Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Public updated on Aboriginal land scoping by council

By Lin Yan-tung  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Indigenous Peoples on Tuesday updated the public on its progress in scoping Aboriginal land, a process that Aboriginal settlements must participate in if they want to have a say in development projects in their neighborhoods, the council said.

The first stage of scoping, which is to be updated again next year, covers one-third of all Aboriginal settlements, including those inhabited by the Thao people, who initially refused to have their territory included.

As of Aug. 31, when applications for scoping closed, 268 settlements in 31 townships and villages had applied, which accounted for about one-third of the total number of Aboriginal settlements nationwide, the council said.

Applicants came from 15 groups, including the Amis and the Rukai, it said.

In the past, Aboriginal land was categorized as reserves and traditional territories, the latter of which lacked a clear definition, which had often sparked disputes, Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod said.

To address this problem, the council launched the Aborignal Land and Settlements Census and Scoping Initiative in a bid to clearly demarcate traditional territories, so that Aboringines would be able to exercise their legal rights to reject or approve development projects regardless of the value of the land they live on, Icyang said.

The Thao initially refused, but eventually agreed because their land in Nantou County has become the site of major development projects, such as the Hsiangshan holiday resort and Peacock Garden hotel development project, both near Sun Moon Lake (日月潭).

Development projects on scoped land must obtain the approval of Aborigines, thus preventing contentious projects, such as Asia Cement Corp’s extended mining rights near Taroko National Park in Hualien and the beachfront Meiliwan Resort Hotel development in Taitung from being approved, Icyang said.

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