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Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond
 9789811541773, 9789811541780

Table of contents :
Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies
Introduction to the Chapters
Editors, Contributors and Translators
Part IIndigenous Knowledge, Education, and Research
Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study of the Education Sector
1 Foreword
2 Indigenous Education and Indigenous Knowledge
3 The Systematization of Indigenous Knowledge
3.1 The Purposes, Characteristics, and Definitions of the Indigenous Knowledge System
3.2 The Categorical Structure of the Indigenous Knowledge System
3.3 Practical Plans
4 The Practice of Transforming Knowledge into Curriculum
5 The Implementation of Indigenous Knowledge in Tribal School Policies
6 Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous Experimental Education
7 Conclusion
kuba-hosa-hupa: A Preliminary Exploration of Taiwan Indigenous Cou Cosmology and Pedagogy
1 Introduction: Problems and Purpose
2 The Current Situation of the Transformation and Development of Indigenous Peoples’ Education in Taiwan
2.1 Legal System of Indigenous Education
2.2 The Reality of Implementation in Indigenous Education
3 kuba-hosa-hupa: The Cosmology and Pedagogy of the Cou Peoples
4 Concluding Remarks
The Making of Indigenous Knowledge in Contemporary Taiwan: A Case Study of Three Indigenous Documentary Filmmakers
1 Visual Sovereignty: Challenges to the Settler Colonial Imaginary
2 Emergence of Indigenous Filmmakers and Their Visual Activism
3 Social Mediator for a Neo Pan-Indigenous Civic Awareness
4 Cultural Translator: Revitalization of Gaga in Primary Education
5 Reflexive Mediator: Adaptation of Elderly Services Within Anito Belief
6 Conclusion: Indigenous Knowledge Production through Visual Activism
From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience of Indigenous Research Ethics in Makota’ay
1 Introduction
2 Research Ethics as Research in the Field: From NDHU’s Perspective
3 Upholding Indigenous Sovereignty: From HTC’s Perspective
4 Kaupapa Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand
5 From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform
Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics
1 Introduction
2 The Regulations of International Treaties
3 The Actions of the Governments of the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada
4 Guidelines for Research Ethics
5 The Review Mechanism for Research Ethics
6 Conclusion
Appendix 1: The Context of Indigenous Ethics (Castellano 2004:100–101)
International Statutes, Declarations, Laws, and Legal Cases
Part IIForms of Indigenous Knowledge
Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Populations
1 Millet in Asia and Taiwan
2 Millet Myths and Rituals Among Four Taiwanese Aboriginal Nations
2.1 The Amis: Millet World and Water World
2.2 The Bunun: Fertility and Laziness
2.3 The Rukai: Dividing and Cleansing
2.4 The Paiwan: Millet as Mediator
3 Millet and Millet Wine as Identity Markers
3.1 Millet Rituals and Christianity
3.2 Retraditionalising Millet
4 Conclusion
Landscape, Habitus, and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Agricultural Transition of Highland Indigenous Communities in the Philippines and Taiwan
1 Introduction
2 Indigenous Landscapes
3 The Ifugao Agro-Cultural Complex
4 The Challenge of the Market Economy
5 The Revitalization of Ritual Crops
6 The Tayal Agro-Cultural Complex
7 The Challenges of the Market Economy
8 The Revitalization of Ritual Crop
9 Rituals, Landscapes, and Revitalization
10 Revitalizing the Agro-Cultural Landscape
11 Agro-Cultural Landscape of Ritual Crop and Habitus
Of Boars and Men: Indigenous Knowledge and Co-Management in Taiwan
1 A Political Ecology of Truku Land
2 Political Ecology Plus: Ingold’s Dwelling Perspective
3 The Politics of Indigenous Hunting
4 One People, Many Dwelling Perspectives
5 Entering the World of Gaya
6 Contemporary Hunting Practices
7 Conclusion
8 Policy Suggestions
The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan
1 Introduction
2 Gift Economy, Alienation, Ecorealism
3 The Hunter’s Gift and the Indigenous Encounter with Modernity
3.1 The Alienated Gift in Auvini Kadresengan’s “Eternal Ka-Balhivane (Home to Return to)”
3.2 The Confiscated Gift in Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter”
3.3 The Returned Gift in Badai’s “Ginger Road”
4 Conclusion
5 Afterword: The Sustainability of the Bushmeat Trade
The Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge in Taiwan
1 Introduction
2 Indigenous Social Movements
3 Land Rights Movements, Traditional Territory, and Tribal Mapping
4 Root-Searching Expeditions and Embodied Knowledge
5 Asserting Land Rights Claims Through Root-Searching and Tribal Mapping
6 Conclusion
Part IIISettler Colonial and Decolonial Critique
Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler-Colonial Unconscious
1 Introduction
2 Taiwan’s Triangular Relationships and “Middle Ground” During the Dutch and Chinese Regimes
3 The Qing Imperial Regime
4 Settler-Colonial Relations Under Centralizing Imperial States
5 Japanese Rule
6 Conclusion: Settler Colonialism in Post-WWII Taiwan
Decolonial Theories in Comparison
1 Introduction
2 Decolonial Theory and Settler Colonialism
3 State, Race, and Miscegenation
4 The Treatment of Gender
5 Decolonization: Contrasting Conceptions
Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance Against Japan and Indigenous Peoples’ Collaboration with Japan
1 Introduction
2 Attachment to Our Land: Nativism and Taiwanese Nationalism
3 1895: Historical and Cultural Symbols as Daily Life Practice and Consumption
4 The Last Queen: From Local History to World History
5 Conclusion
Mapping Formosa: Settler Colonial Cartography in Taiwan Cinema in the 1950s
1 Cartography as Methodology, Taiwan as Settler Colony
2 “Descendants of the Yellow Emperor”: Nationalist Settler Pedagogy
3 “Formosa,” My Eternal Homeland
4 Settler Colonial and Colonial Cartographies: A Comparative Analysis
5 Conclusion: Toward a Redistribution of Cinematic Cartography
Part IVCreative Coda
Being Indigenous in Taiwan and Tibet: A Writer’s Journey
Correction to: Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond
Correction to: S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,

Citation preview

Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1

Shu-mei Shih Lin-chin Tsai Editors

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond

Sinophone and Taiwan Studies Volume 1

Series Editors Shu-mei Shih, National Taiwan Normal University, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Henning Kloeter, Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany Jenn-Yeu Chen, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan Nikky Lin, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

This book series aims to stimulate and showcase the best of humanistic and social science research related to Sinophone communities and their cultures in Taiwan and around the globe. By combining Sinophone and Taiwan Studies in one book series, we hope to overcome the limitations of previous methodologies to explore the many aspects of Sinophone communities and Taiwan from expansive perspectives that are comparative, transnational, and relational. The foci of the book series include, but are not limited to, the complex relationship between locality and globality, the interrelations among various categories of identity (national, cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, linguistic, religious, and sexual), the states of multiculturalism versus creolization, the politics and economics of culture, diasporic and anti-diasporic practices and expressions, various forms and processes of colonialism (settler colonialism, formal colonialism, postcolonialism, neo-colonialism), as well as indigeneity. Series Editors: Shu-mei Shih (University of California, Los Angeles) Henning Kloeter (Humboldt University of Berlin) Jenn-Yeu Chen (National Taiwan Normal University) Nikky Lin (National Taiwan Normal University)

Editorial Board: Yao-ting Sung (National Taiwan Normal University) Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta) Sung-Sheng (Yvonne) Chang (University of Texas at Austin) Ann Heylen (National Taiwan Normal University) Edward Anthony Vickers (Kyushu University) Kuei-fen Chiu (National Chung Hsing University) Ping-hui Liao (University of California, San Diego) Shuo-Bin Su (National Taiwan University) Chu Ren Huang (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) Margaret Hillenbrand (University of Oxford) Cheun Hoe Yow (Nanyang Technological University) Jia-Fei Hong (National Taiwan Normal University)

More information about this series at

Shu-mei Shih · Lin-chin Tsai Editors

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond

Editors Shu-mei Shih Asian Languages and Cultures University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA

Lin-chin Tsai Asian Languages and Cultures University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA

ISSN 2524-8863 ISSN 2524-8871 (electronic) Sinophone and Taiwan Studies ISBN 978-981-15-4177-3 ISBN 978-981-15-4178-0 (eBook) © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021, corrected publication 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

The original version of the book was revised: FM elements “Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies” and “Introduction to the Chapters” are placed in between the Table of Contents and Editors, Contributors, and Translators. The correction to the book is available at


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shu-mei Shih


Introduction to the Chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lin-chin Tsai


Part I

Indigenous Knowledge, Education, and Research

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study of the Education Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tunkan Tansikian (Pei-lun Chen Chang)


kuba-hosa-hupa: A Preliminary Exploration of Taiwan Indigenous Cou Cosmology and Pedagogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tibusungu’e vayayana (Ming-huey Wang)


The Making of Indigenous Knowledge in Contemporary Taiwan: A Case Study of Three Indigenous Documentary Filmmakers . . . . . . . . . Skaya Siku


From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience of Indigenous Research Ethics in Makota’ay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai), Ena Ying-tzu Chang, and Sifo Lakaw


Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cheng-feng Shih Part II


Forms of Indigenous Knowledge

Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Populations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Benoît Vermander




Landscape, Habitus, and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Agricultural Transition of Highland Indigenous Communities in the Philippines and Taiwan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Stephen Acabado and Da-wei Kuan Of Boars and Men: Indigenous Knowledge and Co-Management in Taiwan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Scott Simon The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan . . . . . . . 181 Darryl Sterk The Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge in Taiwan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Shu-yuan Yang Part III Settler Colonial and Decolonial Critique Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler-Colonial Unconscious . . . . . . . . . 225 Katsuya Hirano, Lorenzo Veracini, and Toulouse-Antonin Roy Decolonial Theories in Comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 Breny Mendoza Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance Against Japan and Indigenous Peoples’ Collaboration with Japan . . . . . . 273 Fang-mei Lin Mapping Formosa: Settler Colonial Cartography in Taiwan Cinema in the 1950s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295 Lin-chin Tsai Part IV Creative Coda Being Indigenous in Taiwan and Tibet: A Writer’s Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . 323 Ibau Dadelavan Correction to: Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . Shu-mei Shih and Lin-chin Tsai


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies Shu-mei Shih

Taiwan is a settler colony where indigenous Austronesian peoples have been colonized for several hundred years and yet endured. This a priori fact precedes all ways of understanding Taiwan’s history, from any ideological orientation, any race/ethnic, class or gender perspective, and any geopolitical scale of the national, the regional, or the global. All standpoints taken by scholars on Taiwan must acknowledge, confront, or negotiate with this fact of colonization and endurance of indigenous peoples. Despite the overwhelming condition and longue durée of settler colonialism, exacerbated by the imposition of other exogenous colonial regimes at different times, the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, though reduced only to 2% of the population by official count today, have persevered with resilience, vitality, and creativity. In cognizance of this a priori fact, this essay proposes two baselines for the decolonization of Taiwan studies: the necessity to center indigeneity in conjunction with the imperative of settler colonial critique. As many indigenous scholars have argued, decolonization in settler colonies must be defined strictly as the indigenous decolonization, not used loosely for other causes or struggles, which serves to minimize, displace, and even disavow the a priori fact.1 Accordingly, the claims to postcoloniality, the specific condition after colonialism that nonetheless retains residual effects of coloniality, does not apply to indigenous peoples who continue to live under settler colonization. They are, in fact, the “unofficially colonized peoples of the world,” because the wave of decolonization in the 1950s and after from exogenous colonialisms did not include them (Battiste and Henderson, 2). Settler colonialism is ongoing for indigenous peoples, not residual, and for them, postcoloniality, however defined, has not yet arrived. While most modern Western colonialisms have ended when the exogenous colonizers retreated or returned to the metropoles, settler colonialism as a structure has so far precluded the possibility of postcoloniality. Since the 1980s, Taiwan’s postcolonial discourse has very much been a dispute between old settlers (who arrived before 1945) and 1 Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang famously argued that decolonization is not a metaphor and that decolo-

nization does not have a synonym. They call for recognizing the incommensurability of indigenous decolonization with other social justice causes, while exploring all possible forms of coalition with the other causes. Most importantly, decolonization needs to always be “accountable to Indigenous soverenty and futurity” (35). ix


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies

new settlers (who arrived after 1945). Although the old settlers have shown to be more sensitive to indigenous plight than the new settlers, their postcolonial discourse vis-à-vis both Japanese colonialism (1895–1945) and the authoritarianism of the new settlers (1945–1987) is inadequate to the task of indigenous decolonization and must be seen as serving a settler futurity where the settler colonial structure remains and persists. Indeed, since its inception, settler colonial studies has been articulated in contradistinction to postcolonial studies, and it is time that Taiwan studies participates in elaborating on this distinction from its own specific historical and geopolitical locations. Among others, the two major distinctions are that settlers come to stay and that they become the majority population in settler colonies, in contrast to postcolonial studies which mainly examines the nineteenth century Western colonialism where exogenous colonizers were a minority population who ultimately departed (see Wolfe; Veracini). Settler colonialism has been theorized by Patrick Wolfe as operating on the logic of elimination that leaves scant room for indigenous decolonization, as colonizers replace the indigenous population to become the demographic majority, through genocide, miscegenation, eugenics, assimilation, and ethnocide, resulting in settler colonialism becoming a permanent structure. His work has been foundational to the formation of settler colonial studies as a separate field from postcolonial studies, even though there are inevitable intersections between the two. The United States may be postcolonial vis-à-vis Britain, but, similar to the case of Taiwan, this postcoloniality can only be claimed and enjoyed by the settlers, not indigenous peoples. In fact, postcolonial studies as applied to settler colonies such as the United States, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada actually serves what Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang rightly call settlers’ “move to innocence” that displaces their own statuses as colonizers. The emphasis is not that postcolonial conditions for specific populations cannot exist in settler colonies, nor that other forms of colonialism cannot co-exist with settler colonialism, but that when it comes to indigenous peoples, settler colonialism cannot be translated into or defined by other colonial forms. While agreeing for the need to theorize the specificity of settler colonialism, which contributes to the recognition of indigenous oppression and dispossession distinct from other colonial forms, indigenous scholars have also challenged the characterization of settler colonialism as an intractable structure that leaves little room for indigenous agency. On the contrary, they insist that indigenous communities and nations have always actively resisted settler colonialism, despite overwhelming and multiple structural constraints. They argue that the settler logic of elimination was never fully successful. Indigeneity not only endures, but it is also dynamic, active, and creative.2 Canadian scholar Laurelyn Whitt thus emphasizes both the need to account for the effectiveness and potential of indigenous agency in resisting oppression and in formulating concrete proposals for securing justice, alongside the 2 See

the essays included in the special issue of American Indian Culture and Research Journal, entitled “Settler Colonial Biopolitics and Indigenous Lifeways” (2018), especially “Afterword: A Response Essay,” written by J. Kehaulani Kauanui.

Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies


critique of “diverse power relations and dynamics that facilitate and maintain the oppression of indigenous peoples” (2009: xiv). In light of the incredible effervescence of indigenous consciousness and activism in Taiwan since the 1980s, pursued in conjunction with indigenous knowledge and indigenous rights movements around the world, this volume centers indigeneity first while critiquing settler colonialism, hence the particular ordering of the chapters in this volume, moving from the nature of indigenous knowledge, education, and research in Part I, to forms of indigenous knowledge in Part II, to settler colonial and decolonial critique in Part III, before finally concluding with a creative coda by the indigenous writer Ibau Dadelavan. Dadelavan’s essay is an account of a double journey, the enmeshment of an interior journey of the self in relation to her Paiwan tribe with an external journey to Tibet, where indigeneity is disavowed by Chinese settler colonialism. The two journeys intersect and cross-reference each other, registering the tragic encounter between indigeneity and settler colonialism, without losing sight of the vitality and resilience of indigenous people with distinct ontologies and epistemologies. Although indigeneity in Taiwan is increasingly recognized as a part of global indigeneity, especially in light of the geographical spread of Austronesian peoples from Madagascar to Easter Island, the proximity and similarity between Tibet and Taiwan has been vigorously suppressed. Dadelavan’s journey to Tibet reestablishes this link as a shared condition, made even more powerful by her observation that the indigenous peoples in Taiwan and Tibet are both colonized by the Han. In Taiwan, they are the Han Taiwanese through immigration and localization over centuries; in Tibet, they are the Han Chinese through China’s deepening settler colonization. The triangular structure of settler colonialism in Taiwan, among the indigenous, the settlers, and the metropole remains, however the relationship among the three parties has evolved, and however Taiwan now confronts an existential threat due to China’s increasing domination. Taiwan and Tibet are two of the forbidden topics in China, as China exerts its hegemony near and far, leading to the fearful analogy that tomorrow’s Taiwan may be today’s Tibet. The threat of China looms over all of Taiwan, and this threat must be confronted by settlers and indigenous peoples alike. While both groups must work together to confront this threat, indigenous decolonization must be the shared basis of any enduring collaboration. As settler colonizers in Taiwan, the co-editors of this volume are aware of their complicity within the settler colonial structure, and the danger of their speaking position falling into “speaking about,” “speaking for,” or “speaking on behalf of” indigenous knowledge producers. We agree with Wolfe that “there can be no innocent discourses on Aboriginality” (4), that “settler colonialism makes positionality inescapable” (213), and that we must critically reflect on our positionality. However, the opposite danger of not engaging with indigeneity is perhaps greater, as silence perpetuates the present condition, sanctions evasion and ignorance, and is ultimately a strong form of complicity. Instead, we would prefer to ask of ourselves how best we might interrogate our interests, shed our privileges, reckon with our complicities,


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies

and work towards a decolonial future.3 To us, this must include scrupulous attention to research ethics as a starting point, as finely articulated in the essay by Jolan Hsieh, Ena Chang, and Sifo Lakaw in this volume, and, neccesarily failing that, as we are limited by our positionality as settler colonizers, to continuously confront that failure.4 As Judith Butler has noted in another context, our work must strive to begin with the admission to “profound and recurrent fallibility,” while simultaneously reconceptualizing equality and social justice not in terms of individual rights but radical and constitutive interdependence (2020, 186; 1–25). Working towards a decolonized indigenous future then is to work for all in our interdependent world. We argue that just as race-blindness does not reduce structural racism and instead perpetuates it, silence regarding indigeneity or indigeneity-blindness sustains and strengthens settler colonialism. As American critical race studies theorists have shown, it is when everyone “sees” race that structural racism can be critically confronted and its overcoming becomes possible.5 Similarly, but without suggesting equivalence, it is when everyone “sees” indigeneity, that settler colonialism can be critically confronted and decolonization becomes conceivable. “Seeing,” of course, is only the first step to decolonization, but we can also understand “seeing” in the broad sense to include both epistemology (how we see and know the world) and ontology (how we are in the world), and thus has the potential to lead us towards the upending of the settler colonial structure. However useful critical race theory may seem here, it is important to point out that critical race theory has so far exclusively focused on the people of color and that any project of anti-racism must begin with the acknowledgement and critique indigenous genocide and ethnocide (Lawrence and Dua). It follows then, that as a settler of color in the United States, I recognize how my engagement with critical race theory does not minimize the benefits I derive from the settler colonial structure of the United States. The logic of multiculturalism that governs minority peoples of the United States is dictated by the white settler state, and is fundamentally contradictory to the primary logic of indigenous sovereignty and land rights, as minority rights as citizenship rights are enabled and circumscribed by the settler state. While not all settlers are the same, and settlers of color are often “unsettled” in many ways due to racism in all its manifestations and effects (Phung), they remain part of the settler structure and thus should be called upon to challenge the settler structure. Here, what is my individual condition of being a settler in two different countries of Taiwan and the United States in fact also points to the condition of settler colonialism in the global context as a relational formation. Not only that indigenous peoples in settler colonies around the world have had to live through 3 These are the questions that Clare Land calls imperative in her book, Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles. 4 All the indigenous scholars from Taiwan whose essays are included in this volume have given the co-editors their consent to be part of this volume. We hope that the volume meets the minimum standards of working “with” and “for” indigenous scholars that as a whole are demanded by the research ethics in the essay by Hsieh, Chang, and Lakaw. 5 Michael Omi and Howard Winant, along with others, have made this powerful argument in their 1986 classic Racial Formation in the United States.

Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies


similar histories, but also that the settler regimes across the world have repeatedly and consistently aided each other to perpetuate settler colonialization. A case in point is how Taiwan’s settler regime, especially since 1945, has been repeatedly bolstered by the American settler regime through economic aid, arms sales, knowledge transfers, and political support. For a specific example, the so-called land reform in the 1950s in Taiwan, carried out by the American-led Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction, which had supposedly “redistributed” land successfully among the population and lauded as having paved the way for Taiwan’s economic miracle, was in fact a distribution of indigenous land without the permission or participation of indigenous peoples. Without invoking the international law of terra nullius, with which the West justified its usurpation of land from indigenous peoples all over the world, or the law of “first possession” with which to establish settler property rights in the United States, the Republic of China on Taiwan nevertheless has directly benefited from these and other international and domestic laws sanctioned by Western settler colonial states and subsequently made “universal” around the world. Prior to the Republic of China, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Zheng regime, the Manchu, and the Japanese colonizers had all concocted elaborate land regulations that were ultimately mere variations on the justification for dispossessing land from indigenous peoples. The essay by Katsuya Hirano, Lorenzo Veracini and Toulouse-Antonin Roy in this volume offers a much-needed historical overview of settler colonialism in Taiwan, including the laws and regulations governing land rights through different historical periods. In the end, the social contract signed by the people in Taiwan, for their illiberal governance by the Nationalist Party or liberal governance by the Democratic Progressive Party is in effect an expropriation contract signed among settlers to continously dispossess indigenous peoples. This notion of “settler contract” proposed by Carole Pateman is especially useful in understanding why conflicts between the old settlers and the new settlers in Taiwan have not undermined the settler colonial structure but rather continued to sustain it. While the old and new settlers disagree as to from whom they can be considered postcolonial, indigenous peoples were largely left out of the equation. It was not until recent decades that indigeneity has acquired visibility in public discourse in Taiwan, but a self-critical examination of settler colonialism as an ongoing colonial structure by the settlers continues to be very limited. In this regard, Shu-yuan Yang’s essay in this volume provides a very helpful account of the rise and growth of indigenous movements in Taiwan, from the formation of the Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines in 1984 to the Return My Land Movement of 1988, to the establishment of the Council of Indigenous Peoples in 1996, and to the passing of the Indigenous Basic Law in 2005. Vigorous resistance and struggle against the settler state is ongoing, simultaneous with concerted efforts to transmit, practice, reconstruct, and revitalize indigenous knowledge. As readers shall see in this volume, the indigenous struggle for decolonization has seen the most concrete results in the education sector, where indigenous knowledge has been most crucially applied, similar to what is found in tribal schools around the world, such as those in Chiapas, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies

fundamental orientation of indigenous education in Taiwan is knowledge and educational sovereignty as the foundation for indigenous people’s sovereign subjectivity. With changes in policy, this has become possible in a few experimental elementary schools in indigenous areas. Since indigenous knowledge is a form of daily practice, the teaching of indigenous knowledge means nothing less than a reconstruction, investigation, collection, organization, taxonomization, and systemization of indigenous knowledge, and then translating this work into curricula and pedagogy. As one can imagine, this has been a daunting task and has required a tremendous amount of research. According to indigenous philosopher Tunkan Tansikian, as detailed in the opening essay of this volume, this research has involved three major categories: theory, application (in many disciplines and fields such as astronomy, oceanography, biology, ecology, aesthetics, medicine, agriculture, etc.), and transmission. Importantly, at the core of the indigenous knowledge system, what is called the core-categorical knowledge, is the interrelatedness and interdependence among the human world, the natural world, and the spiritual world. The interdependence among these three worlds forms a kind of relationality vastly different than the universalism or universality propagated by the West. Instead, this is a multiverse where more than one world exists and the human world is not dominant, an ontology shared by many indigenous peoples around the world. For instance, the Zapatista saying of “a world where many worlds fit” also indicates that the human world as we know it is merely one of the many existing and possible worlds. From the perspective of native American science, similar to what has been proposed in quantum physics, the multiverse further indicates the potential of many realities.6 With the conception of a multiverse, or what some call pluriverse, there is not one universalism or universality that governs all, but instead a multiversality or pluriversality.7 We therefore need to understand relationality in a pluriverse as an expansive and extensive relationality beyond the human and the known world. Informed by indigenous knowledge, we can see that relationality is not only an ontological condition of the world, but is itself an ontology, that is, a way of living in the world where the human and the non-human, whether as nature or spirit, are deeply interconnected. As a way of living, relationality also governs ways of knowing and seeing, hence it is also an epistemology. In other words, there is a recursive structure of mutual referentiality between ontology and epistemology, both informed by relationality: the way we live is an expression of the way we know and see. In turn, indigenous relational epistemology and ontology becomes content as well as method in education, realized as concrete pedagogy in indigenous knowledge informed school curricula in Taiwan, Chiapas, and beyond. Such recursivity among indigenous knowledge, ontology, and methodology has been noted before by indigenous scholars from different parts of the world. Canadian scholar Eva Marie Carroutte describes as “radical indigenism” when scholars take 6 For

the relationship between indigenous science and quantum physics, see Gregory Cajete and Leroy Little Bear (2000). 7 See Arturo Escobar on pluriversality, inspired by the Zapatista saying quoted above and other indigenous epistemological and ontological formulations (2018).

Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies


indigenous knowledge not simply as objects of study but as “intellectual orientations that map out ways of discovering things about the world.”8 Other examples are numerous and are referenced throughout this volume, such as Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s decolonizing methodology derived from Kaupapa Maori (the Maori Way) and the American Indian practice of culturally sustaining pedagogy. Beyond education, we will also see how indigenous knowledge and ontology inform methods in all practices of life, such as agriculture, hunting, fishing, rituals, and so forth, while these practices, in turn, are embodiments of history and memory for indigenous epistemology and ontology. Accordingly, a strong indigenist critique articulates a standpoint that is informed by indigenous epistemology and ontology, where indigenism is defined in terms of itself, and the methods we deploy as scholars arise out of this recursivity. Indigenism is not only recursive but also relational. Indigenous scholars and activists in Taiwan, for instance, participate fully in and draw from global indigenism. Tunkan Tansikian draws from American Indian knowledge, others draw from the Australian aboriginals, New Zealand Maoris, and Canadian First Nations. In fact, indigenous research in Taiwan is deeply informed by indigenous research ethics in New Zealand, as Maoris and the indigenous peoples in Taiwan are both Austronesian, as shown in the way Jolan Hsieh et al evoke the Maori way in their conceptualization of research ethics in Taiwan. tibusungu’e vayayana references Maori deolonizing methodology and the American Indian practice of “culturally responsive schooling” and “culturally sustaining pedagogy,” to arrive at his encapsulation of the “cosmology of the cou people,” called “kuba-hosa-hupa.” Skaya Siku calls upon Navajo, Australian aboriginal, and African indigenous discourses in order to argue for a global decolonization that includes the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. They conceptualize indigenous knowledge in a relational way, referencing and drawing from other indigenous knowledges as Taiwan is itself an interlocutor, participant, and producer of indigenous knowledge in the global indigenous knowledge movement. The cross-referentiality of indigenous knowledge around the world as a relational formation and as realized in Taiwan informs the sense of the “beyond” in the title of this volume that indigenous knowledge simultaneously names a geographical location and reaches beyond it. In another sense of the “beyond,” this volume offers a comparative perspective with another theory that is also known to be “decolonial” but does not specifically engage with settler colonial critique: Latin American decolonial theory. tibusungu’e vayayana works with the Latin American decolonial theory in his essay, and Breny Mendoza offers a critical reading of both Latin American decolonial theory and settler colonial theory as she stages a tense encounter between the two. In this way, the “beyond” of Taiwan is not only the other settler colonies, but also places that have not yet been theorized as settler colonies as such. What we take away from this tense encounter, ultimately, may be how not to decolonize Taiwan studies: that is, how not to follow Latin American decolonial theory. While indigenous peoples are continuously oppressed and marginalized in Latin America, Latin American decolonial theory, mainly conceptualized by mestizx 8 Quoted

in Dale Turner (2006: 115).


Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies

scholars, is not self-conscious or self-critical of mestizx hegemony over indigenous peoples in Latin America. Instead, by claiming their own mixedness, they tend to collapse the difference between mestizaje and indigeneity, even as their hegemony over those who are identified and identify themselves as indigenous peoples operate in ways very similar to that in settler colonies. There is, in other words, a settler colonial unconscious in Latin American decolonial theory that remains unacknowledged and suppressed. In the case of Taiwan, a reversed logic of denial is at work. Even though the majority of Han Taiwanese are in fact mixed, in order to shore up settler hegemony based on their difference from and superiority over indigeneity, it is their mixedness that has been disavowed. Whether appropriating or usurping indigeneity by the mestizx in Latin America, or disavowing indigeneity by mixed-blood creole Han Taiwanese in Taiwan, the effect has been largely the same: as majority and hegemonic populations, they have exercised settler colonialism in their respective places.9 If settler colonial theory is insufficient to account for Latin America due to disavowals by the mestizx, then Latin American decolonial theory is also more than insufficiently decolonial in its inability to confront indigeneity. In this way, studying Taiwan offers a critical lens to expose the disavowals of settler colonialism elsewhere. With some clarity, we can state how not to decolonize Taiwan studies: neither by the creole political and economic elite claiming ethnic and cultural superiority and difference over indigenous peoples, nor by claiming indigeneity for themselves. Instead, decolonizing Taiwan studies begins with the simultaneous centering of indigenous sovereignty and the critique of settler colonialism.

References Battiste, M., & Henderson, J. (Sa’ke’j) Y. (2000). Protecing indigneous knowledge and heritage: a global challenge. Saskatoon, Canada: Purich Publishing. Butler, J. (2020). The force of nonviolence: an ethico-political bind. London and New York: Verso. Cajete, G., & Bear, L. L. (2000). Native science: natural laws of interdependence. Clear Light Books. Dietrich, René, Ed. “Settler Colonial Biopolitics and Indigenous Lifeways” special issue, American Indian Cultural and Research Journal 42: 2 (2018). Escobar, A. (2018). Designs for the pluriverse: Radical interdependence, autonomy, and the making of worlds. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Land, C. (2015). Decolonizing solidarity: Dilemmas and directions for supporters of indigenous struggles. London: Zed Books. Lawrence, B., & Dua, E. (2005). Decolonizing antiracism. Social Justice, 32:4, 120–143. Omi, M. & Winant, H. (1994). Racial formation in the United States. 2nd edn. New York and London: Routledge, 1994. Pateman, C. (2007).“The settler contract,” in Carole Pateman and Charles Mills. Contract and domination. New York: Polity, 35–78.

9 Referring

here to all Latin American countries with the exception of Peru and Bolivia, where the indigenous people constitute the majority.

Introduction: Decolonizing Taiwan Studies


Phung, M. (2011). “Are People of Color Settlers Too?” In A. Mathur, J. Dewar & M. DeGagné (Eds.), Cultivating canada: Reconciliation through the lens of cultural diversity. Ottawa, Ontario: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 291–298. Tuck, E. & Wang, K. Wayne. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. 1(1), 1–40. Turner, D. (2006). This is not a piece pipe: Towards a critical indigenous philosophy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Veracini, L. (2010). Settler colonialism: A theoretical overview. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan. Whitt, L. (2009). Science, colonialism and indigenous peoples: The cultural politics of law and knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge Uiversity Press. Wolfe, P. (1999). Settler colonialism and the transformation of anthropology: The politics and poetics of an ethnographic event. London and New York: Cassell.

Introduction to the Chapters Lin-chin Tsai

The first section, “Indigenous Knowledge, Education, and Research,” highlights the thematic kernel of the volume. It begins with Tunkan Tansikian’s programmatic essay, “Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study of the Education Sector,” where he describes juridical reformation and pedagogical development with respect to indigenous knowledge and the educational system in the past two decades and investigates ways in which indigenous peoples in Taiwan have put these achievements into actual practice in tribal and alternative schools. Through his examination of two indigenous institutes, Nanhu Mountain Atayal Tribal School in Yila and Wanrong Truku Indigenous Elementary School in Hualian, he not only shows how these schools developed an indigenous knowledge-based curricula, but also analyzes their potentials and limitations within the larger mainstream society of Taiwan. The knowledge map he provides includes two concentric circles of indigenous core categorical and sub-categorical knowledge, surrounded by an outer circle of modern nonindigenous knowledge. He argues that indigenous and nonindigenous knowledge need not be mutually exclusive, but can “achieve a certain harmony,” as long as the sovereign subjectivity of indigenous peoples is sustained. tibusungu’e vayayana’s essay, “kuba-hosa-hupa: A Preliminary Study of Cou Cosmology and Pedagogy,” introduces the notion of kuba-hosa-hupa, the Cou traditional ecological knowledge which constitutes the Cou people’s cosmology, and presents how the Cou people translate and develop this cosmological concept into an Indigenous-oriented pedagogy. He illuminates how the notion of kuba-hosa-hupa provides a holistic educational system, a lifetime learning process which connects each individual with the entire community across generations. It is also an ecological philosophy that underscores the integration of and harmony between body and mind, the physical and the spiritual, as well as man and nature. Rebuilding the educational system based on the model of kuba-hosa-hupa is, therefore, a critical step toward transitional justice and decolonial epistemic practice in Taiwan. Knowledge sovereignty extends to visual sovereignty to challenge “the settler colonial ways of seeing” in “The Making of Indigenous Knowledge in Contemporary Taiwan: A Case Study of Three Indigenous Documentary Filmmakers” by Skaya Siku. She looks at three indigenous documentary filmmakers’ alternative activism xix


Introduction to the Chapters

and the ways they represent indigenous sociopolitical issues and disseminate indigenous knowledge to the larger mainstream society. According to the author, Mayaw Biho utilizes social media such as Facebook to popularize indigenous protests against controversial regulations for indigenous traditional territories and creates a form of “neo Pan-Indigenous civic awareness.” Pilin Yabu employs technologies of new media to document his alternative educational practices based on the Atayal teachings of Gaga while using a collective mode of film production. As a nurse, Tao documentarian Chang Shu-lan not only dedicates herself to long-term care service in her Lanyu community, but also intervenes in the national policymaking process of long-term care via her documentary work. Indigenous filmmakers have taken on their own camcorders in self-ethnography and in a “shared anthropology” (per Jean Rouch), thereby wrestling the right to represent away from the settler colonizers. Any scholar working with indigenous communities, whether the scholar is indigenous or nonindigenous, needs to adhere to rigorous research protocols. “From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: Indigenous Research Ethics in Makotaay, Taiwan,” coauthored by Jolan Hsieh, Ena Ying-tzu Chang, and Sifo Lakaw, lays out these protocols through a case study of their work with the Makotaay community in Hualian. Informed by the research frameworks and experiences from Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States, the authors point out that it is imperative to lay emphasis on “the process of consultation.” This includes establishing a “consultation platform” in which members of Indigenous communities, Indigenous knowledge experts, and scholars can cooperate and generate “cross-cultural understanding and dialog.” In doing so, a more reciprocal representation of indigenous knowledge based on partnership and collaboration can take shape, which will not merely benefit the members of Indigenous communities, but also sustain Indigenous sovereignty, so that the work is done “for” and “with” indigenous communities. Cheng-feng Shih examines comparative cases from around the world to construct research ethics for Taiwan’s indigenous communities in his essay, “Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics.” Drawing from such international norms as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as the experiences of the US, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Canada, Shih argues that the ethics regarding the research of indigenous knowledge should involve the participation and consultation among the government, academic institutes, and indigenous communities prior to, during, and after the research process. It is also important for indigenous communities to create their own consultation committees, in order to establish a more reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship between researchers and the communities. The second section, “Forms of Indigenous Knowledge,” presents diverse forms of Indigenous cultural practices and explores the specific knowledge systems embedded in these practices. Benoit Vermander’s essay, “Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Population,” begins with an exploration of indigenous myths and rituals pertaining to millet in four indigenous nations in Taiwan—the Amis, Bunun, Rukai, and Paiwan—and proceeds with a description of marginalization and transformation of millet cultivation due to

Introduction to the Chapters


economic changes and various modes of acculturation, as well as the recent revitalization of millet culture. The resilience of millet-based cultural practices in contemporary Taiwan manifests how Indigenous communities “continue to live, to change and to grow,” based on “tangible markers anchored into the natural and social environment” as forms of “symbolic communal subsistence.” Therefore, what rituals involving millet makes possible is the simultaneous localization of cosmic meanings and the universalization of local practices. Similarly, in “Landscape, Habitus and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Agricultural Transition of Highland Indigenous Communities in Philippines and Taiwan,” Stephen Acabado and Daya (Da-wei) Kuan examine the material and symbolic significance of ritual crops through their comparison of two indigenous communities, the Ifugao in the Philippines and the Tayal in Taiwan, and the ways in which they accommodate themselves to sociopolitical and economic change, and revitalize the agrocultural landscapes amidst the processes of colonization and modernization. They contend that the comparative study of agro-cultural landscapes in the Philippines and Taiwan not only allows us to understand further the interconnected nature of agricultural activities, social relations, cultural and ritual practices, belief systems, and environmental changes, but also reveals how Indigenous peoples strengthen their ethnic and cultural identities, reconnect with their ancestors, and redefine their relationships with the societies and the environment. What they call the “agro-cultural complex” thus constitutes an epistemology and an ontology of its own. In addition to the ritualization of agricultural products, indigenous communities in Taiwan also practice ritualized hunting, as they root their epistemologies and ontologies in the “forests of their ancestors” in the words of Scott Simon. Simon’s “Of Boars and Men: Indigenous Knowledge and Co-Management in Taiwan” teases out the complex relationship between Turuku hunting ecology and political ecology, as indigenous hunting rights in their traditional territories, though sanctioned by the Indigenous Basic Law, are criminalized by the National Park Law. Simon analyzes the conflicting and discordant opinions among the indigenous elites, activists, and hunters, as well as other nonindigenous park administrators and officials, according to what Tim Ingold calls their “dwelling perspective.” Simon suggests it is imperative to create new institutions to legalize indigenous hunting based on the ancestral law of Gaya and establish co-management boards that include park administrators, educated indigenous activists, as well as experienced hunters and trappers, in order to sustain wildlife and the cultural survival of indigenous peoples. Darryl Sterk, in “The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan,” explores the ethics and politics of hunting through an analysis of Sinophone indigenous literature in a subgenre that he defines as “ecorealist fiction.” He shows how the ecorealist stories of Auvini Kadresengan, Topas Tamapima, and Badai construe the metaphor of “the hunter’s gift” as “a symbol of ecological and social integration,” as opposed to the capitalist logic of appropriation and alienation. The figurations of the hunter in these texts, Sterk argues, serve not merely as a productive critique of modernity, but offer potentialities of a different way of worlding that may in fact help liberal capitalism become more sustainable, for the benefit of both the human and the nonhuman.


Introduction to the Chapters

Shu-yuan Yang’s “The Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge in Taiwan” expands the context of indigenous knowledge from ritual agricultural and hunting practices and literary representation to the larger indigenous movement since the 1980s, first by offering a historical overview, then through the root-searching expeditions made by indigenous peoples to the ancestral lands where they no longer reside. These expeditions are tribal practices that chart ecology, reconstruct memory, restore cultural heritage, and register ethnohistory. Through these embodied practices, body and land “inter-animate” each other, and memory and history transcend representation by becoming activity. These expeditions as mapping practices, in turn, help support the assertion of indigenous land rights claims. The third section, “Settler Colonial and Decolonial Critique,” attempts to bring three research fields, indigenous studies, settler colonial studies, and Latin American decolonial studies into a constructive and dynamic dialogue. The first essay, “Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler Colonial Unconsciousness,” coauthored by Katsuya Hirano, Lorenzo Veracini, and Toulouse-Antonin Roy, offers a muchneeded reconceptualization of Taiwan’s history from the perspective of settler colonial studies. The historiography of Taiwan, which has flourished and has become institutionalized in the past three decades in the wake of the localization and democratization movements since the 1980s, is in fact the history of the winners: the settlers. The authors intervene in this historiography and construct a revisionist settler colonial historiography of Taiwan, which shows the complexity of the situation where settler colonialism often co-existed with other exogenous colonialisms. This chapter is a succinct and comprehensive settler colonial history of Taiwan and will serve as an important reference for future settler colonial studies of Taiwan. Breny Mendoza’s “Decolonial Theories in Comparison” offers a theoretical reflection on the recent proliferation of global colonial studies through a relational comparative analysis of decolonial theory and settler colonial studies. Mendoza notes that the strict distinction between settler colonialism and exploitation colonialism is insufficient to describe the case of Iberian colonialism in Latin America, as Indigenous peoples were subject to both forced labor and territorial dispossession. In addition, although the two paradigms have formulated different approaches to address the issues of race and racism in colonial conditions, and developed different conceptions of and political agendas toward the State, neither settler colonial theory nor the major decolonial theorist Anibal Quijano’s influential concept of “coloniality of power” has taken gender seriously. A more thorough and productive project of decolonization should, therefore, be imagined based on critical reconsideration of the possibilities as well as limitations in both settler colonial and decolonial paradigms. In “Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance against Japan and Indigenous People’s Collaboration with Japan,” Fang-mei Lin analyzes how the different positionalities of the settlers and the indigenous peoples have produced two different narratives of colonialism and history, showing the divergence between classic colonial studies and settler colonial studies. She reads Han settler historical narratives of anti-imperial resistance to Japan in Li Qiao’s screenplay Attachment to Our land and Hong Zhi-yu’s feature film 1895, followed by a comparative reading of Pinuyumayan Indigenous writer Badai’s novel The Last Queen. While Li’s screenplay

Introduction to the Chapters


articulates a Taiwan-oriented but Han-centric and male-centric nativist discourse, Hong’s film demonstrates an attempt to evolve Han Taiwanese nativism and nationalism into a cinematic expression of postcolonial multiculturalism in the context of cultural globalization. In contrast to the two settler narratives, Badai’s novel situates Taiwan history in relation to East Asian history and world history, with particular focus on Taiwan’s indigenous history. The three texts evince a discursive trajectory from Taiwan-centric nativism, to settler multiculturalism, and then to a decolonial model of “Indigenous worlding,” where Taiwan is seen as an active participant in the creolization of world cultures. Lin-chin Tsai’s essay, “Mapping Formosa: Settler Colonial Cartography in Taiwan Cinema in the 1950s,” further illustrates the theoretical and conceptual divergence between classic colonial studies and settler colonial studies using films made during the Japanese colonial era and postwar Taiwan. While the two Nationalist propaganda films, Descendants of the Yellow Emperor (dir. Bai Ke, 1955) and Beautiful Treasure Island (dir. Chen Wen-chuan, 1953), can be read as classic films of Taiwan’s settler colonial cartography, the Japanese imperial policy documentary, Southward Expansion to Taiwan (1940), evinces a distinctly exogenous colonial consciousness. Among others, the two perspectives diverge in their respective construction of the homeland. While settler films seek to construct Taiwan as the homeland in their spatial practices and cartographic desires, the Japanese colonial film sees Taiwan as discontinuous from homeland Japan. Tsai’s settler colonial critique of these films exposes the different strategies of territorialization by Han settlers and Japanese colonizers, ultimately showing that the object of one’s research determines the methods that we deploy. Taiwan as a settler colony requires settler colonial critique. Finally, the Paiwan author Ibau Dadelavan’s essay, consisting of a presentation given at UCLA on May 11, 2018, and an excerpt from her genre-defying book, Eagles, Goodbye: A Paiwan Woman’s Journey to Western Tibet (2004), concludes this volume with a voice that combines the personal, the tribal, and the transnational with the motif of an inner and outer journey. Ibau Dadelavan is from a tribal community known as Tuvasavasai (Qingshan) in Pingtung County. She worked as a research assistant at Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, for twelve years after she graduated from Yu-Shan Theological College in Hualian. This work involved conducting field research in different Indigenous communities, which has played a crucial part in her literary creations. Dadelavan joined the U-theater in 1999, and later participated in a pilgrim trip to Tibet in 2002. Not only did the journey allow her an understanding of Tibet, it also reconnected her to the spirits and teachings of her ancestors. We conclude this volume with Dadelavan’s transnational root-searching journey to Tibet, a geographical location that is seemingly far from her tribal community in Taiwan, to acknowledge these diverse forms of indigenous cultural practices and knowledge productions as relational formations that need to be studied together, as only in indigeneity can a true decolonial critique begin.

Editors, Contributors and Translators

About the Editors Shu-mei Shih Vice President of American Comparative Literature Association, is the Inaugural Edward W. Said Professor of Comparative Literature, and a professor of Asian Languages and Cultures and Asian American Studies at UCLA. Among other works, her book, Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific (2007), has been attributed as having inaugurated a new field of study called Sinophone Studies. Its Mandarin Chinese translation has gone into three printings (2013; 2015; 2018). Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (2013), is a textbook that she coedited for the field. Her latest work in this field is Against Diaspora: Discourses on Sinophone Studies, a monograph published in Taiwan (2017; second printing, 2018). Besides Sinophone studies, her areas of research include comparative modernism, as in the book The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917–1937 (2001; Mandarin translation 2007); theories of transnationalism, as in her co-edited Minor Transnationalism (2005; second printing, 2009); critical race studies, as in her guest-edited special issue of PMLA entitled “Comparative Racialization” (2008); critical theory, as in her co-edited Creolization of Theory (2011; second printing, 2014); Taiwan studies, as in her guest-edited special issue of Postcolonial Studies entitled “Globalization and Taiwan’s (In)significance” (2003), the co-edited volumes Comparatizing Taiwan (2015; paperback, 2018), and Knowledge Taiwan: On the Possibility of Theory in Taiwan (2016), and Keywords of Taiwan Theory (March, 2019; second printing May 2019). Lin-chin Tsai received his Ph.D. at UCLA, with a focus on Taiwan as a settler colony and its cultural productions. His articles on Taiwan literature and cinema have been published in academic journals in English and Mandarin, as well as edited volumes, including Keywords of Taiwan Theory (2019), and Cinematic Settlers: The Settler Colonial World in Film (2020). He also coauthored a book with scholars specializing in Taiwan literature, entitled 100 Years of Taiwan Literature (2018).



