TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An organization that connects indigenous communities around the world coordinated with the Taiwan government to donate 3,000 masks to two Native American tribes and a county government official in Washington State late last month.
On June 29, representatives of the Nisqually and Lummi tribes and Snohomish County received 1,000 masks each at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Seattle with the assistance of the organization ATAYAL. Attending the ceremony were TECO Director-General Alex Fan, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Nisqually Tribal Council Leader Hanford McCloud, Nisqually Economic Development Michael Mason, and Lummi Tribal Council Leader Freddie Xwenang Lane.
The meeting and donation were facilitated by ATAYAL, which is is a non-profit organization registered in Washington State and Florida. It was founded in 2001 with the mission of building bridges between indigenous tribes throughout the world, in order to promote cultural, educational, and economic exchanges.
Lummi Tribal Council Leader Freddie Xwenang Lane presents TECO Director-General Alex Fa with native blanket. (TECO photo)
During the meeting, Fan and Somers shared Taiwan's coronavirus containment strategy and policies with McCloud, and Lane and discussed cultural exchanges. McCloud shared stories of previous exchange experiences with visitors from Taiwan's Tao Tribe and "how it has created a relationship, a good one."
ATAYAL Deputy Director Gary Smoke said, "We are happy and honored to have been able to facilitate the delivery of these masks to our brothers and sisters of the Lummi Tribe and to our Canoe Family, the Nisqually Tribe." The group also discussed seafood business cooperation between Taiwan and Washington State indigenous tribes.
Fan suggested the sister-tribe relationship be built first to further explore the opportunity of business cooperation. In response, Lane stated, "Good to sit with my Nisqually relatives and TECO officials bridging our nations in a good way. We'll be inviting them up for a visit of our traditional territory of Lhaq'temish lands and waters."
The organization takes its name from the mother of Executive Director Tony Coolidge, whose mother was a member of Taiwan's Atayal tribe. Smoke told Taiwan News that ATAYAL helped facilitate the mask donation project by building the bridge between the Native American Tribal Canoe Family, the Nisqually Tribe, and Taiwan Government project "Taiwan Can Help."
Hanford McCloud, David Bean, Alex Fan, Freddy Xwenang Lane, and his wife. (TECO photo)