Orchid Island is expected to become the first Aboriginal autonomous district if Aboriginal self-government legislation is passed, government sources said yesterday.
Council of Aboriginal Affairs officials said that Orchid Island, which is inhabited by the Yami, or Dahwu, is most suitable for being designated as an autonomous district on a trial basis due in large part to its isolated location and small population.
If the legislation of Aboriginal self-government -- one of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) presidential campaign promises made in 2000 -- is passed into law, the island will become an Aboriginal autonomous district in a confederation, or "state within a state," relationship with the central government, the officials said.
To become an autonomous district, Orchid Island must first form its own "national" parliament, which will in turn choose a "presidential group" to be the executive arm of the local government. The "presidential group" will take over the functions of the current township chief to become the top political body, the officials said.
If the self-government practice is carried out successfully on Orchid Island, it will be extended to other Aboriginal areas, the official said.
Noting that it would be impossible for the government to return lands to individual Aboriginal citizens, they said that the Aboriginal autonomous districts would be able to obtain lands to be rezoned by the government, on the condition that the lands would belong to the autonomous district and be controlled and used by the local autonomous organ.
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