The Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Ministry of Culture yesterday released three new Chinese-language translations of books on Austronesian culture in the hopes of “shortening the distance” between Taiwan and its neighbors in Oceania and Southeast Asia.
In an event in Taipei attended by Marshallese Ambassador to Taiwan Neijon Rema Edwards, the council unveiled its translations of the three volumes originally written in English.
Bravo for Marshallese: Regaining Control in a Post-
Photo courtesy of the Council of Indigenous Peoples
nuclear, Post-colonial World is a 2004 case study by Holly Barker, a professor at the University of Washington, in which she discusses the history and effects of the US’ nuclear weapons testing program in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958.
The 13 essays included in Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People, released in 2004 by editors David Armitage, a professor at Harvard University, and Alison Bashford, a professor at the University of New South Wales, aim to provide a “multidimensional account of the Pacific, its inhabitants and the lands within and around it.”
The third volume, Everyday Life in Southeast Asia, released in 2011 by editors Kathleen Adams, a Colorado-based writer, and Kathleen Gillogly, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, focuses on ordinary people across an array of cultures and regions through 24 wide-ranging essays.
Taiwanese Aborigines and islanders across Southeast Asia and Oceania are part of the Austronesian language group, making Taiwan an integral part of the Pacific, council Minister Icyang Parod said.
Archeological evidence suggests that Austronesian people began migrating south from Taiwan about 5,000 years ago and spread to the furthest islands in the world’s largest ocean, he said.
Besides being the origin of Austronesian cultures, Taiwan has also throughout its history maintained close interactions with the Pacific, he added.
Further evidence for this link was revealed last month in a study coauthered by Taiwanese archeologist Hung Hsiao-chun (洪曉純) on ancestral links between the Chamorro community in the US territory of Guam and Aborigines in the northern Philippines, whose ancestry can be traced to Taiwan, Icyang added.
Since its inauguration in 2016, the council’s translation project has aimed to deepen Chinese speakers’ understanding of Southeast Asia and Oceania by translating books on culture, history and politics, Icyang said, adding that the council aims to inspire further dialogue between Taiwan and Austronesia.
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