Sun, Jul 31, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Poll finds split on Aboriginal issues

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Ahead of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) scheduled apology to the nation’s Aborigines on behalf of the government tomorrow, the results of a poll released yesterday indicated that Aborigines and non-Aborigines have differing ideas about which issues the government should prioritize.

For the first time, the nation’s leader is to officially apologize for the injustices that the governments of Taiwan have perpetrated against Aborigines, as a step toward reconciliation and transitional justice.

However, the results of a poll conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank show that people of different ethnic backgrounds have different ideas on the most important aspects of transitional justice for Aborigines.

When asked to name the most pressing issue facing Aboriginal communities, 43.8 percent of respondents said that solving the nation’s unequal distribution of resources is the most urgent issue, while 29.1 percent said promulgating legislation that protects Aboriginal land rights, and 21.2 percent of the respondents said Aboriginal autonomy.

However, breaking down the respondents according to ethnic division, while 43.8 percent of ethnic Taiwanese and 49 percent of Hakkas identified the unequal distribution of resources as a priority, 63.2 percent of Aboriginal respondents considered protection of land rights the top issue, while Aboriginal autonomy was also well-supported.

“The poll results are very interesting, because we can see how Aborigines and non-Aborigines think differently,” New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, an Amis Aborigine, said at a news conference in Taipei to release the poll results.

“This is why so many Aborigines have taken to the streets today [yesterday], because, while they think it is positive that the president is to apologize, they they want to make sure that Tsai is aware of the issues that they care about,” she added.

Although an official apology might be historically significant, “apologizing is simple; what’s more challenging is the reconciliation process that follows,” Pacidal said.

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