Tue, Jul 31, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Aboriginal Day festivities to include shows, exhibits

MILESTONE EVENT Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod explained the importance of the celebrations and talked about future developments

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Children sing at a press conference to announce an Aboriginal music concert to be held at Taipei's Zhongshan Hall on Wednesday. The concert is one of several events scheduled through next month in celebration of Aboriginal Day tomorrow.

PHOTO: CNA

Celebrations will be held across the nation tomorrow for the 13th anniversary of a milestone event in the nation's Aboriginal rights movement, Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod said yesterday.

At a press conference in Taipei yesterday, Icyang explained the origin of "Aboriginal Day" and talked about future developments.

"On Aug. 1, 1994, an amendment to the Constitution finally adopted the term yuanzhumin [原住民, Aborigines] as a collective name for Taiwan's indigenous peoples, fulfilling a request that Aborigines had made for 10 years," Icyang said.

Before adopting the term, Taiwanese Aborigines had been called fan (, savages) during the Qing Dynasty, Takasago by the Japanese colonial regime, then shandi tongbao (山地同胞, mountain people) by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, Icyang said.

"All these earlier terms were discriminatory ... and were all decided on unilaterally by the rulers," he said.

Hence, since 1984, Aboriginal rights activists advocated the use of the term yuanzhumin, which was finally adopted after decades of protests and demonstrations, Icyang said.

"In 2005, the Cabinet then declared Aug. 1 to be `Aboriginal Day' ... to commemorate this history," Icyang said.

A series of activities will be held throughout next month to celebrate Aboriginal Day.

Highlights include exhibitions of Aboriginal merchandise at Taipei City Hall that began yesterday and will continue until tomorrow; a similar exhibition at Kaohsiung City Hall that started yesterday and will continue until Friday; concerts in Taipei, Taitung, Hualien, Taichung and Pingtung to be held tomorrow; and an Aboriginal Gourmet Week in Taipei from Saturday until Aug. 26.

Icyang also shared some of the council's goals and those of the Aboriginal movement in general.

"We will continue to promote the use of Aboriginal names, to restore Aboriginal place names in areas inhabited by Aborigines, and of course our ultimate goal is to achieve Aboriginal autonomy," he said.

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