Saturday, June 11, 2016

The native people of Taiwan (NPR)

Xochitl, CC Liu, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wiki edit, Wisdom Quarterly; Anthony Kuhn (
University students who belong to indigenous Taiwanese tribes prepare for a ceremony to affirm their ethnic identity. Taiwan's aboriginal tribes arrived thousands of years before [Han] Chinese invaders but now account for only 2 percent of the population (A. Kuhn/NPR).
Shaolin monks, China (Ana Paola Pineda)
On a busy Taipei street corner, students in tribal tunics, bare feet, and temporary facial tattoos are taking part in an impromptu ceremony.
The students, aboriginals at National Taiwan University, line up and shout out their names and the names of their tribes. Recounting their hardships [as an indigenous minority in conformity-conscious China], some of them weep.
Colorized: Amis couple, pre-WW II Taiwan
For a long time, says a woman named Yayut, she concealed her identity as an aborigine. "When people heard I was an aborigine, they said, 'You don't look like one,'" she says, sobbing. Yayut's classmates cry and cheer her on.
Watching the ceremony is Wang Mei-hsia, the students' anthropology teacher. Wang explains that before the Chinese Nationalist Party retreated and settled on Taiwan when the Communist Party took over mainland China in 1949, the island had been a Japanese colony for half a century.

The Japanese [who themselves decimated the indigenous Japanese known as the mysterious Ainu before embarking on their imperial ventures] were the first to take aborigines' ancestral lands, and the Taiwanese state has owned the lands ever since. More + AUDIO

Kuril Ainu people, Siberian aborigines of Japan, in front of the traditional dwelling (Ainu).

Taiwan before the Chinese
Wisdom Quarterly Wiki edit
Bunun dancer in Lona, Nantou
Taiwanese aborigines (臺灣原住民, Tâi-ôan-gôan chū-bîn, lit. "Taiwanese original inhabitants" of Formosa) is the term commonly applied to the indigenous peoples of Buddhist Taiwan.

They now number more than 530,000 and constitute nearly 2.3% of the island's population. Recent research suggests their ancestors may have been living on Taiwan for approximately 8,000 years before a major Han immigration began in the 17th century [Blust (1999)].

Taiwanese aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, which includes those of the Philippines, formerly Buddhist Malaysia and Indonesia, African Madagascar, and Oceania (Hill et al. (2007); Bird, Hope & Taylor (2004)].

Aboriginal deer hunt (Images of Barbarian Customs)
The issue of an ethnic identity unconnected to the Asian mainland has become one thread in the discourse regarding the political status of Taiwan.
For centuries, Taiwan's aboriginal inhabitants experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of colonizing invaders and occupiers.

Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage, and other intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity.

For example, of the approximately 26 known languages of the Taiwanese aborigines (collectively referred to as the Formosan languages), at least ten are now extinct, five are moribund [Zeitoun & Yu (2005), p. 167], and several are to some degree endangered. These languages are of unique historical significance, since most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesian language family [Blust (1999)]. More

Seediq aboriginal rebels beheaded by Japanese aboriginal allies, 1931 Wushe Incident. (W)

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