Editors, Contributors and Translators

Contributors Stephen Acabado Anthropology at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, US Ena Ying-tzu Chang National Dong Hwa University, Hualian County, Taiwan Katsuya Hirano University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai) National Dong Hwa University, Hualian County, Taiwan Ibau Dadelavan Independent Writer, Tainan City, Taiwan Da-wei Kuan Ethnology at National Cheng-chih University, Taipei, Taiwan Sifo Lakaw National Dong Hwa University, Hualian County, Taiwan Fang-mei Lin National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan Breny Mendoza California State University, Northridge, CA, US Toulouse-Antonin Roy University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US Cheng-feng Shih National Dong Hwa University, Hualian, Taiwan Skaya Siku Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan Scott Simon University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada Darryl Sterk Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China Tunkan Tansikian (Pei-Lun Chen Chang) National Hualian, Taiwan



Lin-chin Tsai University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA tibusungu’e vayayana (Ming-huey Wang) National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan Lorenzo Veracini Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia Benoît Vermander Fudan University, Shanghai, China Shu-yuan Yang Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Translators Faye Qiyu Lu University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Kun-xian Shen University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Part I

Indigenous Knowledge, Education, and Research

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study of the Education Sector Tunkan Tansikian (Pei-lun Chen Chang)

1 Foreword Since the beginning of this century, the issue of indigenous knowledge has begun to be noticed in Taiwan’s academia, industry, and the education sector. Many people take on and reflect upon related issues from different angles and needs. Or, they dig into this intellectual tradition to look for potential contributions to contemporary technological development, such as when the field of biotechnology borrows from specific tribal knowledge about the use of plants to improve progress on the expansion of scientific knowledge or product development. Additionally, fields related to ecological and agricultural affairs have begun to pay attention to the possible implications that traditional indigenous knowledge related to the use of forests can have for the governance of natural resources. Furthermore, indigenous peoples themselves have not been absent in this trend. In the reflection on the current academic and education systems, indigenous peoples themselves view the pursuit, revival, and development of indigenous knowledge as a part of the indigenous rights movements, understanding this knowledge system as future possibilities from the perspective of ethnic equality among all peoples and knowledge sovereignty, unfurling concepts of indigenous knowledge and content that may stand apart from what academia, in general, might understand, while attempting to promote its application in all sorts of indigenous development issues so as to break away from the colonial condition wherein the logic of ethnic policies is dominated by the knowledge of mainstream society. Looking back on the development of indigenous knowledge in Taiwan over the past two decades, one could say that the experiences of more systemic practices were mostly seen in the education sector. Thus, this article will treat the field of indigenous education as the focus, investigating how indigenous knowledge became T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang) (B) National Dong-Hwa University, Hualian, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

an important issue in the advancement of indigenous rights in Taiwan, how indigenous societies have initiated the works of rethinking and constructing indigenous knowledge systems, and how the results of related efforts—when applied to the field of education—were transformed into substantive content in heritage education for indigenous cultures. The experiences of these practices are the indigenous right to speech realized through indigenous academic curricula, and the realization of educational sovereignty in the education field, which is the best example of how indigenous peoples take initiative and influence their own collective development policies. First, this article will explain why the topic of indigenous knowledge is valued by going through the transformation of indigenous education rights and policies in Taiwan, particularly in relation to the ideal vision for indigenous education. Second, it will summarize the preliminary results of the rethinking on the construction of indigenous knowledge systems in Taiwan over the past two decades. Lastly, in the latter half of the article, I will use tribal schools outside of the official system and experimental educational policies for indigenous peoples within the system as examples, introducing how the field of educational practice—with curriculum development at its core—engages with the work of building indigenous knowledge, including the establishment of specific indigenous or tribal knowledge systems, the collection and organization of knowledge content, and the transformation of knowledge into curriculum.

2 Indigenous Education and Indigenous Knowledge Over the past decade or so, research on issues regarding indigenous knowledge in Taiwan can be roughly divided into three categories: the first one is theoretical or meta-level research, including topics like the characteristics of indigenous knowledge, taxonomy and categorization, and knowledge production.1 The second refers to indigenous knowledge in specific fields and research in its applications, roughly including astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, biology, ecology, the management of natural resources and disasters, agriculture, and medicine, as well as knowledge related to the humanities and social sciences, such as architecture, the governance 1 To be more specific, research that belongs to this category includes studies on the characteristics of

indigenous knowledge (Wang 1996), issues of knowledge sovereignty (Shih and Wu 2009), issues of indigenous knowledge transformation under the influence of the outside world (Zhang 2014), issues of the categorization of indigenous knowledges from the perspective of library science, (Gu-Le-Le and Mei-Mei 2015; Chen and Chu 2009; Chu and Chen 2010; Chen 2010), issues of the application of knowledge base in the organization of indigenous knowledge (Vaci 2012), and issues of the producer of indigenous knowledge and research ethics (Pu 2013a, b; Shih 2013; Lin and Kao 2014). In addition, the Council of Indigenous Peoples (to which indigenous affairs are entrusted by the Taiwanese government) also entrusted scholars to conduct research projects on the characteristics, categorical structure, and its modes of practices in 2008, a more comprehensive exploration of relevant issues. The reports resulting from the project can be seen as the more complete research on indigenous knowledges in Taiwan in recent years (Chang et al. 2009).

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


of tribes, social work, communication, theology, and aesthetics.2 The third category includes issues about the inheritance and transmission of indigenous knowledge, which means research on the position, role, and practice of indigenous knowledge in the field of education.3 The above-mentioned research related to issues of indigenous knowledge is mostly not developed systematically, and usually results from the research interests of individual scholars, lacking in concrete examples of its application and the changes it brought. Currently, the only examples that can bring together theory and practice and gradually produce actual results are mostly seen in the field of education. Because of the practical needs of indigenous education, the building of the knowledge system of each indigenous people, the collection, analysis, and categorization of specific fields of knowledge, and the application of these results in social practices almost all take place in the field of education. As for the reason why the education sector became the main field where the building of indigenous knowledge took place, we have to start from the transformation of indigenous education policies in the 1990s. Before democratization took place in Taiwan, indigenous peoples were referred to as “mountain compatriots” [shandi tongbao 山地同胞] while the policies regarding these peoples were called mountain area administration, a temporary form of protective administration that would be suspended after every aspect of the lives of “mountain compatriots” was elevated by such protection to the level of the society on the plains (that is, the mainstream Han society) (Zhang 1953: 2, 60). With regards to this, Fujii Shizue believes that the government did not acknowledge the fact that indigenous peoples were different from the Han ethnic group, but only viewed them as “minority citizens” [ruoshih guomin 弱勢國民] whose standard of living had not yet reached that of the level of the plains, thus legitimizing its assimilation strategy (2001: 160). In the education sector, following such policy direction, the design of the school system, the planning of course content, and the mode of teacher training all followed mainstream ethnic Han culture, while indigenous cultures became the target of an

2 Studies on indigenous knowledges related to the natural world include astronomy, calendar, mete-

orology, and climate change (Liu and Liu 2013; Chien 2016), the ocean (Syaman Rapongan 2009), flora and fauna (Chen 2011, 2009; Pu 2013; Wang and Tien 2017; Chen et al. 2017; Chen et al. 2017), agriculture, fishing, and hunting (Kuo 2009; Chang 2011; Pu 2017), traditional ecological knowledges, management of natural resources, management of disasters (Wu 2009; Hu 2008; Chen 2013; Chen 2009; Chen and Tsaig 2017; Kuan and Lin 2008, Kuan 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017; Chiu 2011), medicine (Tsai 2007), and architecture (Kuo 2010). Studies on indigenous knowledges related to the humanities and social sciences touch upon arts and aesthetics (Yang and Yapasuyongu 2007; Hong et al. 2012), theology (Chiu 2017), governance of the tribes (Mona 2010), communication ( 林福岳, 2009; Jhang 2015; Sun 2015), and social work (Lin 2010). 3 The application of indigenous knowledges in the field of education is closely related to curriculum development, including its application in the culturally responsive classes (including science classes) in indigenous schools (Zhou 2011; Fang 2014; Wu and Kai 2018; Ying Lee and Hui-ping Huang 2011), the practices of indigenous knowledges in tribal colleges and schools outside of the system (Du 2013; Lee 2012; Lakaw 2018; Yapasuyongu 2012; Pu 2012; Lin 2018; Chen 2015), and the use of digital learning tools to promote indigenous knowledges (Kawas et al. 2018).


T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

education system that aimed to “transform old customs” [yifengyisu 移風易俗], and indigenous identities gradually eroded in this process. The above-mentioned education policies were not altogether useless; after all, there were individual indigenous persons who improved their personal and family lives through this system, and even rose to the rank of social elites. But in terms of the overall development of indigenous societies, the assimilation policies had very negative consequences. For example, Tan Kuang-din points out that indigenous education policies were in fact part of colonial rule that always seeks to protect the politico-economic interests of the colonizers: “From the design of classes, the language of instruction, the training of teachers, to the academic structure, these were all decided by the colonizer. The needs of indigenous peoples were completely excluded…” (2002: 263). “Indigenous cultures were excluded from standard education system, unable to be preserved and passed on through education…which led a cultural organism rich with activities to decline and face extinction” (1998: 3–4). The final outcome was that indigenous peoples were treated as a group of people who did not understand education at all, waiting for the dominant ethnic group to teach them how to become civilized people.4 Furthermore, individual indigenous persons could only be acknowledged when they grasped the culture and knowledge of the mainstream ethnic group; otherwise, they would never be recognized, even if they learned how to speak their own languages and familiarize themselves with their own culture and knowledge.5 What’s worse, there was even content in the school’s curriculum that discriminated against indigenous peoples, causing psychological harm to indigenous students and forcing them to suffer from self-stigmatization.6 4 With

her experience of serving in a key indigenous school for several years, Mei-lang Su points out that a considerable number of non-indigenous teachers do not understand the social conditions faced by indigenous peoples deeply enough, and they tend to conclude from academic performance that indigenous parents are careless about their children’s education. As biases were formulated, welfare policy began to allocate resources to the children, “even to the extent of replacing indigenous parents’ responsibility of child raising.” What they did not know is that “indigenous peoples are not ignorant about raising their children, but that their ideas of raising children are different from that of the mainstream society.” In response to this, Su wrote the book Becoming Bunun: The Childhood and Upbringing of the Bunun People [成為Bunun: 布農族的童年與養育], attempting to “tell everyone how the Bunun people raise their children, while looking forward to everyone helping Bunun children to learn and grow in the Bunun way” (2017: 24–26). 5 Anthropologist Joe L. Kincheloe once explained the unbalanced relationship between knowledges of mainstream society and indigenous knowledges with his experiences during his childhood. He was born in a village in the Appalachian Mountains area where there were many Indian neighbors nearby. One of the Indian kids, Larry, was his playmate. What was memorable for him is that, outside class, when they were playing in the forests, Larry often taught him knowledge about flora and fauna, such as what kinds of leaves could be used to treat burn wounds, or what kinds of plant roots could be boiled to cure colds. He was curious about how Larry knew so much, and Larry told him that he was told by his elders. Kincheloe was very envious about all these natural knowledges that Larry had and treated him like a teacher. But after they entered a classroom, everything changed. During the learning process in a classroom of so-called modern knowledges, Larry was completely unable to get used to the contents so different from his cultural background, and ultimately he was even considered flawed in his intelligence by his teachers (Semali and Kincheloe 1999: 13–14). 6 Such as the “Wu-Feng Myth” (Wu-Feng Shenhua 吳鳳神話) that existed in the textbooks of elementary school in the early years, a myth that not only made indigenous peoples feel humiliated

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Starting from the 1980s—the early period of Taiwan’s democratization when all sorts of social movements surfaced—indigenous peoples who had been historically oppressed finally had the chance to voice their opinions, asking mainstream society to respond to their demands for indigenous rights, such as recertification of their tribal names, autonomy, land reclamation and the necessary adjustments to the national and social structure so that their cultural difference and historical status could be respected (Chen Chang 2015). In terms of their demands for the right to education, the major advocacy group “Taiwan Association for Indigenous Rights” at the time proposed: first, the right to education is fundamental to indigenous people’s right to life, which should not be suppressed, violated, and usurped; and second, indigenous peoples have the right to be educated in their own native languages, to establish their own schools, and to adopt education policies that use multiple indigenous languages concurrently in indigenous areas (Parod 2008: 192). Afterwards, during the process of constitutional reform in the 1990s, the indigenous status of the indigenous peoples was acknowledged by the Constitution, as they are no longer referred to as “mountain compatriots” but as “indigenous peoples” [yuanzhuminzu 原住民族] and are now included in two constitutional articles that respect diverse cultures and indigenous self-determination (Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, Article 10, Paragraphs 11 and 12) (Chen Chang 2015).7 The innovations that realized the indigenous right to education can mainly be found in the first-ever law drafted specifically for indigenous issues in 1998, the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, as multicultural education in the field of education in Taiwan continued to gain attention at the time, education policy began to mirror the cultural experiences of indigenous peoples more closely, while the curriculum also began to include indigenous languages and cultural materials.8 The most innovative educational idea of the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples was that it changed the past assimilationist education policy that rejected traditional indigenous cultures and life experiences and made both general education and ethnic education necessary components of indigenous education. Whereas general education means “education of a general nature provided to indigenous students according to their educational needs,” ethnic education indicates “traditional ethnic culture education provided to indigenous students based on the specific cultural characteristics of indigenous peoples” (Article 4).

since their childhood, but also led to the bullying of indigenous students on campus (Hsieh 1987: 42–45; Research Team on the Historicity of Wu-Feng, 1990: 59–71). 7 Paragraph 11 states, “The State affirms cultural pluralism and shall actively preserve and foster the development of aboriginal languages and cultures.” Paragraph 12 states, “The State shall, in accordance with the will of the ethnic groups, safeguard the status and political participation of the aborigines. The State shall also guarantee and provide assistance and encouragement for aboriginal education, culture, transportation, water conservation, health and medical care, economic activity, land, and social welfare, measures for which shall be established by law.” 8 In academia in Taiwan at the time, there were three papers included in the earliest educational book on diverse cultures in Taiwan that directly treated indigenous education as their topic (China Education Society 1993).


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In addition, the law specifies that “Governments at all levels shall provide indigenous students at preschool, elementary school, and junior high school levels with opportunities to learn their respective ethnic languages, histories, and cultures” (Article 21); “Educational institutions of all types at all levels shall adopt a multicultural perspective and incorporate the histories, cultures, and values of the various indigenous ethnicities in their school curricula and teaching materials” (Article 20); “For ethnic education-related curriculum development and material selection and compilation, educational institutions of all types at all levels shall respect the views of indigenous peoples and shall involve representatives with an indigenous identity in the associated planning and design process” (Article 22). The law even rules that “When deemed necessary, governments at all levels may set up indigenous schools and/or indigenous classes at any level to improve the school attendance of indigenous students and to maintain their indigenous culture” (Article 11). Taking all these legal regulations into consideration, we can say that the state finally acknowledged that for indigenous peoples, general academic knowledge (general education) and indigenous cultural inheritance (ethnic education) are equally important for raising them to become a holistic person, or for them to receive a holistic education. After all, for every indigenous person, they are, on the one hand, citizens in the society, while on the other hand, they are indigenous or tribal members, and such dual identities and the ensuing educational needs should be taken into consideration. The aforementioned laws meant that the state promised to provide the indigenous peoples with the opportunities to learn their cultural traditions within the school system and even to establish schools exclusively for them to inherit indigenous cultures, so that they have a chance to develop their aforementioned dual identities. The state acknowledged the importance of indigenous cultural inheritance to the holistic development of indigenous students while also promising that school education should include ethnic education curriculum. However, after the long-term suppression of indigenous cultures, serious questions remained as to how the content of this school curriculum could be developed. Take the design principle of the Taiwan National Basic Education Curriculum as an example. The focal point of the curriculum development was to push students to acquire core competency, which refers to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that an individual needs so that he/she can adapt to contemporary life and face future challenges (Ministry of Education 2014). The most scrutinized part within this curriculum is nothing but the acquisition of knowledge, especially basic knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The specific content of these areas is categorized into fields or subjects like language (national language, local language, English), math, society (history, geography, civics), natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, earth science), the arts (music and fine art), as well as health and physical education. Mainstream society, which claims to represent human civilization, obtains knowledge through long-term academic research, systematically categorizing what is learned into knowledge databases and extracting the essentials to formulate the fields and subjects of the above-mentioned school curriculum, with which everyone is familiar. Traditionally, indigenous peoples treat the entire tribe as their academic

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field, their life skills as their guidance, their elders as their teachers, and physical activities and oral accounts as their medium, while the essence of their cultural knowledge is carried on and renewed generation after generation through the practice of annual rituals, rites of passage, songs and dances, and fishing and hunting (Sun 2000:195; Lien 2013:7). But in terms of the systematicity, completeness, and rigor of the accumulation of knowledge and curriculum development within indigenous communities, they indeed have not caught up with the results of the civilization created by the mainstream society. It is also not the case that existing mainstream academic research has not explored indigenous knowledge. However, such research mainly treats indigenous cultural material as a part of the knowledge system of mainstream society from the perspective of mainstream academic development. The result rejects the knowledge systems of the indigenous peoples, who are treated as mere research objects and whose own perspectives are excluded (Russell 2005:170). As Linda T. Smith says, “This collective memory of imperialism has been perpetuated through the ways in which knowledge about indigenous peoples was collected, classified, and then represented in various ways back to the West, and then, through the eyes of the West, back to those who have been colonized” (1999:1). Judging from this, the curriculum development of ethnic education must be based upon indigenous knowledge. However, both the existing knowledge accumulated by the indigenous society itself and the mainstream academic research findings on indigenous knowledge, which are produced via the aforementioned colonial gaze, must undergo reflection and reorganization to become the basic materials for the development of an ethnic education curriculum. This leads to the organization of “indigenous heritage” (zugu 族故), which means rethinking the quality of indigenous knowledge, the building of knowledge systems, and the necessity of organizing the content of such knowledge from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

3 The Systematization of Indigenous Knowledge For the practical needs of the above-mentioned ethnic education curriculum development, the Council of Indigenous Peoples entrusted the Taiwan Indigenous Professor Society to conduct “A Study on the Plan of Constructing Taiwan Indigenous Knowledge System” in 2009, referencing international experiences, studies of local academics, and opinions from indigenous societies to propose suggestions in terms of the purposes, characteristics, definitions, taxonomies, and practical plans of indigenous knowledge, which could serve as preliminary preparations for the subsequent organization and application of indigenous knowledge.


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3.1 The Purposes, Characteristics, and Definitions of the Indigenous Knowledge System First of all, echoing the transformation of the status of indigenous knowledge during the processes of colonization and decolonization, the Study points out that for indigenous peoples themselves, the contemporary rethinking of issues of indigenous knowledge obviously shares the purpose of reconstructing indigenous subjectivity and pursuing an equal status for indigenous peoples. The former indicates the function of “navigating identification” (rentong zhixiang 認同指向) of indigenous knowledge, which means the entire society engages in the research and learning of the indigenous knowledge system with a decolonial attitude and method, deeply understanding and respecting the differences between the indigenous knowledge system and mainstream knowledge system, thus opening up a space for the autonomous development and survival of indigenous peoples. This will help indigenous peoples to eliminate the risk of being viewed as the other or being culturally misrecognized and will help them develop their own perspectives and alleviate the internal conflict of indigenous identification caused by the current colonial knowledge and education system. The latter is the function of “navigating power/resources” (quanli/ziyuan zhixiang 權力/ 資源指向) of indigenous knowledge, which means to organize and interpret indigenous knowledge from the perspective of indigenous subjectivity. This will help adjust the way mainstream society views the world, so that indigenous peoples can receive the fair treatment and resources they ought to have during the process of distributing power and resources throughout the entire society (Chan et al. 2009:13–18). Secondly, after comparing the cognitive modes of indigenous peoples and mainstream academic research based upon modern Western sciences, the Study finds that the former still retains the tradition of holism, while the latter tends towards atomism. That is to say, for indigenous cultures, human understanding of the world must be preceded by knowledge about the entire meaning of the world, before we use it as a basis or reference point to further formulate knowledge of specific fields. This knowledge about the entire meaning of the world, as Dennis Foley specifically points out, is a system of indigenous philosophy, which is indigenous peoples’ holistic understanding of the essence of the world (2003). The study calls it Core-Categorical Knowledge (CCK), which is the foundational knowledge for the structuring of specific fields of indigenous knowledge (Chang et al. 2009:19–22). Furthermore, the Study specifically points out that, even though we can locate the differences between indigenous knowledge and the knowledge of contemporary mainstream society in terms of their content and epistemologies, the work of building indigenous knowledge should avoid extreme binarism, reductionism, or generalization, which will eventually fall into essentialism or extreme relativism. Indigenous knowledge is not a set of fixed, static historical artifacts. Cultures are born with a certain degree of circulation and contamination, and as time goes on, cultures naturally make contact with the outside world, the content of knowledge and epistemology will naturally change or evolve accordingly (Barnhardt and Kawagley

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2005: 11–12; Macedo 1999; Semali and Kincheloe 1999: 22–23; Chang et al. 2009: 22–23). The Study uses the example of traditional hunting knowledge to explain the aforementioned evolving quality of indigenous knowledge. Until the end of the nineteenth century, guns were obviously not the “traditional” weapon of indigenous peoples in Taiwan. After contact was made with outside society while importing and absorbing them as part of the practices of community life, guns have become an indispensable part of tribal hunting culture, and have even given birth to many gun rituals that have become a part of tribal traditions (陳宗仁 2005). In other words, even though indigenous peoples passively accepted guns imported from the outside world, the usage of guns conforms to indigenous peoples’ subjective thought and choice, building their own traditions of using guns that have become a part of so-called tribal hunting knowledge (Chang et al. 2009: 23–24). On the basis of the understanding of the aforementioned purposes and qualities of indigenous knowledge, the Study proposes a definition of indigenous knowledge based on a survival and development standpoint that includes four principles: “It is the knowledge system formulated by an indigenous people that has dwelled in a certain land area for generations and have sought the survival and development of its people since ancient times. It has the function of consolidating indigenous identification and managing the struggle over or distribution of power/resources in survival conditions. It includes the philosophical basis of the worldview formed over a long period of time by the indigenous people, as well as the practical knowledge for survival in this world (including the social and the natural worlds) that is mutually complementary with such a basis. At the same time, such a knowledge system still retains its own autonomy as its core, continuously adjusting itself under the influence of history, as well as internal and external shocks, inheriting and renewing itself at the same time to face survival challenges” (Chang et al. 2009: 26). This definition can be further divided into four principles: 1. Principle of indigenous survival, which means regardless of the time of its production, every part of indigenous knowledge must be directly or indirectly relevant to the survival and development of the entire indigenous group; 2. Principle of equal subjectivity, which means that in any time and space, indigenous knowledge has the functions of highlighting indigenous subjectivity through consolidating indigenous identities and distributing power and resources fairly and justly among all indigenous peoples; 3. Principle of holism, which means that even though the indigenous knowledge system includes all kinds of fields, not one field is separate from any other. That is to say, except for some recognizable knowledge fields (such as language, the operational logistics of the tribe, crafts), there usually exists a philosophical basis of a worldview in the indigenous knowledge system, and the worldview and the system supplement and influence each other, with the worldview linking the entire knowledge system to make it an organic whole; 4. Principle of autonomy, which means whether from a diachronic or synchronic perspective, indigenous knowledge is autonomous, and will adapt itself on the basis of current knowledge, both inheriting and innovating its structure or content (Pei-lun Chang et al. 2009: 27–31).


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3.2 The Categorical Structure of the Indigenous Knowledge System On the basis of a preliminary reflection over the fundamental issues of indigenous knowledge, the Study goes on to consider the transformation of the structure of the modern knowledge system and several examples of the systematization of North American indigenous knowledge to propose a model for the categorical structure of the indigenous knowledge system in Taiwan.

In the center of this image of the categorical structure is the core knowledge, which is indigenous peoples’ interpretations of the relationships between the spiritual world, the natural world, and the human world. This is the aforementioned philosophical belief of each indigenous tribe, their worldview or values. The outer circle in this image is modern knowledge (MK), which is the knowledge system of the modern society that the indigenous peoples face in reality. The differences between MK1 and MK8 are only meant as a metaphor for the quantity of such knowledge and can be understood as different categorizations of modern knowledge. Such knowledge is not included in the content of indigenous knowledge, but it influences the formation of current indigenous knowledge. The sub-category knowledge (SCK) between core knowledge and modern knowledge is the category of knowledge formulated by indigenous peoples based on the scope of core knowledge, as indigenous peoples seek to continue their own knowledge tradition while interacting with modern knowledge in order to adapt to current and actual survival conditions. The suggestions for the categories from SCK1 to SCK12 are respectively tribal/indigenous history, languages, tribal/indigenous

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governing system/autonomy, cultural manifestations, inheritance/education, livelihood, skills/craftsmanship, medical care, traditional fields/natural resources, legal rights, media, and ethnic relations. The core-categorical knowledge plus these twelve knowledge sub-categories describe the indigenous knowledge discussed by this Study (Chang et al. 2009: 89–92). Corresponding to the above-mentioned definitions of indigenous knowledge, this study analyzes the meaning of the above-mentioned categorical structures in four aspects. First, from the perspective of the principle of ethnic survival, we can say that the way that CCK, SCKs, and MKs are deployed in the image fully reflects the condition of contemporary indigenous peoples and their knowledge system, which shows the danger of being surrounded or even oppressed by modern knowledge. If this danger is not forcefully responded to, the content of the original traditional knowledge will be cut into pieces and absorbed by the modern knowledge system. At that moment, indigenous knowledge will simply become the objects of research conducted by outside sociologists, but not a living knowledge supporting the subsistence of indigenous peoples. To avoid such a crisis, during the process of organizing and reviving traditional knowledge related to all kinds of specific practices, indigenous peoples should on the one hand mainly focus on rethinking indigenous philosophy, to reaffirm the original meaning of the subsistence of indigenous collective lives; on the other hand, they should make that rethinking a basis for the support of the interaction and mutual learning between different categories of traditional and modern knowledge, developing and innovating the content of traditional knowledge, to respond to the needs of survival and development in contemporary society for indigenous peoples (Chang et al. 2009: 93). Second, we can view this in terms of the principle of equal subjectivity. Even though indigenous knowledge is currently surrounded by modern knowledge, if its core philosophical view and its purpose of indigenous survival are solidified, the development of each knowledge category can retain a certain level of subjectivity. Moreover, even though indigenous knowledge is willing to make contact and dialog with modern knowledge, it can still maintain a certain distance and take the stance of indigenous subjectivity as a tool for the consolidation of indigenous identities and fighting for reasonable distribution of power and resources. This will mean the equal status of indigenous knowledge and modern knowledge. Third, let us view this from the principle of holism. Even though indigenous knowledge must become more systematized in order to adapt to modern society, the different knowledges in it are not separate from each other. In the image of the categorical structure, the boundary lines between the core and the sub-category knowledges, as well as between each knowledge sub-category, are all dotted lines, which means that these lines can be crossed and integrated to achieve a certain harmony (Chang et al. 2009: 93–94). Lastly, we can view this from the principle of autonomy. The boundary between indigenous knowledge and modern knowledge is also illustrated with dotted lines in the image, which means that indigenous knowledge will also welcome the knowledge of the outside world under the premise that it can retain its subjectivity. For instance, even though there is a traditional side to the operation of the tribe, it is


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not possible for the indigenous peoples to stay out of the contemporary democratic system. How to inherit the advantages of traditional tribal politics on one hand, and to face the democratic system on the other hand, so as to face all kinds of challenges of indigenous self-government and self-determination will be the focus of the politics of indigenous knowledge research (Chang et al. 2009: 94).

3.3 Practical Plans In order to guide each indigenous people to begin the work of developing their own knowledge system, the Study also produced a Manual for the Work on Indigenous Knowledge System. Based upon the aforementioned research results, the manual provides explanations of basic issues of the indigenous knowledge system, the formation of research teams and educational training, a model for the categorical structure of knowledge systems, and an agenda for the building of knowledge systems, in the interest of subsequent works on building indigenous knowledge for each tribe. In terms of the basic issues of indigenous knowledge systems, the manual mainly summarizes the purposes, characteristics, and definitions of indigenous knowledge, providing a basic understanding and point of entry for reflection on relevant issues for each research team (Chang et al. 2009: 169–172). In terms of the formation of research teams, it mainly suggests that team members should retain their subjectivities (prioritizing indigenous members from the specific tribe) but also remain open (providing space for the participation of members not part of the same tribe), building a cooperation mechanism for tribal elders, cultural workers, and academic scholars and ensuring that the backgrounds of members cover different knowledge fields. In terms of the aspect of self-reeducation of the members, it illustrates the importance of self-decolonization and warns against the risk of falling into extreme essentialism or relativism (Chang et al. 2009: 173–176). The categorical structure of indigenous knowledge system in Taiwan proposed by the Study is also listed in the manual as a reference model for each research team. Apart from explaining the meaning of the categorical structure, it also reminds us that the structure is only a point of entry for each team to conduct research work and that each indigenous group should still adjust according to its own cultural specificities and needs (Chang et al. 2009: 177–183). The manual also lists an agenda for the building of the knowledge system of each indigenous people, proposing eight steps, including the decolonization of point of view/methodology, picking a research subject (tribe), the participation of communities, data collecting and recording, summarizing and comparing, practicing to write the content of some part of a knowledge category, and drafting the result of a knowledge system (including a reflection on methodology, as well as the practices of the knowledge system of each indigenous people). Notably, the manual specifically points out that while it is indeed not easy to construct a knowledge system, the system

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is after all only a mere skeleton, and how the actual content of each knowledge category can be filled after the structure is completed will be the work that should be actively promoted in the future (Chang et al. 2009: 184–186).

4 The Practice of Transforming Knowledge into Curriculum As the first section of this article points out, the policies listed in Taiwan’s educational laws have moved beyond the phase where mainstream ethnic culture is prioritized, and they no longer adopt assimilationist policies against indigenous peoples, but have now begun to open up space for the teaching and inheriting of indigenous cultures within the school system. At the same time, as discussed in the previous section, the preliminary research on the systematization of indigenous knowledge has received initial results, and further work on the organization of indigenous knowledge and corresponding work on transforming school curricula should supposedly follow. However, over the past one or two decades, the above-mentioned work did not progress well. There are strict regulations for the school curricula of basic education for Taiwanese citizens, whether related to the compilation and review of textbooks or the implementation of school curricula. The Ministry of Education issues a curriculum standard or guideline that should be obeyed nationally. Currently, the curriculum for junior high school and elementary school is divided, in principle, into two categories, one being Ministry-determined curriculum that takes up most of the instruction time, the other being school-determined curriculum which is visibly shorter in time. In terms of the Ministry-determined curriculum, it mainly includes the national language, English, math, society, natural sciences, arts, as well as health and physical education. Whether it is the highly prosperous city of Taipei or the poorly developed mountainous area or offshore islands, they all use a syllabus and the same textbooks that are not too different from each other, following a tightly controlled schedule. In terms of school-determined curriculum, since instruction time is very limited and easily impacted by credentialism, the space in which each school can develop distinctive courses according to the needs of the students or communities is in fact very limited. Take school-determined curricula for example. In principle, it should provide space for every school to respond to students’ needs and design curricula with local characteristics. Taiwan’s education authority views schools with a concentration of indigenous students as indigenous key schools and several policies encourage them to promote ethnic education curriculum. Some (but not all) of such schools indeed make use of instruction time for the school-determined curriculum to offer one to two ethnic education courses. However, judging from research, while a few schools plan ethnic education courses, their content is clearly trivialized, marginalized, and fragmented, making it difficult to display the basic contours of ethnic cultures. For


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instance, in recent years, the school-based ethnic education curriculum promoted by each school is mostly comprised of cultural skills courses, and rarely introduces other elements of indigenous cultures (such as literature, aesthetics, history, familial and social systems, or socioeconomic systems), which simplifies indigenous cultures as a kind of performative or material knowledge (Chen 2008: i, 5–6, 8–9). Take the Ministry-determined curriculum as another example. It is not necessarily the case that the inheritance of indigenous knowledge has to be advanced by setting up an ethnic education curriculum. If the existing general education curriculum was well designed, such as using culturally responsive teaching methods, there is a chance that it could include indigenous knowledge. Take the existing school curriculum and subjects that may correspond to all types of indigenous knowledge as an example: indigenous mythology and legend could be blended into language or art classes, the kinship system of each indigenous people could be mixed into social studies classes, ethnic songs and dances could be blended into art classes, and traditional biological knowledge could be mixed with natural sciences (Hui-min Zhou 2011). Pitifully, in the field of education, the effort spent on such integration was very limited: materials of indigenous cultures or knowledge at best occasionally appear in courses related to social studies in fragments (mostly history, civics), while other subjects rarely or never mention indigenous peoples (Chen 2002). Within the Ministry-determined classes, the one that is most directly related to indigenous peoples is the subject of local languages, which include Minnan, Hakka, and indigenous languages, within the field of languages. But the class is only designated as a compulsory subject on the elementary school level, and there is only one class hour per week. In sum, even though school curricula have already begun to include indigenous materials in accordance with the law, it is obvious that in terms of the current practices of school curricula, it is hard for indigenous students to receive a complete ethnic education and learn their own cultural traditions through school curricula. It is difficult for the existing school system to meet expectations with regards to passing on indigenous knowledge. In order to make a breakthrough in the above-mentioned dilemma, the Council of Indigenous Peoples—the authority for indigenous affairs in the government— should not only promote the above-mentioned study on the plan for the building of indigenous knowledge to meet the need for subsequent development of ethnic education curriculum, but should also try to promote the building of indigenous knowledge and related educational work outside the school’s structure. For instance, in the social education policy plan for indigenous tribal colleges jointly put forward by the Council and the Ministry of Education, curriculum development of the tribal colleges set up by each local government should be guided towards the building of indigenous knowledge systems and instruction (Lee 2012; Chen Chang 2012; Zhang and Liu 2012). Furthermore, outside of the official school system, the Council once sought to establish indigenous schools around 2010, so as to foster an official education system that meets the needs of the indigenous peoples (which means ethnic education is viewed as equal to general education), but the Ministry of Education at the time (a

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designated educational authority of the central government) clearly stated its oppositional stance, believing that no student would be willing to enroll in such a school, and as a result, the effort did not come to fruition (Lin 2018: 120–121). The above-mentioned difficulty of turning indigenous knowledge into curricula and promoting ethnic education only saw the chance to change a few years ago. In 2013, the Council of Indigenous Peoples started to promote tribal schools for each indigenous tribe outside of the system. In 2016, through a complete enactment of experimental education law, as well as adjustments from and guidance of the Ministry of Education and local governments, some indigenous key schools (mainly elementary and junior high schools) started to make use of the law to promote experimental educational projects that focus on ethnic education. These two types of schools both departed from the angle of course development to build more complete indigenous knowledge and transform curricula.

5 The Implementation of Indigenous Knowledge in Tribal School Policies In response to the difficulties faced in promoting ethnic education in schools within the system and the lack of an avenue for indigenous students to inherit indigenous cultural knowledges, the Council of Indigenous Peoples began to plan for the establishment of indigenous schools in 2011, proposing “a ten-year project for the establishment of tribal schools” in 2012, and set up Amis, Paiwan, Puyuma, Atayal, and Bunun tribal schools, respectively, from 2013 to 2014 (Lengas Phpah 2015:74–76; Lin 2018: 101). These tribal schools are not within the system, but operate outside of the existing school system, recruiting indigenous students in the junior high school phase. They implement ethnic education during winter and summer vacations or weekends to cultivate the next generation, who are the heirs to indigenous cultures. The purpose of establishing tribal schools is mainly to foster the development of indigenous subjectivity and the indigenous peoples’ ability to participate in modern society, to pass on and innovate indigenous knowledge, and to realize the dream of a multicultural society. The innovative purpose related to indigenous knowledge inheritance, according to Chih-lieh Chen, refers to “the promotion of tribal schools that focus on teaching traditional indigenous cultures, implementing experiential courses integrated with students’ daily lives, and record it completely so that there is a chance to expansively and deeply pass on indigenous knowledge and go on to innovate indigenous knowledge.” Tribal school policies attempt to achieve this purpose so as to change the current problematic system, in which Han culture is exclusively prioritized in general educational while ethnic education is marginalized (2013: 153–154). This means that the building of indigenous knowledge and teaching is their common goal (Lin 2018: 139). From the explanation of the tribal school policy goal, we can roughly tell that the organization, transmission, and innovation of indigenous knowledge are the focus of the work of developing tribal school curricula.


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There are five tribal schools, each with their own unique features in curricular development, but they all generally base such development on their own cultures to conduct courses and instructional development. Unlike the general education curriculum, which can draw upon knowledge resulting from research findings in corresponding academic fields, there are two aspects of the work of curriculum development for ethnic education in each tribal school that require solutions: on the one hand, they need to develop a local indigenous knowledge system, and treat its structure as the guide for data and document collection, field research, and oral interviews to organize the specific content of each knowledge category; and on the other hand, on the basis of the structure of this indigenous knowledge system and its specific content, they need to develop the structure of the ethnic education curriculum for curricular and instructional purposes, as well as devise lesson plans or activities that are appropriate to students of specific age groups. Take the Nanhu Mountain Atayal Tribal School established in 2014, as an example. Entrusted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Atayal Tribal Public Affairs Advancement and Development Association in Yilan County was established to run the school, borrowing space from a section of the campus of Wuta Elementary School. The prospective students are mainly Atayal students attending junior high schools in the area, and the team of instructors is made up of mainly Atayal people who mostly have experience teaching in junior high or elementary schools, or even serving as school principals. When the school was first established, its curriculum development was based on four main curricular areas: annual rituals, farming and hunting, tribal history, and traditional arts, which were then subdivided into eight fields, including indigenous languages and literature, social organization, art, song, and dance, traditional religion and ritual, ethnic relation, tribal history, tribal ethics and taboos, and environmental and ecological protection (Chen 2014). Starting from this structural basis, the tribal school team then went on to organize the knowledge data for the curriculum (including a collection of documents and interviews with the elders), and think about how to adjust the course structure according to the knowledge categories, students’ characteristics, and teachers’ expertise, while designing the course topics of each field. Eventually, viewing cultural themes as the thread that runs through every topic, they adjusted these courses into five fields, including the life of shifting cultivation, weaving art, forest culture, marriage culture, and traditional wisdom of men, which are then subdivided into 90 themes according to different learning phases as follows:

Life of shifting cultivation (A)

A-1-1 Terms in life and literary stories A-1-2 Slash-and-burn agriculture and sowing A-1-3 Raising, managing seedlings, and Manatu A-1-4 Ritual of seeding A-1-5 Harvest and use A-1-6 Traditional songs, dances and instruments

A-2-1 Phrases and tribal stories A-2-2 Soil preparation and seeding A-2-3 Intercropping and management A-2-4 Harvest rituals A-2-5 Preserved meat making A-2-6 Traditional songs

Cultural theme grade

1st year

2nd year

B-2-1 Phrases and tribal stories B-2-2 Knowing threads and managing weaving B-2-3 Washing and dying threads B-2-4 Twill weaving (loom) practice B-2-5 Shoulder strap making B-2-6 Traditional songs and dances

B-1-1 Terms in life and literary stories B-1-2 Atayal weaving and clothing B-1-3 Ramie cultivation and management B-1-4 Plain knitting (loom) practice B-1-5 head ornament making B-1-6 Traditional songs and dances

Weaving art (B)

C-2-1 Phrases and tribal stories C-2-2 Fishing and ecology C-2-3 Hunting and ecology C-2-4 Divination C-2-5 Shamanism and shamans C-2-6 Ancient tribal trails, mountains and rivers

C-1-1 Terms in life and literary stories C-1-2 Fishing and taboos C-1-3 Hunting and taboos C-1-4 Rituals of entering the mountains and the Gaga belief system C-1-5 Belief and teachings of ancestral spirits C-1-6 Tribal origins, migration, and ethnic relationships

Forest culture (C)

D-2-1 Phrases and tribal stories D-2-2 Property management and heritage D-2-3 Etiquette and taboos of marriage D-2-4 Understanding the beauty of the Atayal (Tattoos, dental mutilation, and ear piercing) D-2-5 Mouth harp making D-2-6 Traditional songs and instruments

D-1-1 Terms in life and literary stories D-1-2 Tattoo culture and tool making D-1-3 Family origins and relations D-1-4 Concept and subsistence of marriage D-1-5 Kinship and interpersonal taboo D-1-6 Traditional songs, dances and instruments

Marriage culture (D)


E-2-1 Phrases and tribal stories E-2-2 Wisteria cap making E-2-3 Fish traps E-2-4 Traditional barn building E-2-5 Knife case making E-2-6 Wisteria basket weaving

E-1-1 Terms in life and literary stories E-1-2 Fishing and tool making E-1-3 Sieve making E-1-4 Rattan weaving E-1-5 Hut constructing E-1-6 Toy and pipe making

Traditional wisdom of men (E)

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study … 19

Life of shifting cultivation (A)

A-3-1 Prose composition A-3-2 Soil preparation and seeding A-3-3 Harvest and pounding rice A-3-4 Rituals of expressing gratitude to ancestral spirits A-3-5 Millet wine making A-3-6 Traditional songs, dances and instruments

Cultural theme grade

3rd year


B-3-1 Prose composition B-3-2 Textile application and creation B-3-3 Understanding and application of traditional textiles B-3-4 Traditional knitting and weaving practices B-3-5 Bag making B-3-6 Traditional songs and dances

Weaving art (B) C-3-1 Prose composition C-3-2 Gaga, communal and social systems C-3-3 Head hunting practice and flute C-3-4 Hunting ground and taboos C-3-5 Traditional hunting areas and cartography C-3-6 Game management and use

Forest culture (C) D-3-1 Prose composition D-3-2 Regulations and management of marriage D-3-3 Family development and genealogy establishment D-3-4 Regulations and management of marriage D-3-5 Views of life and death, and funeral customs D-3-6 Traditional songs, dances, and instruments

Marriage culture (D)

E-3-1 Prose composition E-3-2 Bow-and-arrow making E-3-3 Weaving tool making E-3-4 Mortar and pestle making E-3-5 Traditional sunk household clusters construction E-3-6 Wisteria tobacco bag weaving

Traditional wisdom of men (E)

20 T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


If we observe the history and result of the course development of the tribal school from the perspective of indigenous knowledge issues, we can discover the three following characteristics. First, the course development team of the tribal school is a local Atayal civil organization in Yilan, and its primary members are almost all Atayal. In other words, whether it is the data organization of Atayal knowledge or the systematization of this knowledge and the transformation of it into ethnic education courses, they are all completed under the guidance of members of the indigenous tribe. This characteristic satisfies the aforementioned principle that an indigenous knowledge research team should retain its indigenous subjectivity. Second, whether it is the initial four curricular areas and eight major fields at the beginning of the course development, or the five fields and ninety subjects after eventual adjustment, from the perspective of curriculum structure, the development team of the tribal school develop their needs through the ethnic education curriculum, and have thought about, discussed or even completed the systematization of Atayal knowledge. In the structure of the eight course fields proposed at the beginning, including indigenous languages and literature, social organization, art, song, and dance, traditional religion and ritual, ethnic relation, tribal history, tribal ethics and taboos, and environmental and ecological protection, there is already a form that looks similar to the image of the categorical structure of Taiwan’s indigenous knowledge system. If we examine and compare it with the knowledge included in the five fields and ninety subjects later, the aforementioned core-categorical knowledge and twelve knowledge sub-categories are mostly touched upon. Third, even though the structure of this curriculum touches upon most of the categories of indigenous knowledge, it is after all a curriculum designed for students in junior high school. Judging from the subjects and fields in the final result, those that are included are mostly content that is suitable for the students at that phase to learn. The categories of the five fields of courses that are listed are obviously designed for the operability of practical instruction. In the ninety subjects listed, indigenous knowledge that has to do with practicalities of life make up the majority, while some other higher-level knowledge that requires abstract thought, such as inheritance/education, legal rights, media, and the interaction of ethnic groups, either is not clearly mentioned or makes up only a small portion of the courses. Even though due to institutional needs, the aforementioned ethnic education curriculum developed by tribal schools is not yet ideal or represents indigenous knowledge thoroughly, this curriculum knowledge development process has achieved comparatively complete and rewarding results ever since Taiwan’s indigenous peoples began to promote work on building indigenous knowledge.


