China Beat Archive





Paul Katz

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November 4, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright November 4, 2009 Paul Katz. Used by permission.


Just over two months have passed since the devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot, but the reconstruction of Siaolin Village 小林村 and its venerable Plains Aborigine (平埔族) culture is already well underway. A major step forward took place this past weekend with the successful restaging of the annual Siraya 西拉雅 ritual known as the “Siaolin Night Festival” (小林夜祭). This event was accompanied by the holding of a conference on the reconstruction of southern Taiwan’s Plains Aboriginal culture (「重建南臺平埔族群文化」學術研討會) and the official opening of an exhibition of artifacts from Siaolin’s Plains Aborigine culture (小林平埔文化特展) at the Chia-hsien Cultural Hall (甲仙地方文化館). Visiting dignitaries included Huang Pi-twan 黃壁端 (Minister of the Council for Cultural Affairs), Lin Chien-Chi 林倩綺 (General Director of the Kaohsiung County Bureau of Cultural Affairs), Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing 楊秋興, Chia-hsien Township Head Liu Chien-fang 劉建芳, etc.

Of particular significance was the attendance of Sun Da-Ch’uan 孫大川 (Puyuma (卑南) name = Paelabang danapan), the Minister of Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan (行政院原住民委員會主任委員). His presence sent an important message due to the fact that the Council has committed to allocating funds for Siaolin’s cultural reconstruction. Sun’s visit also coincided with the Ministry of the Interior’s decision to approve plans for the formal establishment of the “Association for the Reconstruction of Siaolin’s Plains Aborigine Culture” (小林平埔原住民族文化重建協會), which has been organized by Professor Chien Wen-min 簡文敏 and his colleagues (林清財, 段洪坤, 洪淑芬, 黃智慧, 潘英海, 簡炯仁). This marks one of the first instances of the Taiwan government’s recognizing the use of the term “Plains Aborigine” in state documents, and represents a major breakthrough in the quest for this group’s being officially listed as one of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples.