Kaxabu demand official recognition as Aboriginal tribe

By Tung Chen-kuo and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter with Staff writer

Fri, Mar 01, 2013 - Page 3

Members of the Kaxabu tribe in Nantou County gathered in Puli Township (埔里) yesterday and reiterated their wish to be reinstated as an officially recognized Aboriginal tribe.

The Kaxabu were once a great tribe along the Mei Rivier, inhabiting the areas surrounding Nioumianshan (牛眠山), Shouchengfen (守城份), Danan (大湳) and Wugonglun (蜈蚣崙). The tribe’s descendants in recent years have been pushing for official recognition as Aborigines.

The Pingpu — an umbrella term for numerous Aboriginal tribes that had lived in the plains rather than the mountains, including the Kaxabu — have constantly pushed for the government to recognize them as Aboriginals, but have been rejected because the Pingpu tribes did not register as Aborigines within the given timeframe or because they had been too assimilated by Han Chinese.

The Kaxabu Culture and Education Association of Nantou County said it decided to hold the event near Puli Township because the town had always had the largest known concentration of Pingpu within Nantou County.

The association sent up a smoke signal at 9am yesterday while association chairman Pan Ying-yu (潘應玉) led the ceremony, and read off a list of declarations and demands in the Kaxabu tribal language, calling on the government to acknowledge the identity of the Kaxabu and recognize the Kaxabu as an official Aboriginal tribe.

The participants linked hands and formed a circle, singing traditional songs and shouting slogans to uphold the dignity and the honor of their ancestors.

Kaxabu tribe members all sought to return and attend the event.

Pan Cheng-hao (潘正皓), a young Kaxabu working out of town, said he had taken the day off, despite his company not giving him the day off — a national holiday marking the 228 Massacre.

Saying the Kaxabu have their own language, culture and history, Pan Cheng-hao said the government should recognize the existence of the tribe and should rectify the mistakes of previous governments by recognizing them as an official Aboriginal tribe.