T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

6 Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous Experimental Education Apart from the above-mentioned tribal schools that built and organized indigenous knowledge and transformed it into ethnic education curricula through course development outside of the official system, the Taiwanese government also issued the “Enforcement Act for School-Based Experimental Education” in 2014. Since course deconstruction is the key work that this policy promotes, some indigenous key schools were established because of this law, and it also brought about the possibility of pushing for a more complete ethnic education within the system, as well as the building of indigenous knowledge. As I mentioned above, due to the regulations of the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples, schools have to provide indigenous students with the chance to learn their languages, histories, and cultures. However, in practice, there were many obstacles, and school curricula mostly still featured the subjects and knowledge of the mainstream society. Even if they offered courses on indigenous languages or schooldetermined courses that featured ethnic education, there were at best one or two classes per week, and these courses eventually became trivialized, fragmented, and marginalized, and indigenous students still did not have the chance to receive a complete training in indigenous knowledge. General education and ethnic education did not receive equal space for equal development. However, things clearly changed after the enactment of the Enforcement Act for School-based Experimental Education. The Act defines school-based experimental education as “integrated, experimental education administered based on specific educational goals within a school to fulfill these goals through the school system, administrative operation, organization type, equipment and facility, principal qualification and selection method, faculty and staff qualification and employment method, curriculum and instruction, student enrollment, learning outcomes assessment, student affairs and guidance, and community and parental engagement.” According to the regulations in the Act, schools that promote experimental education would not be required to completely follow the curriculum guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education in terms of their instruction, but can redesign their courses according to specific educational goals. The indigenous education sector discovered an opportunity to overcome the obstacles that they met in the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples by following the Experimental Education Act. Several indigenous key schools that were originally devoted to the promotion of ethnic education within the limited curriculum space have now dedicated themselves to indigenous experimental education with ethnic education as its core with the support of the local and central governments (Ministry of Education, Council of Indigenous Peoples), and they have begun the work of building indigenous knowledge of each tribe in this process. A look at the elementary or junior high schools that have committed themselves to indigenous experimental education shows that the design of their curriculum features an equal emphasis on general and ethnic education. On the one hand, through the

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


space of experimental education offered by the deconstruction of the traditional curriculum, around thirty to forty percent of the original fields and subjects required by the original curriculum are canceled, and the instruction time of those fields is replaced by ethnic education courses that are redesigned in the interest of passing on ethnic cultures. On the other hand, subjects that are relevant to future competition in the society such as the national language, English, and math are still kept, or are partly blended with indigenous factors for culturally responsive teaching. In the work of developing curricula for indigenous experimental schools, ethnic education courses are the priority, within which work related to indigenous knowledge is both the core and the basis. In sum, the development of ethnic education curriculum mainly includes 1. Establishing knowledge categories that should be included in the ethnic education curriculum, and conducting field research in tribes to gather knowledge content for the courses; 2. Drafting phases for the implementation of indigenous knowledge according to the students’ learning progress; 3. Formulating the course subject for each category of indigenous knowledge; 4. Dividing the work of writing lesson plans for each instruction theme and activity among the teachers; 5. Discussing, correcting, and ensuring the appropriateness of the themes of each lesson plan (Chen 2017). From these work plans, we can see that more than half of them are directly related to indigenous knowledge, and they basically touch upon the works of the categorization, collection, organization, and transformation of indigenous knowledge into curricula conducted by experimental schools, especially the categorization and collection of knowledge, which is required for the promotion of ethnic education curricula within the framework of experimental education. In the following, I use the Truku experimental education carried out by Wan Rong Elementary School in Hualien County as an example to explain the work related to indigenous knowledge conducted by the school during the development of its ethnic education curriculum.9

9 For

the information related to the school’s experimental education, including the complete lesson plans for ethnic education courses, please see “Website of Experimental Ethnic Education at Wan Rong Elementary School in Hualien County” (


T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

Wan Rong Elementary School is an indigenous key school attended mostly by Truku students. For many years, it valued ethnic education, especially making use of “the school-based curriculum project that features ethnic education” funded by the Council of Indigenous Peoples to attempt a push for an ethnic education course within the limited instruction time (usually one class per week), and it has accumulated quite a lot of data on ethnic education courses. In 2016, the school reached an agreement with its team of instructors to communicate with the local tribe and seek the acknowledgment from the indigenous peoples, gradually formulating its experimental education project. And in 2017, it began its preparation period, while in 2018, it officially started its execution period. The educational goal of the school’s experimental education plan is to train students to become “Truku people” within cultural competence and literacy. Corresponding to this, there are two directions in the course development work, including cultural inheritance and modern civic education. According to this principle, the course planning of the school, on the one hand, retains some of the general subjects in the course outline issued by the Ministry of Education (language, math, natural science, and society), and it includes the time for these courses; on the other hand, the time that is now available (about eight sessions) is used for ethnic education courses, which take up thirty percent of each week, and there is distinctly much more space for the teaching of ethnic education courses than the single period of “the school-based curriculum project that features ethnic education.” In the aforementioned planning of school curriculum structure, the eight sessions of ethnic education are the focus of the project’s development. At the beginning of the promotion of experimental education, borrowing from its experiences during “the school-based curriculum project that features ethnic education,” the school separated the prototype of the ethnic education into five categories, including spiritual content, institutional content, cultural content, life content, and art content, which were then subdivided into twenty-five course categories. However, the above-mentioned structure of five categories/twenty-five courses was only the beginning of the project’s curriculum development. The school was deeply aware that the new type of curriculum design was supposed to include general social knowledge and traditional indigenous cultural knowledge. Thus, based on the above-mentioned prototype of the ethnic education curriculum, the school’s team of instructors (including full-time teachers, indigenous language teachers, ethnic education teachers, tribal elders, cultural workers, research assistants, and teachers from nearby schools who were also mainly Truku) rethought what Truku knowledges should look like through collective discussion with curriculum development as their goal, coming up with the structural form that Truku knowledges would take after it was transformed into the curriculum. Eventually, their discussion resulted in the following image of the structure for their ethnic education curriculum.

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


This curriculum structure includes nine themes and twenty-seven items, including forest wisdom, hunting culture, agriculture and diet, beliefs and customs, annual rituals, literature and history, history of migration, tribal families, as well as artifacts, songs, and dances. Meanwhile, the curricular knowledge of each theme surrounds the core value of the Truku people in the innermost circle: Gaya. Using this structure of the ethnic education curriculum as the blueprint, the school assigned the themes and items according to the different grades that students belong to. The school also assigned teachers to write the lesson plans for different thematic units in different learning phases. When they were conducting this task of writing lesson plans, the school’s team of instructors summarized the knowledge content that should be included in the lesson plans of each course unit with the help of the course data accumulated during “the school-based curriculum project that features ethnic education,” further data collection, as well as the assistance of indigenous instructors and tribal elders. If we examine the content of the lesson plans for each thematic item that the school displayed publicly on the Internet, we will discover that the design of the curriculum has dug very deeply into the details of tribal knowledge. For instance, for the theme of hunting culture, the lesson plan for upper grades has touched upon regulations during hunting season, hunting regulations for different sexes, and the relationship between hunting regulations and other regulations in life. At the same time, what is worth mentioning is that the general subjects that are still kept in the experimental education project—such as language, math, natural science, and society—are also listed as subjects that should include cultural factors. This means that the general course subjects are also gradually combining indigenous knowledge materials and making use of culturally responsive teaching.


T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

In the process of how Wan Rong Elementary School conducted indigenous experimental education, we can discern the practical experience of indigenous knowledge education as follows. First, in terms of the school’s curriculum development work, especially the part about ethnic education courses, the team is almost totally composed of Truku people (except for some full-time teachers who are not indigenous), including indigenous language instructors, indigenous teachers, and research assistants. Not to mention the tribal elders and cultural workers that help with the development of the courses, two groups that played important roles in the collection of tribal knowledge. In addition, whether they have indigenous backgrounds or not, they all participated in the professional empowerment in the projects in order to achieve a deeper understanding of local Truku cultures more closely. In sum, whether it is the formation of the team or their professional development, their work is close to the expectation of what an indigenous knowledge development team should look like, which was discussed in the third section of this article. Second, whatever its form and content, the curriculum structure that includes nine themes and twenty-seven items developed in the experimental education project at the school is similar to the image of the indigenous knowledge system structure in Taiwan mentioned in the second section of this article. If we compare both, we can discover two similarities: first, no matter how one designs the knowledge categories, there are some kinds of core knowledge at its center, and such knowledge is considered the source of meaning for each knowledge sub-category. In terms of Truku culture, its core knowledge is understood as Gaya, which are the life regulations passed down by their ancestors to define the guidelines for interaction between peoples or even between human beings and nature. This means that the ultimate purpose of learning of the knowledge content of each theme or category is to lead the students to learn, respect, practice, and inherit the values and spirits of the face-tattooed people of Truku, as well as to become real Truku people—sons of the rainbow. Furthermore, even though the design of the curriculum at the Wan Rong Elementary School that includes nine themes is slightly different from Taiwan’s indigenous knowledge system, which contains twelve knowledge categories, the former includes most of the content from the latter, and only represented a slight difference in terms of representation and adjusted according to the learning skills of students in the elementary school period. Just like the mode adopted at the aforementioned Nanhu Mountain Atayal Tribal School, Wan Rong’s curriculum focuses more on the practical aspects of knowledge, while courses on abstract knowledge are fewer in number. Thirdly, driven by instructional needs, the school has obviously gone beyond the level of building a knowledge system with its work on developing indigenous cultural knowledge for their curriculum and has fully organized the specific content of each knowledge category. As I mentioned at the end of section two, this is the kind of work that should be continued after the structure of the knowledge system for each indigenous people is roughly completed. Of course, limited by the number of its group members, the formation of the development team of the school is still far from complete in terms of the comprehensiveness of its fields of knowledge, as well as the cooperation mechanism between the locals and academia. And there are not enough

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


reference materials for some categories of indigenous knowledge; therefore, judging from the quality of the lesson plans that have been produced so far, we can say that it can only roughly deal with the instructional work in the elementary school phase, and is still far from a mature organization of knowledge content. Fifth, even though the experimental education project of the school is divided into the curriculum of the general field and of the ethnic education field, we can learn from the aforementioned direction of culturally responsive teaching adopted in the general field that the project very much stresses the promotion of dialogue between the two fields during its experimentation. Furthermore, through a deeper understanding of Truku culture by attending professional development events, teachers who originally specialized in general subjects can also constantly compare and reflect upon the relationship between the general subject knowledge that they are familiar with and indigenous knowledge. This culturally responsive teaching mode and professional development process for teachers facilitate interaction and dialogue between general subject knowledge and indigenous knowledge. This is what I specifically pointed out in section two, where I mentioned that in the work of building indigenous knowledge, each category of indigenous knowledge and modern knowledge will interact and learn from each other, developing and innovating the content of traditional knowledges in order to meet the needs of indigenous peoples to survive and thrive in contemporary society. In other words, in the curriculum experiment of Wan Rong Elementary School, students are not learning general subject knowledge and indigenous knowledge separately. The school is creating a potential space where the students can use two kinds of knowledge at the same time in order to face all kinds of challenges in the world. Promoted in accordance with the purpose of a complete ethnic education, the work of the systematization of indigenous knowledge and of transforming such knowledge into curricula has, on the whole, achieved a breakthrough in an official school system for the first time under the policy of indigenous experimental education. Even though the degree of deconstruction of the school’s curriculum is only around thirty percent, the space that allows for such a deconstruction has already created an opportunity for the specific practices of the transmission of complete indigenous knowledge to happen. The future development and results of indigenous experimental education still await further observation and assessment, but the following aspects related to indigenous knowledge still deserve our constant attention: first, even though each school presents its understanding of the tribal or the indigenous knowledge that they belong to through distinctive curriculum structures, it is still unknown as to what degree they can enrich the knowledges of each field, the lesson plans of each subject, as well as the development work of the content of such knowledge. After all, mainstream social knowledge is accumulated through thousands of years of research, within which there are already rich results for the education sector to make use of. But the organization of the specific content of indigenous knowledge is still in its infancy. The teachers of the experimental schools need to be curriculum developers on the one hand, and they also need to engage with the work of collecting, investigating, organizing,


T. Tansikian (P. Chen Chang)

and summarizing indigenous knowledge. These challenges cannot be overstated. Secondly, even though the focus of experimental education is on the development of ethnic education curriculum, it seems possible to introduce indigenous knowledges into the content of the courses that are listed in the curriculum guidelines that have not been deconstructed—such as language, math, or natural sciences—and to conduct culturally responsive teaching. Even teachers of the natural sciences can actually bring scientific knowledge into ethnic education courses to have a dialogue with indigenous knowledge, while encouraging students to think about the potential relationship between the two knowledge systems. This aspect of the work is more or less touched upon by the experimental projects in each school, but the actual results still await our further observation. Thirdly, experimental education can be seen as a chance for students to learn indigenous knowledge completely, and it seems on the surface a form of hybrid learning, which means learning general knowledge and ethnic knowledge at the same time. But, whether there are chances in the future to more completely deconstruct the curriculum guidelines, to establish indigenous schools with indigenous subjectivity, and to allow students to begin by learning indigenous knowledge, and then learn about the humanities and the natural sciences, as well as the knowledge system of the greater society through a tribal eye, will be questions worth considering after the indigenous experimental education has been enacted for some time.

7 Conclusion Whether it is for the purpose of rebuilding indigenous identity or pursuing equality for indigenous peoples, the building of an indigenous knowledge system and the organizing of its specific content will be the basic project for the fulfillment of indigenous rights. Otherwise, even rights or the discursive basis for other related discussions on policies will be dominated by the knowledge of mainstream society, and it will be hard to even talk about the manifestation of the equal status of indigenous peoples. From this, we can see the importance of the issue of indigenous knowledges to the overall development of indigenous peoples. This article has illustrated the attempts on this issue made by indigenous society in Taiwan over the past decade or so. Apart from the reflections over the characteristics of indigenous knowledge—including its purpose, characteristics, definitions, and the building of knowledge systems—the article also proposes a prototype of categorical structure and the practical plans for each tribe, which have reached preliminary results. The article also raises the example of the education sector and explains some of the results of its practices. In particular, due to the needs of ethnic education curriculum in recent years, there have been teams that have completed the work of categorizing knowledge systems of certain indigenous peoples from the angle of curriculum development and have started to organize the specific knowledge content of each category at tribal schools outside of the system and key schools within the

Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan: A Case Study …


system that promote indigenous experimental education. This means that the issue of indigenous knowledge has gone from simple promotion to the phase of practice. Nevertheless, judging from the review of the work done on indigenous knowledge in this article, we can more or less see the limits of current practices and problems that need to be overcome in the future. There are mainly two obstacles: Firstly, the work being conducted is currently still at the phase where there are many promoters but few practitioners. In terms of the fields in which they work, the people who initiated systematization only achieved results in the education sector (whether within or outside of the system), and there is either no such work being initiated in other social practical aspects, or there is only research on individual knowledge topics. It is hard to say that research has been systematic. In terms of specific tribes, only the peoples who have promoted tribal schools and indigenous experimental education have seen preliminary results, such as in the Atayal and the Truku schools introduced in this article, while other peoples have rarely seen similar results. Secondly, systemic policies related to this work are still nowhere to be seen. Even though both the public sector and indigenous society have both gradually come to understand the importance of indigenous knowledge issues, there have been no sectors in society that have continued to promote systemic policies except for the preliminary planning research work promoted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples a decade ago (see section two). At best, only the education sector has pushed for relevant work on curriculum development for the needs of ethnic education. However, as this article mentioned in the foreword, the scope of application of indigenous knowledge can be as broad as all kinds of social practical fields, and thus it is necessary to leverage both the public sector and the power of indigenous society to promote relevant development work from the angle of national technological policies. Only by doing so will it be possible to push for concrete research results and fullscale output, and to apply these to all kinds of discourses and practices of indigenous policies so as to realize equality among all peoples. Translated by Kun-xian Shen

References Barnhardt, R., & Kawagly, A. O. (2005). Indigenous knowledge systems and alaska native ways of knowing. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 36(1), 8–23. Chang, P. I. (2009). Some reflections over indigenous knowledges [Guanyu Yuanzhuminzu zhishi yanjiu de yixie fansi]. Taiwan Indigenous Studies Review, 5, 25–53. Chang, W. C. (2011). Changes of the indigenous food system in Fata’an Wetland, Taiwan” [Yiuwei de dikang: Mataian Yuanzhumin shiwu xitong de bianqian]. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, 9(1), 99–146. Chang, P. L., Tsai, C. H., & Wang, M.H. (2009) A study on the plan of constructing Taiwan indigenous knowledge systematic structure [Jiangou Taiwan Yuanzhuminzu zhishi tixi zhi guihua yanjiu jiean baogao]. Entrusted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executed by Taiwan Indigenous Professors Association.


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Wang, H. H., & Tien, Y. C. (2017). The traditional knowledge of Formosan alder in an Atayal tribe’s agroforestry system, Taiwan [Taiyazu yuanzhumin yunyong Taiwan chiyang yu hun nonglin shengchang de chuantong zhishi]. Quarterly Journal of Chinese Forestry, 50(4), 365–380. Wu, C. H. (2009). The application of indigenous traditional ecological knowledges [Yuanzhumin chuantong shengtai zhishi zhi yingyong]. Forestry Research Newsletter, 16(4), 10–18. Wu, P. H., & Hsin-Kai, W. (2018). From indigenous science viewpoints to explore the approach in the science education toward aboriginal students [Cong zuqun kexue guandian lun Yuanzhumin kexue jiaoyu de qujing]. Science Education Monthly, 381, 17–36. Yang, H. L., & Yapasuyongu, P. (2007). The aesthetic knowledges of the Tsou people [Zouzu meixue zhishi]. Taiwan Indigenous Studies Review, 6, 55–80. Yapasuyongu, P. (2012). The opportunities and challenges for the development of indigenous tribal colleges: Whose tribes? What kinds of colleges? [Yuanzhuminzu buluo daxue fazhan de jiyu ji tiaozhan: shui de buluo? Sheme yang de daxue?]. In Istanda Vaci (Ed.). The policy and practice of indigenous tribal colleges [Yuanzhuminzu buluo daxue: zhengce yu shiwu] (pp. 2–43). Taipei: the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan. Zhang, S. (1953). Key theories on executive affairs in Taiwan mountainous areas [Taiwan shandi xingzheng yaolun]. Taipei: Cheng Chung Bookstore. Zhang, Y. C. (2014). Knowledge transformation: Transformation of agricultural knowledge of Taiwan indigenous peoples in Japanese colonial period [Zhishi zhuanxing: Rizhi shiqi Yuanzhuminzu nongye zhishi zhuanbian], Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies, 7(1), 61–83. Zhang, D. Y., Liu, Y. H. (2012) The curriculum planning and knowledge system building of indigenous tribal colleges [Yuanzhuminzu buluo daxue de kecheng guihua yu zhishi tixi jiangou]. In I. Vaci (ed.) The policy and practice of indigenous tribal college [Yuanzhuminzu buluo daxue: zhengce yu shiwu] (pp. 258–279). Taipei: The Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan. Zhou, H. M. (2011) Integrating indigenous knowledge in culturally responsive curriculum [Yuanzhuminzu zhishi zai wenhua huiying kecheng zhong de kenengxing chutan]. Journal of The Taiwan Indigenous Studies Association, 1(2), 167–190.

Tunkan Tansikian (Pei-lun Chen Chang) is from the Bunun tribe in eastern Taiwan. He is an associate professor of indigenous affairs and development at the National Dong-Hwa University, and was former deputy minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan government. He holds a Ph.D. from National Taiwan University. He is the author of Moral Justification for Group-Differentiated Rights-The Possibility of Will Kymlicka’s Liberal Multiculturalism, and several journal articles about indigenous rights, affirmative action, indigenous knowledge and indigenous education. Kun-xian Shen is a graduate student in the Deparatment of Asian Lanugages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

kuba-hosa-hupa: A Preliminary Exploration of Taiwan Indigenous Cou Cosmology and Pedagogy tibusungu’e vayayana (Ming-huey Wang)

1 Introduction: Problems and Purpose UNDRIP and Apologies from Governments In 2007, the United Nations issued the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, hereinafter referred to as ‘UNDRIP’ (United Nations 2007), which laid out the blueprints of collective rights of indigenous peoples around the globe. Unlike international laws or agreements, UNDRIP does not possess legally binding force; instead, it elevated the values of human rights for the UN member states to abide with and set the ultimate aim of improving indigenous rights for international indigenous societies. In terms of education rights, Article 14.1 states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning,” Article 13.1 points out that “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons,” and further Article 8.1 indicates “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture, 2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:… (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration.” After the UN adopted UNDRIP, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia apologized to the “Stolen Generations” on 13th February in 2008, saying, “For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007. Please see: desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html. t. vayayana (M. Wang) (B) National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



t. vayayana (M. Wang)

and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry” (Rudd 2008). Later that year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada issued an apology in Parliament Hill on the 11th of June and apologized for government’s policy on Indian residential school systems and assimilation measures (“Statement of apology”). Taiwan would have to wait until 2016—the year President Tsai took office— for the government to officially apologize to indigenous peoples on the 1st of August, National Indigenous Day (2016 Office of the President, ROC). Australia and Canada, indeed, had every reason to apologize for their policy decisions on assimilation, because those policies have caused severe damage to indigenous languages, traditions, and culture. In comparison with those two countries, the apology of Taiwan’s president is more comprehensive due to the fact that Tsai apologized for specific mistreatments, e.g., writing history from the perspective of the dominant and leaving out Indigenous Peoples, taking away our land by armed invasion, depriving our will to self-governance, which accelerated the collapse of traditional social groups, denying our collective rights, failing to preserve culture and traditions, prohibiting the general public to speak their mother tongues, storing nuclear waste on Orchid Island without gaining the consent of the local Yami/Tao people, eroding the individual and collective identities of the Pingpu (Plain Indigenous Peoples without state recognized status) ethnic group, taking no actions to implement Indigenous Basic Law, enlarging the gap between indigenous and nonindigenous groups, etc. Tsai’s apology included the wrongdoings by each regime over the past 400 years, a time span longer than both Australia and Canada. However, President Tsai did not clearly indicated the aftermath of education policy in the apology, as Minister Rudd and Minister Harper did, while the loss of languages and culture is, in fact, a result of assimilationist education. It would seem that education policy is the sole aspect uncovered in Tsai’s Apology (ibid.). After officially apologizing, President Tsai promised to solve the problems addressed in her apology. The implementations of Indigenous Basic Law have shed some light on indigenous education and cultural heritage, yet the most influential measure is the establishment of the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee, which consists of 5 sub-committees working on history, culture, land, language, and reconciliation issues. The tasks of the Committee focus on the investigation into injustices in past policies and building a bridge between our people and the general public to reach reconciliation. Besides “reconciliation,” all tasks were carried out through the education system. We have not thoroughly examined “education” within the scope of an investigation, and the government’s education policies seem not to be in accordance with the so-called “transitional policy.” However, as the revision of education policy is meant to establish “indigenous education systems” as previously mentioned in UNDRIP Article 14, perhaps this is the transitional justice on indigenous education policy. The purpose of this research is, through the viewpoint of transitional justice, firstly to analyze the government’s implementation of indigenous education and whether

kuba-hosa-hupa: A Preliminary Exploration of Taiwan …


it meets the value standards of the United Nations, and secondly to bring forth indigenous pedagogies based on the knowledge of indigenous peoples and contribute to how indigenous peoples set up holistic education systems. I belong to the Cou (Tsou) peoples and have continuously been concerned with Cou-related research, especially in areas of indigenous knowledge and transforming indigenous education. Further, I identified myself as an activist scholar in the national self-determination and autonomy movement. This article will be based partly on my research experiences and results (Wang 2009–2013, 2014–17; vayayana 2017) of indigenous science, indigenous knowledge, and education over the last decade, and partly on some related research papers. These papers cover the following topics: community-based ecotourism through a small river ecological restoration movement of saviki community, which particularly emphasizes the subjectivity of the Cou community and the key role of traditional river ecological management knowledge over the contemporary idea of ecological sustainability, and on the success of a collectivist economy over an individualist one (vayayana 2010a); comparative studies on exploitative economic development and local sustainable development (vayayana 2013); discussion on the purpose of traditional knowledge in the context of modern globalized daily life (vayayana 2011); the necessity of postdisaster reconstruction in rebuilding local indigenous knowledge and culture, and the recognition of resilience and collective dynamic of community (vayayana 2010c); and, additionally, the problematics of re-coloniality and decolonizing methodology in recently prevailing digitalization of indigenous knowledge and e-learning (vayayana 2010b). Due to the growth of experimental schools, I have attempted to broaden the methodology of reconstructing indigenous knowledge and develop the discourse of its ontology in order to shift the focus of education toward constructing indigenous pedagogy followed by the policy discourse over the indigenous education system (vayayana 2016, vayayana et al. 2013; Wang 2017). This article explores the legal framework of education, actual policy measures, and the Cou cosmology, knowledge system and pedagogy, while also discussing indigeneity and indigenous ontology. Burman (2016: 1), witnessing a small group of indigenous Aymara university students and intellectuals gather to discuss philosophical queries and concepts and to produce knowledge for a radical “indianization” of society and being, calls it a form of ontological disobedience toward Western ontology: This is a space, not only for epistemic disobedience (Mignolo 2009), but also for ontological disobedience in which historically subalternized beings and ontologically informed lifeworlds—“damnés realities”—are being unfolded and making themselves present through concrete and situated practices and conversations. (Burman 2016: 1)

Thus, we can dialectical-contrapuntally1 construct the indigenous ontology and epistemology, and, further, re/construct indigenous knowledge and pedagogy. Plainly 1 I combine dialectic and contrapuntal, which are quoted from Said’s theory of Contrapuntal Reading

or analysis, which he defines as reading a text “with an understanding of what is involved when an author shows, for instance, that a colonial sugar plantation is seen as important to the process of maintaining a particular style of life in England” and, particularly, is used in interpreting colonial texts, considering the perspectives of both the colonizer and the colonized (Said 1993: 66).


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speaking this process is at once a decolonizing and revitalizing pedagogy. For decolonizing, this article can be an echo from Taiwan to the inspiring Maori book, Decolonizing Methodologies (L. Smith 2013) and the theory of Kaupapa Maori (G. Smith 1997; Henare 1998). I think Indigenous peoples need a decolonizing pedagogy for full decolonization in the long run, and also even the colonial government will need a pedagogy for the oppressor (Bacon 2015), to free them from the imprisonment of the colonialism. As Bacon, quoting Nelson Mandela, the former President of the Republic of South Africa, stated: I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity. (Mandela 2008: 625, cited from Bacon 2015: 226) Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also(though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. (Paulo Freire 1970: 44, cited from Bacon 2015: 226)

McCarty and Lee (2014) “present critical culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy as a necessary concept to understand and guide educational practices for Native American learners. Premising their discussion on the fundamental role of tribal sovereignty in Native American schooling,” they “underscore and extend lessons from Indigenous culturally based, culturally relevant, and culturally responsive schooling.” McCarty and Lee argue that given the current linguistic, cultural, and educational realities of Native American communities, “CSP (Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy) in these settings must also be understood as culturally revitalizing pedagogy.” (ibid., 101). This article uses many characters from the Cou writing system, which has been in use for decades. The characters are in lowercase and have been approved by the Ministry of Education and Council of Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan R.O.C. Hereinafter, in order to be distinguished from English characters, they are presented in italics.

2 The Current Situation of the Transformation and Development of Indigenous Peoples’ Education in Taiwan Since the new government was inaugurated in 2016, it has set a policy goal of constructing an education system for indigenous peoples. This was an epoch-making innovation, and it seeks to end long-standing colonial assimilationist education. We need to examine the legal basis and the actual policy measures before determining the process of decolonization and construction. I will concentrate on the subjectivity

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of education, or accurately speaking, the position of indigenous peoples in the legal regulations, the process of making policy decisions, and the indigenous knowledge and indigenous pedagogy included in the national curriculum.

2.1 Legal System of Indigenous Education In UNDRIP, in addition to the aforementioned principles, Article 15.1 states “Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.” The content from Articles 3 to 5 emphasizes the right to selfdetermination and autonomy of indigenous peoples: Article 3: “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”; Article 4: “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions”; and Article 5: “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.” According to Article 10 in the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Office of the President, R.O.C. 2005), the State “affirms cultural pluralism and shall actively preserve and foster the development of aboriginal languages and cultures. The State shall, in accordance with the will of the ethnic groups, safeguard the status and political participation of the aborigines. The State shall also guarantee and provide assistance and encouragement for aboriginal education, culture, transportation, water conservation, health and medical care, economic activity, land, and social welfare, measures for which shall be established by law.” Therefore, the state government should protect and develop indigenous languages and cultures through well-designated educational policy as well as indigenous peoples do, rather than ignoring the special educational conditions of indigenous communities and the responsibilities of the government. As mentioned above, in light of the Primary and Junior High School Act (PJHSA, Ministry of Education 2016), education is compulsory for all students in Taiwan. The current national education system has been extended from nine years to twelve years. Most important of all, all of the schools and students in indigenous areas are included. Article 1 of the PJHSA indicates that “According to Article 158 of the Constitution of the Republic of China, primary and junior high school education is aimed at the moral, cognitive, physical, social, and aesthetic development of the citizens” and in Article 2, it is stated that “Citizens between 6 and 15 years of age (hereafter referred to as ‘school-age citizens’) shall receive primary and junior high school education. Citizens older than school-age who have not received primary and junior


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high school education shall receive supplementary education. Compulsory education and enrollment for school-age citizens shall be prescribed by law.” From the perspective of indigenous peoples as citizens in a modern nation-state, firstly, PJHSA is the legal basis for compulsory education, and secondly, primary and junior high school education dominates and oppresses the possibility of education for indigenous peoples, and becomes an education of assimilation. In Article 7, “Primary and junior high school curricula shall be centered on providing an education nurturing national spirit and life, with the development of a wholesome body and mind as a further objective, and shall emphasize the continuity of education” (ibid.)—the ‘national spirit’ is referring to Han Chinese nation culture rather than indigenous nation culture. Article 8 states, “The central competent authority shall prescribe curricular guidelines and relevant implementation regulations of primary and junior high schools to serve as a guide for these schools’ planning and implementation of curriculum; schools may integrate social resources with the planning of curriculum to enrich teaching activities. The relevant regulations of the Senior High School Education Act shall apply to the research, development, and examination of the curricular guidelines of primary and junior high schools.” (ibid.) Apparently, the syllabi and standards for evaluation are made and dominated by the state, or specifically by the Minister of Education instead of the indigenous people’s will. However, Article 4 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law (IPBA, Council of Indigenous Peoples/原住民族委員會 2018) passed in 2005 states: “The government shall guarantee the equal status and development of self-governance of indigenous peoples and implement indigenous peoples’ autonomy in accordance with the will of indigenous peoples. The relevant issues shall be stipulated by laws”, (ibid.) and Article 7 states: “The government shall protect indigenous peoples’ rights to education by upholding the principles of versatility, equality, and reverence in accordance with the will of indigenous peoples. The relevant issues shall be stipulated by laws.” (ibid.) Further, Article 10 states: “The government shall keep and maintain indigenous cultures, give guidance to the cultural industry and incubate professional talent” (ibid.). The Education Act for Indigenous Peoples (EAIP, Ministry of Education/教 育部 2014) passed in 1999, was put into effect before the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law. It is obvious that our societies are more likely to reach consensus on education for indigenous peoples. According to Article 2: “The indigenous peoples are the key concern of indigenous education. The government shall promote and develop indigenous education based on the spirit of diversity, equality, autonomy, and respect for indigenous peoples. Indigenous education shall have as its aims safeguarding each indigenous people’s dignity, ensuring the continued survival of each indigenous people, advancing each indigenous people’s well-being, and promoting each indigenous people’s sense of collective pride in their identity.” (ibid.). This declares the importance of indigenous education. Nevertheless, what exactly is “indigenous education”? The definition can be found in Article 4: “1. Indigenous education: A generic term referring to all general education and ethnic

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education for indigenous peoples. 2. General education: Education of a general nature provided to indigenous students according to their education needs. 3. Ethnic education: Traditional ethnic culture education provided to indigenous students based on the specific cultural characteristics of indigenous peoples” (ibid). The term “general education” is not seen in other laws and regulations, and the content is exactly the aforementioned PJHSA; in other words, indigenous education includes national/general education and ethnic education. “Indigenous schools” also refer to “schools established for indigenous peoples that focus on traditional ethnic culture education” (ibid.). Article 5 states that “government at all levels shall adopt measures that actively support the efforts to ensure that indigenous peoples receive equal opportunities for all types of education at all levels and establish an education system that meets the needs of indigenous peoples” (ibid.), and “governments at all levels may set up indigenous schools and/or indigenous classes at any level to improve the school attendance of indigenous students and to maintain their indigenous culture” (ibid. Article 11), furthermore, “Schools at senior high school level and below shall all provide ethnic education while indigenous students are enrolled there; when the indigenous student population within the school reaches a set number or proportion, an ethnic education resource classroom shall be set up for ethnic education and general academic counseling purposes” (ibid. Article 14) and lastly, “Public preschools, non-profit preschools, community and tribal cooperative education and care/educare service centers shall be widely established in indigenous peoples’ regions to provide opportunities for children of indigenous people to access educare services” (ibid. Article 10). Of course, the progress in indigenous higher education is also discussed, but for the time being, it is excluded in this discussion. In terms of curriculum, “Educational institutions of all types at all levels shall adopt a multicultural perspective and incorporate the histories, cultures, and values of the various indigenous ethnicities in their school curricula and teaching materials, as appropriate to help promote mutual understanding and respect between different ethnic groups” (ibid. Article 20), and “Governments at all levels shall provide indigenous students at preschool, elementary school, and junior high school levels with opportunities to learn their respective ethnic languages, histories, and cultures” (Article 21), which means “educational institutions of all types at all levels shall respect the views of indigenous peoples and shall involve representatives with an indigenous identity in the associated planning and design process” (ibid. Article 22). Speaking of teacher qualifications, in order to ensure the talent pool of indigenous education teachers, on the one hand, “all universities with teacher preparation programs shall reserve a quota of places for indigenous students, and may provide full government sponsorships to such students on a quota-base or set up designated teacher-preparation classes, based on local government requirements for teachers of indigenous education” (ibid. Article 23), and teachers “shall have studied and be familiar with indigenous peoples’ culture or multicultural education courses to improve their professional teaching ability” (ibid. Article 24). On the other hand, Article 25 proclaims that “indigenous elementary and junior high schools, indigenous classes, and indigenous key schools shall recruit teachers who have an indigenous identity to make up a set proportion of the fulltime teachers being recruited to fill the


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vacancies each year; within five years from when this amendment of the Act comes into force on May 7, 2013, the proportion of teachers with an indigenous identity shall not be permitted to be less than one-third of the teaching staff of any such school, or to comprise no less a proportion of the teaching staff than the proportion of the total student population of that school that its indigenous students comprise” (ibid.), which protects job opportunities for indigenous teachers. Moreover, Article 1 of Regulations for school-based Experimental Education at Senior High School Level or Below (Ministry of Education/教育部 2018) declared that the purpose for this regulation is “to encourage education innovation, implementation on school-based experimental education could ensure the right to education, expands the ways to receive educational and enhance the diversified development of education” whereas Article 3 stated “the practice of specific educational concepts mentioned in the preceding paragraph should be student-centered, respecting students’ diverse cultures, beliefs, and multiple intelligences, as well as curriculum, teaching, teaching materials, teaching methods, or assessment plans. And it aims to guide students’ adaptive learning and promote the development of diversified education” (ibid.).

2.2 The Reality of Implementation in Indigenous Education The content of the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples is comparatively advanced, but we have to review the changes in indigenous education after the enacting of the Act—where the structure of courses and content under colonial assimilation have been significantly altered, or have developed according to principles of decolonization and re/construction, or possibly an indigenous education system has been established. My observations are as follows: 1. Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and autonomy has not been officially recognized and proposed. Although the Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law proclaims that education should be based on the will of indigenous peoples, the Education Act has not included this in its content. Instead, the decision-making power of our peoples was replaced by the review panel, and the subjectivity of indigenous peoples was still excluded from curriculum decisionmaking. Even the ethnicity-based experimental schools are led by nonindigenous school staff, which leaves indigenous peoples to passively participate or not participate at all in experimental schooling meant for them. 2. Indigenous education—as previously defined in the PJHSA—includes both general education or national education and ethnic education, which literally refers to one hour of Indigenous language course per 35 h a week from 1st grade to 12th grade. The ratio is 34:1 and in fact poorly proportioned; still, this curriculum has been in existence for the past decade or so. It needs reform, but it has not been adjusted at all. Proportional structure aside, national and ethnic education should be more mutually and cooperatively connected in order to integrate into a

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system for indigenous education, rather than having a parallel/collateral relationship. Plainly speaking, not only should ethnic education include cultural sensitivity to teaching, but the whole general/national education curriculum should also contain this cultural sensitivity for formulating courses and conducting teaching. Although the 12-year national education curriculum includes indigenous language classes, it is only 1 hour per week. In Indigenous townships, there will be 2–4 h in courses in primary schools or secondary schools. Many schools have set up ethnic/Indigenous language and cultural courses; however, this is not compulsory, and the time may likely be used for teaching other “main subjects” of national education such as math or English, or due to the ideals of non-indigenous school principals and the lack of indigenous teachers, the language course can easily be interrupted or suspended. 3. Teacher qualification and cultivation—although the EAIP mentioned that teachers should take courses in indigenous culture or multiculturalism, there are no standardized procedures promulgated by the government, and the teacher cultivation program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school do not have equivalent programs in indigenous education. Bluntly, the systems are independent of each other and work inconsistently. 4. There is no indigenous education system because schools at all levels have only a 1 h per week language class; ethnic schools (民族學校) have not been established; indigeneity-based experimental schools, whether kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, or high schools, have not fallen in line with the concepts of ethnic education system, such as those of the Paiwan tribe or peoples. On the contrary, cultural values have been arbitrarily chosen and used as the basis for experimentation. 5. The most important issue is the profound lack of indigenous knowledge and a structure of indigenous pedagogy to serve as a theoretical basis for the constructing of the indigenous education system. This realm includes indigenous cosmology and education philosophy; many are cultural representations and even stereotypes, which often simplify or denigrate the knowledge and cultures of indigenous peoples. Currently, the establishment of experimental education and/or the exploration of the concept of indigenous culture and education are left for teachers of the experimental schools to discover on their own, while this should be the responsibility of central government agencies. Speaking of which, the Research Center for Indigenous Education was only set up last year (2017), and is still not ready to operate. The author considers the fifth point to be the most important, since the cosmology of Taiwan indigenous peoples is rarely studied, and it is not until recently that research on traditional knowledge has slowly begun to increase. However, these recent discussions are insufficient to form an overall knowledge system. Researchers of Taiwan indigenous knowledge can also take part in Taiwan Indigenous Science Education Research Projects under the auspices of the Ministry of Technology and Science. The author is also the co-principal investigator of an integrated project with this body, the purpose of which is to help indigenous students in school to learn


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STEM subjects like mathematics or physics effectively through innovative teaching methods. This project requires working together with indigenous elementary schools or middle schools, and is conducted by choosing one class to develop suitable teaching methods to teach science to indigenous students through action research, or carrying out teaching experiments by using temporary teaching materials for a certain period of time. Usually, we perform the test before and after teaching to compare test scores and teaching effectiveness. In recent years, some scholars found that this kind of research serves the purpose for remedial education of the western scientific education and to prove once again that the so-called western scientific education, or knowledge, is inarguably superior and effective, and the indigenous knowledge and culture remains merely the research background instead of becoming the purpose of learning, studying, and systembuilding—despite all the emphasis on culturally responsive teaching and culture sensitivity— which further causing indigenous knowledge to be random, fragmented, and instant rather than shaping into totality and systematic.

3 kuba-hosa-hupa: The Cosmology and Pedagogy of the Cou Peoples In the Cou life world, the traditional indigenous territories (hupa) are governed by four sub-communities/tribes (cono hosa) of tfuya, tapangu, luhtu, and imucu. Also, the four sub-tribes/communities each have their own community gatherings and ceremony houses (kuba) as their territory centers (hosa) to manage small tribes numbering in the dozens (lenohi’u) around them. Every hosa consists of several clans (cono aemana) or extended families (cono emoo). Moreover, the hosa in the large community would establish taboo houses (emoo no peisia, or ceremonial house) to connect the clans together. For example, emoo no peisia ta niahosa is the taboo/ceremonial house of the niahosa clan/extended family. In emoo no peisia, the clan’s elders host the millet harvest rituals (homeyaya) for enhancing kinship between family members. They also invite each other to participate in the rituals of different clans and communities. In the year-end warriors’ ritual (mayasvi) of the kuba, the leader along with elders and members of the clan stands in front of the deity tree (yono) around the hosa, dance in a circle and sing dignifiedly toward the Father God (hamo), along with the god of war (i’afafeoi), the god of the house and the god of the stove. In mayasvi, every member re-positions his own role in the social structure (tribe, kinship, family, gender, age, and class). To sum up, the living world of the Cou consists of several fields. Firstly, the heavenly deities who are located in supernatural spiritual spaces are connected by the ritual mayasvi in the kuba with members of the hosa. Secondly, the emoo no peisia of clans or households around the kuba comprise the hosa and community. And lastly, clans govern their common territory hupa. Based on these three elements, the structure has become kuba-hosa-hupa or the cosmos of the Cou. In the perspective

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of the Cou living world, it is the norm for Cou peoples to communicate with deities in their everyday lives, and their souls (piepia) belong to the mountain (hohcb) after death. Furthermore, kuba-hosa-hupa integrates the lifelong intergenerational education including body and mind, birth and death in the Cou education meaning. Kuba-hosa-hupa is the means of Cou knowledge production, praxis and reservoir, and it includes rituals, norms, methods, skills, and institutions of Cou sociopolitical life. Also, Kuba-hosa-hupa refers to traditional ecological knowledge (such as the notions of the heavens, seasons, and species in the natural environment.). Finally, Kuba-hosa-hupa is like a library and living school for the Cou, who learn in the kuba of community, and in hupa to reach out to nature and communicate with deities in the sky. Kuba-hosa-hupa is literally the interweaving process of living and learning. kuba represents the supernatural and spiritual knowledge of gods, ghosts, and rituals of hicu (referring to both gods and ghosts). Besides those gods in heaven, there are others like the god of land (ak’e mameoi), the goddess of millet (ba’e ton’u), the god of rivers (engohcu), the god of hunting (hicu no emoukikieingi), and so on. When facing these abstract beings, Cou people devote themselves with awe and follow their instructions through ceremonies. Cou people believe they can only be rewarded if they are diligent and cautious in matters related to their livelihoods like gathering, farming, fishing, and hunting. It is just as the old saying goes: Do one’s level best and leave the rest to God’s will. On the other hand, Cou males join kuba in their childhood to learn to live in a group; they also have educational training there. It can be seen as a traditional boarding school, while females learn housekeeping and farming from elder females at home. Aside from learning the ceremonies of the kuba, songs and moves of rituals, and values and attitudes toward gods and ghosts, the most important training is the training in battling, courage, discipline, tactics, and leadership. Then, they listen to the elders take turns sharing myths and legends, stories of bravery in hunting and battles. They also learn how to make tools used in daily life, hunting traps, bows and knives, net bags, leather and leather clothes, and also animal anatomy. Further, they learn all kinds of knowledge about agriculture. The kuba becomes a learning group. Elders keenly observe young people’s physical and mental developments and the shaping of their character. In order to have the youth develop adaptively but not lose their confidence, elders avoid forcing them to do things or hurting their selfesteem. Finally, the youth become holistic persons who have comprehensive practical knowledge of living sufficient to build a family and are generous in sharing what they own and helping others in the village/community with confidence, self-control, self- discipline, and bravery. This holistic person can take on social responsibilities and become a true and right Cou (cou axlx). The teaching content in the kuba is rich and various. Elders’ repeated instructions, watching and practices and the wrestling battle trainings are the main focus. Outside the kuba, young people follow their parents to their fields to learn farming, gathering, fishing, and hunting. The learning process starts with observation and progresses to assisting, practicing, and doing something on one’s own, with the ultimate aim of becoming a holistic person (Fig. 1).


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(Wang 2017) Image 1 The structures of teaching space in the Cou living world

The hosa is the treasure-house of Cou social culture as well as the village’s traditional knowledge and wisdom. Every person starts their lifelong learning from their clan to the village and then to the world of the Cou. The knowing of the village includes one’s own family kinship to the whole and every village. The kuba is the central part of hosa. The hosa connects the ritual houses of the five clans nearby as a community. The central part of every clan is the ritual house, which connects homes (emoo), training houses (hufu), barns(ketbu), bone shelves (tvofsuya), and even chicken or pig houses (po’ovnu) of families nearby or in other villages. Families, clans, and villages are the spaces bearing every kind of living skill, moral value, and behavior standard (Fig. 2). The Youth can be educated and taught until they are fully grown. The hupa is the traditional realm that lasts for generations. There are many kinds of resources in wild nature. Cou provides for their needs by gathering, farming, hunting, and fishing in a distributive governance and sustainable way. In the view of education nowadays, the mountains and rivers in the hupa are just a “forest elementary school” for Cou youth. However, it is not an artificial forest or landscape. Even more so, there is no so-called formal school space, teacher or textbook. Gathering resources is not reforming nature, it is a positive way to maintain nature as untamed and prime. Under this situation, the resources can be sustainable. Only in doing this can the Cou people live a sustainable life by sustainable use and sustainable governance.

