chiayi County.

Yatauyungana was born in 1908 when Taiwan was under Japanese rule.

Although it was difficult for native Taiwanese students to receive a higher education under the Japanese system, he was able to attend the Tainan Normal College through his connections to the Japanese authorities.

He later returned to the Tsou people's mountain communities, bringing with him new ideas and processes that assisted in modernizing the Aboriginal communities there.

During this time, he also composed many pieces of music and accompanying lyrics.

After World War II, Yatauyungana began promoting the idea of Aboriginal autonomy. When the 228 Incident erupted in 1947, however, he coordinated a group of Tsou tribesmen who joined Chiayi locals in fighting against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) forces, eventually trapping them inside Chiayi's airport.

Because of his ideas and actions, he was jailed by the KMT government and executed in 1954.

Wu Chin-fa (吳錦發), the assistant director of the council, said the release of the book and CD marked an emotional moment.

He also said that with more and more information on Yatauyungana being discovered, researchers in the area could attempt to redefine Aboriginal literature.

Pasuya Poiconu (Pu Chung-cheng, 浦忠成), the author of the biography and a former deputy minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, said that more research should be devoted to the issue.

Also present was Kao Ying-chieh (高英傑), Yatauyungana's second son, who said he was happy that justice had finally come. He thanked all those who had worked on the project.

An earlier CD of Yatauyungana's music and lyrics and research into his life were published in the 1990s.

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