Aborigines hold rally to fight for autonomy

Ethnic communities urge officials to uphold pledges from the 2000 presidential campaign

People representing thirty aboriginal villages from eight different tribes participate in a smoke-out rally to ask the government
to respect their ri...

People representing thirty aboriginal villages from eight different tribes participate in a smoke-out rally to ask the government to respect their ri...

At 10 a.m. yesterday morning, eight tribes from thirty aboriginal villages lit fires and sent smoke signals into the air to inform their ancestors that they are determined to fight for their right to autonomy and to have the government implement the Aboriginal Basic Law.
The Puyuma tribe initially planned to participate in the smoke-signal rally as a way to express their anger about police disallowing ethnic Puyuma people from holding their traditional hunting rituals and activities last year. Their protest promptly received additional support from different aboriginal tribes, who joined the smoke-out rally yesterday.
The joint smoke-out event was organized by an aboriginal activist group called the Eastern Nations Alliance, which demanded that the government respect the natural rights and territories of the aborigines, and helped the aborigine groups to autonomize. They urged the government to act quickly and to pass all bills relating to the Aboriginal Basic Law.
The activists also called on the government to obey the "Partnership Declaration" that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) pledged to aboriginal representatives during his 2000 presidential election campaign.
The Partnership Declaration states that the government will respect the natural rights of all aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, and manifests that the government would view the relationship between the current Taiwan nation-state and the aboriginal tribes as a nation-to-nation relationship.
The activists demanded that President Chen apologize for failing to realize the pledge he made in 2000. If the Taiwan government does not properly respond to their requests, the activists plan to gather in Taipei on March 8 for another protest, they said. The second protest will not cease until the government formally apologizes to the aborigines, they added.
Some more well-known villages in Taiwan's thirty aborigine communities are the Katipu Village of the Puyuma tribe in Taitung, the Machia Village of the Paiwan tribe in Kaohsiung, the Houcha Village of the Rukai tribe in Pingtung, the Namahsia Village of the Bunun tribe in Kaohsiung, the Turan Village of the Amis tribe, the Ssumakussu Village of Atayal tribe in Hsinchu, the Tapangnu Village of Tsao tribe in Chiayi, and the Tao Tribe at Orchid Island.
The Puyuma tribe, who live at the southern part of the east Taiwan coast, hosts an annual festival around December. The annual festival also includes hunting rituals and activities. In December 2007, a special police force, which is deployed throughout the forest regions to prevent illegal lumbering and hunting, expelled the Puyuma aborigines of the Katipu Village as they performed a hunting ritual.
The ethnic Puyuma people, who felt the move was a great insult, have already protested to the Taitung County Government, the Forestry Bureau under the Council of Agriculture, and the National Police Administration.

Updated : 2021-02-25 19:38 GMT+08:00