Retaining tribal names for people and places is the key to preserving Aboriginal cultures and bringing about Aboriginal autonomy, said panelists attending a conference on Aboriginal affairs yesterday.
The conference, hosted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Aboriginal New Youth Association of Cultural Exchange, discussed recovering personal and place names.
"They are not merely name changes ... ultimately, it's about the restoration of a lifestyle, an entire set of interpersonal relationships and even the rebirth of a people," said Tibusungu e Vayayana, a geography professor at National Taiwan Normal University and a Tsou tribesman from the Alishan (
The Tsou culture is based on a clan system in which each clan has its own political, religious and hunting units, he said.
The clan system also dictates how two people would interact with each other, he said.
But when the Tsou, like other Aboriginal communities, were forced to adopt Japanese and then Chinese names, cultural and social systems came under serious threat, he said.
Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Lin Shu-ya (
She related an incident that took place near Smangus (
Two years ago, three young men from the village followed up on a decision made during a community meeting to remove part of a fallen tree on a roadside.
They were then arrested and indicted, with the Forestry Bureau accusing them of "stealing property from state-owned forests," Lin said.
The men were sentenced to six months in prison plus fines earlier this month.
"The location of the fallen tree is defined by the bureau as within forest area 81 under the bureau's Dasi regional office," Lin said.
However, for the people of Smangus, the area belonged to an ancient village where they used to live and was still under the jurisdiction of Smangus according to traditional Atayal law, she said.
"The Forestry Bureau was able to tell its version of the story in court because the state set up the rules and had the power to name; the situation may be reversed if Smangus' residents can get back the power of naming," Lin said.
Once Aborigines have "the right to tell their version of the story, they may as well tell people how they managed these places" during the past hundreds and even thousands of years, she said.
That process is underway.
Haisul Palalavi, a Bunun cultural activist, spoke of a plan by a southern Aboriginal township to revert to a name more closely connected to its local identity.
Activists in Sanmin Township (
In 1957 the majority-Bunun township was renamed after the Sanmin Zhuyi (Three Principles of the People), the political ideology of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) co-founder Sun Yat-sen (
"But the name has no connection to local history and culture whatsoever," Palalavi said.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
SLIGHTS: Beijing intends to display pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in its propaganda videos, an official said Taiwanese officials are poised to boycott next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, citing concerns that China would slight Taiwan during the Games. This year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled to open on Friday next week amid a diplomatic boycott by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK and the US in response to China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang and crackdowns on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that a Cabinet-appointed task force has determined that Taiwan’s delegation would abstain from the opening and
INCREASED COOPERATION: Part of the funding is to be used to further the aims of a Taiwan-US human resources development platform launched in 2015, a source said An increase of ￥100 million (US$878,765) to Japan’s annual foreign affairs budget is for “advancing the Japan-Taiwan relationship,” information published on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed. The ministry’s budget for last year was ￥1.7 billion; it was increased to ￥1.8 billion for this year. The ministry wrote that the additional funding was to be used for “cooperating with allies and like-minded countries to safeguard the universal values of the international community.” Regarding Taiwan specifically, the ministry said that it was “responding to an increasingly complex security and economic environment,” and that it aimed to “strengthen diplomacy and cooperation
A majority of Japanese feel friendly toward Taiwan, with almost half of respondents in a poll saying that they want to visit the country after COVID-19 travel curbs are eased, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan said yesterday. The office said that 75.9 percent of respondents said they feel friendly toward Taiwan, citing as reasons the friendliness and politeness of Taiwanese, the long history of ties between the two nations, and the strength of bilateral trade. More than one-quarter of respondents — 26.4 percent — said they had traveled to Taiwan, while 47.8 percent said they would like to