Dozens of Aborigines from the three sub-groupings of the Sediq tribe yesterday submitted a petition to the Council of Indigenous Peoples asking that the council recognize the tribe.
The Sediq, who mostly live in Nantou and Hualien counties, are divided into three sub-tribes -- the Toda, the Tgdaya and the Truku.
Sediq are currently classified as Atayal Aborigines.
A separate tribe in Hualien County known as the Truku became an officially recognized tribe in 2004 and left the Atayal grouping.
The rest of the Sediq, including members of the Toda and the Tgdaya sub-tribes and Truku tribespeople who live in Nantou County, felt threatened when the Hualien Truku wanted to include the Toda and Tgdaya as part of their tribe.
"Calling Toda and Tgdaya people `Truku' is just as ridiculous as the Japanese calling us `Atayal,'" said Siyat Napo, a Sediq elder. "Please return our tribal name `Sediq' to us."
"In the draft Truku Autonomous Region Act, areas inhabited by Toda and Tgdaya are included in the Truku Autonomous Region. What does this mean?" Sediq activist Awi Nokan asked council members while holding a copy of the draft.
In response, council Chief Secretary Mayaw Dongi asked the Sediq delegates to come up with suggestions on three issues.
"First, what is the difference between the Truku and the Sediq? Second, what consequences would there be if the Truku and the Sediq became separate tribes? And third, why would they become two tribes if they were originally one?" he asked.
The questions angered some Sediq representatives.
Calivat Gadu, director of the council's department of planning, told the Taipei Times after the meeting that "there has certainly been some miscommunication during the decision-making process that led to the official recognition of the Truku."