The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) four Aboriginal lawmakers and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) turned down invitations to today’s ceremony in which President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is to apologize on behalf of the government to the nation’s Aborigines.
More than 100 Aboriginal representatives and lawmakers have been invited to the event at the Presidential Office Building.
KMT Legislator Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟), an Amis Aborigine, yesterday said that he would begin his tenure with the KMT caucus today, so it would be inappropriate for him to attend the event.
Liao said he has discussed the issue with KMT legislators Sra Kacaw, another Amis, Chien Tung-ming (簡東明), who is a Paiwan, and Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉), who is Sediq and Atayal, and they said they do not plan to attend the ceremony.
Liao said that since former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has already apologized to Aborigines, Aboriginal communities are concerned about what Tsai will say.
Liao said that National Security Council senior adviser Yao Jen-to (姚人多) has said Tsai’s apology would be a “campaign move” and asked what the objective of the campaign would be, adding that Aborigines would not be happy if the apology has nothing concrete to offer.
Liao urged Tsai to discuss her stance on the return of Aboriginal lands and the management of natural resources.
New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, also an Amis, said she would join Aboriginal rights advocacy groups that are to demonstrate outside the Presidential Office Building.
NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said he would attend the ceremony.
Pacidal said that she approves of Tsai’s attitude and supports many of Tsai’s Aboriginal policies, but since she had promised Aboriginal rights advocacy groups that she would join them, she decided to honor her pledge by attending a demonstration about elderly care issues for Aborigines.
Pacidal said she hopes Tsai would confirm that the government and Aborigines are in a “quasi-state-to-state relationship,” so that Aboriginal communities can become political entities.
She called on Tsai to urge the government to propose legislation on transitional justice for Aborigines and implement the Aboriginal Basic Act (原住民族基本法).
Several Aboriginal rights groups plan to demonstrate outside the Presidential Office Building today, with an alliance for elderly care for Aborigines planning to march from the Legislative Yuan to the Presidential Office Building to submit a petition, while another group is to march from Sijhou Aboriginal Community (溪洲部落) in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) to the Presidential Office Building to demand justice for Aborigines.