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Teaching & learning content knowing kinship in community and

lessons on the history of migration,

social groups

war and hunting

discipline and obeying training

names of landmarks

team spirit education

language and songs

leadership training

learning methods of all ceremonies

body training and exercise

and harmonies to every song

tactics and village defense

learning methods of construction,

bravery training through wrestling

agriculture, fishing, hunting and


the making and use of tools

peer playing

making of weapons (bows and

value of social morality and taboos


dream analysis and traditional

learning habits of prey,

medical treatment

dismemberment and sharing of

gender division of labor and gender



distinguishing edible animals and

character development

plants, medicine and poison

self-discipline, self-control and

learning astronomy, meteorology

offering help to others

and yearly lifestyle

lessons of creation myths, origins

daily production practicing

of living beings and worldview

coming-of-age ceremony and survival in the wild alone

(Wang 2017) Fig. 1 kuba boarding school teaching content

It is the very value of sustainable nature which becomes the methods and goal of traditional education. That is to educate the youth not to reform or destroy nature as a sacrifice for the lives of human beings, and to tell them to learn from nature and be one with nature. Nature is the object to learn from and also a partner to learn with. In this vast living forest school, one can truly experience and practice in nature. This involves experiencing nature by seeing, listening, smelling, tasting, touching, feeling, sensing, and imagining, while making toys out of specific animals or plants in nature. By practicing those activities, the youth are moving every inch of their muscle and training their imaginations. They can also play many games and challenges like


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Photo 1 mayasvi ceremony in a Cou village, tapangu (2016, photo by author). Note The kuba is behind the circle. The tree beside it, which has been pruned as a ladder for the gods, is a red fruit fig tree. There is a fire pit at the centre of the ritual place. Families and genders have their specific places in the circle, reflecting social structures. The village leader is the head, followed by elders and youth of every clan. The last part is the female group

climbing trees, gathering berries, setting bird traps, swimming, playing bamboo guns, playing children bows, spinning tops, playing bamboo pipes, and so on. There are no books or pictures, but the content of learning from nature is much more than the content any textbook can provide. Learning is accomplished through true experiences instead of memorizing standard answers and examinations. The level of knowledge is directly reflected in their later working production and life wellness (Figs. 3 and 4).

4 Concluding Remarks This article reviews the context of the colonial assimilation education policy in Taiwan and the implementation of an indigenous education system by the new government wishing to realize transitional justice, in order to discuss the legitimacy of establishing an indigenous education system. First, the article defines the meaning and nature of indigenous education system in comparison with international conventions, Taiwan’s Constitution and education laws and regulations, then outlines the content and viewpoints of our actual policy measures, which contradict the legal framework, with there apparently being no consensus on the actual meaning of the

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Positive value

Negative value

tasso Strong

mom’ene Begging a lot

keutiha Fearless

kiala Stingy

mealu Generous

lue’amamza/lue’amamia Lazy

tmayaezoyu Obedient

loete’e Not fit

tvaezoya Hardworking

’iangici Crying a lot

luaeveica Perseverance

pak’I Evil

mau’totohungu Smart

coeke Lustful

bocbochio Knowing a lot

anpunpu Flippant

ma’tutus’u Clear thinking

’ohatmalu Rebellious

tatontone Rich in knowledge

thokeainu Stealing a lot

mateolu Sharp eyes

leoknuyu Liar

mateno Precisely shooting

totpiey Faking

peisyayokyo Quickness

meo’eoi Stealing

utyu Tough

peispopoha’o Lumbering

maemayo Good at hunting

mahtuyaesi Boasting

suyaemi Blessed by god of hunting

potfungu Making fun of others

yululu Healthy

bitano Arrogant

tmuseolu Good singer

maata’e Showing off

moengu Beautiful voice

mngai Ineloquent

memealueusvusvutu Eloquent

masmoyo Timid

einu Cherishing and friendly

ngoheungu Cowardly

meemzo Sharing generously

nongonogno Dumb


longkeckece Ignorance ti’eingi Invade and occupy (Wang 2017) Fig. 2 List of value standards according to traditional Cou education

Indigenous Education System, and whether it includes both the general/citizen education (一般教育) and ethnic/tribal education (民族教育) or just the latter. Either way would lead to a totally different policy; thus, clarification is still required. Secondly, by using the Cou people as an example, this paper examines the Cous’ traditional cosmos and the knowledge systems that lie within, the way to construct a Cou pedagogy,


Fig. 3 List of nature partners in natural learning

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Fig. 3 (continued)

and the implications for the Cou peoples’ or Taiwan indigenous peoples’ education systems, with the author focusing more on the latter topic. The overall traditional education system of the Cou kuba-hosa-hupa is a holistic education containing a complete system of knowledge and language which integrates and communicates with people and lives in the world. Also, it is a lifelong education for each individual and intergenerationally, as it advocates physical exercise and spiritual ethics and includes the cultivation and education of body, mind, and soul/spirituality. Moreover, the clan/extended family houses, gathering house as the territory center in the tribal community, land, rivers, forests, and hunting fields are where people practice, produce, and store knowledge. Nature itself is the school, and the elders are teachers, both carry out the philosophy of “living and learning” with nature and become part of it. When learning nature’s way, nature becomes a teaching and learning partner; both the teachers and students have intersubjective relations and can learn from practice. The contemporary Westernization and modernization school education systems actually cut off the organic connection between Cou peoples and their living world, while treating nature and land as property objects or trading commodities, and gradually confining humanity into the metropolitan space and capitalist merchandise instead of the natural environment. Therefore, rebuilding ethical relationships between human and nature and sustainable conservation of the natural environment


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Fig. 4 List of learning objects collected and played with by Cou children

would form a new educational value. If the national education system is still difficult to transform, at least we can begin with transforming the indigenous pedagogy/education systems along with the teaching methods, with the Cou educational system/Cou kuba-hosa-hupa pedagogy, serving as a model and founding ground for future developments of the Taiwan Indigenous education system.

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References Bacon, C. K. (2015). A pedagogy for the oppressor: Re-envisioning Freire and critical pedagogy in contexts of privilege. In M. Kappen, M.S. Selvaraj, S.T. Baskaran (Eds.), Revisioning paradigms: Essays in honour of David Selvaraj (pp. 226–237). Bangalore, India: Visthar. Burman, A. (2016). Damnés realities and ontological disobedience: Notes On the coloniality of reality in higher education in the Bolivian Andes and beyond. In R. Grosfoguel, E. Rosen Velasquez, & R. D. Hernandez (Eds.), Decolonizing the Westernized University: Interventions in philosophy of education from within and without (pp. 71–94). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books. Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP). (2018). The Indigenous peoples basic laws. Laws and Reglations Database of the Republic of China, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Indigenous Peoples, United Nations. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. United Nations, from elopment/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html. Freire, Paulo. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed, translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum. Harper, S. (2008). Statement of apology to former students of Indian residential schools. www. Henare, M. (1998). Kaupapa Maori: Towards a pedagogy of cultural transmission through business and management education. Paper presented in International Conference and Workshop on the Adult Education of Indigenous Peoples, at NTNU, Taipei, Taiwan, 1998, April. Mccarty, T. L., & Lee, T. S. (2014). Critical culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy and indigenous education sovereignty. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 101–124. Mignolo, W. (2009). Epistemic disobedience, independent thought and de-colonial freedom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7–8), 1–23. Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2014). Education Act for Indigenous Peoples, Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China. Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2016). Primary and Junior High School Act, Laws and Regulations Database of the Republic of China. Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2018). Regulations for School-based Experimental Education at Senior High School Level or Below. Laws and regulations database of the Republic of China. Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2005). Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, Laws and regulations database of The Republic of China. tw/Eng/index.aspx. Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2016). President Tsai Apologizes to Indigenous Peoples on Behalf of Government. Rudd, K. (2008). Apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples. Australian Government, www.austra Said, E. W. (1993). Culture and imperialism. London: Vintage. Smith, G. H. (1997). The development of Kaupapa Maori: Theory and Praxis. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Aukland Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London and New York: Zed Books Ltd. vayayana, t. (2010a). Mainstream knowledge vs. branch knowledge: Options for the reconstruction of Cou peoples after disaster [Hechuan zhuliu yu zhiliu zhishi zhi jian: Zouzu zhongjian de xuanzeti]. Paper presented in 4th Culture Forum of Tsai Ray Yue Dance Festival, Taipei. vayayana, t. (2010b). Questioning on methodologies of digitalization and archive of indigenous knowledge [Yuamzhuminzu zhishi shuweihua yu diancang zhi fangfalun wenti]. In M-H. Wang (Ed.), Proceedings of Symposium on Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge and Cultural Digitalization and Archives. Ping-Tung: Indigenous Culture Park Administrative Bureau at Indigenous Peoples’ Council of Administration Yuan.


t. vayayana (M. Wang)

vayayana, t. (2010c). Self-reliance through ecotourism: Story of a Small River, Tanayiku エコツー リズムによる自立-台湾阿里山鄉達娜伊谷溪での経驗. In N. Eguchi & M. Fujimaki (Eds.), The socially deprived and the self-reliance through tourism 貧困の超克とツーリズム (pp. 147– 183). Tokyo: Akashi Bookstore. vayayana, t. (2011). Taiwan indigenous peoples knowledge and its modern implication [Taiwan yuanzhuminzu shengtai zhishi ji qi xiandai yihan]. Paper presented in Taiwan Ecological Studies Association 5th Conference on Environment, Taichung, October 2, 2011. vayayana, t. (2013). Indigenous struggle for river governance: Reconciling traditional ecological wisdom with modern state’s management, a case of Tayal peoples in Northern Taiwan. Paper presented at Kyoto Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union, Kyoto. vayayana, t. (2016). Decolonization through indigenizing the geographical education: A case from Taiwan indigenous Cou peoples. Paper presented at The Association of American Geographers 2016 Annual Meeting, San Francisco. vayayana, t. (2017). Science philosophy: A preliminary studies of Indigenous cou’s kuba-hosa-hupa Pedagogy [Kexue zhexue: kuba-hosa-hupa Zouzu jiaoyuxue chutan]. Indigenous Science weekly. The Weekly News of the Indigenous Science Education Research: 1–9. vayayana, t. Fishes, Mountain and Rivers, and Ocean—Research on Indigenous Science Knowledge and Environmental Pedagogy Building: A Case of Alishancou Peoples [Yu, shangchuan, Haiyang: Yuanzhumin kexue zhishi yu huanjing jiaoxuefa moshi zhi tantao yu jiangou yanjiu: yi Alishan Zouzu wei li]. Research Project and Report, PI, 2013–17. vayayana, t. Research on Scientific Education, Curriculum Development and Teaching Practices of Indigenous Peoples, In Collaboration with Cienshi and Ufeng Township at Shinchu County, Taiwan [Yuanzhuminzu kexue jiaoyu, kecheng fazhan yu jiaoxue shishi zhi yanjiu: yi Xinzhuxian Jianshixiang ji Wufengxiang wei hezuo duixiang]. Research Project and Report, PI, 2009–13. vayayana, t., Young, S. L., & Shu L. L. (2013). Building indigenous knowledge-based ecopedagogy for environmental education: A case study on the Tayal peoples in Hsinchu area. Paper presented at 2013 International Workshop on Indigenous People’s Science Education, National Pingtung University of Education. Wang, M. H. (2017). Native science and indigenous community development: Bridging indigenous knowledge systems and science education for the younger generations of three tribal communities: Cou, Tayal and Tau. Paper presented at 5th International Colloquium Heritage and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Leiden University.

tibusungu’e vayayana (Ming-huey Wang) is from Cou (Tsou) tribe in central Taiwan. He is currently Associate Professor in the department of Geography at National Taiwan Normal University, and has served as deputy minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples since 2016. As an indigenous geographer and activist, he participated in Taiwan indigenous rights movements since the 1980s, founded the Cou (Tsou) Culture and Arts Foundation, and joined several international indigenous organizations and forums. His specialties include social geography, indigenous ecological wisdom and knowledge, decolonization and revitalization of indigenous peoples and development. His recent projects focus on various forms of collaborative research with different indigenous communities to explore indigenous cosmology and pedagogy for developing indigenous education system in Taiwan.

The Making of Indigenous Knowledge in Contemporary Taiwan: A Case Study of Three Indigenous Documentary Filmmakers Skaya Siku

On August 1, 2017, activists of the Indigenous Ketagalan Boulevard Protest outside of the NTUH International Convention Center, Taipei, where President TSAI Ing-Wen launches an annual report on indigenous policy. It is one year after President's official apology to Indigenous peoples on August 1, 2016, Indigenous Peoples' Day in Taiwan.

Ever since the appearance of motion pictures in 1895, technological improvements together with the expansion of global state power and broadcasting structures has resulted in the creation of audiovisual texts around the world. Today, cameras are not only a basic instrument of cultural governance in countries across the world and the narrative language of filmmakers, they have also become a practical skill employed by ethnographers and a tool of emancipation used by activists advocating Indigenous Rights. Moreover, cameras have also become commonplace and are easily operated by members of the public with smartphones. To understand the dynamism of Taiwanese visual culture and its mediascapes, I review three diverse Indigenous approaches to activist filmmaking along with the communication and production of Indigenous knowledge. Close to China, Japan, the Philippines, and the Pacific, Taiwan is the northern origin of the Austronesian peoples. Its Indigenous cinema first appeared as a propaganda tool established by Japanese colonization (1895–1945) and was then used by the dictatorship of the Chinese Nationalist Party Kuomintang (KMT 1945–1987) for assimilation purposes under martial law. In Taiwan, during S. Siku (B) Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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the 1980s, at a time when Han intellectual circles were experiencing a crisis of representation, the dominant system of Chinese mainland culture was being challenged by “Taiwanization” from Han advocates of independence and self-determination movements from Indigenous activists—a wave of democratization had begun. Indigenous cinema has thus diversified. Despite relatively slow advances in the emergence of its Indigenous filmmakers compared to the United States, Canada, Australia, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), Taiwan is the first Asian country to organize an International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF-Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, starting in 2001) and to launch a television channel exclusively dedicated to Indigenous peoples, “Taiwan Indigenous Television (TITV)” (founded in 2005). This historical development was not merely by chance. It involved a multitude of influences including, on the one hand, engagement of the milieu of Han intellectuals and filmmakers such as Lee Daw-Ming, Hu Tai-Li, Wu Yi-Feng, Lin Chian-Chang, Guan Xiao-Rong, and the “Green Team” (an independent media initiated by Wang Zhi-Zhang, Lee San-Chong and Fu Dao that existed between 1980s and 1990s). On the other hand, it included the emergence of Indigenous filmmakers in the mid-1990s, such as Bauki Angaw (also known as Pan Chao-Cheng, Kavalan people), Baunay Watan (Atayal people), Pilin Yapu (Atayal people), Chang Shu-Lan (also known as Si Manirei and Si Yabosokanen, Tao/Yami people), Mayaw Biho (Amis/Pangcah people), and Lungnan Isak Fangas (Amis/Pangcah people), who were among the most active in this first generation of Indigenous documentary filmmakers. By resisting the assimilation policy set and implemented by the KMT settler colonial state, Indigenous documentary filmmakers challenged national hegemonic narratives through a series of creative social interventions and cultural productions.

1 Visual Sovereignty: Challenges to the Settler Colonial Imaginary In recent years, a historical turning point emphasizes once again vivid interactions between the settler colonial state and Aboriginal film activists in Taiwan: on August 1, 2016, in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen, the first woman president and leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), delivered an official apology on behalf of the government to Indigenous peoples for four centuries of “pain and mistreatment” (Central News Agency 2016). She promised to reinstate Indigenous land rights and self-government. In order to implement such social changes, Tsai declared plans to establish in the Presidential Office “the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee” where she serves as convener and works with tribal representatives to pursue historical justice and to assure a tribal-oriented policymaking system. In her first year of presidency, Tsai IngWen and her ambitious decisions raised the expectations of many Indigenous land defenders. Among those policy critics, Mayaw Biho, the most influential Taiwanese native visual activist, seized the opportunity to establish a civic group entitled “the

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Indigenous Transitional Justice Classroom” in order to examine and negotiate with the Tsai government on land issues. This action has gradually led him and his allies to continue an Indigenous occupation movement which has lasted for more than 1000 days and is regarded as the longest protest of its kind in Taiwan. During the occupation, Mayaw Biho strategically adapted to daily live streaming in order to reach a wider audience for their land claims. This unique example opens into broader discussions of how Indigenous sovereignty and knowledge are indexed through the development of Indigenous agency in social media. This paper focuses on three of the first Taiwanese Indigenous documentary film activists and their continuous cultural production since the 1990s: Mayaw Biho’s political resistance through media intervention, Pilin Yapu’s resilience in creating tribal-oriented primary education, and Chang Shu-Lan’s reformed elderly care services, which are more adequately adapted to local society and culture. Whether behind or in front of the lens, they introduce cultural specificities into the national policymaking process by revitalizing and highlighting Indigenous knowledge. At present, these three directors are representative visual actors championing the causes of the Indigenous populations and serving as crucial mediators who articulate the autonomous perspectives of their peers and challenge the settler colonial way of seeing. Doubtlessly, the documentary approach practiced by native filmmakers for self-representation is by nature political, remonstrative. It is a necessary tool for facilitating the emergence of a collective identity; the directors can then adopt the roles of social activist, cultural translator, and reflexive mediator for the resistance of Indigenous peoples. In contrast to a textual analysis of films, this paper proposes a visual anthropological analysis based on in-depth interviews and participant observation into directors’ creative activism within the framework of Indigenous struggles in contemporary Taiwan. This article is divided into four main sections. Section 1 provides a brief theoretical review and discussion of the emergence of Indigenous filmmakers from a comparative perspective. Section 2 analyzes Mayaw Biho’s production of a “Neo Pan-Indigeneity” through the progress of his media strategies by challenging shifting political landscapes. Section 3 discusses Pilin Yapu’s work to revitalize Atayal knowledge through collective filmic practices and the establishment of an Indigenous pedagogy. Section 4 describes the distinct contribution of Chang Shu-Lan, both a local nurse and a filmmaker, as she shifted her participant role from that of a contested insider to a reflexive mediator. Section 5 outlines several reflections on their making of Indigenous knowledge and some observations for future research.

2 Emergence of Indigenous Filmmakers and Their Visual Activism Nowadays, neoliberalist economics together with the evolution of communications technology have served to deepen the fluidity of Indigenous cultural interpretations


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and construction of subjectivities. In the digital age of “heteroglossia”, media use has become more democratic in nature. This has, in turn, intensified the political relationships between people and ruling authorities, as media develops across parallel, overlapping, and disjunctive ideologies in landscapes of images, what Arjun Appadurai calls “mediascapes” (1996). In North America, for example, Seneca scholar Michelle Raheja considers how “film and other forms of new media operate as a space of the virtual reservation” where Native American filmmakers articulate cinematic representations of historical memories within Indigenous epistemologies (Raheja 2011: 147). While Indigenous media production has a long history in the US, Raheja focuses on audiovisual projects from North American Indigenous filmmakers starting around the 1960s. Since then, through filmic practices, native activists have used visual sovereignty as a strategy to assert Indigenous narratives, culture, and knowledge. This unique concept of Indigenous rights related to an original understanding of sovereignty grounded in visual culture and aesthetics offers a broader discussion of sovereignty both within and outside of the realm of Western legal jurisprudence (ibid.: 194, 200). Today, audiences can see North American Indigenous visual activism in action from a wide range of filmmakers and social movements, including Alanis Obomsawin, Victor Masayesva, Jr., Myron Dewey, and Idle No More. In fact, Indigenous self-representation in filmic practices not only opens up theoretical reflections on jurisprudence, but also encourages the development of visual anthropology. Faye Ginsburg argues that the rise of Indigenous media offers a “parallax effect” within the existing theoretical framework of ethnographic film production (Ginsburg 1995: 64–76). She shares her reflection on the earlier concept of Jean Rouch’s “regards comparés (compared view)” and explains the “epistemologically positive impact” of Indigenous media. Her study enriches an understanding of culture interpretation toward a more complex, dialogical, and reflexive mode. At the same time, she advocates for an in-depth investigation to better comprehend the emergence of Indigenous media not only through filmic analysis but also the embedded social relations in such cultural production; what she terms “embedded aesthetics” (Ginsburg 1994: 365–382). To the same idea, Kristin Dowell works with Indigenous filmmakers on the Canadian west coast emphasizing the importance of the off-screen production process of Aboriginal media (Dowell 2013). For her, Indigenous visual activism (including screening processes) is a dynamic act of sovereignty building which not only bridges the ruptures caused by settler colonial histories, but also strengthens Indigenous kinship, community consciousness, and cultural ties. What is more, it fosters and sustains the emergence of a global Indigeneity. Activism has long been part of the social worlds of Indigenous filmmaking, particularly in the fight against legacies of racism and discrimination. Australian Aboriginal scholar Marcia Langton demonstrates how the development of Aboriginal self-representation in Australia starting around 1970s and 1980s, grounded in both aesthetic and intellectual knowledge, is a central intervention that challenges settler colonial narrative structures (Langton 1993: 9–10). Meanwhile she highlights the need for critical theory around the concept of Aboriginality in film and video production; such interventions should be analyzed across all aspects of content and production, within Indigenous and non-Indigenous epistemologies (ibid.:

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23–28). Furthermore, writing in a South American context, Beth Conklin recognizes the dynamism of Indigenous modernity in visual representations in order to avoid the trap of a “primitive-modern” binary (Conklin 2013: 66–77). By doing so, she explains two successful media strategies of self-controlled screen imaginaries in the 1990s: Kayapo activism in Brazil and the Zapatista rebellion in Southern Mexico. She compares these tactical representations with the permanent exhibition launched in 1997 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This exhibition subverts assumptions of Indigenous “authenticity” by displaying the daily hybridity between modern materiality and traditional spirituality. Her research addresses Indigenous peoples’ creative adaptations to socio-political change and the new media sphere. On the other side of the world in Taiwan, contemporary Indigenous activism can be traced to the early 1980s, when the Indigenous rights movement originated amidst a national wave of democratization to push for the repeal of Martial Law in 1987. During the 1980s and 1990s, the climate of political emancipation was particularly intertwined with Taiwan’s New Cinema and New Documentary movements. This opened up a more transcultural reflexivity within cinematic expression on Indigenous issues, whether about or by Indigenous directors (Allio 2001: 56-63; Lee 2013: 35– 42; Chiu 2016). Some of those significant visual activists have already been briefly mentioned in the introduction. Kavalan documentary director and scholar Bauki Angaw encouraged Indigenous fellows who drift between “the self” and “the other” to polish their lens and show what Indigenous peoples really need, so as to improve transcultural reflection and advance dialogues on healing historical trauma (Angaw 2001: 15). As an anthropologist and a pioneer of Taiwanese ethnographic film, Hu Tai-Li notes that the popularization of just-out, inexpensive and light camcorders stimulated the emergence of Indigenous documentary filmmakers in the mid-1990s; before these developments, 16mm cameras were used only by Han directors (Hu 2013: 150). Despite this material gap, Hu observes that both Indigenous documentary filmmakers and non-Indigenous filmmakers in early twenty-first century tend to focus on “tradition” (in contrast to “the modern”), working to revitalize culture and promote community consciousness (ibid.: 157). Chiu Kuei-Fen offers a more genderoriented perspective, as she compares the activism of writer Syaman Rapongan (a Tao man) and documentary filmmaker Si Manirei (a Tao woman, also known as Chang Shu-Lan). Chiu advocates for critical attention to the complexities of gender politics and the heterogeneity of subjectivity construction in Indigenous cultural representation (Chiu 2012: 13–49). Such scholarship on documentary activism is part of a larger, emerging conversation around Indigenous cinema in Taiwan. Kerim Friedman engages Mikhail Bakhtin’s framework of chronotopes to investigate shifting representations of indigeneity in Taiwanese post-Martial Law documentary films produced between 1988 and 2017, by and about indigenous peoples (Friedman forthcoming 2021). Observing that the Chinese chronotope is largely absent in these films, Friedman identifies instead three chronotopes of indigenous Taiwanese cinema: Japanese, Austronesian, and development. Meanwhile, Darryl Sterk gives a critical review of post-war


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indigenous feature films produced between 1949 and 2011, by non-indigenous Sinophone directors (Sterk 2015: 67–114). He divides the imagined geographic frontier of indigenous landscapes in films into two representational modes: Sinicization under Martial Law, followed by a re-Indigenization of territory in the post-Martial Law era. The latter evoked in particular a spiritual shelter for non-Indigenous visitors. In contrast to these imaginings of “otherness” in cinematic landscapes, Lin Wen-Ling underlines how Indigenous documentary directors’ filmic activism and sensory experiences around land claims allows them to “talk back” with aboriginal bodily movements and tribal memories to manifest and defend their sovereignty over traditional territory (Lin 2013: 33–92). In the following sections, I provide an introduction and analysis of three distinct cases of Taiwanese indigenous filmmakers’ activism. Drawing from close observation through extended fieldwork, I show how these filmmakers have integrated performance, interpretation, and metaphor to call forth indigenous subjectivities and spiritual beliefs in ways that reflect their aspirations for specific cultural revitalization and knowledge-building projects. I argue that although all three directors have indigenous backgrounds, differences in their ethnic cultures and professional orientations embed them in divergent media worlds and entail multiple burdens of accountability (Siku 2020: 1–60). As a final note, it important to keep in mind that while documentary can be a powerful tool for indigenous activists, it is not intrinsically so. Shih Shu-Mei cautions against falling into this type of essentialism in her discussion of Sinophone articulations within the framework of global capitalism. Rather than defining any practice and usage of a medium as inherently hegemonic or resistant, she advocates instead for a deeper analysis of geopolitical, spatial, and historical contexts (Shih 2007: 11). In my discussions below I attempt to show the creative interventions and diverse mindsets of these three indigenous filmmakers. In this way, I foreground the correlations between cultural logic, social change, subject construction, and action. I contend that these relationships embody the fluidity, complexity, creativity, and contradictions of indigenous visual production in Taiwan.

3 Social Mediator for a Neo Pan-Indigenous Civic Awareness Mayaw Biho was born in 1969, in the Ceroh tribe in Hualien County. His father was a Han soldier of the KMT troupe from Hunan Province in Mainland China, and his mother an Indigenous Taiwanese of the Pangcah people (also known as Amis people). Coming from the Ceroh tribe, with a mixture of Pangcah and Han cultures, Mayaw inherited a history full of ethnic and social diversity. After graduating from high school, he worked for an agency specializing in wedding photography before joining the army and serving as a photographer. It was at that moment, through photographing official events, that he noticed the unequal social status of Indigenous peoples in mainstream Han society. He then decided to pursue film studies at Shih

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Hsin University in Taipei, where he was inspired to produce documentary films about the cultural and political struggles of Indigenous peoples. His representative films include Children in Heaven (1997), Dear Rice Wine, You Are Defeated (1998), National Bandit - A Beautiful Mistake (2000), What’s Your “Real” Name? (2002), There’s a Big River in Front of My House (2009) and Kanakanavu Await (2010). As one of the very few early Indigenous Taiwanese directors who had received professional audiovisual training in radio and television broadcasting and filmmaking in the 1990s, by the time of the new documentary movement in Taiwan, Mayaw was soon able to work as a reporting journalist and documentary director for television channels such as Public Taiwan Service (PTS) and Super TV. However, he soon felt that mass media was limited by the Han nationalistic imaginary, so he decided to become an independent director. In 1999, funded by the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), he was able to pursue further studies in documentary filmmaking at New York University for six months. At that moment, he was particularly inspired by the work of Hopi director Victor Masayesva, Jr. He noticed that Native American filmmakers tended to identify themselves by their distinct tribal groups instead of the collective identity of “American Indigenous peoples”. This cultural encounter inspired him to launch an exclusive film festival, “the Real Pangcah Film Festival” in both the capital city and tribal areas in Taiwan. This was the first festival dedicated to films on and by Pangcah people. He and several allies maintained this festival between 2000 and 2003. Meanwhile, from 2002 to 2006, he produced several documentary films about Indigenous naming issues, and also held screening tours and press conferences, which encouraged a wave of Indigenous name rectification protests. Between 2009 and 2011, while shooting several projects on Indigenous victims of the 2009 Typhoon Morakot, Mayaw became dissatisfied with the government’s policies that delayed post-typhoon reconstruction in Aboriginal communities. The government tended to relocate Indigenous villages from mountain spaces to urban areas. Such rapid changes had the potential to cause more cultural loss and economic inequality problems for those Indigenous inhabitants who were already victims of a natural disaster. This dissatisfaction and frustration became a turning point for the director, revealing the limitations and inefficiencies of documentary film. Mayaw Biho thus devoted himself to political life and ran for office in Indigenous legislative elections in 2012 and 2016, both times unsuccessfully. However, he was appointed chairman of the Ethnic Affairs Commission of the Tainan City Government and was subsequently elected as president of the Indigenous television channel (TITV) in 2014. After nine months, disillusioned by incessant political interventions from both government and Indigenous politicians on TITV, he decided to resign. Nowadays he is well-known as one of the leaders of the Indigenous Ketagalan Boulevard Protest. As briefly mentioned in the introduction, after President Tsai Ing-Wen’s official apology and promises to Indigenous peoples on August 1, 2016, Mayaw Biho and two of his long-term Indigenous allies, independent singers Panai Kusui and Nabu Husungan Istanda, have continued to monitor the government’s Aboriginal policy reforms. The promises of the president include (Central News Agency 2016): pursuing transitional justice, rebuilding an Indigenous historical perspective, promoting Indigenous autonomous governance, restoring Indigenous languages and


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cultures, and improving Indigenous livelihoods. The official apology ceremony held at the Presidential Office Building was broadcast live through public television channels and online news channels, but ceremony attendance was exclusively reserved for selected Indigenous representatives. Dissatisfied with these arrangements, a group of activists including Mayaw, Panai, and Nabu demonstrated in front of Presidential Office Building, demanding a more sincere apology and a legal basis for the transitional justice policies for Indigenous peoples. The protesters camped outside the presidential office until August 3, 2016, when President Tsai Ing-Wen unexpectedly walked out and headed right up to Panai, a singer and dancer with Puyuman and Pangcah origins who had been invited to perform at President Tsai’s inauguration day on May 20 (which had taken place earlier that year). This dramatic and historic scene of two prominent women (the head of government and a well-known native land defender) discussing Indigenous transitional justice in a protest camp was broadcast via livestream on Mayaw Biho’s public Facebook account (Biho 2015). This video on Facebook Live attracted more than 330,000 views and was reposted by several television news channels. Ever since Facebook Live became available for smartphone users in early 2016, the progress of new media technology has led global social movements into a new area. As for Mayaw Biho’s political battle, he has started to use livestream shooting frequently since their street demonstration during President Tsai’s formal apology. On August 1, 2016, his livestream footage, broadcast synchronously with the president’s historical apology speech on television channels, created an intersection of two live narratives. It was also a perfect example of the transmissions of two distinctive modes: traditional media and new media. Mayaw sought to perform Indigenous struggles through social media in contemporary Taiwan, presenting a “digital storytelling of resistance” (an extension of oral tradition) to the audience. At the same time, Tsai Ing-Wen broadcasted national propaganda to highlight her goodwill toward Indigenous peoples, using mass media to perform her new role as a liberal, democratic leader. February 23, 2017, marked the begining of a formal occupation movement in front of the Presidential Office Building. Despite being mostly ignored by the Tsai administration and mainstream media, during what would become a 1000-day protest camp, three “spiritual” leaders—Panai, Nabu and Mayaw (also known as “PaNaMa” whose pronunciation is similar to that of “Panama islands”)—became public figures of land protection and “elders” in this imagined “Ketagalan Boulevard” tribe. They named themselves the “Indigenous Transitional Justice Classroom” in order to examine and challenge the “Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee” led by President Tsai. The organized teach-ins as they moved between the presidential office’s Ketagalan Boulevard address and 228 Peace Memorial Park, and Mayaw adopted livestreaming as his main media strategy. During their occupation, especially the first 300 days, they successfully raised awareness among the wider public and motived diverse Indigenous and nonIndigenous participants to support Aboriginal land claims by creating the popular slogan, “Nobody is an outsider (沒有人是局外人).” They also invited youth groups, leaders, educators, scholars, activists, artists, singers, and dancers to the “tribe” to

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debate concepts including Indigenous cultural legacy, transitional justice, historical trauma, sovereignty, land claims, traditional knowledge, and its modern adaptations. The three leaders and other participants organized, and sometimes improvised, numerous forms of resistance such as demonstrations, lectures, workshops, concerts, film screenings, traditional chants, dances, and art installations. The most important initiative in the camp was the teach-in project called the “Ketagalan Boulevard Lectures,” which provided free and open lectures on Indigenous Studies from Monday to Friday, from 7 pm to 9 pm. Mayaw Biho was the main organizer of the classroom programs and the main coordinator of speakers. Every day after class, Panai taught the audience to sing and dance traditional songs to evoke an embodiment of Indigeneity and promote cross-cultural understanding among protesters and the public. Nabu, as a local land defender from the Bunun nation, often shared stories and knowledge about his people. With a transdisciplinary approach, the founding of this classroom accelerated the conceptual decolonization of formal education and encouraged more public debates on Indigenous policy reform by gathering many important scholars from prestigious universities and research centers in Taiwan. Before the demolition of the space holding the Ketagalan Boulevard Lectures—a metro entrance situated alongside the campsite inside 228 Peace Memorial Park— PaNaMa held 170 lectures between May 15, 2017 and February 8, 2018. Moreover, they also proposed other peaceful side events such as workshops on stone painting, handcrafts, songwriting, flower planting, artists-in-residence and exhibition programs, and even campsite long stays and tours. These appealed for more public engagement in the wave of reviewing Taiwan’s settler colonial history from a transitional justice perspective. Most of their activities were broadcasted on livestreams through Mayaw Biho’s public Facebook account “馬躍‧比吼 Mayaw Biho,” which has now more than 39,400 followers from Taiwan and other countries (Biho 2015). I suggest that this unique occupation and protest in Taiwan has progressively brought Indigenous social movements into an era of neo-tribalism within a framework of neo Pan-Indigenism. In this movement, activists share values of Indigeneity, regardless of cultural identity, and can collaborate with Indigenous defenders to challenge settler colonial narratives. By calling for wider participation of nonIndigenous citizens, Mayaw and his allies transformed the Indigenous rights movement into a civil rights movement, Indigenous knowledge into civic consciousness, and Indigenous history into Taiwanese history. As a former director of TITV, Mayaw seems to have become the “director of underground TITV” by setting up a permanent livestream channel on Facebook with his allies. Furthermore, the experience of portraying Indigenous struggles through non-edited livestream footage inspired Mayaw to transform his media strategies. Compared to other indigenous filmmakers who have refined their cinematic technique and upgraded their shooting equipment, Mayaw Biho, the most prolific indigenous documentary director, has been using smaller and smaller cameras since the 1990s. At present, he uses a smartphone camera with multiple social media capabilities.


S. Siku On August1, 2017, activists of the Indigenous Ketagalan Boulevard Protest hold a press conference with a Rukai dance and smoke signal in front of the Presidential Office Building (right behind).

Before the demolition of the space holding the Ketagalan Boulevard Lectures – the metro entrance of Exit 1, NTU Hospital Station situated alongside the campsite inside 228 Peace Memorial Park – they held 170 lectures between May 15, 2017 and February 8, 2018.

4 Cultural Translator: Revitalization of Gaga in Primary Education Born in 1966 in the Mapihaw tribe of Tai’an township, Miaoli County, Pilin Yapu (Atayal people) is a well-known educator who founded P’uma Elementary School in the Heping district of Taichung City on August 1, 2016. It was the first Indigenous experimental elementary school in Taiwan. As the grandson of the tribal chief, his

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background is steeped in traditional knowledge and natural resource management. He understood, at a very young age, the values of his own culture and never had doubts about his Atayal identity even when he entered the Han settler colonial educational system. In 1990, after obtaining his diploma in primary education and beginning to teach in his homeland, he noticed that the maho, a hallowed rite for Atayal ancestral spirits, had been exploited by the local government for touristic profit. Thus, in 1993, he and several Atayal friends including Yuma Taru and Baunay Watan1 founded the “Peishih Atayal Cultural Studio” in order to preserve and revitalize Atayal knowledge and heritage. They engaged in preserving weaving techniques, interviewing elders with facial tattoos, practicing millet cultivation, and revitalizing the maho ceremony. Pilin Yapu is currently the director of the Studio and has devoted himself to the long-term project of recording and researching the maho. Since 1995, after completing a documentary film training program organized by “FullShot Image Studio,” he has made more and more use of his documentary films as a tool to encourage the Atayal people to develop a critical perspective about their living conditions. He has produced over ten documentary films, such as Where Has All Our Property Gone? (1997), Tales of the Rainbow (1998), K’sobeh ki Lyutux (Come Closer to Ancestral Spirits!, 2002), The Moment Run Through (2009) and Wushe Alan Gluban (2012). In 2002, while writing his master’s thesis on ethnology at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Pilin Yapu finally finished his maho-themed project. The project aimed to mobilize the Atayals’ attention toward the multiple threats of modernization and colonization, which had led to the disappearance and misinterpretation of the maho practice. The documentary film K’sobeh ki Lyutux (2002) was the result of his attentive step-by-step recording of this annual ceremony and comparison of ritual differences among Atayal tribes. To accompany this film, he created several detailed, comparative charts on diverse ritual practices for Atayal members across tribes to comprehend and follow while organizing the ritual themselves. According to tradition, Atayal people hold maho in the months between July and August, after the millet harvest, to show gratitude toward the ancestral spirits who would hopefully grant them a year of abundance (Pilin Yapu 2005: 49). Furthermore, in order to turn his filming practice into action, from 2002 to 2003, he organized over sixty screening-debates about this documentary among eight Atayal tribes and successfully encouraged the restoration of traditional practices (ibid.: 87). Observing his series of cultural interventions and film production, we see his constant emphasis on the significance of rebuilding gaga within tribes. Gaga is an abstract concept which evolves constantly and functions as a belief system with a specific worldview; 1 Long-term

cultural allies with Pilin Yapu, Yuma Taru and Baunay Watan are a prestigious Atayal couple who founded the “Lihang Studio” based in Miaoli County. The former has become one of the most important Indigenous textile artisans preserving and making contemporary interpretations of Atayal traditional dyeing and weaving techniques. The latter is also a first-generation documentary filmmaker who focuses on recording local knowledge and culture; his representative films include The Traditional Clothes of Raisinay Village (1997) and Trakis na bnkis (Ancestors’ Millet, 2003).


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it is connected to ancestral and natural sprits and widely disseminated orally from generation to generation by the people themselves (Wang 2003: 77–104). In Pilin Yapu’s case, gaga mainly derived from ancestral testimonies created on the basis of observations on and interactions with nature, individuals, or collective experiences, transformed into a system of knowledge that is flexible and always in motion (Yapu and Masaw 2009). In early 2013, when Pilin Yapu took up the post of Principal of Da-Guan Elementary School in the Atayal region, he encouraged his staff to apply Atayal knowledge to pedagogical programming and motivated students’ parents to imagine a more beneficial learning mechanism for Atayal children (Yapu 2017: 1–20). That was how the construction of the Atayal experimental education system began. Pilin’s famous idea was, “If we don’t react today, there will be no Atayal people tomorrow (今日不做 , 明日就看不到泰雅族).” From 2013 to 2015, he facilitated a collective participation platform among school staff, tribal elders and scholars from both education and ethnology backgrounds to design an Atayal-oriented educational program. After three years of this collaborative endeavor, especially with the support from tribal elders and inhabitants, they finally formulated an ethnic educational system. Building on their core value “gaga,” which they defined as a transdisciplinary concept combining seven dimensions of Atayal knowledge, they designed twentyfive subjects related to each dimension for children in first through fifth grades (P’uma Elementary School 2017): – Spiritual culture: worldview, seasonal rituals, facial tattoos, shamanism, marriage, head- hunting culture, and taboo – Ecological wisdom: human relationships with plants, animals, land, and rivers – Life skills: clothing, crafts, architecture, food, agriculture, hunting, sharing – Tribal history and geography: traditional territory, tribal interaction, tribal industry, geography, and environment – Art, music and dance: dance, singing, instruments, children’s toys, totems, and decoration – Atayal literature: tribal stories, mythological stories, literary writing – Social organization: family, tribe, and social systems

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The program is divided into two parts. Formal/national courses such as Chinese, English, mathematics, natural sciences, technology (or life skills), all integrating Atayal worldview and philosophy, are taught in the morning. Cultural courses, where students receive lessons by immersion in native speaking conditions to learn subjects including hunting skills, seasonal agriculture, local foods and plants (especially millet cultivation), clothing and weaving, and tribal music (instruments, singing and dancing), are taught in the afternoon (Ong ed. 2018: 53). Their classroom space is not only limited to the school but extended to tribal areas, traditional territory and Pinsbkan, the birthplace of the Atayal people in the mountains of the Masitoban tribe in Renai township, Nantou County. Students thus learn to embody living skills, cultural knowledge, and tribal ethics through numerous practices and experiences. Furthermore, instead of one teacher leading one course, in their cultural courses program, the teaching structure is generally collaborative, with three kinds of instructors: course teachers, tribal elders or local cultural workers, and cultural instructors (ibid.: 140–142). The cultural instructors, in particular, are not only fluent in the Atayal language, but also familiar with tribal affairs and tribal human resources. They serve as mediators to facilitate mutual understanding and better cooperation among teachers, students, and elders. When elders use a complex vocabulary or concepts that teachers or students might not be able to understand, cultural instructors help them by providing further translation or explanation. Through their experiences with educational reform, the principal, Pilin Yapu and school teachers find Atayal children not only perform better in their formal courses but also become more confident about their identity and build closer relationships with elders, the tribe, and their living environment. In May 2016, under Pilin Yapu’s direction, a local referendum among students and their parents, community members, and school staff was held to rename the school “P’uma”—an Atayal word meaning “heritage”—in place of the school’s previous Chinese name “Da-Guan,” meaning “wider vision” (Pilin Yapu 2017: 6). Additionally, with a special focus on visual production, the principal also integrated professional photography into the children’s courses so they could record daily life and develop their aesthetic sensibilities (Ong ed. 2018: 38). As a documentary filmmaker, Pilin Yapu himself also employed smartphone and video recording at every event, posting the videos both on his personal Facebook account "比令亞布" and P’uma’s official account "臺中市博 屋瑪國民小學" to interact with parents and the public (P’uma Elementary School 2011). In 2017 and 2019, he received the Excellent Principal Award and Excellent Teacher Award at the national level from the Ministry of Education. Today, Pilin Yapu’s experimental reform strategies at P’uma Elementary School have become a leading educational model in Taiwan.


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5 Reflexive Mediator: Adaptation of Elderly Services Within Anito Belief Originating from the Tao tribal group, Chang Shu-Lan (also known as Si Manirei and Si Yabosokanen) was born in 1972 in the village of Iranmeylek on Pongso no Tao (also known as Lanyu Island, situated off the southeastern coast of Taiwan Island). Her father, a fervent Catholic, encouraged her to devote herself to their faith. Consequently, she decided to pursue Nursing Studies for several years on Taiwan Island before returning to Lanyu permanently in 1994, to dedicate herself to the development of local public health services. Back in her homeland, she was employed as a local nurse at the Lanyu Township Public Health Center where she was surprised to find a pervasive lack of medical resources and knowledge (Ku 2005). In the context of a series of historical and cultural changes in Lanyu, Chang ShuLan, a native nurse in her twenties, was alienated from her own Tao way of seeing. She was mostly immersed in dominant foreign influences, such as Sinicization education, Western medical theory and Pan-Christian beliefs. While facing difficulties in nursing services in 1997, Chang Shu-Lan participated by chance in a home care training program in Taitung where she was deeply moved by American missionary nun Sister Andrée Aycock’s2 sincere empathy and considerable care for each patient regardless of his or her condition. After the training, Chang Shu-Lan was assigned to take charge of more than twenty home care service cases under the auspices of the Public Health Center in Lanyu, in addition to her work at the center, which included nursing and administrative tasks (ibid.: 38). Through this mission, she encountered considerable elderly care problems in Tao society related to the taboo of anito (evil spirits): Tao 2 Sister Andrée Aycock (1934-) arrived in Taiwan from the United States in 1979 and has worked in

Taitung St. Mary’s Hospital. She is considered an initiator of home care service in Taitung County, especially for those who live in remote regions (Taiwan Today 1999).

