Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Dawu villagers promoting millet

Staff writer, with CNA

Paiwan Aborigines in Dawu Village (大武) in Pingtung County’s Wutai Township (霧台) will establish a story house to help people learn about the cultivation of foxtail millet, a grain considered by many archeologists to be deeply embedded in the island’s indigenous culture.

The story house is intended to give people a glimpse of millet culture through exhibits that show in detail the planting, harvesting and processing of millet, the villagers said.

The husked seeds of foxtail millet and millet cakes are symbols of prosperity and commonly given as gifts in various ceremonies, Dawu residents said, and grain motifs are also found on many utensils.

The community also hopes the story house will become a tourist attraction that will help boost the area’s economy, which is still struggling since Typhoon Morakot devastated the region in August 2009.

Dawu is one of only two Aboriginal villages in Wutai Township whose residents did not relocate after landslides and floods triggered by the typhoon buried or destroyed many villages in the mountainous area.

The story house also includes restaurants serving millet dishes and souvenir shops.

Local residents are also trying to revive foxtail millet as an economic crop.

With the help of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, the 100 or so Aborigines living in Dawu have started planting foxtail millet and the medical herb Chinese angelica root (Angelica sinensis).

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