Sun, Aug 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Easter, Orchid island Aborigines sign historic deal

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Rapa Nui of Easter Island and the Tao people of Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) have become sister tribes after a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked between Easter Island Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa and Lanyu Township Office Warden Shaman Jialamu.

The memorandum, signed on Friday during Edmunds’ visit to Orchid Island, is the first ever to be inked between Taiwanese and a foreign people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“The document carries great significance for the nation’s promotion of international cooperation in indigenous affairs,” the ministry said in a news release yesterday.

The memorandum would allow the sister tribes to establish cooperation in areas of culture, ethno-development and academic research, under the principle of mutual benefit, it added.

Edmunds, who also serves as the leader of the Rapa Nui on Easter Island, was on a seven-day visit to Taiwan that ends today. He was invited by the government to attend the Austronesian Forum in Taipei on Thursday.

The forum, a platform for Austronesian cultural exchanges, was revived this year after being suspended a decade ago. It originated from the Assembly of Austronesian Leaders, which the Council of Indigenous Peoples organized in 2002, and the annual International Austronesian Conference.

Edmunds attended a banquet in his honor hosted by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Maria Liu (劉德立), the ministry said.

He also visited several places to gain a better understanding of Taiwan’s cultural, social and economic situation, including Aboriginal tribes in Hualien and Taitung counties, the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall’s Liberty Square, Taipei 101 and Shilin Night Market, the ministry said, adding that he also gave an interview on Taiwan Indigenous TV.

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