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people believe those who are sick or dead are inauspicious and possessed by evil spirits (Li 1960: 41-55). As illness occurs mostly among the elderly, Chang Shu-Lan discovered numerous cases around the island in which elders who suffered from chronic illnesses were living alone without adequate medical treatment or sufficient nutritional support. Sick patients preferred to isolate themselves in temporary shacks in order not to affect healthy family members and also tended to eat as little as possible, so as to save food for their families. At the same time, their children remained helpless when facing unknown illnesses and were afraid to contact their sick parents despite their concern for them. Thus, Chang Shu-Lan had a strong desire to change the existent social problems and ensure the elderly could live with dignity. Knowing that she could not achieve this on her own, she decided to mobilize community participation. Encouraged by native friends and filmmaker friends, she started to record her personal encounters during home care services with simple cameras and handy camcorders. She then showed the footage to other Tao inhabitants, using the network of local churches, to call native volunteers, especially women, into action. Similar to Pilin Yapu, Chang Shu-Lan began to document tribal conditions through photography and filming and then improved her skills through a documentary-making training program organized by FullShot Image Studio in 1998. Thanks to her use of visual materials, she successfully collaborated with several native allies and founded the House Care Association of Orchid Island in 1999. Between 2000 and 2001, at the beginning of Chang Shu-Lan’s long-term social intervention in Tao elderly care, she toured with her documentary footage in Lanyu and on Taiwan Island. These screenings, combined with Christian beliefs, served as an efficient medium to communicate at both the local and national levels. At the local level, this mobilized more participation by volunteers throughout the six Tao tribes in Lanyu; at the national level, this increased charitable donations from Taiwan Island. She released the documentary film And Deliver Us from Evil (2001), in which the edited footage drawn from her home care service experiences demonstrated the conflicting relationships between modern medicine and Tao traditions. Through her lens, the public discovered unexpected images of suffering Tao elders and the differences between older and younger generations. This film was selected as the closing film for the first Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival in 2001 (Ku 2005: 69). Ever since then Chang Shu-Lan and her home care project have been widely reported on in Taiwan’s media. Most of the reports described her contribution metaphorically by highlighting her work as an “Angel versus Evil Spirits”(面對惡靈的天使). A persuasive metaphor which also reflects Tao people’s gradual awareness of Chang’s social interventions in local public health (see Lang-Dau Elementary School 2005). However, while the recruitment of volunteers and the gathering of charitable donations through the documentary were successful, she faced severe criticism for the film’s content. The hurdles became all the more insurmountable when the director was accused of violating taboo and filming ill elders at the end of their lives, with half of them having passed away since the film was first screened (Ku 2005: 68). According to Tao beliefs, images of deceased persons should not be shown. Faced with increasing negative sentiment toward her work, including from her own father,


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Chang Shu-Lan suspended screenings in her homeland on Lanyu Island. Meanwhile, on Taiwan Island, due to lack of cultural sensitivity, images of Tao elders isolated from their families aroused considerable misunderstandings and criticism from Han spectators, reinforcing stereotypes of the Tao people as cruel, unfilial, and impoverished. Surprised by both the positive and negative impacts of her documentary, Chang Shu-Lan decided to restrict screenings of And Deliver Us from Evil to certain circumstances: in the presence of the director herself or of those familiar with Lanyu’s cultural context, in order to offer spectators supplementary explanations after screenings. Additionally, the director gradually realized that the film itself was not only visual support for documentation of nursing conditions, but also a way to question Tao peoples’ adaptations to contemporary challenges. Stimulated by this controversial experience, the filmmaker made a second documentary entitled Si Yabosokanen (Nothing to Eat) which allowed her to analyze closely three of her elderly patients living alone. Supported by her training in documentary production and with the help of friends, local inhabitants and also filmmakers, she immersed herself in these women’s daily lives—a participatory approach that she deemed necessary for understanding the perspectives of her interlocutors about anito tradition. In 2009, through this reflexive filming experience and field study, she completed a master’s thesis titled “From Living Alone to Living Separately: Examples of Three Tao Old Women” in the department of Public Health at Tzu Chi University (Chang 2009). During her long-term participatory observation, she gradually came to comprehend what the Tao way of life was and how it had adapted to constant social change. According to research by medical anthropologist Liu Hsin-Yi (2007: 163–193), the establishment of the House Care Association of Orchid Island should not be considered a violation of tradition or taboo, but rather an auxiliary channel for mending cracks in the existent nursing relationship in response to the Tao people’s need. According to Liu’s research, these social changes began in the 1960s, when the KMT government established external transportation and tourism on Lanyu Island and implemented public housing improvement projects, impacting nursing needs in these regions. First, the outflow of the young adult population to Taiwan put more and more elders into solitary living conditions. Second, monetary trading replaced the importance of children’s care for elders in the inheritance of land and wealth, weakening the young adult generation’s motivation to give back to their elders. Also, the governmental public housing structure was designed on the basis of nuclear families. This replaced Tao architectural design, in which parents and descendants live and eat together, and children had to find places outside their residences for their parents to live.3 Moreover, in a context of social and economic transformation, the generalization of Christian beliefs among the Tao people motivated church members to move away from existent kinship ethics and to serve sick Tao elders from others’ families. 3 Although

generally speaking, parents and children eat together, due to busy work schedules required to sustain livelihoods, children actually cannot pay visits to or stay long with their parents very often. Neither can they provide them with specific medical care.

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Due to these reasons, since its foundation in 1999, the House Care Association of Orchid Island has been providing services to meet the nursing needs generated under local transformations. In her research, Chang Shu-Lan (2009) concluded that several important reasons had led to the phenomenon of sick Tao elders living away from their families: (1) Living separately is not living alone: for the Tao people, living separately still means being part of the family. Children still visit and provide food to those who live away from their families; (2) Public housing affects the Tao people’s way of living: according to conventional Tao architectural design, houses for sick elders should built alongside their childrens’ houses. Yet the public housing structures built by the government did not take into consideration these cultural differences, leading to a lack of living space reserved for Tao elders. Their residences can only be built on vacant land farther from home, resulting in imposed changes to their tradition; (3) Living separately comes from elders’ love for their children: sick elders are not abandoned by unfilial children. Rather, the separation comes from the elders’ will to live by themselves so as to protect their children from the assault of evil spirits. (4) Separate life is more autonomous: elders prefer to live by themselves because this allows for more freedom. Besides, elders are not picky about housing conditions. Their main concern is that children would regularly visit and bring food to them, providing psychological support. With her Tao origins, but without access to local knowledge in her previous educational background, it was not until she was writing her master’s thesis that Chang Shu-Lan realized how her potential prejudices and blind spots might have led her to certain misunderstandings of her own culture. Despite local tribes’ questioning of the house nursing concept advocated by Chang Shu-Lan at its inception and their belief that it was a violation of taboo, in Lanyu society today, especially for Christians, house nursing is no longer considered a forbidden act that transgresses family relations and offends evil spirits. According to medical sociologist Tsai Yu-Yueh (2017: 155–163), in Taiwan’s transitional justice era, local churches have had a positive role in translating cultural understandings about Indigenous rights into Tao people’s hybrid worldview of Christian theology and anito beliefs. However, in considering the feelings of the patients’ families, exposing images of the deceased remains an inevitable interdiction in Lanyu. As a professional nurse with reflexivity and empathy, Chang Shu-Lan takes into account the expectations and feelings of her patients and their families, and is able to establish a relationship of trust and reciprocity during long-term endeavors. Today, instead of facing insider anxiety around the production, screening, and reception of And Deliver Us from Evil, she repositions herself as a reflexive mediator devoted to enhancing connections between local culture and national policymaking on home care issues. Finally, after a five-year process of advocating for legal reform, the 雅布書卡嫩居家護理所 Yabosokanen Home Care Center (2012) she facilitated and founded was officially inaugurated in Lanyu in 2017, becoming the first home care center in an Indigenous region in Taiwan. For years, Chang Shu-Lan constantly advocated for long-term care policies based on Tao culture and worked to better integrate existing local social welfare resources in Lanyu, offering an important blueprint for current public health policymaking in Indigenous regions.


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6 Conclusion: Indigenous Knowledge Production through Visual Activism As a filmic narrative differing from the mainstream media, Indigenous documentary filmmaking has allowed for the development of visualized discourses regarding Indigenous movements in Taiwan since the mid-1990s. The subjects of research in this paper—three first-generation Indigenous filmmakers, Mayaw Biho, Pilin Yapu, and Chang Shu-Lan—have used documentary film as a way to explore their own identities and reconnect with their Indigenous heritage. The rise of Indigenous filmmakers not only worked to counterbalance the lack of Aboriginal representatives and right of access to the media but also facilitated channels outside of mainstream media to discuss underlying social issues. Through filmic documentation, the three filmmakers’ visual records helped Indigenous oral culture to persist, representing their dialogues with the elderly and other members of their tribes. They also spread awareness of cultural revitalization and contemporary adaptations through spontaneous local screening tours. As their movements have unfolded, they have gradually built a tribal collective identity and intervened in national policymaking. They respectively advocate for civic awareness among young adults, ethnic education for children, and long-term care services for elders, representing individual claims about ethnic knowledge while demonstrating the agency of visual activists. This paper also raises issues for further investigation, namely, the influences of an emergent consciousness of shared Indigeneity on kinship and social relations. First, in the Ketagalan Boulevard Tribe with Mayaw, Panai, and Nabu as key players, a social hierarchy similar to the age hierarchy of the Amis was applied to integrate

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both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members into a “Pan-age grade system” in three groups: the elderly group (core decision-making), the young adult group (decision implementation) and youth group (labor service). The youth group called Panai and Nabu “ina” (mother in the Amis language) and “tama” (father in the Bunun language) respectively, and Mayaw “faki” (uncle in the Amis language). The result was a new collective identity akin to being in one “family” and “tribe.” By squatting in public areas, they constructed a temporary kitchen, residence, meeting place, observatory and exhibition space, living and eating together in a virtual tribe, thus embodying, performing, and disseminating the concept of Indigenous territory by a transformation through occupation movement. This challenged the modern concept of land ownership while simultaneously publicizing Indigenous land issues. Physically, the Ketagalan Boulevard Tribe has now been totally demolished by public powers. Only the Panai-Nabu couple remains, continuing their demonstration with a few personal belongings. As for Mayaw, he moved from panel discussions held at fixed sites to a “99 Touring Lectures Introducing Indigenous Peoples” series, circulating island-wide. The imagined kinship that existed in the capital city for more than two years is still maintained through irregular visits by members, online networking and gatherings for certain social protests. Mayaw’s ongoing project is to develop an independent experimental Pangcah Kindergarten, Pinanaman (literally meaning “learning spaces” in Pangcah). Inaugurated in 2019, this is a place where “wawa no Pangcah (Pangcah children) among 3–6 year-olds” receive full-time native language speaking courses, including indoor and outdoor activities on immersion in Pangcah way of life. With his political commitment and experiences in media, documentary, and social movements, Mayaw Biho pays particular attention to the social, media, and educational reforms needed to defend Indigenous rights. He employs creative visual intervention as a weapon to defend Indigenous rights and struggle against the hegemonic narratives conveyed by mass media and the state power. Secondly, through Pilin Yapu’s education reform and documentary screening experience, Atayal’s gaga knowledge system was practiced and theorized in a contemporary Taiwanese context. Through the gaga revitalization movement, he encouraged the naturalization of the “primary school”—an institutional setting with a history of Japanizing and Sinicizing heritage in Taiwan. The reform publicized, institutionalized and pan-Atayalized the original knowledge transmission channels based on the units of the household, family, and tribe. School became a platform that mediated interactions among children, parents, families, tribe congresses, elders, institutional teachers, officials, and outside society, participating in the construction and dissemination of basic Indigenous knowledge. It is important to notice how gaga is categorized, induced, interpreted, applied, and performed after being integrated into the current education system, as well as how the functions, structures, and goals of modern school education are redefined. Lastly, Chang Shu-Lan elaborated a knowledge system of long-term care adapted both to beliefs about anito and the Christian ideologies of the Tao people. She changed the goal of reform from the original long-term, intervention-oriented care service to a support-oriented approach. Through Christian teachings about service, she continued to seek donations from the outside (mostly inhabitants and organizations on the


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island of Taiwan) while internally training local volunteers (mostly women) to mend the deficient kinship relationships resulting from the outflow of young adults. She also worked to raise awareness, publicizing challenges around Tao elderly care and nursing issues. Through sustained community engagement, she was able to reform long-term care services while respecting existent tribal kinship relationships and ethical norms.4 After two to three decades of endeavors and reform, these three filmmakers have participated in the construction and dissemination of Indigenous knowledge systems through visual activism. This paper enhances comprehension of the diversity of Indigenous visual culture in contemporary Taiwan. Acknowledgements I express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Mayaw Biho, Mr. Pilin Yapu, Ms. Chang Shu-Lan and their allies, families, and community members for their patience and sharing. My sincerest gratitude to both Editors Prof. Shu-mei Shih and Mr. Lin-chin Tsai, and to reviewers for their suggestions and comments. This research has benefited from productive questions and dialogues offered by scholars and colleagues in several presentation opportunities in Taiwan and overseas countries from 2016 to 2020. The writing of this article has been funded by Taiwanese post-doctoral fellowships from the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, and the Ministry of Science and Technology(MOST108-2410-H-001-080-MYZ) under the successive direction of Prof. Hu Tai-Li and Prof. Liu Pi-Chen. My special thanks to Mr. Darryl Sterk and Ms. Eliana Ritts for their constructive ideas and help. Comments and advice to improve this ongoing research are highly welcome. Any inaccuracies or misinterpretations in this article are solely my own.

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4 According

to Chang Shu-Lan, for Tao elders, collective nursing institutions are places where evil spirits gather and sick elders do not want to live there. On the contrary, services in the community make elders feel at ease. Regular meal delivery is the standard by which elders living separately measure their children’s filial piety. Since local children have to work in the mountains and can only deliver meals in the morning and the evening, Chang Shu-Lan assigns volunteers to deliver meals at noon. In addition to meal delivery, elders wish to have people by their side and to talk with them; in the course of the conversation, they would express their needs, which they normally feel embarrassed to ask of their children. Chang Shu-Lan would then inform the children of these needs. See Shu-Lan Chang (2009).

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Central News Agency (CNA). (2016, August 1). Full Text of President Tsai Ing-Wen’s Apology to Indigenous People. Taiwan News. Retrieved September 16, 2019, from Chang, S.-L. (2009). Cong duju dao fenkai juzhu: yi sanwei Dawu lao furen weili [From Living Alone to Living Separately: Examples of Three Tao Old Women] (Unpublished master’s thesis). Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan. Chiu, K.-F. (2012). Xingbie zhengzhi yu Yuanzhumin zhuti de chengxian: Xiaman lanpo’an de wenxue zuoping he Si Manirei de jilupian [Gender Politics and the Representation of Taiwan Indigenous Subjectivity: Writings by Syaman Rapongan and a Documentary by Si-Manirei as Case Studies]. Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies, (86), 13–49. Chiu, K.-F. (2016). Kanjian Taiwan: Taiwan xin jilupian yanjiu [Regarding Taiwan: The New Taiwan Documentary]. Taipei, Taiwan: National Taiwan University Press. Conklin, B. A. (2013). Subverting Stereotypes: The Visual Politics of Representing Indigenous Modernity. In G. Vargas-Cetina (Ed.), Anthropology and the Politics of Representation (pp. 66– 98). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Dowell, K. L. (2013). Sovereign Screens: Aboriginal Media on the Canadian West Coast. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Friedman, P. K. (Forthcoming 2021). The shifting chronotopes of indigeneity in Taiwanese documentary film. In D. Fell & C. -Y. Huang (Eds.), Taiwan’s contemporary indigenous peoples. Routledge. Ginsburg, F. (1994). Embedded aesthetics: Creating a discursive space for indigenous media. Cultural Anthropology, 9(3), 365–382. Ginsburg, F. (1995). The parallax effect: The impact of aboriginal media on ethnographic film. Visual Anthropology Review, 11(2), 64–76. Hu, T.-L. (2013). The development of “Indigenous people documentaries” in early twenty-first century Taiwan, and the concern with “Tradition.” Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, 39(1), 149–159. Ku, J.-Y. (2005). Xuanze shengming bei kanjian: pai jilupian de hushi [Screening Images of Tao Elders: A Nurse Who Makes Documentaries]. Taipei, Taiwan: Common Wealth Magazine. Lang-Dau Elementary School in Lanyu Township, Taitung County, Taiwan. (2005). Mandui eling de tianshi: Chang Shu-Lan nushi [Angel Who Faces Evil Spirits: Biography of Ms. Chang ShuLan]. Lang-Dau Elementary School. Retrieved March 28, 2019, from library.taiwanschoolnet. org/cyberfair2006/lodps732109/index.htm. Langton, M. (1993). ‘Well, I Heard It on the Radio and I Saw It on the Television…’ : An Essay for the Australian Film Commission on the Politics and Aesthetics of Filmmaking by and about Aboriginal People and Things. Woolloomooloo, N.S.W.: Australian Film Commission. Lee, D.-M. (2013). Historical dictionary of Taiwan cinema. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press. Li, Y.-Y. (1960). Anito de shehui gongneng: Yameizu linghun xinyang de shehui xinlixue yanjiu [The Social Function of The Anito: A Study of the Malevolent Spirits of the Yami]. Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology Academia Sinica, 10, 41–55. Lin, W.-L. (2013). Jiangyu zou chulai: Yuanzhumin chuantong lingyu zhi shenti xingdong lunshu [Walking through Ancestral Lands: Visual Representations of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Movements in Defense of Traditional Territory]. Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies (91), 33–92. Liu, H.-L. (2007). zhaohu guanxi: huli renleixue minzuzhi [Aging, caring and boundarymaking among the Tao (Yami), Taiwan: an ethnographic study]. New Taipei City, Taiwan: DawShiang Publishing. Ong, N.-P. (Ed.) (2018). Fanben kaixin: Taiwan Yuanzhuminzu xuexiao benwei kecheng kua lingyu anli tanjiu [Returning to the Original: A Cross-Disciplinary Case Study of Indigenous SchoolBased Curriculum in Taiwan]. New Taipei City, Taiwan: National Academy for Educational Research. P’uma Elementary School in Taichung City, Taiwan. (2011, March 16). Taichung shi bowuma guomin xiaoxue [P’uma Elementary School, Taichung City]. In Facebook. Retrieved January 10, 2019, from


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P’uma Elementary School in Taichung City, Taiwan. (2017, December 21). Zhishi xitong tu: gaga qi da mianxiang [The Diagram of Knowledge System: Gaga’s Seven Dimensions]. In P’uma Elementary School. Retrieved January 21, 2019, from . Raheja, M.H. (2011). Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Shih, S.-M. (2007). Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Siku, S. (2020). San wei diyi dai Taiwan Yuanzhumin ji jilupian yundong zhe de lunli shijian [The Ethical Practices of Three First-Generation Indigenous Documentary Film Activists in Taiwan]. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, 18(1), 1–60. Sterk, D. (2015). Transforming frontiers: The imagined geography of Taiwan’s internal frontiers in postwar indigenous films. Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies, 8(2), 67–114. Taiwan Today. (1999, September 1). Love without Borders. In Taiwan Today. Retrieved April 5, 2019 from,20,29,33,35,45&post=22117. Tsai Y.-Y. (2017). Jiaohui zai zhuanxing zhengyi zhong de jiaose: shenxue yu lanyu dawuren de wenhua zhuanyi [The Role of Christian Churches in Transitional Justice: Christian theology and Cultural Translation on Orchid Island]. Journal of the Taiwan Indigenous Studies Association, 7(4), 155–163. Wang, M.-H. (2003). Cong gaga de duoyixing kan Taiyazu de shehui xingzhi [Exploring the Social Characteristics of the Dayan Multiple Meanings of Gaga. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology]. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, 1(1), 77–104. Yabosokanen Home Care Center in Lanyu Township, Taitung County, Taiwan. (2012, August 17). Yabushukanen jujia huli suo [Yabosokanen Home Care Center]. In Facebook. Retrieved January 10, 2019, from Yapu, P. (2005). Taiyazu beishiqun Maho zulingji fuzhen zhi yanjiu [The restitution of Maho: A case study of the Beishi subgroup of Atayal people] (Unpublished master’s thesis). National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan. Yapu, P., & Masaw, S. (2009). Yabu de hua/ Kay Na Yaba [Words From Yaba]. Miaoli, Taiwan: Shei-Pa National Park. Yapu, P. (2017). Zouxiang minzu, maixiang quanren Taiya [Be Dutiful to Our Tribe, Glint as a Complete Tayan]. In CIRN-Curriculum & Instruction Resources Network (pp. 1–20). Retrieved January 21, 2019, from tid=3718 .

Skaya Siku is of Seejiq Truku descent. Following a multidisciplinary training in Political Science, Cinema and Anthropology in Taiwan and in France, she received a Ph.D. in visual anthropology at EHESS in Paris. She focuses on the shifting landscapes of Taiwan Indigenous peoples’ cultural activism, cinema heritage and mediascape. She currently works as a postdoctoral fellow (MOST) at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. She is also a board member to both the Taiwan Women’s Film Association and Taiwan Association of Visual Ethnography.

From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience of Indigenous Research Ethics in Makota’ay Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai), Ena Ying-tzu Chang, and Sifo Lakaw

Early versions of this chapter were published in Mandarin in New Practices and Local Societies, edited by RM Tsai and KH Hsieh (Taipei: Office of Humanity Innovation and Social Practice Project, 2019: 95–117), and in English in Junctures: The Journal of Thematic Dialogue, no. 20 (2019). The authors wish to thank everyone who offered their generous assistance and support as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) project support. The idea for this article was conceived in late-2015 as an exploration of a community-centered approach to Indigenous research ethics in Taiwan. The article documents the events and studies conducted in 2015 associated with two research projects, on innovative social practices of universities and Indigenous research ethics, respectively. This was sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan. Given this context, the article was framed as a documentation of alternative research practices and presentation of literature review, particularly Kaupapa Maori, intended for an audience familiar with Indigenous research ethics in Taiwan. The broader background of research ethics in Taiwan is that, whereas Institutional Review Boards for biomedical research have operated since the early 2000s, Research Ethics Committees for behavioral research only began as pilot programs in 2013 in Taiwan. Furthermore, while the 2005 Indigenous Peoples Basic Law had stipulated that research involving Indigenous peoples required consultation and consent from Indigenous peoples, it lacked implementation details rendering its execution ineffective until the specific regulations were released in mid-2016. Despite rapid developments on the subject since 2015, the authors believe insights in this article remain highly relevant to present challenges, namely, the difficulty in obtaining collective consent which has turned many people away from Indigenous research. The authors present here a translation of the article (from Mandarin) for English readers with revisions made to address any unfamiliar context for the international audience. J. Hsieh (B. Dagalomai) (B) · E. Y. Chang · S. Lakaw National Dong Hwa University, Hualian County, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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1 Introduction In 2015, six organizations, including the Makota’ay Community Development Association, Hualien Tribal College (HTC), and the project team of Dynamics of Eastern Taiwan in the New Century at National Dong Hwa University (NDHU), co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Makota’ay, a Pangcah1 tribal community on the east coast of Taiwan. The MoU establishes a community-focused interactive paradigm that aims toward collaboration in the promotion of indigenous education. By agreeing upon the MoU, the parties become partners in research. This moved research away from conventional paradigms where Indigenous peoples are subjects, and put Makota’ay’s input and aspirations toward constructing local knowledge at the center of the multilateral relationship. One of the purposes of the MoU is to enact Article 21 of The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, which mandates that research involving indigenous peoples should obtain the consent of the individual, and collective consent of the indigenous community. Following the signing of the MoU, debates from within the community took place over who has the right to adequately represent the community to exercise collective consent on behalf of Makota’ay. From this experience, we learned that while obtaining collective consent is of critical importance, it raises complications and difficulties in practice. Consequently, we argue that those challenges could be significantly mitigated if a process was in place to inform and prepare both researchers and community members for productive dialogue prior to the decision to give collective consent. The practice of indigenous research ethics in Taiwan is bound by The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law to consult and obtain community collective consent. However, most current discussions have focused on the latter, the obtainment of consent from indigenous peoples or tribes. The challenge lies in the fact that not only does the article define “consent by indigenous tribes” as majority vote of the tribal council, of which meetings are difficult to call, but also that not every tribal community has a tribal council. In the case of Makota’ay, where there is no tribal council, it is very common for the Community Development Association to act as an interface between the community and external stakeholders. As experience has shown, however, some members of the community argue that the association’s consent cannot represent the tribal community as a whole. Furthermore, tribal communities traditionally have their own decision-making structure/organization, which varies from community to community, and nation to nation. It would be difficult to have a single protocol that could appropriately accommodate the differences of communities. Thus, current scholarly debates on indigenous research have focused on how obtaining collective consent can be difficult and problematic. Against this background, this paper proposes to shift the emphasis from obtaining consent to the process of consultation. We suggest that a consultation platform should be in place, whereby indigenous community members, indigenous knowledge experts and academics serve as consultants to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and dialogue between local communities and researchers. This pool of consultants would function 1 Pangcah,

also called Amis. It is the largest indigenous group in Taiwan.

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as facilitators to stimulate discussions prior, during, and after research to communicate the research aims, purposes, and feedback, as well as to ensure community voices are heard. They would also be able to offer suggestions, tailored to the divergent circumstances of each research project and community, as to how to comply with ethical guidelines and to identify appropriate ways to obtain a community’s collective consent. We believe that the consultation platform would better prepare both communities and researchers in their partnership and collaboration and that collective consent would then be based on informed decision. Furthermore, if a relationship of collaboration can be established prior to conducting research, it may pave the way for indigenous communities and researchers to contribute to the co-production of local knowledge. This paper aims to provide a reflection on current practices of indigenous research ethics through our experiences working with the Makota’ay tribal community. It will recount the process leading up to the signing of the MoU on the collaborative construction of indigenous knowledge as an attempt to find an alternative to the form of collective consent mandated by Article 21 since Makota’ay does not have a tribal council. It will do so first from the perspective of National Dong Hwa University considering research ethics as research in the field. It will then shift to the perspective of the Hualian Tribal College, with an emphasis on upholding the sovereignty of indigenous communities. Thirdly, it will look at practices of indigenous research ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the United States, and discuss how they can contribute to an indigenous-focused research ethics. Lastly, it will provide a reflection based on our experiences and argue that the current predicament in obtaining collective consent can be addressed through a better-informed consultation process.

2 Research Ethics as Research in the Field: From NDHU’s Perspective Generally speaking, research ethics places emphasis on self-discipline on the part of the researcher, but for research involving indigenous peoples, research ethics is first and foremost a matter of sovereignty of indigenous peoples. We prefer the usage of “ethics in the field” as opposed to conventional research ethics. “Ethics in the field” includes research ethics, but also refers to the wide spectrum of research, relationship building, interaction in general, observation, and non-research participation-activities that do not fall into the strict category of research. It also means research participants of all parties should be able to be fully and effectively involved in the project. In particular, indigenous peoples should be able to practice collective decision-making based on the principle of indigenous peoples’ sovereignty. The NDHU research team of Project Makota’ay, since the very beginning of its inception and prior to entry into any field site, was fully aware of its responsibility to comply both with research ethics and the collective consent requirements particular to indigenous peoples. That is to say, regardless of how familiar one is with our field site Makota’ay, every member


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had to face issues including, but not limited to, active and effective participation, ethnic cultural sensitivity, and fair distribution of information, resources, and rights of collective consent. We uphold trust as our core value, and we practice some strategies to ensure that a relationship of equal footing includes reduction of various levels of harm that may be caused by stigmatization and marginalization under the hegemony of mainstream knowledge and authority claimed by interpretation. We seek the establishment of a mechanism that ensures participation is active and sophisticated and avoidance of the possibility of oppression caused by power and resource imbalances. Furthermore, on the practice of fair distribution of interests and resources, we used the principle of “collective sharing” in the indigenous tradition. For example, the NDHU Project team member and Paiwan Professor Kui Kasirisir, who taught the “Culture Camp” course, began negotiations with Makota’ay in April 2013. The concept of Culture Camp is based on the immersionist education method. The class was designed to situate students in the real cultural environment of the indigenous community, orienting students’ sensibility that the tribal community is the sovereign subject of indigenous knowledge. This class is a required core course for the Indigenous Social Work Program at NDHU. Professor Kui Kasirisir first approached Makota’ay with facilitation from HTC to begin dialogue and to incorporate input from the community into the curriculum. Before the students’ actual arrival to the community, members of the community were invited to have discussions in classroom settings, taking the opportunity to establish some background knowledge, ground rules, and address any questions students might have. It was not until outcomes and feedback from these interactions had been gathered, and Professor Kasirisir had sat with HTC and the Makota’ay Elementary School, that curriculum was finalized. On sovereignty and community-focused indigenous education, Professor Kasirisir commented Education for indigenous peoples is a matter of a way of living. It is not dead but in a constant state of livelihood. The environment, people, events and objects all contribute to our growth and education. They let us learn who we are. In our communities, we take care of each other, nurture each other, and educate each other as one big family, because we are all children of the tribal community. However, as we drift into so-called mainstream education, we lose sight of ourselves. We are constantly ‘corrected’ to fit in with norms. We are taught that we are inferior. We internalise that and start to believe that we are inferior. That kind of botched education changed how we live and also changed how we connect to life itself. The intention of the Culture Camp course is to reactivate the educational functions of indigenous community, making it a site where students access local knowledge. We hope to see the community take charge of indigenous education. The community should be active agents in the production of knowledge, not passive objects of knowledge.

From the inception of the course, Sifo Lakaw, the CEO of HTC, negotiated between the Makota’ay community and the Department of Indigenous Development at NDHU. An MoU of collaboration among different participating groups was later put forth by HTC. The gesture of the MoU is indicative of the respect that HTC and NDHU, as outsiders, have for the sovereignty of the community. The MoU also functions as an agreement for HTC and NDHU to enter the field. Other members of the research team also kept to these fundamental “ethics” and proceeded with the

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value of “maximizing the interests of the community and minimizing the harm that might be caused.” Most significantly, under the limited interpretation and ambivalence of Article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, we were able to establish an expression of our own where the community approves of our entrance into the field. Thus, in addition to allowing Makota’ay to take the subject position of research and educational activity, the MoU can also been seen as a way to exercise the right of collective consent. In the three years since our initiation into the field the NDHU, together with HTC, Makota’ay Elementary School, the Makota’ay tribal community and the Community Development Association at Makota’ay, and local cultural and arts studios, has outlined a model of collaboration. Our direction is to move toward the exercise of the right of collective consent on the (re)construction of systems of indigenous traditional knowledge, and to put into practice an “ethics in the field” not only concerned with the fair distribution of research outcomes, but more acutely, to re-establish a relationship with the tribal community based on trust. We know very well that despite frequent collaborations, trust takes time to build. Even though we consider ourselves a research team, we do not enter the field with decisive purpose, for it is not our intent to carry out any agenda. On one hand, without a concrete structure to navigate our participation, we have open space for all possible interactions. On the other hand, the lack of a plan and expectations means that we are more vulnerable to change, setbacks, and the consequences of uncertainty. Nevertheless, it is our priority to rethink the nature of the research relationship and its inherent imbalance of power. We also have to reflect on the distrust and harm that have long existed within indigenous research. When the idea came up to sign the MoU on paper “in protection” of the community, one of the leader of Makota’ay tribal community was hesitant, to say the least. He later explained to us that indigenous people strongly associate the signing of documents with losing land, because of vivid memories of real historical events. Inspired by the Aotearoa New Zealand M¯aori’s Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown, Sifo Lakaw came up with the idea of a bilingual MoU to ensure that the agreement is contextualized and understood in both cultural contexts involved. In June 2015, almost two years since the inauguration of the collaborative project, a ceremony took place to sign the MoU. The event started with a traditional ritual conducted by local elders in the Pangcah language, followed by the actual signing of the MoU by all six parties present, followed by students’ presentations of the results of their semester-long course. In return, the Makota’ay community held the traditional celebration to commence the closure of an event: pig-killing and pork sharing. Notably, there is an “ethics” at the basis of the pig-killing where designated parts of the pig are given to the appropriate people. In addition to the practice that took place at Makota’ay, members of NDHU and HTC visited Aotearoa New Zealand, with a dual focus on indigenous education and research ethics. We learned “Kaupapa M¯aori” as a key concept for M¯aori and indigenous studies, which “has become almost an orthodoxy when M¯aori are involved in


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research and debate.”2 In learning the history and experience of M¯aori’s regeneration of their tribal and research ethics, we returned to Hualian to further our own indigenous cultural revitalization in general, particularly in terms of (re)construction of indigenous education and ethics. With the goal of regional resource integration to address the predicament of scarcity of resources in tribal communities, we aim to obtain a balance between protection of researched communities and research participation.

3 Upholding Indigenous Sovereignty: From HTC’s Perspective In Pangcah, the word that would translate into tribal community is niyaro’, which refers “people within the fence.” Each niyaro’ is a defense organization with no relationships of subordination between different niyaro’. Therefore, a niyaro’ is a sovereign entity with a clearly defined boundary that functions as a collective in matters of agriculture, hunting, ritual-making, and diplomacy. The (re)construction of traditional indigenous knowledge has always been a core mission of the HTC. HTC aspires to empower tribal communities to establish their own internal dialogue to find out the specific needs and practices for the creation of local knowledge that is distinctively their own—an exercise of tribal self-determination which is a right too often lost and neglected. As a result, it is with the willingness of indigenous communities to collaborate with HTC that the curriculum and material for localized learning are developed. At the forefront of this, the subjects taking charge of tribal lifelong learning are the indigenous communities themselves. By putting into practice the sovereignty and self-determination to regenerate the ancestral legacy of traditional knowledge, members of tribal communities are no longer passive “receivers” of knowledge, but active “producers” with clear awareness of subjectivity. In the past, the state’s school systems have served as fundamental sites for the colonial government to carry out an assimilationist education agenda. The residential school systems in Canada, the US, and Australia that were in place to eradicate indigenous knowledges, languages, cultural customs, and spiritual beliefs so children would be assimilated into mainstream society, have had detrimental effects on Indigenous well-being at individual and collective levels as well as inter-generational trauma.3 While Taiwan did not have a history of residential schools, the Japanese colonial government’s “civilizing” and Chinese Nationalist’s “Sinonizing” agendas 2 Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones, “Introduction: Critical Conversations,” in Critical Conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori, eds. Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2017), ix. 3 See Piotr Wilk, Alana Maltby, and Martin Cooke, “Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review,” Public Health Reviews, 38 (2017); Violet Kaspar, “The Lifetime Effect of Residential School Attendance on Indigenous Health Status,” American Journal of Public Health, 104:11 (2014), 2184–2190.

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functioned to denounce Indigenous languages, knowledge and practices, and to transform Indigenous children into “proper” citizens. Chang4 showed how the monolingual (“Mandarin only” policy) environment in schools had fundamentally disconnected Indigenous students from their identities by replacing it with the dominant Han culture. More recently, due to awareness-raising and advocacy movements for indigenous rights and sovereignty, schools now offer “ethnic culture” courses in additional to general classes. However, these classes only take up three hours a week at most, making evident the marginal and meager status of indigenous knowledge within the existing ethnic culture education framework. The most critical task of HTC is, therefore, to promote authentic practice of indigenous education and accelerate the (re)construction of traditional knowledge frameworks and content. Key to these initiatives, be it the promotion of indigenous education or creation of indigenous knowledge, is to situate these issues within the perspective of the collective rights of indigenous communities. Consistent with the values that the research team from NDHU upholds in terms of ethics in the field, HTC places emphasis on the sovereignty of the indigenous community at the heart of interaction. The NDHU team adopted the idea of “the slower you go, the faster your get there” from an indigenous worldview in its interaction with the community. Quite often at the “intellectual” level, with the goal of removing stigma or disadvantage, the workings of the normative power of mainstream knowledge and interpretive authority may in fact perpetuate stigma and do further harm. Despite good intentions, the hegemony of knowledge has an inherently oppressive side, from publication of research discourse to the right of interpreting knowledge, and even to attitudes when interacting with the tribal community. With mutual understanding and consensus on a community-focused approach, where the community, not the researcher, is the subject in control, as the basis for collaboration, the NDHU team, HTC, and Makota’ay Elementary School, met in May 2014. The focus of the meeting was the (re)construction of traditional knowledge and promotion of local knowledge. The parties agreed on the following aims: 1. Draft an MoU and decide on an appropriate time to sign. 2. Makota’ay Elementary to provide space for an office as a base for collaborative work. 3. Assist in the construction of seaside tribal community tradition knowledge, in conjunction with the development of the school’s curriculum for exploratory education. 4. The NDHU team to provide manpower and pedagogic resources in accordance with local needs. Despite the agreement of all parties involved on the rights of indigenous collective consent, and although collaboration was operating under the understanding of respecting indigenous culture and expansion of knowledge, no representatives were 4 Yao-Chung

Chang, “Cultural Difference, National Identity and Taiwan Indigenous People Education,” Pingtung Education Journal, 26 (2007), 195–214.


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present from either the Cepo’ or Makota’ay community. In April 2015, the “Culture Camp” class began its course development with a discussion with the Makota’ay community. Out of respect for the sovereignty of the tribe and upholding community empowerment, the Culture Camp course began with a consulting group with members of the tribe. Local elders were active in the design of a curriculum that is fitting to the local context and with appropriate pedagogic strategies, providing students of the School of Indigenous Studies with a chance to get into the community and learn from a localized curriculum. The Culture Camp course has as its core curriculum the concept of the Pangcah “home house” (loma’). The content of the course includes the concept of the home house, its structure and organization, the kinships within the family and that of the clan, the choosing of the position of the house, and its construction. In addition, there was also a whole range of knowledge related to living in the house, such as ceramics (clay gathering, clay preparing, and glaze firing), irrigation (water-irrigation management, source-tracking, household use versus agricultural usage, waterway maintenance), canoe-carving (form, material, tool, and technique), clothing (embroidery, cloth decorating technique, embroidery patterns, and type and color of thread), and other house-related ceremonial and ritual knowledge. As emphasis has been placed on a community-focused paradigm and adoption of local values, classes are taught by local elders with translation and guiding support by the next generation who speak Mandarin. This way, students are fully immersed in the traditional loma’ cultural environment. In this type of community-led cultural activity, not only do students learn directly from local knowledge of everyday life, but in return provide service and documentation of activities to the community. As mentioned above, prior to entrance into the tribal community, the Community Development Association of Makota’ay, Department of Indigenous Development at NDHU, Makota’ay Elementary School, and a local NGO co-signed an MoU on collaboration for this course. The central idea behind this partnership is to create a space that shows respect toward the sovereignty of the community, with concrete practices such as a community-led, locally integrated curriculum and contribution back to the community from the students. The course would have not been possible if the community’s involvement had not served as its backbone. The empowerment of the community to take the lead in cultural education constructs and brings into life the system of traditional knowledge, which is on the verge of collapsing. It is only through actual practice that the original value and meaning of indigenous knowledge can be regenerated and restored. On the other hand, the course provided an exceptional opportunity for students to understand the reality of tribal communities today. Through interaction with community instructors and experiences of tribal life, students learnt local knowledge and culture, and developed localized knowledge and cultural perspectives. This win-win situation is the result of a community-focused framework. Through the guidelines provided by the MoU, the sovereignty of the community is secured. The MoU can also serve as a paradigm for future partnerships between higher education/research institutions and indigenous communities. Such collaborative work will not only encourage the localization of training for higher education professionals, but

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also push research involving indigenous peoples in the correct direction. The MoU for the Culture Camp course served as a pioneer in ethical models for collaboration, and opens up space for dialogue for a more general MoU for further research and educational alliance that is grounded in the sovereignty of the tribal community. After the signing of the MoU for the Culture Camp course, and with growing discussions and concerns that the (re)construction of indigenous education is imperative, it became evident that an MoU should be established on a broader scheme to further the expansion of indigenous knowledge. As events unfolded, six parties, the Community Development Association of Makota’ay, HTC, the NDHU team, the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU, Makota’ay Elementary School, and a local NGO, together drafted an MoU for the “Construction of a Traditional Knowledge System and Promotion of Indigenous Education.” The most exciting and unprecedented feature of this MoU is that it was first written in the Pangcah language, thus operating with within a cultural framework, and then translated into Mandarin Chinese. This Pangcah first, Mandarin second approach suitably illustrates the power structure of collaboration, asserts the sovereignty of the local community, and also puts understanding of the MoU on equal footing. Items of collaboration in the MoU: 1. Mapapadang a mihalaka to malodemak a mipasifana’ to sowal no Pangcah (Assist in the design of Pangcah language education curriculum and activities) 2. Mapapadang a mikadkad to fenek no Pasawali, to malokakawiten a mihalaka to sapasifana’ (Assist in the building of a database for knowledge specific to the seaside tribal community and production of educational material) 3. Macacoker a mitanam (i lesafon no serangawan to macacayatay ato serangawan a nananamen) (Co-promote the cultural experience [culture camp]-related course) 4. Masipalada’ to kinaira na matatahic a mikadkad lakaw no caway no Makota’ay, ‘arec, ato fenek no pariyar i Pasawali (Share cultural, historical, artistic, and oceanic knowledge constructed via collaboration) 5. Romaroma o nihadaan no enemay ano eca tosaay a kasakapot. (Execute other projects agreed upon by all six or any two parties) After all six parties had read and confirmed the content of the MoU in both Pangcah and Mandarin Chinese and reached an agreement on its implications, a ceremony took place on June 19, 2015 to sign the bilingual MoU. The ceremony was held according to traditional standards and conducted by the Makota’ay elder Kaco Lekal, in the company of the Chairman of the Community Development Association of Makota’ay and the Head of the Village, all of whom are of leader status in the community. Facing east and speaking to the land’s Pangcah ancestors, Kaco Lekal said You are the ones that made the Pangcah way of life so wonderful. Our culture should never be forgotten, we insist on carrying on the knowledge you passed onto us…Now we are passing the knowledge we know to them. They will organise the knowledge and pass it on to our next generation.


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Notice the usage of “you” “we” and “they” Kaco spoke on behalf of the community to their ancestors, while the other parties are termed as “they.” Kaco’s prayer indicated the core value of the MoU—a partnership that is community and traditional knowledge-centered. Yet through integration of resources that the other parties could provide, the parties also pledged to collaborate on the construction of local traditional knowledge, and that the outcomes of such an alliance would stay in and benefit the community, and be passed on to the next generation through the efforts of the community and the elementary school. It should be noted that the Makota’ay Elementary School was recently under pressure from the possibility of being closed down due to the county government’s budget concerns. The idea behind the promotion of indigenous education, however, is not only to keep the school open, but to reclaim it from the dominant ideology as a site for proper indigenous education. Kaco said again to the ancestors: “Look at our school, such a beautiful school, it should be the base for the regeneration of culture. Please don’t forget the school, take care of it and keep it here.” It is important to highlight here that the elder expressed his wish—that the school as a site of culture should be preserved—to the present parties in the hope that the MoU partnership can work toward such aspiration. It is our hope to participate in the restoration of ethics in indigenous communities. We also hope to participate in fair collaboration between tribal communities and research institutions, built on the basis of compensating for the scarcity of manpower and resources through regional integration, but most crucially, by never losing sight of tribal sovereignty. As Sakoma, the Head of the Makota’ay tribal community, stated during the ceremony: “There have been numerous academic and research visitors here, both as individuals and in groups, they come and take away our traditional wisdom and creative assets, without ever leaving any documentation behind…”. In the indigenous worldview, a healthy research relationship is one that upholds the precarious balance between the researcher and the researched both as individuals and as a collective. Such a balance implies respect, responsibility, and sharing. Obviously, due to cultural, linguistic, and structural differences, as well as unequal power bases between the parties, trustworthy relationships will take time and effort to build up. Such stable partnerships would allow the putting into practice of “research” ethics that are necessarily and naturally community-focused, and mutually beneficial for all parties involved. Through the regulation of research activities and other institutions hoping to carry out their intentions to respect the needs and the community, the MoU of partnership is one way to realize Article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law and fulfill the requirement of collective consent.

From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience …


4 Kaupapa M¯aori in Aotearoa New Zealand It is difficult to engage fully with Kaupapa M¯aori theory as it is both made and remade within a dynamic process of organic enactment and critical reflection. Graham Smith5 states, “When people are speaking about Kaupapa M¯aori theory, I often challenge them: ‘show me the blisters on your hands’—in other words, ‘How is your theorizing work linked to tangible outcome that are transformative?’” Indigenous peoples around the world have long been the subjects of studies by anthropologists, historians, social scientists, and biomedical scientists. The driving motivations behind the research have been as diverse as the range of disciplines: from the pure pursuit of knowledge, to interest in history and artifact, riveting exoticism, to addressing social-economic issues, furthering political agendas, curing diseases, policy implementation, and so forth. However, the experience and consequence of being the subject of research has not always been positive, if not mostly negative, for some indigenous peoples as Linda Smith says, “…‘research’ is probably one of dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary.”6 Informed by post-colonial scholarship, issues of appropriate representation, research ethics, and colonial assumption, a serious concern is the harm research might do despite good intentions. Smith also states “in term of Kaupapa M¯aori research, the more important questions is related to issues of social justice.”7 The signing of the MoU for partnership for the (re)construction of traditional knowledge and promotion of indigenous education at Makota’ay, where all parties involved have agreed that any work to be carried out must be done based on the needs and interests of the community, demonstrates a way to allow “outside” intervention into tribal communities while upholding the sovereignty of the community. From the perspective of researchers, however, the space between research methodology, ethical principles, and the interests of the researched community is a tricky ground.8 While codes of conduct and ethical guidelines are available, it might not be readily apparent where appropriate methodology and positionality lie in each individual case. Furthermore, one might argue that the concept of “ethics” as a science of morals is already an imposition of Western values. “Ethics” comes from the Greek root “ethos.” It refers to the character or guiding belief of an entity, be it a nation, community, or individual. Ethics is wisdom in practice and a philosophy that naturally sets the correct path, whereas rules and protocols only aid the understanding of how to act. When it comes to research ethics, and in particular research ethics for indigenous studies, it is evident 5 Graham Hingangaroa Smith, “Kaupapa M¯ aori Theory: Indigenous Transforming of Education,” in Critical Conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori, eds. Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2017), 79. 6 Linda Tuhiwai Smith, “Toward Developing Indigenous Methodologies: Kaupapa M¯ aori Research,” in Critical Conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori, eds. Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2017), ix–xiv. 7 Smith, Critical Conversations, 18. 8 Linda Tuhiwai Smith, “On Tricky Ground: Researching the Native in the Age of Uncertainty,” in The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, eds. by Norman K. Denxin and Yvonne S. Lincoln (Lincoln: Sage, 2011), 85.


