Taiwan could recognize its 15th and 16th indigenous groups — the Hla’alua and the Kanakanvu — a government official in charge of Aboriginal affairs said yesterday.
“My ministry is optimistic that the two groups, currently recognized as part of the Tsou group of Greater Kaohsiung, would be recognized separately very soon once a territory issue is resolved,” Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Mayaw Dongi (林江義) told a Legislative Yuan plenary session.
The issue relates to the groups’ traditional territory overlapping with that of the neighboring Bunun group.
Currently, 14 groups are recognized by the government, including Ami, Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Tao, Thao, Tsou, Truku, Sakizaya and Sediq.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉), a Sediq Aborigine, yesterday questioned the stalled review of the proposal made by the the Hla’alua and the Kanakanvu people.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration appears slow to recognize more indigenous groups, the lawmaker said, adding that five groups — including the Sediq — had been recognized during the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) administration between 2000 and 2008.
The two groups have a good case for proposing distinct for their people because their cultures, languages and traditions have been academically proven as different from the Tsou group, Kung said.
Both groups live in Greater Kaohsiung: the Hla’alua in Taoyuan District (桃源); the Kanakanvu in Namasiya District (那瑪夏).
Lin and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) both said they are supportive of the recognition proposal, but Lin said there are two hurdles.
First, the number of people in both groups is currently less than 1,000, which could increase the difficulty for them to be recognized, he said.
Second, is the territorial issue, which should be negotiated and resolved by related parties before the proposal moves forward, the minister said.