Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Ceremony takes edge off village’s abandoned lawsuit

Staff writer, with CNA

Members of an Aboriginal village in the nation’s east followed government procedures when demanding state compensation in the wake of a destructive typhoon in 2009, but they also addressed the dispute on Tuesday in their own way.

Paiwan and Rukai residents of Buliblosan Village in Taitung, as well as members from several other Paiwan communities, gathered in the village for an unconventional ceremony that involved the minister of indigenous affairs, 10 pigs, 12 chickens, and boxes of betel nut and millet wine.

Elders from the village and Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Mayaw Dongi participated in a ceremony in which the two sides signed an agreement in Mandarin Chinese, and the Romanized Paiwan and Rukai languages that says they would dispel any disagreements and seek to deepen their friendship.

Mayaw, known as Lin Chiang-yi (林江義) in Chinese, and other officials from his council then joined the elders for a drink.

The ceremony came after the village dropped its lawsuit against the council, the Taitung County Government, the Forestry Bureau and other government agencies on Oct. 9, apparently to settle things the Aboriginal way.

The lawsuit was filed in 2011, two years after Buliblosan was devastated by Typhoon Morakot.

The village, which has since been rebuilt, had demanded state compensation for damage to land, houses, livestock and agricultural facilities, and to cultural assets.

Mayaw said he decided to settle the dispute the indigenous way because even if his council won the lawsuit — which he said would have been likely — victory would not help repair the relationship with the village.

Chen Tsai-yi (陳采邑), a secretary with the Legal Aid Foundation, which helped the villagers file the suit, said the ceremony is called Mal jal jenguanguaq in the Paiwan language, meaning “the giving of comfort and warmth to one another.”

It is how Paiwan people end disputes, said Chen, whose group helped arrange the ceremony.

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