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that if research is to be grounded in indigenous worldviews and philosophy, so should notions of research ethics. The Aotearoa New Zealand model of indigenous research, Kaupapa M¯aor, is a research approach firmly grounded in M¯aori self-determination and philosophy that is intrinsically ethical, as opposed to checkboxes that guard against unethical practices. Kaupapa M¯aori, translated as “the M¯aori way,” is a research that upholds M¯aori values and is also a resistance to and a critique of the dominant Western research ideology. It is research “by M¯aori, for M¯aori, with M¯aori values,” “wherein research is conceived, developed, and carried out by M¯aori, and the end outcome is to benefit M¯aori.”9 It also means “knowledge is co-created” through “narrative pedagogies.”10 As the subject of research in a variety of fields such as medicine, genetic studies, public health, resource management, anthropology, history, politics, and art, M¯aori experience with research has been mostly negative, not just in terms of unequal power and unethical measures, but also violent imposition of colonial ideology, Western cultural values, and epistemology. The Kaupapa M¯aori research framework was developed as a way to counter the domination of the Western paradigm. When studies revealed that the M¯aori language was endangered in the 1960s, actions were taken to revitalize M¯aori culture. In the 1970s and 1980s, various activist groups, such as the well-known Te K¯ohanga Reo (Language Nest) advocated for M¯aori rights, sovereignty and the necessity of regenerating M¯aori language and culture. Against this historical backdrop, and as part of the social-political movement, M¯aori scholars have worked on a research methodology that is grounded in M¯aori philosophy and epistemology, reversing the domination of the Western paradigm. Kaupapa M¯aori is not a set of regulations and procedures against which research ethics is evaluated, but a way to understand the world under a framework embodied in “being M¯aori” that challenges existing notions of research.11 One can grasp the magnitude of such a shift in the positionality of the subject in the question that Linda Smith, one of the pioneers of Kaupapa M¯aori asks, “what happens to research when the researched becomes the researcher?”12 Here, M¯aori become active subjects of research, taking charge and assuming control. It has been said that one of the idiosyncrasies of Kaupapa M¯aori is that most writers do not tell you how to do Kaupapa M¯aori. Instead, they tend to give descriptions of what it is and the effect it has.13 Perhaps one way to begin to clarify what is Kaupapa M¯aori, is “whether or not a non-M¯aori researcher can be involved”—a question to which scholars have different answers. While some contenders may take a stark 9 See Shayne Walker, Anaru Eketone, and Anita Gibbs, “An Exploration of Kaupapa M¯ aori Research,

Its Principles, Processes and Applications,” International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9:4 (2006), 332; Hoskins and Jones, “Introduction: Critical Conversations,” ix–x. 10 Brad Coombes, “Kaupapa M¯ aori Research as Participatory Enquiry: Where’s the Action?” in Critical Conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori, eds. Te Kawehau Hoskins and Alison Jones (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2017), 33. 11 Smith, “On Tricky Ground,” 79–81. 12 Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (London: Zed Books Ltd, 2013), 185. 13 Walker et al., “An Exploration of Kaupapa M¯ aori Research,” 335.

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position and deny non-M¯aori participation, others move away from essentialism and challenge what it means to be M¯aori. Irwin, who defines Kaupapa M¯aori as “culturally safe” (merely culturally sensitive is not satisfactory) and states that it “involves mentorship of elders,” argues that the researcher should be M¯aori, not a researcher who happens to be M¯aori.14 Russell Bishop, whose model of Kaupapa M¯aori is framed by discourses related to the Treaty of Waitangi, argues that “nonindigenous people have an obligation to support M¯aori.”15 The range of positions on what it means to be M¯aori reflects how robust debates are part of M¯aori tradition. The way in which the principles of Kaupapa M¯aori are articulated is also telling of the firm position of M¯aori self-determination. There are five principles of Kaupapa M¯aori: tino rangatiratanga, social justice, Te Ao M¯aori M¯aori worldview, te reo, and whanau. Tino rangatiratanga means self-determination, autonomy, and independence; by virtue of being situated within a M¯aori context, M¯aori values and concepts of knowledge become the norm and legitimate. This is significant because like those colonized elsewhere in the world, M¯aori have internalized the colonizer’s values, accepting the idea that anything M¯aori is invalid in, and inferior to, the dominant ideology. As the first principle, social justice addresses the power imbalance and ensures that the research benefits M¯aori. The M¯aori worldview offers an epistemology that is radically different from the dominating Western paradigm. Te reo refers to use of the M¯aori language. Research should ideally be conducted in te reo to gain coherent insight in M¯aori knowledge. Whanau, which means family, signals the concept of collectivity that is central to M¯aori tradition. As opposed to an emphasis on individualism, M¯aori believe knowledge and research is shared and impossible without input from community members.16 Consistent with the emphasis placed on whanau, the approach of “communityup” is another key element to Kaupapa M¯aori. Smith says, “For indigenous and other marginalized communities, research ethics is at a very basic level about establishing, maintaining, and nurturing reciprocal and respectful relationships, not just among people as individuals but also with people as individuals, as collectives, and as members of communities.”17 In contrast to the typical top-down approach where moral philosophy frames the meanings of ethics and the powerful decide for the powerless, community-up is a research perspective that is grounded in collectivity and proceeds with community values. Most importantly, it creates space for the negotiation of what is meant by “respect.”18 “Respect” is one of the three principles of the Belmont Report 1979,19 which serves as the fundamental guideline for Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) around the world today. However, what is “respect,” how is it 14 Smith,

“Decolonizing Methodologies,” 186.

15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Smith,

“On Tricky Ground,” 97.

18 Ibid. 19 US Dept of Health and Human Services, “The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research,” icy/belmont-report/read-the-belmont-report/index.html.


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done, and what implications does it have for day-to-day interaction? Smith identifies seven M¯aori cultural principles and shows that “respect” is not a universal principle, but that it varies in different cultural context research methodologies.20 In addition to the reversal of the hegemony of the Western research paradigm, where indigenous people become active agents in research, the notion of research ethics review, that is Institutional Review Boards and Research Ethics Committees, is another target of critique for Kaupapa M¯aori. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) serves as an independent advisor to the Ministry of Health, which reviews research involving health and disability issues. Currently, Aotearoa New Zealand does not have a national statement, such as Canada’s TriCouncil Policy Statement 2 (TCPS2), when it comes to research ethics.21 A document with the closest standing at the national level is the Standard Operating Procedures published by the Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC) in 2012. In its instructions for applicants, it states (paragraph 19, page 6) if the project in question meets the criteria for M¯aori consultation, then the researchers should refer to the Health Research Council (HRC) publication “Guidelines for Researchers on Health Research Involving M¯aori.’22 In 2012, “M¯aori Research Ethics: An overview” was published by the NEAC to supplement the HRC publication “Te Ara Tika: Guidelines for M¯aori Research Ethics.” However, there is no separate committee at the national level that is responsible for and reviews specific M¯aori research ethics proposals. Indigenous research ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand has progressed as a collaborative effort among many researchers with and without government affiliation. To some, IRB standards are considered “condescending” ethics, as they imply that there exists only one ethical correctness which is the Western model, while other worldviews are illegitimate. Reid and Brief note that “‘Condescending ethics’ positions participants and ‘Other’, reinforces powerlessness, and further marginalizes them with knowledge production processes.”23 As a non-M¯aori scholar with experiences working with M¯aori and Canadian First Nation communities and indigenous advisors, Tauri24 writes of his Research Ethics Board experience in New Zealand: ... ethics deliberation centred on institutionally defined risk avoidance to researcher and research participant in a way that masked the power differentials at the same time that they were seen as protecting what they perceived as a vulnerable research subject. This Western 20 Smith,

Critical Conversations. Tolich, and B. P. Smith, “Evolving Ethics Envy—New Zealand Sociologists reading the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans,” K¯otuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 9:1 (2014), 1–10. 22 Health and Disability Ethics Committees, Standard Operating Procedures for Health and Disability Ethics Committees (New Zealand Ministry of Health, 2014), nz/operating-procedures (accessed August 25, 2019). 23 Colleen Reid, and Elana Brief, “Confronting Condescending Ethics: How Community-based Research Challenges Traditional Approaches to Consent, Confidentiality, and Capacity,” Journal of Academic Ethics, 7 (2009), 75–85. 24 Juan Marcellus Tauri, “Resisting Condescending Research Ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand,” AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 10:2 (2014), 136. 21 Martin

From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience …


liberal gaze may be seen as the empowerment and privileging of the institutional research norms and values in a universalizing framework.

Here, we see that the imposition of the Western framework happens on two levels: on the level of knowledge and research, and on ethical judgment. If the standards for ethics are determined by degrees of risk avoidance, then the question must be asked whose risk? The assumption that indigenous people are by default at risk and vulnerable cannot be taken for granted and must be examined. Another point of critique of IRBs as condescending ethics is the individualfocused consent process which disregards the kind of collectivity, and whanau basis, inherent to M¯aori culture. These critiques have led institutions such as Te W¯ananga o Aotearoa (TWoA) to move away from standardized IRBs and put together guidelines and training courses to ensure research involving M¯aori happens under a meaningful framework, namely Kaupapa M¯aori. This is part of the greater M¯aori movement to take matters back into their own hands and also a part of the decolonising process. Recently, research communities in Taiwan have had similar debates about the validity and effectiveness of IRB-based research ethics. IRB for biomedical research has been in practice since 2006, yet for social sciences and humanities research involving human subjects, it was not until 2013 that Taiwan’s MOST introduced a scheme for ethics reviews of projects granted funding. This initiative faced severe criticism from many academics who formed an action alliance questioning the practice, its assumption, and its very legality. They called for freedom of academic research, respect for the differences across disciplines, and that ethics should be a matter of self-discipline, not external examination. When it comes to ethics particular to indigenous research, however, it becomes trickier. On the one hand, laws demand individual and collective consent, and on the other, it is unclear how to proceed with collective consent. As the MoU discussed earlier has shown, there are ways to foster collective informative understanding in tribal communities. Research ethics for indigenous studies is not just a matter of collective consent, as required by law, but also about ways to approach research that upholds the sovereignty of the tribal community, their worldviews, and values.

5 From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform After the signing of the MoU, debates from within the Makota’ay community took place on social media. The main question was centered on who can effectively and sufficiently represent the interests of the tribal community. As was explained earlier, in a community where a tribal council is not in place, the Community Development Association is generally considered a gateway between the tribal community and the outside world. A second subject underpinning the debate was why knowledge of the community should be shared with NDHU and HTC. While these challenges raised by some members of the community were quickly dissolved by intense dialogue and thus were productive, it was evident that not only is collective consent extremely


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difficult to obtain in practice, but also that a productive procedure for sufficient communication, understanding, and trust-building between multiple stakeholders must be in place. Our experience with the Makota’ay community, where an alternative to collective consent was the establishment of an MoU that upholds the sovereignty of the community, was met with challenges from the community. This experience had led us to reflect on the problematics of the collective consent-based research ethics and explore ways in which countries such as Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States practice indigenous research ethics. We propose a platform of consultation prior to, during and after research projects, one which, although it is no substitute for collective consent, still upholds indigenous sovereignty. Article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law states that When governments or private parties engage in land development, resource utilization, ecology conservation and academic research in indigenous land, tribe and their adjoin-land which is owned by governments, they shall consult and obtain consent by indigenous peoples or tribes, even their participation, and share benefits with indigenous people. (emphasis added)

As indicated at the beginning of this paper, current discussions of indigenous research ethics have focused on the difficulties of obtaining collective consent, however, we have suggested that the emphasis should be shifted to the process of consultation. In the context of indigenous research ethics, the United States does not have a Federal enforced protocol.25 Some states, including Arizona, require each university to establish their own policies and procedures with regard to research and educational engagements with Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples (Guidelines 3). In the Guidelines for Research and Educational Engagements with Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples,26 the University of Arizona states that [The university] is committed to moving from the paradigm where perceived engagements, including research, mostly in the past, was conducted on Native Peoples to a more respectful policy of educational collaborations with Native Nations and Indigenous peoples; and Extension/Outreach/Service has been for and to Indigenous Peoples to, for and with them. (Guidelines 3, emphasis original).

The Guidelines specify sovereignty, consultation, and authority as concepts fundamental to an ethical collaboration with Native Nations or Indigenous communities. The State of Arizona and the University recognizes that Native Nations, Tribes, and Indigenous Peoples are distinct inherent sovereigns and that the relationship between the State and each Native Nation is that of government-to-government. Furthermore, the Guidelines identify cultural competency as a concept deserving careful consideration. 25 Allyson Kelley, Annie Belcourt-Dittloff, Cheryl Belcourt, and Gordon Belcourt, “Research Ethics

and Indigenous Communities,” American Journal of Public Health, 103:12 (2013), 2146–2152. 26 University of Arizona Office for Research and Discovery, Guidelines for Research and Educational Engagements with Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples (Arizona: University of Arizona, 2016).

From Collective Consent to Consultation Platform: An Experience …


The Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office (NPTAO) at the University of Arizona has worked with many Native American Nations across Arizona to obtain copies of the most up-to-date policies and protocols that control research processes and outline procedures for conducting research. NPTAO’s Tribal Community Profiles provide a current leadership roster and census-based snapshot of Arizona’s Native Nations, citations of sections within each tribe’s constitution, and Tribal and federal laws that may pertain to institutional research or community engagement. In addition, there is the Tribal Consultation Policy, to develop their relationships with sovereign tribes and the Universities.27 This policy reflects the Board’s commitment to these important government-to-government relationships by recognizing and affirming fundamental principles of consultation and respect. From Kaupapa M¯aori and the consultation policy at the University of Arizona, we learned that research ethics is not only an issue of academic ethics, but first and foremost one of indigenous sovereignty. We hope to establish a platform that gathers a group of consultants which includes (1) local representatives, (2) indigenous knowledge experts, and (3) academics. This pool of consultants would be able to offer suggestions, tailored to the divergent circumstances of each research project and community, as to how to comply with ethical guidelines, and identify appropriate ways to obtain a community’s collective consent. The consultants would also be involved in the design of research plans, actual research processes, and research findings and publications. It should be noted that the platform would not be a substitute for collective consent. By shifting the emphasis from obtaining collective consent to establishing a consultation platform, the relationship between Indigenous peoples and academic institutions and individuals can be one of partnership and collaboration, and outcomes would benefit communities and their members. It is our hope that this process would mitigate the unbalanced power dynamics in conventional research, reconceptualize indigenous studies as collaborations between researchers and indigenous communities, and facilitate indigenous knowledge co-production, where the upholding of indigenous sovereignty, worldviews, and values is normalized.

References Arizona Board of Regents. (2016). Tribal consultation policy: University of Arizona. Retrieved from Chang, Yao-Chung. (2007). Wenhua chayi, minzu renting yu Yuanzhumin jiaoyu [Cultural Difference, National Identity and Taiwan Indigenous People Education]. Pingtung Education Journal, 26, 195–214. Coombes, B. (2017). Kaupapa M¯aori research as participatory enquiry: Where’s the action? In T. K. Hoskins & A. Jones (Eds.), Critical conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori. Wellington: Huia Publishers. Hoskins, T. K., & Jones, A. (2017). Introduction: Critical conversations. In T. K. Hoskins & A. Jones (Eds.), Critical conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori. Wellington: Huia Publishers. 27 Arizona

Board of Regents (2016). Tribal Consultation Policy: University of Arizona. Retrieved from


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Kelley, A., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Belcourt, C., & Belcourt, G. (2013). Research ethics and indigenous communities. American Journal of Public Health, 103(12), 2146–2152. Kaspar, V. (2014). The lifetime effect of residential school attendance on indigenous health status. American Journal of Public Health, 104(11), 2184–2190. Reid, C., & Brief, E. (2009). Confronting condescending ethics: How community-based research challenges traditional approaches to consent, confidentiality, and capacity. Journal of Academic Ethics, 7, 75–85. Smith, L. T. (2011). On tricky ground: Researching the native in the age of uncertainty. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (pp. 85–107). Sage. Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books Ltd. Smith, L. T. (2017). Toward developing indigenous methodologies: Kaupapa M¯aori Research. In T. K. Hoskins & A. Jones (Eds.), Critical conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori. Wellington: Huia Publishers. Smith, G. H. (2017). Kaupapa M¯aori theory: Indigenous transforming of education. In T. K. Hoskins & A. Jones (Eds.), Critical conversations in Kaupapa M¯aori. Wellington: Huia Publishers. Standard Operating Procedures for Health and Disability Ethics. Health and Disability Ethics Committees, Tauri, J. M. (2014). Resisting condescending research ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 10(2), 134–150. Tolich, M., & Smith, B. P. (2014). Evolving ethics envy—New Zealand sociologists reading the Canadian tri-council policy statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans. K¯otuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 9(1), 1–10. University of Arizona, Office for Research and Discovery. (2016). Guidelines for Research and Educational Engagements with Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples. University of Arizona Press. US Dept of Health and Human Services, The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, Walker, S., Eketone, A., & Gibbs, A. (2006). An exploration of Kaupapa Maori research, its principles, processes and applications. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9(4), 331–344. Wilk, P., Maltby, A., & Cooke, M. (2017). Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review. Public Health Reviews, 38(1), 8.

Jolan Hsieh (Bavaragh Dagalomai) is a professor of Ethnic Relations and Cultures at the College of Indigenous Studies, and since 2014 has held the Director of Center for International Indigenous Affairs at National Dong Hwa University (Taiwan). She belongs to the Taiwanese Indigenous Siraya Nation and currently serves as co-chair of World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). As a devoted indigenous activist and scholar, she has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of indigenous rights and legal activism, identity politics, indigenous education, and gender and culture. Ena Ying-tzu Chang is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Her research focuses on Indigenous health in eastern Taiwan as negotiating the complex terrains of local sociality, cultural sovereignty, and biomedical hegemony. Sifo Lakaw is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, National Dong Hwa University. He belongs to Taiwanese Indigenous Pangcah Nation and is CEO of the Hualian Indigenous Community College.

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics Cheng-feng Shih

The gathering of information and its subsequent use are inherently political. In the past, Aboriginal people have not been consulted about what information should be collected, who should gather that information, who should maintain it, and who should have access to it. The information gathered may or may not have been relevant to the questions, priorities and concerns of Aboriginal peoples. Because data gathering has frequently been imposed by outside authorities, it has met with resistance in many quarters. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996a: 498) In developing the principles and guidelines, the Special Rapporteur found it useful to bear in mind that the heritage of an indigenous people is not merely a collection of objects, stories and ceremonies, but a complete knowledge system with its own concepts of epistemology, philosophy, and scientific and logical validity. Erica-Irene A. Daes (1994) Ethics, the rules of right behavior, are intimately related to who you are, the deep values you subscribe to, and your understanding of your place in the spiritual order of reality. Ethics are integral to the way of life of a people. The fullest expression of a people’s ethics is represented in the lives of the most knowledgeable an honourable members of the community. Marlene Brant Castellano (2004: 103)

The early version of this chapter in Mandarin Chinese was previously published in Journal of the Taiwan Indigenous Studies Association 3.3 (Autumn 2013), pp. 1–30. C. Shih (B) National Dong Hwa University, Hualian, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



C. Shih

1 Introduction In its broadest sense, indigenous knowledge1 refers to the unique life experiences of indigenous peoples, including the material, social, cultural, and mental dimensions2 (Scarengell 2004: 90–91); in a narrower sense, it points to indigenous peoples’ distinctive outlooks on epistemology, ontology, and methodology; that is to say, their unique perspectives on seeing, knowing, being, and doing3 (McGinty 2012: 5). Indigenous research, or indigenous studies, points to the research on indigenous ways of life and their welfare,4 including direct research on indigenous peoples and their communities, the descriptions of their traditions and collection of data, and the exploration of humanistic and natural environments of indigenous peoples (Castellano 2004: 99). And research ethics5 indicates the standards of behaviors, the regulations of profession, and the responsibilities that one must take on during one’s research, including internal self-regulation and external required standard, especially the acquisition of the consent of indigenous peoples (Bannister 2005: 1, 4–5). For long, the conflicts between indigenous peoples and the state mainly focused on territories and lands; recently, the debate between both sides turned to the fields of knowledge and culture, particularly centering on the exploration of the conditions under which indigenous knowledge can remain favorable in modern society on one hand, while benefiting the indigenous peoples on the other (Durie 2004: 6). Traditional research on indigenous peoples generally features non-indigenous researchers as their central figures, while treating indigenous peoples as objects being studied.6 Not only is there no participation but also no consent from the indigenous peoples (FNC 2005: 3–7). In addition, to ensure the exploitation of indigenous intellectual property under the guidance of capitalistic commercialization, academic research continued to dominate indigenous knowledge production, which is not beneficial to indigenous peoples (Scarangella 2004: 91, 97–98, 100). Such method of “total oppression” [ah-lo"h-té 壓落底] is a de facto form of colonialism based upon the use of scientific research as a tool of governance (Porsanger 2004: 107–108). Since indigenous knowledge is not necessarily identical with the so-called scientific knowledge, under the power relations of knowledge production indigenous knowledge is often seen as not scientific enough, and is often neglected because 1 Also

known as traditional knowledge, local knowledge, native knowledge, and folk knowledge.

2 Bannister (2005: 2) summarizes the indigenous knowledge produced through indigenous research

into two categories, including cultural knowledge and genetic resource. to Appendix 1. Of course, the narrowest definition of indigenous knowledge is “essentialized things,” which refers to cultural specificities or ways of life that appear indigenous for the convenience of political maneuver (Scarangella 2004: 92). 4 Generally speaking, research includes the collection, organization, and interpretation of data (FNC 2007b: 2). 5 Overall, the terms used by schools or research units is “research ethics,” while professional academic societies use “codes of ethics.” Governments mostly use “guidelines.” See SPEaR (2008: 4). 6 In the context of discussing research ethics, “object” usually means the “subject” being researched. 3 Refer


Indigenous knowledge

Non-indigenous knowledge

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics

Fig. 1 Indigenous knowledge with the indigenous peoples as its subject

it is not considered real knowledge7 ; even if the so-called mainstream society has to finally accept indigenous knowledge, non-indigenous researchers would go on to consider how to absorb and appropriate such knowledge (Scarangella 2004: 91–92). In contrast, indigenous peoples think their counterparts are limited in specific research methods, and are unable to explain indigenous people’s psychological phenomenon. Thus, wrongful presentations or interpretations cannot be avoided; for indigenous peoples who are excluded from the research process, their knowledge is not only partially obtained by others, but even used to stigmatize themselves. Due to such negative experiences,8 they tend to consider such research useless and reject it (Durie 2004: 7; FNC 2007b: 3). In fact, there should be overlapping parts between both sides (Fig. 1). According to Cunningham (2000: 64–65), research regarding the Maori people in New Zealand can roughly be separated into four categories: research not involving Maori, research involving Maori, Maori-centered research, and Kaupapa Maori research (see Chart 1).9 Continuing the above-mentioned categorization, Durie (2004: 8–9) maintains that the focus of research should be on the intersection between both knowledges, simultaneously making use of the values and methods of both sides. In this way, not only mainstream society but also the indigenous peoples can benefit. After all, in terms of knowledge itself, most indigenous peoples are situated at the intersection between the two. Similarly, SPEaR (2008: 8–9) believes that within the spectrum between “one size fits all” and “cultural self-governance/situatedness,” there are two other methods: partial presentation and partnership. The former two are 7 For instance, Rita (2011) maintains that indigenous knowledge is “social knowledge,” or “cultural

knowledge,” but not “scientific knowledge.” most famous case is probably Havasupai Tribe of Havasupai Reservation v. Arizona State University Board of Regents (2008). The Havasupai people were initially told that the purpose of taking their blood is to study the gene that causes diabetes. Eventually, it was used to analyze schizophrenia, inbreeding, and even the migration pattern from Asia to the Americas. The papers published made the Havasupai peoples feel shamed and hurt, and they sued the school as a result (Katherine 2010). 9 In fact, these four methods happen to fit a, b, c, and d section in Fig. 1. 8 The


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Chart 1 The categories of Maori research in New Zealand (from Cunningham 2000: 65)

suitable for general research, while the latter two are tailored for specialized research. What SPEaR (2008: 9) regulates is the research that focuses on Maori people, and the theme is decided by the authority who are willing to accept Maori method and value. In any case, in terms of politics, the ethics of research on indigenous peoples is a lesson in the politics of knowledge production and culture, an effort in decolonization, a practice of the right to self-determination, as well as a chance to reestablish the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples (Scarangella 2004: 89, 99–100). To sustain their own survival and protect their identity, indigenous peoples have the right to protect, retrieve, and develop their own knowledge, especially controlling the collection, application, and transmission of such knowledge. In general, we can start from the granting of funding, the establishing of academic research institutions, and the designing of research ethics guidelines (Putt 2013). At the very least, through the regulation of research ethics, if indigenous peoples can control their representation in research, at least they can avoid the harm against their people. On a broader level, if indigenous peoples can reasonably share the results of research, it can enhance the welfare of their people. Indigenous peoples’ attention on research ethics, in the example of Canada, started in the 1950s, mainly because they were unsatisfied with the poor and even ethnocentric manners of anthropologists. Starting from the 1990s, because the core value of self-determination has been generally accepted, while indigenous peoples’ research skills and degree of participation also increased, the indigenous peoples have perceived more strongly the harm done by improper research from the outside world, and they have thus begun to look for ways to manage this problem to ensure such harm can be minimized and their communities can benefit (FNC 2007a: 2, b: 4). In the past two decades, apart from protocols, manifestos, and criteria passed by international organizations, research that focuses on indigenous peoples, including those

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from international NGOs,10 governments,11 professional academic associations,12 universities,13 and research institutions,14 mostly operate with research regulations, and indigenous peoples themselves also began to come up with their own research regulations.15 Meanwhile, the suggestions from some scholars are valued as well, including Brant (1990), Cunningham (1993), and Gupta (n.d.). The main purpose of this article is to understand what strategies of regulation we have when we are conducting research on indigenous peoples in order to produce indigenous knowledge, so as to avoid the abuse of such research and the deception of indigenous peoples. We will start from the regulations in international protocols, and move on to consider examples from the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, before we analyze research ethics guidelines, and finally consider the mechanism of research ethics review.

2 The Regulations of International Treaties Because Nazi Germany conducted cruel experiments on human bodies during WWII, Western nations passed the Nuremberg Code (1947) targeted toward medical research, a code that regulates that human subject experimentations need to obtain “voluntary consent” in order to prevent human rights violation in the name of science from happening again. Following this, the World Medical Association passed Declaration of Helsinki in 1964, emphasizing that medical experiments on human subjects need to obtain free consent of human subjects who are fully informed. The following are articles of relevant international treaties: Convention on Biological Diversity16 (1992): Article 8 (j): Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices 10 Such

as Global Forum on Bioethics in Research, GFBR (2008). as Human Subjects Research Act (2010) and the Draft of Methods of Consulting and Obtaining Consent from Indigenous Peoples for Human Subjects Research (2012) in Taiwan. See Lee Bi-fang (n.d.). 12 Such as the Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, IPSG (2009) under American Geographical Society. 13 Such as York University (2012), and Research Ethics Committee of National Taiwan University Hospital (n.d.). 14 Such as the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, IPHRC (Ermine et al. 2004) formed together by the University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada, and University of Saskatchewan. 15 Such as Navajo Nation (1995), American Indian Law Center (1999), Assembly of First Nations (2009), and First Nations Centre (2005, 2006, 2007a, b). 16 According to this convention, the UN Secretariat published Akwé: KonVoluntary Guidelines. 11 Such


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Fig. 2 The indigenous rights related to research ethics

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007): Article 31.1: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

If we view this in terms of the structure that protects indigenous rights (Shih 2008: 36), the consent and participation of indigenous peoples can be counted as procedural rights, which mean the practice of the right to self-determination.17 The possession of cultural knowledge belongs to the category of cultural rights, while genetic resources are property rights in a broad sense. Both can be viewed as intellectual property, and they are both substantive rights (see Fig. 2). According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), every individual enjoys cultural rights,18 which speaks for the importance of individual dignity and personal development: 27 (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its 17 Please

refer to Cheng-Feng Shih’s discussion (Shih 2008: 194–95).

18 Other regulations in relation to the protection of cultural rights include International Covenant on

Civil and Political Rights (1966), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, (1966), and the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities (1992).

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. From this, we can see that to promote indigenous knowledge and cultural assets, the maintenance of indigenous collective identity is required.

3 The Actions of the Governments of the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada In Australia, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (ACVV) co-released a concise Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice in 1997; in 2007, NHMRC, Australian Research Council (ARC), and Universities Australia revised the former into a more detailed Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. NHMRC released Guidelines on Ethical Matters in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research in 1991, and revised it in 2003 into Values and Ethnics: Guidelines for Ethical Conducts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research.19 What is more special is that the three institutions NHMRC, ACVV, and ARC together released a National Statement on Ethnical Conduct in Human Research, with a special section regulating research on indigenous peoples. In addition, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) first released Indigenous Engagement Strategy in 2008, before it released Indigenous Research Engagement Interim Protocol in 2009; Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) also released Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (2000, 2010). In Canada, it first began with Medical Research Council of Canada, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, as well as Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada that released Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans in 1998, with Section Six briefly covering issues regarding indigenous peoples; after several revisions, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the latter two institutions proposed an extensively revised second edition of Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans20 in 2010, also known as TCPS2, 19 In

addition, please refer to the manual of NHMRC, Keeping Research on Track: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples about Health Research Ethics (2005). 20 Also known as the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS).


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with Chapter Nine detailing the regulations for research on indigenous peoples. Earlier, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) released a research report in 1996, and proposed Ethical Guidelines for Research as an appendix in Volume Five. In addition, CIHR proposed CIHR Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People in 2008 to make up for the lack of TCPS.21 In the US, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) released a guideline in 1971, which was officially turned into a federal law in 1974 and listed as the 45 Code of Federal Regulations 46, which is about the “Protection of Human Subjects” and public welfare; in it, the first section “Basic HHS Policy for Protection of Human Subjects” was listed as a Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects by fourteen other government agencies in 1991, also called the Common Rule. What needs to be pointed out is that, aside from being included in the Federal Register, the principles and guidelines proposed by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (NCPHSBBR) in 1978 in The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research have also become references for the federal government to revise existing laws. In addition, the Indian Health Manual published by the Indian Health Service in the US also has detailed regulations in regard to experiments on indigenous subjects. In New Zealand, the government established the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Committee (SPEaR) in 2001, and announced SPEaR Good Practice Guidelines in 2008, which applies to all government units. In addition, the Ministry of Justice proposed earlier a detailed Crown-M¯aori Relationship Instruments: Guidelines and Advice for Government and State Sector Agencies in 2006. We summarized the values or principles followed by the research ethics in the four countries in Chart 2. Basically, these countries adopt the so-called “principlesbased” method (SPEaR 2008: 7). That is to say, they first define the basic values, before they deduce some principles or standards from such values. We can tell that the ethical values that Australia and New Zealand seek after are closer to each other, while those of Canada is more similar to those of the US. In general, respect is the most basic value that every country promotes, while reciprocity, justice, and integrity follow. Australia is a more special case, proposing to link all research ethics with spirit and wholeness (NHMRC 2003: 9; 2005: 8).

4 Guidelines for Research Ethics According to NHMRC (2005), Weijer et al. (1999), and RACP (1996b), we can categorize the guidelines for research ethics into regulations for preliminary work, research progress, and post-research work22 (Fig. 3). In the following, we will discuss the OCAP principles and the FPIC principles. 21 However, 22 See

after TCPS2 appeared, this guideline does not apply anymore. FNC (2007a) for specific content.

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


Chart 2 The values of research ethics in each country (See: NHMRC 2003 for Australia; CIHR et al. 2010 for Canada; NCPHSBBR 1978 for US; and SPEaR 2008 for New Zealand)

A. OCAP principle: The so-called Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP) principle23 was proposed by the First Nations Centre in The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) in Canada (FNC 2005: 1, 2007b: 4), a principle that applies the existing right to self-determination to research in order to respond to the colonial, oppressive, and exploitative relationships reproduced in the process of knowledge production, expressing the discontent with the fact that “indigenous peoples will be researched until the day they die.”24 In specific terms, under such structure, indigenous peoples can decide what kinds of researches can be conducted, what are the usages of information or data, how should the data be stored, and who can access such information (FNC 2007b: 1). “Ownership” refers to the relationship between indigenous peoples and cultural knowledge/data/information; to be more specific, what it highlights is the collective ownership of the community; “control” means indigenous peoples have the right to control all research procedures and manage relevant information collected by outsiders; “access” means indigenous peoples have the right to use the information and data about their individual selves or communities; “possession” points to 23 The root of these terms is the OCA (ownership, control, and access) that appeared in 1988, which

anticipated the Oka Crisis in 1990 (FNC 2005: 1). 24 The original words are “We’ve been researched to death” (FNC 2005: 3).


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Fig. 3 Research process and ethics

the mechanism through which indigenous peoples confirm or preserve the abovementioned knowledge (FNC 2005: 2). Through the research process under OCAP, indigenous peoples can enjoy the following benefits (FNC 2007b: 5–6, 9): insisting upon the rights of indigenous peoples in the field of research, reestablishing indigenous peoples’ trust in research, establishing holistic research procedures, improving the quality of data and its relevance of their communities, supporting meaningful skill training and empowerment, ensuring the control over the consent of the communities and research process, preserving that the communities own the research results and the data, supporting appropriate compensation and acknowledging the contribution of all participants, avoiding the stigmatization and stereotyping of indigenous peoples, as well as protecting traditional knowledge (see Fig. 4). Since mainstream society always adopts a paternalistic stance and distrusts the capabilities of indigenous peoples, a fallacy that believes “there is no talented indigenous person,” the training and empowering function of OCAP seem all the more important (FNC 2005: 18–20).

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


Fig. 4 The benefits of OCAP

Under the structure of OCAP, the following are some concrete actions25 (FNC 2007b: 6–7, 18): 1.

Convene a community consultation conference, particularly with the elders, in order to decide the order of priority of agenda and research. 2. Investigate how other communities work and what strategies they adopt to understand what successful methods and processes there are. 3. Establish a committee to decide the research guidelines by the indigenous peoples themselves and draft an agreement. 4. Develop structures, methods, tools, training, and strategies for evaluative reports based upon indigenous cultures. 5. Develop the community’s regulations, guidelines, or policies for research ethics in order to guide research progress. 6. Develop standards for the review of research projects. 7. Establish a committee for the review of research. 8. Negotiate research relationships and the management of research projects. 9. Train indigenous talents for indigenous research. 10. Reject research that does not respect or benefit indigenous peoples. The biggest resistance against OCAP mainly comes from people who adopt the perspective of free knowledge, believing that the indigenous review process will hinder academic freedom. The problem is, even in academic circles, whether it is conducting research projects or submitting journal articles, they all go through peer review; likewise, the review process conducted by indigenous communities is in fact also designed to ensure the necessity and quality of the research, as well as the appropriateness of its interpretation. Therefore, rather than seeing it as a threat, it should be seen as a great opportunity (FNC 2005: 31). Another way to address this is to look at the individual right to privacy. That is to say, since the state promises legal protection for personal information, then the data collectively owned by the community, which suggests “collective privacy,” should of course be protected by law (FNC 2007b: 9). Lastly, from the perspective of indigenous sovereignty, an autonomous government has the right to regulate the medical activities or research in its jurisdiction, and can even bar outsiders from coming in (Sahota n.d.). 25 For

a more detailed strategic concern, see FNC (2005: 24–25).


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B. FPIC mechanism According to “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” (FPIC), during research on indigenous peoples, we must first acquire the consent of local communities. This principle derives from medical experiments, and is now generally applied to matters related to indigenous peoples, especially economic development and resource mining. This can be said to be the key to research ethics of indigenous research, a principle that will ensure the participation, decision and the right to self-determination of the indigenous peoples, so as to solve the predicaments of land grab, cultural oppression, and biopiracy faced by indigenous peoples for hundreds of years26 (Persoon and Minter Persoon and Tessa 2011: 10). In the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), there are many parts that mention FPIC, including Article 10 (relocation), Article 11.2 (the acquisition of cultural, intellectual, religious, and spiritual property),27 Article 28.1 (the acquisition of land, territories, and resources), and Article 29.2 (the storage and disposal of hazardous materials). Among these, Article 11.2 is the most directly relevant to the ethics of research on indigenous peoples. In addition, Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines (2004), that was derived from the Convention on Biological Diversity, specifies the “prior informed consent” (PIC) principle28 for research on indigenous peoples: 53. Where the national legal regime requires prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities, the assessment process should consider whether such prior informed consent has been obtained. Prior informed consent corresponding to various phases of the impact assessment process should consider the rights, knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities; the use of appropriate language and process; the allocation of sufficient time and the provision of accurate, factual and legally correct information. Modifications to the initial development proposal will require the additional prior informed consent of the affected indigenous and local communities.

Moreover, The Protection of Traditional Knowledge (2010) from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also lists PIC as their policy goal and a concrete principle. According to Persoon and Minter (Persoon and Tessa 2011: 10), we can summarize issues that we might encounter during practical operation as follows: 1. Consenter: generally, the consenter should be the indigenous communities that are being researched; however, if state institutions intervene in the consenting 26 Of course, the right to consent is the final mechanism for the protection of individual privacy (First Nations Centre 2006: 5). 27 For a general exploration of indigenous cultural rights, see Cheng-Feng Shih (2008: 293–97). 28 In addition, the ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (1989) issues the “free and informed consent” regulation with regard to the fact that the government demanded the indigenous peoples to relocate. Within Agenda 21 that was passed to deal with the disposal of chemical toxicants during the United Nations Environment and Development Conference hosted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, PIC principle was also mentioned.

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


process through review mechanism, then the autonomy of the indigenous peoples will be influenced or even disrupted. Then, in the condition that the community itself is diverse or even split, it is hard to tell who is the owner of knowledge or the keeper of cultural traditions. Under such condition, the researcher may not know whom to seek consent from. Especially when the community lacks obvious representative structure or accountability mechanism, the researcher might encounter so-called “false representative.” In addition, if those who own collective knowledge or cultural traditions are widely spread out, or even located beyond one national territory, it is more difficult to acquire their consent. Naturally, whether it is a university, research unit, NGO, or private corporation, the power relation between the consent seeker and the consenter is often unbalanced, as the latter’s information, resources, or legal aid is highly scarce, and the latter will most likely agree because of the former’s small gift or favor, while losing the compensation or benefit that the latter is entitled to. Finally, if the state is not clear on regulations of indigenous rights, especially on the use of public goods or collective goods, then even if they acquire an ambiguous consent, there will still be constant controversy or even conflicts in the future (pp. 11–13). 2. Process: Since complicated laws are involved, even educated people may not understand the process, let alone lay people. Thus, if the consent seeker deliberately takes a shortcut, the process will be easily manipulated, including notification of a meeting, the time of a meeting, or meeting agenda, voting method, the language used in the meeting, and translation, or even the use of violence. The way for indigenous peoples to deal with this is to convene a meeting beforehand, or to hold group training to let everyone understand the content and importance of the consenting process. Of course, if government agencies or indigenous representatives who are credible can oversee the process, the possibility of manipulation can be minimized. However, because of the intervention of the third party, the budget might increase, or new conflicts of interest might even be introduced (pp. 13–14). 3. Content: Apart from the discussion within the community in advance, the important thing is the dialogue between the consent seeker and the consenter, including the purpose of the research,29 the essence and scope of data collection, potential research results, the anticipated usage of research results, the possible benefits of the results, how the communities can share such benefits, and the definition of the community and how the representative is elected (p. 17).30

29 The

most common confusions that a consenter may face is the inability to tell the difference among the transmission of research, medical research, and knowledges (FNC 2006: 5). 30 For other do’s and don’ts, see Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996b).


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5 The Review Mechanism for Research Ethics In terms of organization, between government institutions and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) set up by tribes themselves, there are many other review mechanisms (see Fig. 5): generally, most university or research units have their own review committees; in addition, indigenous peoples can entrust schools within or nearby the autonomous region to conduct review; if there is not enough manpower, indigenous peoples can also consider establishing an inter-tribal, or pan-indigenous review committee (Sahota n.d.). The various existing mechanisms can be roughly separated into internal review and external review. Let us summarize each of their pros and cons, before we touch upon how indigenous communities in urban areas deal with similar issues. And finally, we will deal with the relationship between the review mechanisms of the government, academia, and the community. 1. Establishing review mechanism in tribal communities Generally speaking, when the scale of an indigenous tribe is bigger, or if the number of the received applications for research is greater, the community will often feel the need to establish a review committee so that there is a more official and complete review procedure. In addition, when the government has a similar institution, the community can adjust the committee according to their needs. Especially when there is an autonomous government in the local area, the review committee can be counted as a part of that government and represent the interests of the indigenous peoples. In addition, because universities or research units mostly have their own review committees, scholars are familiar with related processes, and will respect the official review mechanism set up by the indigenous peoples (Sahota n.d.: 10–11). The biggest flaw of setting up a review committee independently is its formation and maintenance, including the financial burden of hiring professional staff, and the time and money spent on training committee members. Under such conditions, if a community lacking in resources is not willing to entrust outsiders to review, they can cooperate with nearby communities or tribes to establish a united review committee

Fig. 5 The review mechanism for research ethics

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


for each community to make use of. Meanwhile, if there is a pan-indigenous organization between tribes, no matter how loose it is, it can consider establishing a review committee to serve the tribes or communities that join. In fact, even if communities have already established their own review committee, they can still treat this cross-tribal review mechanism as another helpful mechanism (Sahota n.d.: 12). Apart from regulatory review committees, communities can also establish specific Community Advisory Boards (CAB) for individual research applicants, or even invite professional indigenous people to join a permanent advisory committee to serve as the contact between the applicants and the communities. On one hand, instead of simply reviewing or regulating, the advisory committee can help outside researchers to make sure the process complies with the regulation through dialogue. On the other hand, the advisory committee can also help the indigenous peoples to keep track of the process of the research through participation (Sahota n.d.: 11–2). 2. Entrusting outsiders to review When the scale of the tribe is smaller, or if the tribe does not often review applications, then they can choose to entrust outside facilities, including government units, universities, and research units, to review for them in order to avoid financial burden; generally speaking, American universities that accept US federal funding must establish a research ethics review committee, within which there must be at least one person from nearby indigenous tribes. Another possibility is to sign a contract with tribal colleges so that they can ensure the reviewers have high cultural sensitivity. Naturally, communities can also choose to retain internal review while making use of external review at the same time. In particular, the kind of research whose influence may go beyond indigenous peoples can be reviewed externally in order to lower the potential risks (Sahota n.d.: 8–9). If tribes decide to entrust existing outside institutions to review, they must consider the advantages: apart from the convenience in execution and the saving of resources, the most important advantage of external review is making use of existing outside personnel and mechanisms. In contrast, the biggest disadvantage of external review is that they must rely on outsiders to make decisions. Furthermore, communities do not have a say in the review standard of the research project, and cannot control the monitoring of the project. Most importantly, the interests considered by the review committee members may not be in line with the welfare of the communities (Sahota n.d.: 9). 3. Special concerns of urban areas As more and more indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas, how research related to urban indigenous peoples should be reviewed is also an issue that indigenous peoples must face. According to Taiwan’s Indigenous Basic Law (2005), Article 21: When governments or private parties engage in land development, resource utilization, ecology conservation and academic research in indigenous land, tribe and their adjoin-land which is owned by governments, they shall consult and obtain consent by indigenous peoples or tribes, even their participation, and share benefits with indigenous people.


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Fig. 6 The triangular relationship of the review mechanism

As such, the law does not seem to be able to regulate research outside of indigenous lands. The biggest difference between urban indigenous communities and the tribes is the legal governance mechanism. Despite the fact that urban indigenous groups or organizations lack the jurisdiction over land or an autonomous government, they can still constrain research through the passing of related regulations. Therefore, the above-mentioned review mechanism adopted by tribal communities can all be used by urban communities. In addition, urban indigenous groups cannot only entrust their review work to tribes, they can also entrust nearby tribal communities to act on their behalf (Sahota n.d.: 13–14). Sometimes, researchers rejected by tribes31 may be opportunistic and turn to urban indigenous communities, because urban indigenous peoples are not administered by the tribal government. The researchers do not even need to file an application to start. Under such conditions, urban indigenous communities need to seriously think: what kinds of projects denied by indigenous tribes can be conducted in urban areas? Especially when members of urban organizations may not have registered their household in urban areas yet, do they still enjoy the freedom that comes with living in a different residential area? Therefore, even if the research subjects are indigenous peoples living in urban areas, related urban indigenous organizations should cooperate closely with tribal communities, or at least seek the help of nearby tribal communities, in order to achieve complete coverage (Sahota n.d.: 14). 4. The triangular relationship between review committees We can see that during the process of applying for the approval of research, the review units can be categorized into government units, academic institutions, and tribal communities (see Fig. 6) In most cases, apart from indigenous communities, the research cases must also be consented to by the research units that the applicants belong to. Sometimes, they even need to obtain the approval of related government facilities to conduct their research, especially those concerning medical human 31 For the black sheep within academic circles, Sahota (n.d.: 17–18)

raises several strategies to deal with them, including confiscating their cash pledge, fining them, announcing a black list of those who violate the rules, or signing affidavit letters that makes them agree to follow the procedures to apply for approval.

Indigenous Knowledge Production and Research Ethics


experiment. Under such conditions, indigenous peoples must think comprehensively over how to facilitate effective coordination, especially the steps that they take to arrange a review, which determine who has the final authority. Sahota’s (n.d.: 14) suggestion is that the communities involved should be the first reviewer. After more culturally sensitive indigenous people review the research proposal and ensure that the research conforms to their own regulations, the other review, whether university or government, can then focus on more professional elements.32

6 Conclusion Regulations with regard to the ethics of indigenous research should include preparatory work, research process, and post-research work; not only should the government conduct reviews, but indigenous peoples should also set up their own review mechanism. Meanwhile, the research reviewed should not be limited to human subject experiments. In recent years, citizens in Taiwan have shown a great amount of concern for relevant issues, including Tai et al. (2010), Chen and Chen Chang (2011), as well as Tai and Lee (2012), and related professional organizations also began to establish regulations for self-discipline, such as Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology (2011) and Taiwan Association of Visual Ethnography (2012). However, whether it is Human Subjects Research Act (2010) or the Draft of Methods of Consulting and Obtaining Consent from Indigenous Peoples for Human Subjects Research (2012), they are still confined within the scope of human subject experiment. The Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan should attempt to expand their reviews of indigenous researches. In addition, the current laws concentrate on reviewing and approving projects, but do not really touch upon the aspects of research process and post-research work, especially the participation of and sharing with indigenous peoples. We hope that apart from the laws, we can push for other forms of rules for professional ethics. Lastly, indigenous peoples should have their own review committee, whether it is established individually or jointly. Translated by Kun-xian Shen

32 However, this does not mean that the former is substantive review, while the latter is just a review

in form.


