Aboriginal rights campaigner Panai Kusui and other advocates yesterday relocated dozens of potted lilies from their protest site at the 228 Peace Memorial Park to an art museum as the Taipei City Government prepares to demolish their camp next week.
After the government announced the Guidelines for Demarcating Aboriginal Land or Tribal Areas (原住民族土地或部落範圍土地劃設辦法) in February 2017, Panai and other advocates camped on Ketagalan Boulevard, in front of the Presidential Office Building, in protest and were later forced to move to the nearby park.
The guidelines restrict Aboriginal domains to government-owned plots and exclude areas owned by private landowners, enabling businesses to launch controversial development projects on Aboriginal land, such as the Miramar Resort Hotel (美麗灣渡假村) project, advocate Liao Hsing-yu (廖幸渝) said yesterday.
Photo: Chen Yi-kuan, Taipei Times
Under the slogan “No one is an outsider,” the campaigners yesterday had camped in the area for 696 days, Liao said.
However, the municipality has said that it would remove their belongings on Tuesday, she said.
The government might have timed the removal to take advantage of the absence of other key campaigners, such as filmmaker Mayaw Biho and singer Nabu Husungan Istanda, who have left for other events, she added.
The activists yesterday invited members of the public to help them relocate some of the nearly 300 pots of Taiwanese indigenous lily sprouts to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, where they have an exhibition area at the Taipei Biennial, which this year is titled Post-Nature — A Museum as an Ecosystem and ends on March 10.
Lilies are a sacred symbol for the Rukai people and campaigners from different Aboriginal communities have expressed the hope that they could return home by the time the plants blossom.
Taiwanese indigenous lilies are full of vitality and people who care for them should not rush to weed their pots, Panai said, before transporting some of the lilies by MRT along with nearly 20 participants.
The Democratic Progressive Party government has defended Taiwanese dignity in the face of Chinese pressure, yet it is insensitive toward the pain of Aborigines, who were deprived of their ancestral lands, languages and cultures, she said in a previous TV interview.
She added that she would continue to fight for Aborigines’ rights and raise public awareness about their predicament.
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