President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day by attending the National Administration Conference of Indigenous Peoples at National Taiwan University Hospital’s International Convention Center in Taipei.
The annual meeting, organized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples, focused on Aboriginal language development.
Tsai lauded the Aboriginal Language Development Act (原住民族語言發展法), which cleared the legislative floor on May 26 and went into effect on June 14.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Languages play a vital role in identity, Tsai said, adding that was why the government had pushed for the legislation, which lists all Aboriginal languages as national languages.
She expressed hope that the knowledge and languages of Aborigines would not be lost because of government prohibition, as was the case in the past.
Tsai said that her administration has fulfilled eight promises given to Aborigines on Aug. 1 last year: the language development act; the establishment of the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee; a review of efforts to implement the Indigenous Peoples Basic Act (原住民族基本法) and decisionmaking on the storage of nuclear waste on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼); the establishment of legal aid centers for Aborigines; recognition of the Pingpu people — communities who formerly resided on Taiwan’s western plains; a Cabinet report on the promotion of Aboriginal historical and transitional justice on Aug. 1 each year; and the demarcation of Aborigines’ traditional lands.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Tsai said that her administration “has heard many different opinions,” on historical and transitional justice, which shows that “we still have a long way to go.”
Several dozen campaigners protested outside the meeting, calling for complete recognition of Aboriginal traditional territories.
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