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Appendix 1: The Context of Indigenous Ethics (Castellano 2004:100–101)

International Statutes, Declarations, Laws, and Legal Cases Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 ( (2013/6/25) Nuremberg Code, 1947 ( ode.htm) (2013/6/25) Declaration of Helsinki, 1964 ( (2013-06-25) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 ( UNTS/Volume%20999/volume-999-I-14668-English.pdf) (2013/6/25)

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International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 ( uments/ProfessionalInterest/cescr.pdf) (2013/6/25) 45 Code of Federal Regulations 46, 1974 ( fr46.html) (2013/6/25) ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, 1989 (http://www. pdf) (2013/6/25) Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992 ( (2013/6/25) Agenda 21, 1992 ( (2013/6/25) Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities, 1992 ( Declarationen.pdf) (2013/6/25) Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines, 2004 ( pdf) (2013/6/25) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 ( uments/DRIPS_en.pdf) (2013/6/25) Havasupai Tribe of Havasupai Reservation v. Arizona State University Board of Regents (2008) ( (2013/6/21) The Protection of Traditional Knowledge, 2010 ( rtkf_ic_16/wipo_grtkf_ic_16_5.pdf) (2013/6/25) The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law [原住民基本法] (2005) ( All.aspx?PCode=D0130003) (2013/6/25) Human Subjects Research Act [人體研究法] (2010) ( aspx?id=78157) (2013/6/25) The Draft of Methods of Consulting and Obtaining Consent from Indigenous Peoples for Human Subjects Research [人體研究計畫諮詢及取得原住民族同意辦法草案] (2012) (http://www. 1011291267_2_%E8%A1%9B%E7%BD%B2%E9%86%AB%E5%AD%97%E7%AC%AC1 010072784%E8%99%9F%E5%8E%9F%E4%BD%8F%E6%B0%91%E5%90%8C%E6% 84%8F%E4%B9%8B%E8%8D%89%E6%A1%88.pdf) (2013/6/25).

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Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) ( tcps2/TCPS_2_FINAL_Web.pdf) (2013/6/25). Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). (2008). Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People. ( earch/ethics/ethics_aboriginal_guidelines_metis_e.pdf) (2013/6/25). Castellano, M. B. (2004). Ethics in aboriginal research. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 98–114. Chen, S. –J., Chen Chang, P. -L. [陳叔倬、陳張培倫]. (2011). The Practice of Indigenous Group Consent toward Genetic Researches in Taiwan—In Cases of Kavalan and Siraya” [社群研究同意 權在臺灣的實踐-以噶瑪蘭社群否決 與西拉雅社群同意為例]. Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies 4(3), 1–2. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). (2008). Indigenous Engagement Strategy ( igenous-Engagement/Indigenous-Engagement-Strategy.aspx) (2013/6/25). Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). (2009). Indigenous Research Engagement Interim Protocol ( (2013/6/25). Cunningham, C. (2000). A framework for addressing M¯aori knowledge in research, science and technology. Pacific Health Dialog, 7(1), 62–69. Daes, E. –I. A. (1994). Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous Peoples. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council, United Nation. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/31 ( Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/E.CN.4.Sub.2.1994.31.En?Opendocument) (2013/6/19). Darie, M. (2004). Exploring the interface between science and indigenous knowledge. Paper delivered at the 5th APEC Research and Development Leaders Forum, Christchurch, New Zealand, March 11 ( Publications%20%20Mason/M%20Durie%20Exploring%20the%20interface%20Between% 20Science%20and%20Indigenous%20knowledge.pdf) (2013/6/22). Drabiak-Syed, Katherine. (2010). Lessons from Havasupai Tribe v. Arizona State University Board of Regents: Recognizing Group, cultural, and dignitary harms as legitimate risks warranting integration into research practice. Journal of Health and Biomedical Law, 6, 175–225. Ermine, W., Raven, S., & Jeffrey, B. (2004). The Ethics of Research Involving Indigenous Peoples. ( pdf) (2013/6/24). First Nations Centre. (2005). Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) or SelfDetermination Applied to Research. ( iticalAnalysis.pdf) (2013/6/22). First Nations Centre. (2006). First Nations Conceptual Frameworks and Applied Models on Ethics, Privacy, and Consent in Health Research and Information. ( english/FNC_ConceptualFrameworksinHealthResearch.pdf) (2013/6/25). First Nations Centre. (2007a). Considerations and Templates for Ethical Research Practices. (http:// (2013/6/22). First Nations Centre. (2007b). OCAP: Ownership, Control, Access and Possession. (http://cahr. (2013/6/22). Global Forum. (2008). Ethics of Research Involving Indigenous Peoples and Vulnerable Populations. ( (2013/6/25). Gupta, A. K. n.d. Suggested Ethical Guidelines for Accessing and Exploring Biodiversity. (http:// (2013/6/24). Indian Health Service. n.d. Indian Health Manual ( dsp_ihm_pc_main) (2013/6/25). Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group (IPSG). (2009). Declaration of Key Questions about Research Ethics with Indigenous Communities. ( searchEthicsFinal.pdf) (2013/6/25).

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Lee, B. –F. [李碧芳], n.d. Current Laws Related to Clinical Experiments in Our Nation [臨 床試驗相關法規的國內現況] ( pdf) (2013-06-25) McGinty, S. (2012). Engaging indigenous knowledge(s) in research and practice. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, 12(1), 5–15. Medical Research Council of Canada, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 1998. Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) ( (2013/6/25). Ministry of Justice. (2006). Crown-M¯aori Relationship Instruments: Guidelines and Advice for Government and State Sector Agencies ( lications/crown-maori-relationship-instruments/download/tpk-crmi-2006-en.pdf) (2013-06-25). National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (NCPHSBBR). (1978). The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research ( vol_2.pdf) (2013/6/25). National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), and Universities Australia. (2007). Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (http://www. (2013/6/24). National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (1991). Guidelines on Ethical Matters in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research ( file/health_ethics/ahec/history/e11.pdf) (2013/6/24). National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2003). Values and Ethnics: Guidelines for Ethical Conducts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (http://www. (2013/6/24). National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2005). Keeping Research on Track: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples about Health Research Ethics (http://www. (2013/6/24). National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (ACVV). (1997). Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (http://www.nhmrc. (2013/6/24). National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (ACVV), and Australian Research Council (ARC). (2007). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research ( ments/e72.pdf) (2013/6/24). Navajo Nation. (1995). Navajo Nation Human Research Code ( earch/docs/Navajo_Nation_Human_SubjectsCode.pdf) (2013/6/25). Persoon, G. A., & Tessa, M. (2011). Code of Conduct for Working with Indigenous and Local Communities.” Wageningen, the Netherlands: Tropenbos International (http://www.tropenbos. org/publications/code+of+conduct+for+working+with+indigenous+and+local+communities) (2013/6/22). Porsanger, J. (2004). An essay about indigenous methodology. Nordlit, 15, 105–20. Putt, J. (2013). Conducting Research with Indigenous People and Communities. Brief 15, Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Government (http:// (2013/6/22). Rata, E. (2011). A Critical Inquiry into Indigenous Knowledge Claims. Presentation to the Department of Education, University of Cambridge, Mat 5 ( demicgroups/equality/Rata2-4.pdf) (2013/6/24). Research Ethics Committee of National Taiwan University Hospital [台大醫院研究 倫理委員會], n.d. Review Focus for Clinical Experiments/Research Cases [臨床試驗/研究案件審查重點] ( B8%E9%97%9C%E6%B3%A8%E6%84%8F%E4%BA%8B%E9%A0%85/%E7%A0%94% E7%A9%B6%E5%80%AB%E7%90%86%E5%A7%94%E5%93%A1%E6%9C%83%E8% 87%A8%E5%BA%8A%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6%E6%A1%88%E4%BB%B6%E5%AF% A9%E6%9F%A5%E9%87%8D%E9%BB%9E_%E6%96%B0%E6%A1%88%E3%80%81% E8%AE%8A%E6%9B%B4%E6%A1%88_pdf) (2013/6/25)


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Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. (1996a). Statistics Data Bases. Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Vol. 3, Gathering Strength, Chapter 5, Education, 8.3 ( ength-Education2.pdf) (2013/6/15). Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. (1996b). Appendix E: Ethical Guidelines for Research. Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Vol. 5, Renewal: A Twenty-Year Commitment ( (2013/6/20). Sahota, P. C. n.d. Research Regulation in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities: Policy and Practice Considerations. ( 20in%20AI%20AN%20Communities%20-%20Policy%20and%20Practice.pdf) (2103/6/22). Scarangella, L. (2004). Indigenous knowledge and ethics. Nexus, 17, 88–121. Shih, C. –F. [施正鋒]. (2008). Indigenous Human Rights [原住民族人權]. Shoufeng: College of Indigenous Studies, National Dong Hwa University. Social Policy Evaluation and Research Committee (SPEaR). (2008). SPEaR Good Practice Guidelines ( (2013/6/25). Tai, C. –T., & Lee, M. –B. [戴正德、李明濱] (ed.). (2012). The Foundations and Practices of Human Research Ethics [人體研究倫理的理念與實踐]. Taipei: Ministry of Education. Tai, H„ Gan, Z. -R., & Cheng, Y. –P. [戴華、甘偵蓉、鄭育萍]. (2010). Humanities and Social Sciences and the Review for Research Ethics—Examinations and Reflections of the Executing of Research Ethics Governing Structure Project [人文社會科學與研究倫理審查-執行研究倫 理治理架構計畫的考察與省思]. Humanities and Social Sciences Newsletter Quarterly 12(1), 10–18. Taiwan Association of Visual Ethnography [台灣民族誌影像學會]. (2012). Regulations on Research Ethics for Taiwan Association of Visual Ethnography [台灣民族誌影像學會研究倫 理規範] ( view=article&id=23&Itemid=20) (2013/6/25) Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology [台灣人類學與民族學學會]. (2011). Regulations on the Ethics for Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology [台灣人類學與民族學 學會倫理規範] ( 87%BA%E7%81%A3%E4%BA%BA%E9%A1%9E%E5%AD%B8%E8%88%87%E6%B0% 91%E6%97%8F%E5%AD%B8%E5%AD%B8%E6%9C%83%E5%80%AB%E7%90%86% E8%A6%8F%E7%AF%84-20110916%E7%90%86%E7%9B%A3%E4%BA%8B%E9%80% 9A%E9%81%8E%E7%89%88.pdf) (2013/6/25) Weijer, C., Goldsand, G., & Emanuel, E. J. (1999). Protecting communities in research: Current guidelines and limits of extrapolation. Nature Genetics, 23, 275–80. York University. (2012). Guidelines for Research Involving Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples. (http:// AboriginalPeoples-finalversion.doc) (2013/6/25).

Cheng-feng Shih is Professor of Political Science at the Department of Indigenous Affairs and Development, National Dong Hwa University, Soufeng, Hualian, Taiwan; Ph.D. in Political Science, Ohio State University (1991), with specialties in Ethnic Politics, Comparative Foreign Policy, and International Political Economy; currently President of the Taiwan International Studies Association, Editor-in-Chief, Taiwan International Studies Quarterly. He is the author of 25 books. Most of his articles in English may be accessed at default2.htm. Kun-xian Shen is a graduate student in the Deparatment of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Part II

Forms of Indigenous Knowledge

Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Populations Benoît Vermander

Before the time of the Japanese occupation (1895–1945), millet was the main crop of the Taiwanese aborigines and, as such, was strongly associated with cosmological worldviews and ritual obligations. In most of Taiwan’s aboriginal nations, even if the widespread introduction of wet-rice farming during Japanese time fundamentally modified the local economy and significantly affected ritual practices (Huang 2008; Lee 2012:195–197), millet continued to ensure a “symbolic subsistence” (minimum vital symbolique, Macherel 1985:216) for which rice could never fully substitute. Stories, beliefs and rituals associated with millet cultivation are still transmitted today and are sometimes intermingled with practices linked to rice cultivation. In recent years, the renewal of millet culture in some villages has been both a symptom and a consequence of a new cultural assertiveness and has religious undertones (Cai 2011; Pacekele 2012; Ju 2013). This chapter focuses on myths and rituals linked to millet in different Taiwanese aboriginal communities; these stories and practices epitomise the way a given local community constructs a space-time in which to give meaning to the continuities and This chapter was previously published in Religion in Taiwan and China: Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang and Benjamin Penny (Taipei: Institute of Ethnology Academia Sinica), pp. 253–290. My thanks go to Chao Chung Chih 趙中麒, June Lee Li-chun 李禮君 and Claire Shen Hsiun-chen 沈秀臻 who helped me gather preliminary documentation. Olivier Lardinois SJ and Yves Nalet SJ communicated to me precious information and greeted me several times during the course of many years in their Atayal parishes of Hsinchu district. I am also indebted to two persons who, through different ways, gave initial impetus to this research: Nakao Eki Pacidal guided me through the Amis villages of Fata’an and Tafalong in 2008 and 2009, and Alain P. Bonjean shared with me his ethnobotanic knowledge as we continue to collaborate on a long-term comparative project on the religious and ritual dimensions of cereal cultivation. B. Vermander (B) Fudan University, Shanghai, China e-mail: [email protected]

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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discontinuities governing its life process. Besides, millet culture positions aboriginal communities vis-à-vis both the Japanese and the Han state apparatus, helping us to approach local rituals from the viewpoint of evolving political and social conditions.

1 Millet in Asia and Taiwan ‘Millet’ is a generic term that applies to a range of ecologically resilient and smallseeded crops that have a short growing season. It includes domesticated and wild species. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) is the most important species in East Asia, with early records of cultivation in northern China. The diffusion of foxtail millet may have started in China or central Asia, from where it spread into South Asia (Hunt and Jones 2006). However, recent research has revealed that common millet (Panicum miliaceum) is the earliest dry farming crop in East Asia. It began to be domesticated in northern China around 10,000 years ago while small quantities of foxtail millet dated around 8,700 years BP appear in archeological records (Lu et al. 2009). If the western edge of the North China Plain now appears to be the earliest known region in the world for the domestication of common millet, the history of the domestication of foxtail millet remains more difficult to ascertain. The earliest archeological remains of foxtail millet in Taiwan can be dated to approximately 4,500 years ago: More than 160 landraces were recorded in the 1960s. Foxtail millet was not merely food; the ancient indigenous people cultivated it for various purposes, including for use in festivals and marriages. These varying landraces of foxtail millets have resulted from a long-standing selection for various objectives in different indigenous tribes (Lin et al. 2012:342).

The same authors cluster foxtail millet landraces in Taiwan along three main geographical territories, aiming to show that “the genetic diversity and population structure of foxtail millet in Taiwan had close relationships with the indigenous migration and cultural interflow” (Lin et al. 2012:347). Besides foxtail millet, Taiwan is home to an endemic species of cultivated millet. Known in Chinese as oil millet (youmang油芒), it was (and seems to be still) cultivated by the Rukai people (at least in the Pinan district 卑南鄉 of Taitung county) under the name of kathaLa and used to make sacrificial cakes (abay), especially during the millet harvest festival (kaLalisiya or kalabuchenga) (C. Liu 2000:35, 41, 58).1 Dorian Fuller has suggested naming this almost forgotten crop “Formosan Oil Millet” (Fuller 2008). The fact that this species appears unusually oily for a grass or cereal reinforces the hypothesis that it was specifically cultivated for ritual purposes. Millet has become part of Taiwan’s global image through the popularity of millet wine and millet cakes, clebrated by food and tourism websites. These emphasise that “millet, millet wine and millet cake are the key offerings at events such as the Amis’ ‘Ilisin’ harvest festival, the Bunun’s ‘Malahtangia’ harvest festival and 1 This

species was clearly distinguished from Setaria italica known in Rukai language as beceng. See Liu (2000).

Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence …


the Saisiyat’s ‘Pas-ta-ai’ celebration.”2 The commodification of millet-based products used in rituals constitutes an issue that the following sections will help us to contextualise. The next part of this study will focus on millet’s traditional representations and rituals in local communities belonging to four of the sixteen tribes presently recognised by the Taiwanese government: Amis, Bunun, Rukai and Paiwan. Other cases will be included afterwards in the discussion of current practices and re-interpretations.

2 Millet Myths and Rituals Among Four Taiwanese Aboriginal Nations 2.1 The Amis: Millet World and Water World Located in Hualien and Taitung counties,3 Amis villages ensure their symbolic reproduction through a system of male age strata initiation that allows for the integration of the matrifocal houses into a kinship-based society (Yeh 2012).4 Traditionally, rituals were organised around the cycle of millet cultivation: Planted by burning the land and letting the land rest in turns, millet is planted once a year and all calendrical rites are held according to its growing cycle. Sorghum, taro, dry-land rice, sweet potato, and green bean are all secondary crops (Huang 2008:28).

Hafay (millet) was described as a spiritual being that possessed eyes and ears. In the process of planting and consuming hafay, taboos prohibiting touching water or anything made of water (such as ice or soup) were strictly observed (Yeh 2008:42). Showering, drinking water and eating seafood were also forbidden during some steps of millet processing. The annual cycle of rituals was ordered around millet sowing, growing, harvesting and conservation. Although marked differences exist from one village community to another, the start of the millet-sowing season was (and, when still observed, is) ritualistically announced towards the end of December. As the only ritual held indoors, it was arranged to evoke “the awakening of millet from dormant status to active after the seeds are sowed” (Lee 2012:195), making it a type of initiation ritual. After the sowing ritual (that took place shortly after the initial announcement of the season) another festival was held when the millet plants started to shoot. Next in line 2 Food Culture in Taiwan, 1502, accessed 3 January 2014. 3 People living in Hualien county call themselves Pangcah while the ones dwelling in Taitung selfdesignate as Amis. Early twentieth century Japanese ethnographers were the first to call the entire ethnic group Amis, which is now the only official designation. 4 Yeh’s interpretation remains controversial. Debates around the Amis’ social organisation model go beyond the scope of the present article. We take it as a departure point because of the way it integrates analyses of male age-sets and of matrifocality. Integration into and promotion within an age-set took place during Ilisin, something that continues today.


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was a cleansing ritual meant to chase away pests and hungry spirits. Later extended to rice cultivation, a post-harvest storage ritual concluded the millet cycle proper (Lee 2012:194–195). Yet another rite, Ilisin, was conducted following the other festivals. It was held at mid-autumn marking the passage from one year to another and was also loaded with millet symbolism, though its usual rendering in Chinese as the “harvest festival” (fengnianji 豐年祭) is improper. Now displaced towards mid-summer, Ilisin has taken precedence over all other rituals. The process had started even before state intervention enforced its displacement, as it was reflecting agricultural changes that were making most rituals obsolete. In Tolan 都蘭 township (the southern part of the Amis territory, neighbouring the Puyuma), during the 1920s and 1930s Ilisin was already substituting for all other rituals, except for the sowing ritual that continued until the 1940s (Luo 2005:144). From this, it is evident that what is now called the “harvest festival” has undergone continuous adaptation throughout the Japanese period, the rule of the Nationalist government, and now under the conditions of the tourism economy. The growth period of hafay was seen as corresponding to the human life cycle. Pregnancy echoed the planting of millet (as a foundational myth will illustrate below), therefore, making this an activity done by females, from the preparation of the seeds to be planted onwards. The matriarch of the clan selected female members of the same clan to sow the seeds, often doing so through dream-divination. As the other end of the cycle approached, just before reaping the millet, the matriarch was to practice milamelo. This is a process through which in observing the wane-and-wax of the moon, the auspicious day for reaping the first four or five bunches of millet could be determined. Only thereafter could the harvest be started. The first day of harvest was signalled by the misahafay (reaping rite) celebrated by each household: sprinkling wine over millet, an elder (male or female) of each household prayed that the millet would not leave the family nor be captured by evil kawas.5 The pasiwali/minaan (storage rite) that followed the misahafay was again to be led by a woman, similarly chosen by the matriarch of the clan. This rite closed the cycle of millet rituals and, at its conclusion, the main celebrant was to eat millet in the back of her family’s house, thereby signalling that millet life was transforming itself into human life by entering the female body (Yeh 2008:43). In Amis society, millet is thus associated with womanhood and the household, while fishing, hunting and other public activities constitute the realm of manhood (a domain now extended to working in the cities, with specific rituals including offerings of pig attached to it. See Yeh 2013). The gender and generational distinctions governing the ritual cycle of millet cultivation and consumption were aimed at ensuring the continuation of the life process in all its dimensions (Luo 2005). Additionally, millet wine remains loaded with religious meanings, displayed in a special way during the Ilisin festival. Though most cultivation rites have disappeared, several customs linked to millet wine are still observed and have even been revived 5 Kawas

includes all kinds of spirits, such as deities, ancestors’ spirits and the spirits of plants and animals. Many Amis terms involved in “religious” phenomena are created on the basis of the term kawas.

Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence …


as they have turned into strong cultural markers. Ten days before Ilisin, the matriarch of the household starts brewing millet wine that will not only be offered to deities and to ancestor spirits, but also to the male and female elders (Yeh 2008:51–52). This happens after the rites applying to the village and to the clan have been concluded; on the seventh day of the harvest ceremony members of each nuclear family present the millet wine to the family elders.6 The process of presenting wine and receiving blessings is a way to reaffirm blood ties with the living as well as common ties with ancestor spirits. A famous Amis flood myth, brought to the West by James Frazer on the basis of the report communicated to him by the Japanese ethnographer Ishii Shinji石井真二 (see Inkster 2011) sheds much light on the cosmology associated with the practices described above. As will be seen, this foundational myth culminates into what Bruce Lincoln has termed a sitiogony, that is, a narrative about the nature and origin of food (derived from the Greek sitos meaning “food, bread, grain”) (Lincoln 1986:65; see also Campany 2005). Frazer wrote: The god Kakumodan Sappatorroku and the goddess Budaihabu descended to a place called Taurayan with the boy Sura, the girl Nakao [Nakaw], a pig and a chicken. One day, two other gods, Kabitt and Aka, while hunting nearby, saw the pig and chicken and coveted them. They asked Kakumodan for them, but as they had nothing to trade, they were refused. This angered them, and they plotted to kill Kakumodan. They called upon the four sea gods, Mahahan, Mariyaru, Marimokoshi, and Kosomatora, who consented to help. They told Kabitt and Aka that in five days, when the moon was full, the sea will make a booming sound, and they should escape to a mountain where there are stars. On the fifth day, the two gods fled to a mountain, and when they reached the summit, the sea began booming and rising. Kakumodan’s house was flooded, but he and his wife escaped by climbing a ladder to the sky. In their haste, though, they forgot the children, and upon reaching safety, they futilely called for them. Sura and Nakao, however, had climbed into a wooden mortar and had floated to safety to the Ragasan mountain. The brother and sister, now alone in the world, feared to offend the ancestral gods, but of necessity they became man and wife. To mitigate the wrath of the gods, they contacted each other as little as possible and interposed a mat between them in their bed. They had three sons and two daughters. During Nakao’s first pregnancy, the first grain of millet was found in her ear, and in time the two learned the proper ritual for cultivating that grain (Frazer 1919:226–227).

Japanese ethnographers have reported other versions of the same story, some of which still circulate today. Although the flood story and the millet tale are often interwoven into the same narrative, the second motive may sometimes stand independently from the first, such as is the case in these two versions. The first version reads: On one occasion, Nakaw was sick for a long time; she was feeling itchy in one ear and dug it till a grain of millet finally went out. Her children decided to plant it, but the parents thought that the matter had first to be reported to the heavenly father and mother Kakumolan and Valaihav, and sure enough, the two deities taught them the methods for millet cultivation 6 In

traditional Amis society, a man marries into, and lives in, the wife’s home. Therefore, the husband normally has no special status in his family of procreation. However, males are responsible for public affairs such as fishing, hunting and fighting for the protection of tribal territory. As such, male elders enjoy the privilege of accepting the millet wine presented by younger family members.


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and harvesting method as well as the associated rituals (Ogawa and Asai 1935:447–448; Lu n.d.:20).

In the second version the story is recounted thus: One day, Nakaw suddenly had high fever, became deaf and itchy in the ear, she dug out some kind of small, round, granular stuff, and threw it out. A few days later, a few grasses were growing on that same place, and later bore some fruit, Nakaw took one to cook it and it transformed into a number of grains. She took again one grain and it transformed into several pellets. She took one of these pellets, and she could cook from it a whole pot of millet. (Collected by Sayama, Yukichi 1914; edited by Huang 2009:95; Lu n.d.:20)

Yet another version (recorded in 1923 in an ethnographic report by Sayama Yukichi佐山融吉 and Onishi Yoshihisa大西吉壽) logically identifies the sickness of Nakaw as related to her pregnancy (Luo 2005:144). Taken together, these stories stress the basic solidarity that unites the vegetal and the human life processes. The insertion of male age group initiations into the Ilisin ritual links these two cycles to a third one that ensures communal renewal through generational transmission. The taboos surrounding water during the millet ritual thus appear closely related to the flood story, as they evoke a reality that stands in binary opposition to the soil and the vegetal life that nurtures the human race. This may also be inferred from the sowing ritual, at least in the form in which it was celebrated in Tolan township. According to the Japanese ethnographer Furuno Kiyoto古野清人 who conducted field reports in the 1940s, the fifth day of this ritual (patloc, a day of both sowing and of ancestor worship) was characterised by the enactment of the strictest taboos regarding not only contacts with water but also with aquatic species and vegetables (filled with water).7 On the sixth day—the last of the festival—all taboos were lifted and fish were caught. (Luo 2005:166–168). There is a striking parallel between the fifth day of the founding Amis legend (the day when the flood arose, bringing away Sura and Nakaw) and the fifth day of the sowing festival, which (recalling the deed of Nakaw throwing unto the soil the grain she picked up in her ear) also enacts the strictest prohibition against contact with water.

2.2 The Bunun: Fertility and Laziness Among Taiwan’s indigenous groups, the Bunun8 may have instituted the largest number of ceremonies, all of which are based on the lunar calendar. They include Mapulaho (at the beginning of the millet planting season), Igbinagan (starting to plant seed), Inholawan (weeding the field), Syolaan/Minsalala (harvesting millet), 7 On

the same day, the coming back of the men to the matrifocal house was accompanied by taboos concerning sexual contacts among husband and wife, the husband staying at the house of his wife’s lineage. Sister-brother relationships were on this day taking precedence over husband-wife relationships. Luo (2005:67). 8 The Bunun people dwell in Nantou, Hualien, Taitung and Kaohsiung counties, and are divided into five subgroups.

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Andagaan (storing millet in the barn), Malahodaigian (celebrating the abundance of hunting and harvest) and others (Tian 1993). One celebrated polyphonic song performed before planting millet (so as to protect and foster its growth) has become emblematic of the Bunun musical tradition (Wu 1996). The way the Malahodaigian festival was conceived and celebrated testifies to a social and cosmological system that notably differs from the one of the Amis: The ritual unit of [Malahodaigian] was the patrilineal clan or sub-clan, as millet was the symbol of patrilineal descent, and it was taboo to share consecrated millet (hulan) in rituals with members of other clans. [Malahodaigian] was mainly to do with hunting, but had bearing on headhunting before headhunting was banned by the Japanese. [Malahodaigian] consisted of shooting deer ears, distributing ritual meat and consecrating the jaw bones of animals (bear, leopard and wild boar) as well as human heads. Women were excluded from the main ritual procedure. … [Such rituals] are salient in the construction of the ideology that men are the ultimate source of fertility. (Yang 2011a:319)

The reason for holding rituals on the basis of a lunar calendar is rooted in a myth itself related to millet: Long ago, there were two suns. While one faded out of the sky, the other one faded in simultaneously. Hence, there was no night-time, and a lot of people were scorched to death by the two suns. The chief of a tribe was angry, and he dispatched some warriors to take revenge on the suns. After years of a long and difficult journey, the warriors arrived at the Eastern point of the land and shot one sun with their arrows. The injured sun furiously asked them why they were shooting at him. The warriors answered that they did so for revenge. The injured sun had a deep sigh and told them: ‘You show such ingratitude. You live on my sunshine but never appreciate it. That’s the reason you people are scorched. Now, you injured me, and it is an insult to the deity… Anyway, you have suffered a lot. I will be changed into the moon. In order to expiate your offence, all of you will have to present millet to me on each full moon day. Here are the seeds of millet, take them. If you abide by my regulation, you will always harvest and catch abundant crops and quarries. (Cai 2011:29)

On the basis of an overall distinction between bunun (human), hanito (spirits) and dehanin (deities or natural phenomena), Bunun have made the timely performance of a prescribed ceremony the source of the blessings bestowed by dehanin, and, among them, by the sun and moon (Cai 2011: 30). In the course of the ritual process, many masamu (regulations and taboos) must be complied with. Among other regulations, the prohibition of sneezing and farting while a rite is proceeding or when someone is planting millet seeds testifies to the importance of not stopping or disturbing in any way the process the community has engaged in, as it is perceived as being loaded with dangers. Should any disturbance occur, a dream-divination determines whether or not the endeavour should carry on. Masamu are still taught and recalled, if not strictly enforced (Cai 2011:50–54). Frazer also records one Bunun myth that resonates with the foundational Amis myth: A giant crab caught and tried to eat a large snake, but the snake managed to escape into the ocean. Immediately a great flood covered the world. The ancestors of the Bunun escaped to Mount Usabeya (Niitaka-yama) and Mount Shinkan, where they lived by hunting until the waters receded. They returned to find their fields washed away, but a stalk of millet remained. They planted its seeds and subsisted on its produce. Before the flood, the land had been quite flat; many mountains and valleys were formed by it. (Frazer 1919:232–233)


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Another Bunun tale opens up other perspectives: people of the past needed to cook just one grain of millet for the whole family to be satisfied—this was the Golden Age. However, one day, a lazy woman scratched a grain of millet into the pot to cook, thinking that by getting several servings she would avoid herself the trouble of cooking three meals a day. However, when the cooked millet was about to be ready, the grain started to spill out, streaming over the floor, and the woman was burnt to death. Since then, the Bunun people look to millet with even more reverence than before; they do not dare to waste any single grain. The rituals ensure that from sowing to consumption, everything will proceed smoothly. (Lu n.d.:19) Taboos are organised in a system other than the one observed in the Amis context, especially when it comes to the gendered division of work and the reproduction of social order. Stories and rituals related to millet necessarily refer to the socio-political typology of Formosan societies, even if this latter dimension does not exhaust their meaning.9

2.3 The Rukai: Dividing and Cleansing Religious rituals in Rukai society are also closely related to millet cultivation.10 The family is the unit where rituals are hosted. Among these ceremonies, the Kalalisianga (performed at the time of harvesting millet) is the most important one. The two months that follow are considered to be the most important period of the year, called Kalalisine, that is the period regulated by taboos. During that time, each family will perform a number of rituals, and people are normally not allowed to leave home (Chen, 2011: 17–24). Before harvesting millet, a fire-lighting rite (puabui) is held.11 Each household needs to appoint one male member to hew a plot close from the tribe settlement, where they build a small flagstone house. Then, the household disposes cecevele (small shovels) and taliudru (branches and leaves of mulberry) on the roof—after which millet is harvested. There are over 20 types of millet recorded by the Rukai, but they can be roughly sorted into two types: duari and cepuarane. Duari is used to brew wine, as a present for betrothal and as a medium for many other social and religious activities. The amount of harvested durai also decides whether the household has had a truly plentiful harvest. Conversely, Cepuarane cannot be used for social and ritual activities: it can only be cooked into a porridge (lubu) (Z. Chen 2011:59–61). After the harvest, a cleansing ritual, meant also to bring good luck (Bakalai) will take place. One prepares the leveke, made of best quality millet, as a gift presented to 9 The debate on the political classification of pre-colonial Formosan societies goes beyond the scope

of this article. See for instance Wei (1965) and Huang (1986). It is important to note that political organisation and millet culture were both influenced by tribes’ positioning on coastal, mountainous or intermediary territories. 10 The Rukai’s territory corresponds to twelve different villages located in Pingtung, Taitung and Kaohsiung counties. 11 The antiquity of the puabui rite is subject to disputes and its present character has probably been very much influenced by indigenous cultural tourism.

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ancestor spirits and deities. Tangidrakakalane (New Years Day) follows Bakalai. On that day, the chief of the tribe uses cabi (baked millet cake) to divine how abundant the harvest of the coming year will be. The bakadralru (benediction rite) follows the tangidrakakalane. Bakadralru is addressed to ancestor spirits and deities, so that they may extend their blessings over sons and daughters. Each household has to prepare kucekane, a food also made from the best quality millet. Since it is used as an offering to spirits and deities, rain or stream water cannot be used for cooking kucekane, for which only calrakebe (spring water) will do (Z. Chen 2011:27–30).

2.4 The Paiwan: Millet as Mediator A fourth case is the one offered by the Paiwan, whose settlements are located in Pingtung and Taitung counties. The masarut (harvest ceremony) is held in July or August, departing between the past and the coming year. The passage from one year to another occurs with the newly harvested millet entering the granary. Three bunches of millet are laid over the sacrificial altar set during masarut—the first presented to the Creator, the second to the ancestors and the third representing the seeds to be planted in the coming year. In many ways, millet is thus seen as the medium or “bridge” that allows the community to navigate from one time-span to another, as well as from this world to the outer world (Chen 2012:119). This function of mediation extends to social relationships: Paiwan society is hierarchical and possesses a hereditary aristocracy. After the harvest, commoners are to give one-tenth of the product as well as some millet wine to the chief of the tribe. During masarut the chief will then distribute this tribute to the elders, the poor and the disabled (Chen 2012:68–69). Sustaining social relationships, millet also nurtures the community’s memory and the way it relates to the land. Contrary to what we have noted for the Bunun, while working the fields Paiwan people are allowed to chat and to sing, a practice that fosters shared memories, as does also the fact of chasing together the birds away from the seeds and the plants (Chen 2012:117). Millet is thus at the centre of environmental knowledge and of social exchange and of cosmic beliefs. Rituals related to its cultivation organise these three circles of knowledge and practice into a whole. Paiwan people possess a story that links the “lazy woman” tale of the Bunun and the focus on pregnancy found among the Amis: One day, the god of heaven asked the god of earth to take care of the land and the people, and, at the time of harvest, to report to him. Then, he would teach people about the ritual sacrifice which they would have to perform every five years. After this, he gave a few dozen millet grain seeds to them and told them to eat only one grain after harvest. In this way, people would be able to cook a full pot of millet out of one single grain. But there was a pregnant woman who secretly cooked up another grain of millet, and as a result was burned to death [by the overflow of boiled grain]. When the god of heaven knew of this, he was furious, and punished the people by ordering them to work and toil the soil, and natural disasters and diseases also arose afterwards. From then on, one needs to cook a lot of millet in order to


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have enough food to eat. Now, among the Paiwan, taboos concerning pregnant women are many, including the prohibition to grasp millet and to cook grains (Long 1964:21).

Among the Paiwan, taboos thus apply to pregnancy rather than to millet culture. In a Rukai version of the same story the pregnant woman killed by the flow of grains becomes the ancestor of the birds that eat the millet in the fields (Jing 1995:25–27; Lu n.d.: 14–16). In both cases, pregnancy is not only a process loaded with danger, it seems also to be perceived as intrinsically threatening. From different angles, the structural transformations that run throughout such stories reveal varying ways of managing gender relationships, social hierarchies and the natural environment. The mediating function of millet is revealed further by chants and tales of the female Paiwan shamans of Kulalao village. Hu Tai-li recorded and analysed these: the content suggests that millet constitutes the medium through which the spirit and the human worlds can be bridged. Singing about Lemej, the second of the three brothers whom the legend describes as having founded the village, shamanic recitations account for his role as ritual initiator in the following way: It is said that one day Lemej was carving a knife sheath and using the wood scrap to kindle a fire. Drengerh, the daughter of the life creator Naqemati, saw the smoke from where she was in the spirit world. She burned millet stalk and followed the smoke to this world, where she made an appointment with Lemej. On Drengerh’s instructions, on the morning of the third day, Lemej followed the smoke of the burning millet stalk and entered the spirit world. In addition to millet seeds, Drengerh gave Lemej two sets of pig bones (from the head, spine, ribs and toes) and asked him to build two pig houses after he returned to the world, one in the east and one in the west… Pigs would later be used for ritual offerings (Hu 2011: 13).

Millet paves the “road” that the ritual itself is meant to be. The road links the world of spirit with one of the humans and is the means “through which the narrator travels from the past back to the present, performatively shaping the present by the enacting of the ritual” (Pacidal 2012a:118). In Taiwanese aboriginal societies today, the performative shaping of the present is still effected through ritual performances that memorialise and repeat the cultivation, consumption and overarching symbolism of millet. The indications offered above remain fragmentary. Though organised according to the tribal classificatory system, they refer to specific village communities. There were (and are still) contrasts from one village to another, even when they belong to the same tribe. Conversely, neighbouring tribes may share common stories and practices. Frontiers are porous. In any case, the local configuration of millet-related narratives and practices has always depended on geographical coordinates, on economic and technical transformations (in Taiwan’s history these were heavily influenced by political events) and on the overarching social system of the community. Stories and rituals being recorded and observed can thus be read as a continuum in space and time.

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3 Millet and Millet Wine as Identity Markers The reader may have noticed the extent to which the preceding sections hesitate between the present and past tenses. Are millet-based aboriginal rituals and beliefs just folkloric remnants? Or do they retain keep meaning and relevance for populations that fostered them for millennia? Obviously, the scope and depth of the agricultural changes that have occurred are of paramount importance; the rituals and practices evoked above cannot keep the prevalence and significance that was theirs in a notso-distant past. In some cases, one even notes a direct shift from millet-based to rice-based offerings: “the Amis still give [to the deities] animal sacrifices, with the domesticated pig the largest. Other essential gifts include betel nuts, betel leaf, wine, ginger, salt, and three kinds of rice food: dulun, hahah, and lavek.” (Liu 2011:125) However, practices and the nature of offerings may vary from one village to another. Shiun-wey Huang has documented the symbolic and social changes induced by the shift towards rice paddy agriculture at the time of Japanese occupation (around 1930) in an Amis village. At the same time, he clearly notes, After the acceptance of rice, the Amis did not develop a set of ceremonies like those for millet. Although many traditional calendric rites were maintained, rice was not thought to be as sacred as millet and fewer relevant ceremonies (lisin) and taboos (paysin) were practiced for rice… While paddy rice steadily became a regular crop, influence from the government and outside society grew… At that time, money and the market economy started to permeate the system and a self-sufficient village economy began to disappear” (Huang 2008:28).

State currency was subsequently introduced and was well accepted by local society. A new shamanistic school active on the southern edge of Amis territory introduced Japanese coins into healing rituals, coins probably being seen as sharing the “good nature” also found in banana leaves or raw ginger—they may even have been analogously assimilated to the round mirror with a hole in the middle kept in the local Japanese shrine. In some cases, coins started to be worn as amulets. Building on the discussion led by Shiun-wey Huang, one may suggest that, at least in this particular case, coins became a privileged medium of exchange among worlds and symbolic/physical territories, as millet was originally used to represent. Even if it can legitimately be seen as an endangered symbolic medium, millet remains firmly associated with calendar cycles, traditional stories and all things associated with rituals, large scale or small scale. Besides, and most importantly, the role of millet in the aboriginal religious psyche has been defined anew by two factors that we are now going to discuss.

3.1 Millet Rituals and Christianity First, a large majority of Taiwanese aborigines have converted to Catholicism or Protestantism. While the extent and effects of acculturation have triggered many debates, Christian practices were naturally able to accommodate cereal symbolism


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into religious worship and cannot be seen only as having contributed to the dissolution of traditional culture (see Chiang 2000, and discussion by Yeh 2013). Cai Jiaqi documents the process in a Bunun village where a female informant who volunteered to experiment with a new kind of millet cultivation undertook the cultivation process in accordance with the traditional ritual calendar while at each step improvising Christian prayers of thanksgiving and petition (Cai 2011:29, 37, 48). Most Catholic parishes and some Protestant churches also christianise harvest festivals. Furthermore, as millet provides a community with both staple and wine, it possesses the potential to be considered as a cereal to share in a “Eucharistic” fashion. At the grassroots level, the (re)introduction of small-scale rituals involving millet may be assumed from what is known about the activity of former or active shamans within the aboriginal Catholic church in Taiwan. Their integration goes beyond what the leaders of the church are often aware of: During the survey, we learnt that two of the indigenous catechists who were working as translators were in fact the daughters of shaman mothers… Two catechists who were very successful in the first Catholic evangelization of the Puyuma village of Zhiben and of the Bunun of Luona village were former shamans with well-known powers. From my own experience during eight years of pastoral work in Jianshi District (Xinzhu County) where traditional Tayal shamanism has completely disappeared, I can confirm that the elderly Christian ladies who are the best at leading community prayers for the dead and the sick are almost all the daughters of shaman mothers. During the survey, Fr André Bareigts, who worked for over thirty years in the service of the Amis Catholic communities of the villages next to Fengping District (Hualian County), told us that the very active prayer groups in his pastoral area were led by women who were daughters of shaman mothers who had become Christians… A Japanese anthropologist noted that since conversion to Christianity, Catholic prayer groups in Fengping District, largely composed of women in their mid-fifties, play a social role comparable to the groups of female shamans in traditional Amis villages (Lardinois 2008:245).

Oral accounts of the rituals performed by Catholic shamans or former shamans (both situations are attested) show their extreme flexibility, as well as the fact that parish priests often ignore the details of the operations. These casual rituals may or may not include the use of millet, the probability of its inclusion being stronger in areas where its use was and is still prevalent, and linked to a greater intervention of shamans in village life (Paiwan, Rukai, Puyuma, Amis and Tsou). Sometimes, it is even the Church that may trigger the revival of millet-related ceremonies. A former Catholic missionary who worked for ten years in an Atayal parish in Miaoli county offers the following testimony. During the 1990s, the wish to revive the meaning and solemnity of the ancestor-spirits festival Mahoc (celebrated in August, and seen by the missionary and villagers alike as analogous to the Chinese tombsweeping festival) led the parish to resume the culture of millet as, in the mind of the villagers, ancestor worship could not but be one with the harvesting and offering of millet. This in turn fostered a new awareness and an actual renewal of the full ritual cycle of millet: preparation of the earth, sowing, weeding and covering the warehouse. The preparatory research, conducted together with the chief and the elders, made everyone aware that the part of the ritual process loaded with most customs and taboos was the one of sowing (Browning 2009). In other words, the

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wish to make the August festival both a truly Christian and “traditional” solemnity triggered the reintroduction of millet as a symbolic subsistence indispensable for meaningful communal living. In the Catholic Atayal parishes of Hsinchu district, the ancestor-spirits festival is similarly celebrated in August. Offerings of millet wrapped into leaves or small pieces of meat or fish are placed on ancestors’ graves. Millet alcohol contained in a bamboo tube may be hung on surrounding trees. Beginning in the 1960s, Jesuit missionaries working in the diocese of Hsinchu have christianized this ritual by associating it to the Feast of the Assumption of Mary celebrated on August 15. Similar evolutions took place in other Atayal parishes administered by Franciscans (in Taoyuan district) or Maryknoll missionaries (Miaoli, Taichung and Nantou districts). At the same time, under the influence of Amis customs popularised by MEP missionaries, the Atayal ancestor-spirits festival integrated elements taken from Ilisin. As of 2016, the August 15 festival thus has a threefold character: it is a remembrance of the ancestors; a harvest festival, where one gives thanks for all the graces received during the year; and the Catholic feast of the Assumption. Besides the obvious fact that the Marian element is excluded, Atayal Protestants feel more divided about the issue. The largest denomination, the Atayal Presbyterian Church (長老教會), is now in favour of the full re-enacting of the traditional ceremony, associated with a simple Christian prayer. On the contrary, the True Jesus Church (真耶穌教會) still manifests a strong defiance towards anything associated with “superstition” and “idols”.12

3.2 Retraditionalising Millet Moreover, for the last twenty or thirty years, “retraditionalising rituals” (Rudolph 2008:15) have contributed to revive and modify the role of millet in aboriginal culture, underlying both its status as an identity marker and its “religious” undertones. “Retraditionalising rituals” (with the changes in ritual forms that the expression implies) correspond to the quest for meaning through which a community redefines its borders and its destiny, while ritualistically dealing with the distribution and legitimacy of power, both within its boundaries and within the larger political community. The enactment of such rituals proves to be loaded with political issues, both within the local community and in the larger Taiwanese polity. In August 2014, Amis activists in Hualien County blocked a performance by members of a minority ethnic group from China’s Guangxi Province invited by the county government to participate in the Ilisin ritual in the villages of Fata’an and Tafalong (Loa 2014). An emerging aboriginal intellectual class has tried to find its symbolic space within both its own community and Taiwanese cultural landscape at large through the revival of such rituals, while such processes have often opened up new debates between Christian communities and proponents of cultural revitalisation (Rudolph 2008:198–201). Michael Rudolph 12 Based on testimonies contributed by Olivier Lardinois and Yves Nalet, and observations in the field.


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quotes a contemporary song “Head hunting”, written by the Truku singer Pinderu Wuga in his native language: I am a son of the Truku-Sedeq, I don’t fear any trouble. I only remember the lesson from our ancestors–I did not forget it until the present day. Look: Don’t provoke me, don’t make fun of me. If you provoke me, I will chop off your head and take it to worship the ancestor-gods. Look at the mark on my head, that’s a real man. Don’t act wantonly! See! Truku-Sedeq. Uh! I invite you to come here. This is the place where my ancestors live. Here you will rest in peace. I also invite your forefathers, brothers and sisters to live here. Uh!… (Rudolph 2006:44).

