National Taiwan University should respect precedent and return the bones of Bunun villagers unearthed more than four decades ago for research, the Council of Indigenous Peoples said on Monday, as Bahuan Village (馬遠) residents’ struggle to win the return of the remains draws national attention.
University researchers dug up more than 60 skeletons from the Loiq gravesite of the village in Hualien County’s Wanrong Township (萬榮) in the 1960s.
The university has said the excavation was done with the permission of village leaders after it learned that there were plans to move the burial ground, the village’s self-help association said.
The village had acted under compulsion, it said, calling for the skeletons to be returned.
“Our homes were spread out widely, so many people did not know [about the excavation] at the time,” self-help association spokesman Alang Mangloauan said, adding that university researchers had “asked” villagers for their consent through local police, who were the main representatives of the national government.
The bodies at the site had been buried between 1933 and 1955, after villagers were forced to relocate from Nantou County by the Japanese colonial government, he said.
In a statement, the council promised to negotiate with the university for the skeletons’ return and called on the university to respect its own precedents, including its return of the bones of Sediq chief Mona Rudao to Nantou County for burial in 1973.
Mona’s remains ended up as a specimen in the university’s archeology department after he was killed leading the unsuccessful 1930 Wushe Revolt, the last major Aboriginal uprising against Japanese colonial rule.
While acknowledging that it lacks legal power to compel the university to return the remains, the council called on the university to respect the spirit of the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that grant indigenous rights over ancestral bones in government possession.
Non-partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), who is part Atayal, is scheduled to host talks between the Ministry of Education, National Taiwan University and village representatives later this week.
Control Yuan Vice President Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川) has applied for an investigation to be conducted.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the