National Taiwan University (NTU) should not be asked to pay for public infrastructure in Hualien County’s Mayuan village as part of compensation along with the return of human remains and cultural objects to the Bunun community, the head of the Council of Indigenous Peoples said yesterday.
Descendants of the village have since 2017 been asking the university’s College of Medicine to return the remains of their ancestors, which the university excavated for research purposes.
They also demanded that the university pay for public infrastructure in the village, as well as a monument, along with a holding rite to commemorate their ancestors and the establishment of a foundation as part of compensation for descendants.
Photo: Lo Pei-de, Taipei Times
Despite multiple rounds of negotiations, the university and village residents failed to agree to a settlement, with descendants demanding compensation of NT$1.5 billion (US$47.51 million).
At a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Mei-ling (羅美玲) asked Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod about when descendants of Mayuan would receive the remains of their ancestors, after the University of Edinburgh earlier this month returned four skulls of Paiwan warriors taken by Japanese in 1874.
“We have been coordinating between NTU and village residents, but no consensus has been reached over compensation, because residents have included the construction of public infrastructure in their demands, which would take some time to address,” Icyang said.
Most of the residents’ demands, such as roads and community development, need to be taken up by other government agencies, he said, adding that NTU should not be asked to bear this financial burden.
Repatriating the skulls of Paiwan warriors and returning bone remains to the Bunun community are different matters, he said.
The former involved historical justice, while the latter concerns transitional justice, he said.
In related news, the Restoration of Victims’ Rights Infringed by Illegal Acts of the State During the Period of Authoritarian Rule Foundation has voted to dispense reparations totaling more than NT$100 million in 112 individual cases, the foundation said yesterday.
The government foundation to compensate victims of the Martial Law era on Friday last week met to discuss applications for state compensation, it said.
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