Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - Page 3 News List

CROSSING THE STRAIT: Atayal dance for Zhang performed in ‘quasi-Amis’ dress

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun, center back, poses for a photograph during a visit to an Aboriginal community in New Taipei City’s Wulai District on Thursday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

An Aboriginal dance to welcome China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) to New Taipei City’s Wulai District (烏來) on Thursday has drawn fire because so-called traditional Atayal dancers were wearing quasi-Amis Aboriginal outfits.

“The outfits are not Atayal at all, it’s more like an Amis outfit, but then it’s not really Amis either,” Bawtu Payen, an Atayal member of the Alliance of Taiwanese Aboriginal Youths, told the Taipei Times. “It is upsetting that they’re doing such an ugly thing in our tribe’s traditional domain.”

The clothing of the female dancers was designed on the traditional Amis outfit, but the feather-like headwear was not Amis.

“Excuse me for my language, but I’d say this is a half-assed performance arranged by a half-assed government for Zhang, who said that he would like to get to know more about Taiwan,” said Oto Micyang, an Amis, and Association for Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Policies chairman. “In the end, he left the Atayal village with half-assed knowledge.”

“Not caring about the details is exactly the government’s mentality in pushing its Aboriginal policies,” he added.

Savungaz Valincinan, a Bunun member of the Alliance of Taiwanese Aboriginal Youths, agreed, saying that the Atayal dancers in Amis-like outfits shows how little the government cares about Aboriginal culture.

“Government officials may say that they arranged the performance because they want to showcase our culture, but the way it was performed only shows that that they treat our culture as entertainment, not culture,” she said.

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