In the Chinese translation of the song, Pideru Wuga provides the reader/listener with an interpretation of it: When your blood flows out of your body, all hatred between you and me will vanish. I invite your soul to live here by my side, and I will feed you with millet wine and food. After you have become one of us, you will protect our people together with our ancestor-gods. (Rudolph 2006:44)

The song and its commentary are first to be understood in the context of the progressive reconstruction of the Sediq (otherwise spelled Seediq) identity13 that occurred during the last two decades or so, a process that culminated in the success of the movie Seediq Bale (賽德克・巴萊) directed by Wei Teh-sheng (魏德聖). The movie has been seen by an aboriginal history researcher as a rather successful attempt at narrating Taiwanese aboriginal history beyond the canon of European historical “science” while borrowing both from post-romanticism and from the Hollywood cinematic tradition, in a synthesis akin to the “in between” positioning of Taiwan in geographical and cultural terms (Pacidal 2012b). At the same time, the song expresses representations that go well beyond the limits of the Sediq identity. As expressed here, the “redeeming” ritual of headhunting (attested throughout pre-state Formosa) culminates in the inclusion of the head of the vanquished into the prized possessions of the victor, sealing a post-mortem reconciliation celebrated by libations of millet wine in lieu and place of the bloodshed. Such a view corresponds to representations attested in other groups; Puyuma warriors were feeding the severed head and calling it their “friend”, expecting such intimacy to ensure the continuous flowing of energy and fertility (Cauquelin 1992:95). Furuno Kiyoto listed agricultural fertility as the first of many reasons for which headhunting was conducted (Furuno 1945:431). The Truku anthropologist Masaw Mowna also mentions that headhunting concluded harvest rituals (Simon 2012b:175–176). More generally, the fact that headhunting was often (though not always) a prerequisite for marriage meant that it met “basic needs for reproductive success” (Simon 2012b:169). Casual remarks gathered on the field often hint at the fact that, until now, ritually ensuring fertility requires both millet wine drinking and hunting/headhunting. Symbolic equivalents of hunting and headhunting can be found in a variety of contemporary aboriginal practices. In the case of the Amis, Yeh (2013) associates the hunting rituals with the communal festivities preceding migration to the cities or entering the 13 The

Sediq people consists of three sub-groups: Tkdaya, Toda and Truku.

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army. In any case, the point here is not so much the ethnographic accuracy of representations associating millet wine, fertility and headhunting in past practices and worldviews, than their prevalence in today’s imagery.14 As rhetorically revived in the present-day context, the association between millet wine, headhunting and fertility sketches a positive ethnic self-representation. Furthermore, rituals that mobilise such resources ensure communal sustainability. What Yang Shu-yuan writes about contemporary Bunun rituals applies to other situations as well: The primary concern of the ritual continues to be the enhancement of life, although not in the sense of abundance in hunting, agricultural productivity and personal health, but in the sense of the life of the community as a whole. The ritual that was regarded as capable of bestowing life-giving potency is now mastered to bring social regeneration and renewal (Yang 2011a:325).

One may want to go a step further: the association between millet wine, headhunting and fertility suggest a kind of religiosity in which death and sacrifice are prerequisites for ensuring the continuation of all life cycles, blending Christian elements with traditional themes and stories. In Taiwan as in other indigenous communities around the world, the search for political autonomy and cultural reconstruction is intimately associated with the framing of a spirituality based on a syncretistic understanding and revival of traditional ways of life (Simon 2012a:224–226). The revival of millet-based rituals is part of such an endeavour.

4 Conclusion At the beginning of this article, we contrasted the marginal importance of millet cultivation in today’s Taiwan with its centrality in terms of “symbolic subsistence.” Such a situation is not without parallels, Above a certain altitude, the culture of wheat involves so much trouble and ingenuity for results so meager and uncertain, that the observer cannot but wonder what justifies such investments in the eyes of those who consent to it. Almost absurd in terms of economic rationality, this labor has no reason other than the symbolic… Far from wheat plains or Mediterranean shores, the Alpine peasants have maintained at the highest price this kind of ‘symbolically vital minimum’ required by the Christianisation of the social space that they inhabit (Macherel 1985:216).

The marginality of millet cultivation in contemporary Taiwan is not due to climatic factors (as is the case for Alpine wheat) but rather to economic transformations. However, one can still usefully equate the role of both cereals in maintaining the self-representation and the understanding of the universe in which a local community dwells. 14 There are of course other ways to look at headhunting, its present representations and substitutions. In her case studies centred on responses to grief and rage, Yang criticises a “microcosmic view of ritual” and focuses on the way social and individual responses to bereavement interact (2011b:215).


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We have merely sketched the astounding variety of practices, stories and practical knowledge associated with millet in Taiwan’s aboriginal societies. Rituals localise the cosmic forces that the community is dealing with while at the same time they universalise its understanding of the local environment. In other words, ritual performances transmute a community’s “local knowledge” into a worldview that tends to apply to all domains of existence. Obviously, the use of the term worldview implies that spatial coordinates, images and symbols contribute in shaping a time-space. Coordinates, images and symbols are the basic units through which worldviews function as idioms for construing reality. Natural elements, plants and animals mediate the epistemic and ritual operations through which cosmic forces are tamed so as to benefit the local community, while local knowledge transforms itself into an episteme that is anchored into individual and social bodies. The centrality of a cereal like millet makes it a privileged conduct for “storing”, as Geertz puts it, troves of knowledge that ritual channels transmute into meaning: Meanings can only be ‘stored’ in symbols… Such religious symbols, dramatized in rituals or related in myths, are felt somehow to sum up, for those for whom they are resonant, what is known about the way the world is, the quality of the emotional life it supports, and the way one ought to behave while in it (Geertz 1973:127).

Contrary to Geertz, we do not locate symbolic storage into religious symbols per se but rather, more immediately, into stuff such as cereals that are subject to multiple practical, epistemic and symbolic operations. “Stuff” tends to become “symbol”, and one could argue that it is only as “symbol” that it can convey “meaning.” However, even when their symbolic focus is shifting, a plant or other natural phenomenon keeps a degree of malleability that allows its ever-evolving social use to survive major cultural and social shocks. Local knowledge about cereals and other “stuff” first operates behind symbols, allowing for their deployment and continuous transformations. The practices and metaphors through which the life cycle of millet is interwoven with the cosmic, human and social dynamics are indicative of the way a given community articulates applied knowledge, symbols and rituals into a cycle of meaning. Such a cycle of meaning evolves with time and circumstances; it anchors vital sequences into circles of existence; the bodily life, the household, the village, and the “imagined communities” that small-scale communities may refer to; it gives an account of such circles’ continuous transformations and necessary interdependence. Specifically, triggered and inspired by the natural properties of grain and by their domestication, stories, metaphors and social practices have continuously tried to give sense to the entirety of the life process in its personal and collective manifestations, from reproduction and birth to death and what may follow it. The representations of the vital dynamism that govern individual and social bodies develop into two directions: the taking into account of the discontinuities inherent in life (births and deaths, differentiation of species, gender and social status) and, conversely, the need to ensure life continuity through links and transitions that balance or transcend death and finitude (see Macherel 1985; Vermander 2016:1481–1483). Examined in this light, the resilience of millet-based representations and practices in present-day

Rituals as Local Knowledge: Millet and the Symbolic Subsistence …


Taiwanese aboriginal communities is a case in point; it shows how local communities still symbolically rely on tangible markers anchored into the natural and social environment in which these communities continue to live, to change and to grow.

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Pacekele, R. (2012). Millet’s Homecoming Journey [Xiaomi guixiang lu tiaotiao]. Renlai Monthly [Renlai lunbian yuekan], 92, 10–13. Rudolph, M. (2006). Ethnic revival, and the reappearance of indigenous religions in the ROC: The use of the internet in the construction of Taiwanese identities. Online-Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, 2(1), 41–53. Rudolph, M. R. (2008). Performances as authenticating practices: Cultural representations of Taiwan’s aborigines in times of political changes (Vol. 14). Berlin: LIT Verlag. Simon, S. (2012a). Sadyaq balae! L’autochtonie formosane dans tous ses états. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval. Simon, S. (2012b). Politics and headhunting among the formosan Sejiq: Ethnohistorical perspectives. Oceania, 82(2), 164–185. Tian, Z. (1993). The life rituals of the Taiwanese Bunun [Taiwan Bunongzu de shehui jiyi]. Taipei: Taiyuan Publishing House. Vermander, B. (2016). Wheat and religion. In A. P. Bonjean, W. J. Angus, & M. van Ginkel (Eds.), The World Wheat Book, Vol. 3 (pp. 1437–1515). Paris: Lavoisier. Wei, H. L. (1965). Tribal organization and authority systems of taiwanese aboriginal society [Taiwan tuzhu shehui de buluo zuzhi yu quanwei zhidu]. Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology, 25(26), 71–92. Wu, R. S. (1996). Tradition et transformation: le pasi but but, un chant polyphonique des Bunun de Taiwan. Paris X: Ph.D. Yang, S. Y. (2011a). Cultural performance and the reconstruction of tradition among the bunun of Taiwan. Oceania, 81(3), 316–330. Yang, S. Y. (2011b). Death, emotions, and social change among the austronesian-speaking bunun of Taiwan. Southeast Asian Studies, 49(2), 214–239. Yeh, F. C. (2008). From Past to Present: The cultural changes through the alcohol use, ancestor worship and the social orders among the Amis in Falangaw [Cong chuantong dao dangdai: shilun malan ameiren de jiu, zuxian jisi, shehui zhixu bianqian]. Taitung: National Taitung University Master Thesis. Yeh, S. l. (2012). The process of kinship in the paternal/fraternal house of the austronesian speaking amis of Taiwan. Oceania, 82(2), 186–204. Yeh, S. l. (2013). Pig Sacrifices, mobility and the ritual recreation of community among the amis of Taiwan. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 14(1), 41–56.

Benoit Vermander is professor and doctoral advisor in the Department of Religious studies of Fudan University, teaching religious anthropology and comparative spiritualities. He is also the director of the Fudan-based Xu-Ricci Dialogue Center. He directed the Taipei Ricci Institute from 1996 till 2009. Among his publications: Shanghai Sacred.The Religious Landscape of a Global City (with Liz Hingley and Liang Zhang), University of Washington Press, 2018; Corporate Social Responsibility in China, World Scientific, 2014; Yangjuan.A Nuosu Village in Southwest China (in French and Chinese), Les Indes Savantes, 2007 & Sichuan Minorities Press, 2008; Globalization and China (in Chinese), Beijing Commercial Press, 2002. Other contributions include articles on Jesuits in China and Jesuits in the 21st century for the Oxford Handbooks Online series as well as a book-length entry on Wheat andReligions for the World Wheat Book III (Lavoisier, 2016).

Landscape, Habitus, and Identity: A Comparative Study on the Agricultural Transition of Highland Indigenous Communities in the Philippines and Taiwan Stephen Acabado and Da-wei Kuan

1 Introduction Luzon Island of the Philippines is approximately three times the size of Taiwan and is located 300 km south of the smaller nation. These two neighboring islands share geographical similarities such as subtropical monsoon climate, intensive tectonic movement, and mountainous landscapes. Archeological, ethnographic, and linguistic studies show the prehistoric human activities in both islands are highly related. By the seventeenth century, the contest of colonial powers in the Pacific placed these two islands in inseparable geopolitics. Even though indigenous peoples in Taiwan and Philippines are situated in different domestic contexts, the struggles of maintaining identity and adapting to modern political economic conditions are similar. Therefore, it is meaningful to compare the experiences of indigenous peoples in both islands and possibly develop strategies to support each other. In the Philippines, indigenous peoples refer to those “who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos” (Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act, 1997). The definition applies to communities who did not convert to Christianity during the period of Spanish colonization in the north highlands, south highlands, and central island regions. Ifugao is one of those provinces in the Cordilleras Region of Luzon island. It is famous for the tremendous numbers of rice terraces that were registered as World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1995.

S. Acabado Anthropology at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, US D. Kuan (B) Ethnology at National Cheng-chih University, Taipei, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected]

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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Earliest known colonial contact was recorded in the sixteenth century, when Europeans came to the lowland Ifugao. Rice terraces in the Ifugao village of Kiangan were first recorded by Spanish explorers in 1801 after observation in 1750 (Scott 1974: 199). Languages spoken in Ifugao include Tuwali, Ayangan, Kalanguya, Hapuwan, and Henanga. Ifugao Peoples continued to resist invasion by Spanish troops until the late nineteenth century, when the United States took over the governance of the Philippines. The American administration began construction of school and church systems in Ifugao in the early twentieth century. In Taiwan, indigenous peoples refer to Austronesian-speaking groups whose occupation of the island predates waves of colonial powers such as the Spanish (1626– 1642), the Dutch (1624–1662), the Chinese Zheng Dynasty (1662–1683), the Chinese Qing Dynasty (1683–1895), and the Japanese (1895–1945). In the central mountain range area, colonial powers did not effectively take control until the early twentieth century, when Imperial Japan penetrated the administration and implemented wartime policies. Aiming to replace the hunting, gathering, and swidden agriculture for millet growing, the Japanese administration began to promote fixed-location wetrice farming in the indigenous mountain area in the 1920s. Tayal communities, the most widely distributed indigenous group in the mountain area, adopted the methods of rice farming after that point. Although hunting, gathering, and swidden agricultural activities continued, they gradually decreased under the increasing constraints of land-use implemented by the post WWII KMT regime. The rice heirloom crops of the Ifugao in the Philippines and the millet heirloom crops of the Tayal in Taiwan serve as the ritual crops for their respective societies. They both faced the challenges of modernization that reshaped the order of economic production and disarticulated the relationship between economic production and belief system in their societies. At the start of the twenty-first century, both were revitalized by local NGOs for reasons greater than the generation of income. Aiming to reveal the social ecological meanings of maintaining and revitalizing ritual crops for the Ifugao and the Tayal (Fig. 1), this article is set to (1) explain how ecology, labor investment, social organization, and belief system transform an agricultural landscape into an agro-cultural complex; (2) retrace the landscape transition in the process of colonization and modernization; and (3) address recent efforts to revitalize the ritual crops in the landscape of both cases. Furthermore, this article will compare the experiences in Ifugao and Tayal communities and discuss how continuous enactment and representation of traditions sustain communal identities. This article will also discuss the relationship between communal identities and alternative models of economy. The epistemological understanding of landscape, based on the analysis of both cases, will provide policy recommendations for landscape conservation.

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Fig. 1 Ifugao in Cordillera, Philippines and Tayal in Mountain Area, Taiwan

2 Indigenous Landscapes The term landscape originated from the German word landschaft, which refers to the symbiosis between physical image and region. Landschaftskunde in the German tradition falls between contemporary landscape study and regional geography (Czepczy´nski 2008:18). Carl Sauer proposed the concept of “cultural landscape” in the 1960s, bringing in new approaches for landscape investigations. Landscape is the result of the interaction between human and natural agencies. Therefore, the analysis of landscape should not be limited to describing, categorizing, and comparing physical figures. It requires the examination and interpretation of social process that form the landscape. In the book “Topophilia”, humanistic geographer Yi-Fu Tuan pointed out the relations between the cosmology of a society and the landscape where it is situated (Tuan 1974). To compare with the concept of “place” as a “way of being” that Tuan (1977) proposed, Cresswell (2004) suggested that landscape can be understood as a “way of seeing”, as the cognition of it is based in visual stimuli. After the 1980s, the approach to taking landscape as the outcome of visual experience and object of analysis was further developed into landscape ecology. Landscape ecology studies the patterns of landscape, the transformation and combination of landscape patterns, and their function in the ecological system (Forman 1995a, 1995b; Forman and Hersperger 1996). Afterward, Macnaghten and Urry (1998: 110) challenged the concept that


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merely takes landscape as an object of visual experience and proposed the concept of the “inner eye”. They distinguish that “seeing” is performed from certain position and perspective. Such position and perspective is not just spatially determined but also socially and culturally decided. Therefore, the ethno-physiographical approach is proposed to understand how people cognize, name, categorize, symbolize, utilize, and manage their landscape through the understanding of their cultural context (Mark et al. 2011). On the other hand, landscape very often carries records of the way people’s ancestors conducted their lives (Sheppard et al. 2002; Thomas 2012). Landscape and its conservation are therefore related to the construction of collective memory and the shaping of collective identity. As human-environment relations are never stagnated, Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of habitus helps to understand the relation between landscape and identity as a dynamic process. According to Bourdieu, habitus is the continuous enactment and representation of traditions that either reinforce traditions or alter them. A number of studies have focused on this aspect of human behavior where cultural identity is expressed in the production and consumption of material culture (e.g., Acabado 2018; Dietler and Herbich 1998; Eckert 2008; Skibo and Schiffer 2008). To perpetuate and preserve culture in the face of colonialism, people act in ways that are consistent with maintaining their cultural identity. There are a variety of options available to colonized populations. The options range from accommodation at one extreme to resistance at the other. Within these options, acceding to the might of the conquering polity while covertly maintaining their cultural identity through the continuation of foodways provide an avenue to maintain a certain degree of cultural survival in colonial contexts (Acabado 2018). In Ifugao society, cultural perpetuation and preservation have been anchored by the importance placed on rice cultivation and its associated rituals. As Acabado (2018) argued, rice cultivation and its rituals are habitus and manifested in the terraced rice fields. The Ifugao rice fields encompass the spiritual, economic, and political realms. As a habitus, the activities associated with rice cultivation reproduce the structures that organize Ifugao society, allowing them to resist subjugation. In Tayal society, pre-colonial land-use includes hunting, fishing, gathering, and swidden agriculture, which are articulated dynamically in the landscape of the watershed (Kuan 2017; Chen et al. 2018). Rituals surrounding the growing of millet form the calendar of a year. It also re-produces social relations in Tayal society. As the succeeding sections will show, both the rice fields in Ifugao and the spatial articulation of swidden agriculture in Tayal encompass the spiritual, economic, and political realms. As a habitus, the maintenance and revitalization of ritual crop growing reproduce the structures that organize their respective societies, allowing them to resist subjugation of colonization, as well as modernization.

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3 The Ifugao Agro-Cultural Complex To the Ifugao, the rice terraces do not merely represent an agricultural landscape where a staple food is cultivated. More than that, it is the physical expression of a socio-cultural belief system, which ultimately defines a people’s ethnic identity—a sacred space where ancestral spirits are invoked and deities are bribed with animal sacrifices to magically increase the grains to last until the next harvest season. Like most indigenous peoples, the Ifugao equate their cultural landscape to life itself, a hallowed ground sanctified by a covenant between the gods and their ancestors. The terraces are the setting of almost all sacred myths (hu’uwa) of the Ifugao chanted by a dwindling number of ritual specialists (mumbaki). These sacred myths emphasize the sanctity and centrality of the terraced landscape, the core of a vanishing belief system and an entire way of life. Even today, where Christianity permeates the daily lives of the Ifugao, they still practice rites of the old religion on matters relating to rice agriculture, property transfer, and purchase or exchange of rice landholdings. This indicates deep reverence to an ancient way of life deeply anchored to the land. Since the introduction of civil government by the United States, however, the customary laws of the Ifugao have gradually succumbed to nationally enforced policies. The UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site and FAO-recognized Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) rice terraces located in Ifugao Province, Northern Philippines fits the definition of a sacred cultural landscape, a sacred space maintained for several hundred years not only for its economic value but also more for its importance as a link between the modern times and the ancient ways of the ancestors. The rice terraces connect the worlds of the living and the dead as ancestors who previously cultivated these agricultural spaces are invoked in the different seasonal rituals of rice to intercede on behalf of the current possessors of the land. Numerous agricultural gods are offered animal sacrifices to appease forces of nature beyond the control of mortals. Rice alone merits an entire cycle of rituals in the old Ifugao religion. Feasts of merit sanctified by ritual specialists that elevated individuals in the social hierarchy were pre-conditioned on existing rice field holdings. Social structure was defined by rice through rituals that necessitated the invocation of a thousand or so agricultural gods. Ritual rice fields were consecrated to set the pace of community labor and establish socio-political hierarchy. The terraced landscape is thus the setting of a belief system where gods and mortals communed, where sacrifices are offered and divine providence is manifested. In the performance of rice rituals, the ancestral spirits of the sponsoring couple are invoked first just as in the rituals for man (Fig. 2). Ancestors are invoked so that they may join their living kin in petitioning the gods. This ritual significance of ancestral spirits makes the Ifugao an expert genealogist. This knowledge of pedigree is of paramount importance to an Ifugao. Some priests are able to provide genealogies for up to eleven generations, including descendants in both lines of important ancestors. In the conduct of ritual feasts where relatives are required to attend, a functional


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Fig. 2 The Tuwali-Ifugao agricultural calendar with associated rice rituals

knowledge of one’s lineage easily determines whom to invite and whom to distribute the meat of sacrificed animals (Dumia 1979). Aside from being mere ritual sympathizers, deceased blood relatives, if properly propitiated, can ensure good harvests, increase in livestock, and safeguard large healthy families (Conklin 1980). The Ifugao observe elaborate ritual offerings for every phase of the rice production cycle, from the sowing of consecrated seeds meticulously selected by highly skilled elderly women to the harvesting of the ripened grains. The rice rituals follow the natural cycle of the Tinawon, heirloom varieties believed by the Ifugao to have been handed down by gods of the Skyworld as narrated in their sacred myths. These agricultural rituals are sponsored by the Tumonak, agricultural leaders whose landholdings may not be the widest in the area, but are consecrated by deities to be the ritual field for a particular agricultural district. The Tumonak are necessarily of the kadangyan class, families, or individuals who performed lavish prestige rites to earn a place among the elite of Ifugao society. There is usually one Tumonak in every

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district who may be a man or a woman but with one or two alternates who would take his or her place in case he/she fails in his/her duties. The most important role of the Tumonak is to maintain the synchronicity of labor in the terraces and at the same time maintain the rice rituals. Unfortunately, we now speak of the Tumonak more as an institution of the vanishing past as this “keeper of rituals” is doomed to fade away along with the old ways as the new religion incessantly wreaks havoc at the very core of the old religion.

4 The Challenge of the Market Economy The term “agro-cultural complex” was popularized by O’Connor (1995) to describe the interlocking nature of agricultural practices and social systems as well as political, historical, and cultural changes. This is an apt term because for the Ifugao wet-rice cultivation is part of a much larger production system that includes swiddening and agro-forestry (Acabado 2012; Acabado and Martin 2015). The terraces are planted mainly with rice and are interspersed with taro, legumes, beans, and other crops. Its surrounding forests, both private and communal, are managed using an indigenous system of natural resources management passed down by earlier generations. Both the swidden and agro-forest serve as economic supplements and buffers in case of crop failure in the rice terraces. The maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects primarily a cooperative approach of the whole community based on detailed knowledge of the rich biodiversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agroecosystem. Accompanied by religious rituals, this is a finely tuned annual system respecting the lunar cycle, zoning and planning, extensive soil and water conservation, and mastery of a complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs (UNESCO. n.d.). Notwithstanding the more recognizable pastoral feature of the terraces, it is equally important to understand the intangible and sacred component of the Ifugao terraced landscape. The traditional rice has always been at the center of the Ifugao way of life. It is thus interesting to note that even with the pressures of the market economy, Ifugao farmers strive to maintain the cultivation of tinawon. Although commercial varieties are rapidly replacing local varieties (Acabado and Martin 2015), farmers (both landowners and tenants) continue to prioritize the latter. At first glance, it seems that tinawon provides more cash inflow since tinawon varieties are much more expensive than commercial varieties (Table 1). However, most Ifugao farmers choose to store their yield for special occasions instead of selling them. In the 1970s, the Philippine government launched the Green Revolution Program to boost the agricultural sector and wean the country from its dependence on agricultural imports. Rice, the staple food of Filipinos, was prioritized for maximum production. New varieties of commercial rice, products of intensive research by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in the Philippines, were distributed for cultivation all over the country. The Ifugao Rice Terraces were not spared from

146 Table 1 Known and named commercial and local rice varieties cultivated in Kiangan and Hungduan Municipalities

S. Acabado and D. Kuan Commercial varieties

Tinawon varieties













C-4 red


Diamond Halaylay Ingaspar Ingaspi Korean Migapas Minmis Mukoz Mulmug Munoz NSCI-208 Pakulsa Oakland Oklan Oklan Minaangan Pangasinan variety PJ-27 PJ-7 RC-218 RI-152 RI-238 Romelia RP 224 Super 60 Taiwan Thunder

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this revolutionary development initiative. Heirloom Ifugao rice varieties, such as the tinawon, harvested only once a year, were substituted with the new high-yielding varieties promising double or even triple the usual harvest volume. The government campaign was so effective that the majority of traditional farmers readily shifted to the high-yielding varieties (HYV). The initial years of HYV cultivation delivered as promised, but the negative results would be felt several years after the demise of the local culture within which tinawon varieties are embedded. The accruing effects of chemical fertilization, pesticides, and disruptions of biodiversity are already apparent and contribute to a degrading environment in the rice terraces.

5 The Revitalization of Ritual Crops Table 2 shows that the 2017 harvest season had incredible losses in terms of capital outlay, even with the commercial varieties, which are mainly sold to the market. It is noteworthy though that the tinawon varieties are not typically cultivated for economic reasons but rather for prestige. It could be that the farmers who crop tinawon varieties have other sources of income and thus are able to keep most of the yield for household consumption (for rituals). According to farmers interviewed for this case study, the data presented in Table 2 mirrors the same pattern observed in the last twenty years. The increase in the number of commercial rice varieties in Ifugao has swamped the terraced rice fields of Ifugao, especially the rice terraces in Kiangan (Fig. 3). Moore (2014) has gathered data that indicate the dominance of non-local rice varieties in at least two agricultural districts that she investigated. We surmise that this is partly influenced by the proximity and elevations of Kiangan compared to Hungduan as higher elevation sites are still too cold for most commercial rice varieties (Figs. 4 and 5). It has been more than 40 years since the green revolution (commercial) rice varieties have been introduced in Ifugao as part of the Philippine government’s Rice Sufficiency Program (Salas 1985). Although they have negatively impacted Ifugao culture and terrace ecology, it has also brought economic stability to Ifugao farmers. The shift to commercial rice varieties have provided a source of income to Ifugao farmers as the prestige status of tinawon varieties prevents their complete inclusion in common trade. The tourism industry is another market force that has led to the decrease of heirloom rice production. In the 1970s, the newly paved road to Banaue brought in the tourists and the Philippine Tourism Authority further invested in the construction of the youth hotel to develop tourism business. The first Banaue Imbayah Festival was held in 1978, spurring rapid growth of the tourism economy throughout the 1980s (SITMo 2008:29–30). The increasing needs of tourist consumption drove farmers to convert some rice terraces to vegetable gardens while other rice terraces were converted to foundations for buildings. The forest also faced the challenge of rapid logging for the needs of material for wood carving in the tourism market (Guimbatan and Baguilat 2006:65). After being registered in the list of World Heritage sites by
























Inapyahan; pugut


Maduli; inapyahan; botnol

Maduli; inapyahan; botnol
















Local name Field land area (sqm)











Yield (kgs)











Market value

Table 2 Nagacadan district productivity data from the 2017 harvest season











PhP value











Sold to market (kgs)











Household consumption (kgs)











Production cost












148 S. Acabado and D. Kuan

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Fig. 3 The landscape of Ifugao Agriculture (Acabado, 2010: 83)

Fig. 4 Rice varieties cultivated in three villages investigated by J. Moore (2004). Note Other upland varieties are rice varieties developed by other Cordilleran groups (i.e., Bontoc, Kalinga)

UNESCO, the Ifugao rice terraces were listed as endangered heritage (Tilliger et al. 2015:889). For the purpose of encouraging heirloom rice production, some international NGOs launched the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project (CHRP) to collaborate with the Rice Terrace Farmers’Cooperative (RTFC) in Banaue to sell the Ifugao heirloom rice to the supermarkets in North America. In 2014, a similar project called Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) was launched under the collaboration between the International Rice Research Institute(IRRI) and Department of Agriculture in the Philippines (Glover and Stone 2018:3–5). These projects provide the incentive for heirloom rice growing.


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Fig. 5 The Tayal Agricultural Calendar with associated millet rituals. The five seasons in a year include (1) the season that tree leaves appear, during which people need to seed the millet farm; (2) the season of raining, during which people need to practice weeding; (3) the season of hot, during which grains start to appear and people need to repel the birds; (4) the season that leaves fall, during which people need to harvest, store, and save the seeds (this is also the season to worship the ancestral spirit); and (5) the season of wind, during which people clean the land and wait for the coming of next season

However, they also caused the unification of the varieties in heirloom rice cultivation. Although there are many different varieties of heirloom rice in Ifugao, with variation from region to region, only a few varieties of heirloom rice are accepted by consumers in foreign markets. The Save Ifugao Terrace Movement (SITMo) succeeded the concern of rural development by the Philippines Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and established a Kiangan-based NGO in 2001(Ananayo and Richins 2016:223). Differing from the strategy of commodifying the heirloom rice, SITMo encourages heirloom rice production by emphasizing the cultural values. Beginning in 2013, an openair

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museum in Nagacadan of Kiangan was established to host eco-tourism with collaboration from SITMo, Kiangan Municipality Government, and Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) project of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). To overcome the problem that not everyone in the community can directly benefit from the tourism business, SITMo further promoted local dancers’ associations, farmers’ associations, weavers’ associations, and the establishment of a tourism center in downtown Kiangan, so that community members with different skills may be included in the tourism economy. SITMo also established a community cultural resource center by the elementary school in the village so that efforts of cultural revitalization can be adopted by local schoolteachers. Although SITMo does not sell rice, it provides a community-based economic model that continuously enacts and represents traditions surrounding the ritual crop while reconstructing the agro-cultural landscape.

6 The Tayal Agro-Cultural Complex According to anthropological studies, Tayal indigenous people expanded from the central mountain area of Taiwan to the north around four hundred years ago. Tayal ancestors migrated through river valleys and maintain ridges, built settlements and formed identity groups from one watershed to another. In the long process, Tayal people adapted to the environment and turned into the most widely-distributed people in the mountain area. The agro-ecological landscape reflects this human-environment adaptation. The main practices for food production in the mountain environment include hunting and gathering in the forest, swidden agriculture on the slope, and fishing in the valley’s river. As a result, settlements are distributed along the river and its tributaries. Each settlement owned its river section as a fishing field and possessed fields for farming. In the practice of swidden agriculture, the locations of farms shifted but basically surrounded the settlement. Farmers’ main crop was millet, but planting space was also allotted for yam, taro, sweet potato, squash, and beans. After a farm was opened and used for 3 to 4 years, people would leave the land, plant trees, allow the trees to grow into a forest, and let the land rest for at least 10 years. Therefore, different land parcels in different periods of life cycle (opened → planted → rested → reopened) became scattered around the settlement. The forest maintained on the upper slope of the watershed was the hunting field and place for gathering and was shared by settlements belonging to the same identity group. Such identity groups are seen as the subgroups of the Tayal people. Each subgroup had its own “qyunam,” territory in the Tayal language, but shared the same language and genealogy. The lmuhuw chanting in Tayal culture is famous for carrying place names during periods of migration tracing community genealogy. The Tayal are known as a patrilineal descent society. The number of households per settlement typically ranged from 10 to 50. The size of a Tayal settlement is relatively small when compared to the settlement sizes of indigenous peoples living in the plains


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area. Their smaller settlement size is reasonable considering the degrees of steepness of slopes in the Taiwan mountain area. The concept of “Gaga,” which, in the Tayal language, refers both to shared norms to groups who share the same norms, played an important role in articulating settlements so that they can reciprocally share resources with each other. Tayal social categories include “qutux-niqan” (families who share the same patrilineal genealogy, go hunt together, and eat together), “qutux-qalang” (those who share one settlement that may include multiple qutux-niqan), “qutuxquynam” (those who share one hunting field), “qutux-llyung” (those who share the same river), and “qutux phapan” (those who share the same bow or military alliance). Layers of gaga need to be followed in layers of social category. The boundaries of the social categories were therefore created/re-created in the practices of maintaining/renegotiating gaga. Gaga is known as the words passed on by the ancestors. Violating gaga will therefore anger “utux” (the spirits of ancestors) and bring about blame. The knowledge of livelihood practices, such as farming, hunting, and fishing, are also layers. They include the knowledge of landscape, knowledge of species and their habitats, the knowledge of techniques to get/maintain the species/habitats, and the knowledge of negotiation within/between communities. The articulation of layers of gaga/social category expand in the watershed, which is a physical expression of a socio-cultural belief system. Different from other crops, millet growing involves a lot of rituals. According to ethnographical studies, there are five seasons in Tayal peoples’ agricultural calendar. Within these five seasons are a series of rituals to be practiced according to the work needed to be done in the millet farm. According to the Tayal philosophy of “sbalay”, a human being will always make mistakes and anger the ancestral spirits, so it is important to constantly reconcile. All rituals are efforts to reconcile Tayal people, the land, and their ancestors. The millet farm is therefore a sacred landscape.

7 The Challenges of the Market Economy As revealed above, spatial framework that sustained foodways in pre-colonial Tayal society is a larger complex of landscape that includes the components of farming (field), hunting (forest) and fishery (river). There is knowledge for the practice of swidden agriculture, such as maintaining the water soil conservation by adapting to subtle changes of landform and planting trees over the used land before moving to the next newly prepared one. There is also knowledge for the articulation of different components in the complex. Millet growing embedded with ritual forming the calendar of a year is an integral part of Tayal way of life. However, it has been under challenge since the colonial power started to promote fixed-location wet rice growing in early twentieth century. Along with the “Barbarian Reserved Land” policy beginning in 1920s and the “Group Reallocation” policy beginning in 1930s, the introduction of wet-rice growing was made to narrow down and confine indigenous peoples’ activities in certain areas so that the state can reserve/utilize the forestry resources according to

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its plan. Since then, rice terraces have become a part of the landscape in many indigenous mountain communities. Historians use the term “Wet-Rice Fever” to describe colonial officers’ enthusiasm to create rice terraces and transform indigenous people into rice growers. The “Wet-Rice Fever” was supported by ideology believing wetrice growing is a symbol of civilization. However, the ecological environment is not supporting it. It took tremendous efforts to transform slopes into terraces and form ditch systems to direct water. However, the terraces and ditches were often ruined during typhoon season. As a result, yields were not as stable as expected. According to ethnographic study, Tayal people still had to practice swidden agriculture for food. The taste of rice was accepted, but millet, taro, and sweet potato were still common starchy foods in Tayal communities. Hunting was not prohibited during the Japanese colonial era. But, for security reasons, guns were usually kept in police stations and the release of guns depended on the policemen’s decision. It was recorded in the oral narratives that, in some cases, Tayal people altered the rice terraces so that they can have reason to use guns to hunt in the forest. After WWII, the KMT government from China took over governance of Taiwan and the “Reserved Land” policy was retained. This meant that the forest was still national property and indigenous people can only have residences and farms in limited assigned land parcels. The KMT government launched the privatization policy in 1960s. This would differ from the policies enacted by Japanese colonizers who kept the Reserved Land as collective property of the settlement. The Reserved Lands were surveyed and registered; indigenous people were encouraged to register for usage rights, and the land title would be given after 10 years of continuous utilization of the land. Many anthropological studies recorded swidden agriculture practice in different indigenous groups after WWII. Yet the “Mountain Reserved Land Management Regulation” announced in the 1940s expressly forbade slash and burn techniques. In the ethnographical studies of the Tayal area, many informants above 70 years-old have memories of practicing swidden agriculture in their childhood. According to their narratives, the rice growing could not provide enough food and swidden was needed to grow other foods for subsistence. Thus, numerous lines of evidence showed that multiple sources of food production were practiced after WWII. Taking Jianshi, an important township in the Tayal area, as an example, further demonstrates this fact. The paved road was not built in its “Back Mountain region”1 1A

mountain ridge across this township divides it into two watersheds: the “Front Mountain” in the north-west and the “Back Mountain” in the south-east. The “Front Mountain” and the “Back Mountain” are not official addresses but commonly used in the residents’ daily life. The “front” has a long history of confronting Han-Chinese that can be traced back to the Ching Dynasty’s military activities aiming to conquer this area and exploit the camphor resource here. During the Japanese colonial era, a local political, educational and economic center was formed in “Front Mountain”, as it is on the way connecting the interior “Back Mountain Region” and the lower nonindigenous plain area. For a long time, the “Front Mountain Region” was deemed more “developed” and “progressed” than the “less-developed” and “backward” “Back Mountain Region”. After the 1990s, some settlements in the “Back Mountain Region” area successfully established alternative models of development, such as community-based eco-tourism with their strong cultural identity. In the new discourse, the “Front Mountain Region” turned to be a “less authentic” place facing the


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until the 1980s. The main cash crop before then was mushrooms because it can be dried and slowly carried to the plain area for trade under the bad road conditions. Construction of the paved road ensured fast transportation and changed economic life in the mountain area. As the seeds, fertilizers, and agricultural products can be easily transported between the plain and mountain areas, cash crops such as vegetables, apple, and peach were introduced to the mountain area. Attracted by the high profit, many Tayal farmers stopped growing rice in the 1980s, switching to cash crop production. After that, most terraces built for wet-rice were converted into orchards or vegetable gardens. The strengthened enforcement of the Forest Act with improved surveillance methods, such as satellite photos, made Tayal people retreat from agricultural activities in the national forest. Agriculture is now more successfully confined in the Reserved Land than during the Japanese colonial era. Home gardening and hunting seem to be rare practices that Tayal people can still use to get rid of the state and market control of foodways.

8 The Revitalization of Ritual Crop Conserved National forest land, with very limited access for indigenous peoples to utilize resources within it, along with diverse cash crop plantations in the scattered indigenous reserved land constitute the landscape in Tayal indigenous communities today. Table 3 describes the transition of cash crop plantations in the main villages in the “Back Mountain Region” of Jianshi Township from the 1970s to present. Table 4 and Fig. 6 show estimated areas of different cash crops currently planted in these villages. As shown in Table 4 and Fig. 6, cash crops introduced in the past few decades now dominate agricultural production in Tayal villages. In the case of Tbahu, tomato farms are used to grow short-term leafy greens after the tomatoes are harvested. If this is to be assumed for all areas with short-term crops, then there are even more species of cash crops planted in the same space. And while millet is no longer the staple food in the villages, it has never been totally extinguished. Some villagers continue to grow millet in their home gardens to make millet wine and “tmmiym”.2 Indigenous movements emerging alongside the democratization movement in Taiwan in the 1980s contributed to institutional recognition of indigenous land rights3 and led to alternative ways of development (Fig. 7). Local communities also acquired more opportunities to participate in decision-making processes under the crisis of losing their culture in contrast to the self-confident “Back Mountain Region” maintaining more “traditional” Tayal culture. (Stainton 2006). 2 Raw meat fermented with cooked millet or rice, a traditional Tayal food. 3 The government responded to the indigenous land rights movement by assigning more reserved land to indigenous peoples in 1990, and launched a series of surveys of indigenous traditional territories in 2002. After that, the Indigenous Basic Law enacted in 2005 states that the government needs to recognize indigenous peoples’ rights over both reserved lands and traditional territories (Kuan 2016).

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Table 3 Transition of cash crop plantation in the “back mountain region” in Jianshi township Mrqwang












Bamboo, Timber

Honey Peach, Bell Pepper (Supplemental Source of Income: Cedar Timber)

Apple, Honey Peach, Pear

Apple, Honey Peach

Mushroom, Ganoderma, Medical Herbs


Honey Peach


Cabbage, Snap Tomato, Bean, Tomato, Cabbage, Bell Honey Peach Pepper


Multiple Species of Vegetable (mostly transfer to organic farming)


Main Source of Income: Peach (partly transfer to organic farming); supplemental Source of Income: Bamboo Timber

Main Source of Income: tomato

Main Source of Income: Honey Peach; supplemental Source of Income: Tourism

Main Source of Income: Tourism; supplemental Source of Income: Honey Peach

Main Source of Income: Multiple Species of Vegetable (partly transfer to organic farming); supplemental Source of Income: Tourism

neoliberal policies. In the “Back Mountain Region” of Jianshi Township, Smangus successfully developed community-based eco-tourism, combining hiking activities in the nearby cypress forest and cultural-ecological performances in the village during the 1990s. For example, the millet farm revitalized in the village became a tourist attraction. After the 2000s, packed millet became one of the souvenirs sold to tourists. In Cinsbu, some families started to bring back millet production in their farms. Instead of making millet a commodity, they were more concerned about rebuilding the ceremonies in the village. In the 1990s, villagers began the model of direct selling of their honey peaches in collaboration with the outside NGO and a local pastor. Meanwhile, tourism business surrounding cypress forest hiking became the sideline of economic income for those households who operated a homestay, cafeteria, or provided tour guiding. In 2000, there was a debate as to whether the government should set up a new national park to protect the cypress forest that covers the hunting fields of many nearby communities. In dialogue with environmental groups, local pastors, and community leaders, scholars proposed a co-management model as the condition for setting up the park. To provide evidence of their connection with this


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Table 4 Species and areas of cash crop plantation in the “Back Mountain Region” in Jianshi Township, 2018 Settlement Species of cash Area of Total area of Proportion Total Proportion crops plantation (sqm) cash crop plantation in the settlement (sqm) Mrqwang



Cabbage and other vegetables





Strawberry Loquat Quri






Honey Peach















Honey Peach






4000 220000




Honey Peach, P ersimmon and Plum









Leafy greens

20000 39000



1% 400000

Chinese cabbage and Carrot

Honey Peach


15% 446000

Tea Tree




Cabbage and other vegetables

Persimmon Cinsbu



5% 65000







Pigeon bean







(The information in this table is provided by Yapit Tali, Watan Taru, and Pangung Tomi, three long-term community organizers in this region via interview, survey, and estimation in spring 2019.)

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Fig. 6 The landscape of Tayal agriculture

Fig. 7 The species and area of cash crop plantation in the “Back Mountain Region” in Jianshi Township, 2018

area, Cinsbu community members worked with the scholars to compose a 3-D topographic map marked with place names and locations of their hunting cottages. Later, the map was utilized as a teaching aid for elementary school students in the village. Having children participate in the entire process of growing millet and joining in ceremonies became an important education outside the school.


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In Tbahu, a community worker inspired by the experience of attending the international ecological farmers’ conference in 2014 began to grow millet in her village. She collected seeds kept in her village as well as nearby villagers and, with funding from the collaborative academic group, built a traditional stilt barn for harvesting. Her work attracted the senior women in the community to join her, who provided more seeds they kept and came to the millet farm to give instruction of the skill to maintain it. For these senior women, the millet growing reminded them of good old times. For the community worker, it became a way to connect people in the village. As agricultural products selling to the urban market are the main sources of economic income, they choose not to sell millet, keeping it away from the touch of money. Rebuilding the agro-cultural landscape of millet is meaningful for the habitus of these villages in various ways. It provides business opportunity in the tourism economy, forms a place for cultural education, and serves as a mediator to bring the community members together. The revitalized millet farm reflects Tayal people’s continued efforts to adapt to the environment with continued interpretation and utilization of tradition.

9 Rituals, Landscapes, and Revitalization Although ritual crops in Ifugao and Tayal communities are different, they share the same characteristic of reflecting relationships between society and ecology. As a series of concentrated, abstracted, and symbolic representation, ritual related to agriculture shows how the order of the ecological environment is understood and expected to be observed. In Ifugao and Tayal communities, the ways of dividing the seasons are different, yet both refer to cycles of growing crops. Furthermore, rituals in different seasons mark the hopes to facilitate the growth of crops in an environment with uncertainties. Ritual often shows the power of relations in food production, distribution, and consumption. In Ifugao, the ritual practitioner is coordinating the complicated irrigation system sustaining the ranked society. In the egalitarian Tayal society, most of the time, ritual was held, respectively, by individual households. By understanding the meaning of agricultural ritual, we can understand the importance of ritual crops. As a key element connecting society and ecology, it helps to re-define their relationships with the environment or re-strengthen their societies.

10 Revitalizing the Agro-Cultural Landscape In both Ifugao and Tayal communities, there exists some tension between commodifying the ritual crop and keeping it un-commodified. In Ifugao, two different NGOs took two different strategies to encourage farmers to grow heirloom rice and maintain the rice terrace. In the “Back Mountain Region” of Jianshi Township of Tayal people, some villages made millet farming part of the tourist attraction for visitors

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while others made it a place for education and networking inside the community. These differences may stem from a fundamentally identical purpose: to adapt to the transition and make their home village a better place. Ecology can be seen as a network consisting of the relationships between different creatures, as well as the relationship between creatures and their habitats. In this sense, development means to maintain or adjust to the optimal position in the network. Revitalizing the agro-cultural landscape in both of the Ifugao and Tayal cases can therefore be seen as the efforts to adjust in the social ecological system intertwined with social and ecological relations.

11 Agro-Cultural Landscape of Ritual Crop and Habitus Both Ifugao and Tayal cases demonstrate that the agro-cultural complex functioned with aspects of belief system, social organization, land management, and technique for production that sustain each other. More than that, it maintained balance. Tracing the history and reviewing current situations reveal the dynamic transition of landscape. In the process, indigenous communities were not passively affected by the structural power but were subjectively reacting to it. In Ifugao, the agro-cultural complex sustained the population while resisting Spanish colonial power. Cultural identity was continued by maintaining foodways during consequent American colonization. Although the pressure of the market economy gradually changed the mode of production since the 1970s, the community continues to develop different strategies to revitalize the rice terrace and perpetuate its identity. In Tayal communities, when Japanese colonizers enforced the growing of fixed-location wet-rice, swidden agriculture of millet growing was continued outside the colonial spatial order. Today, millet growing is an opportunity to engage the tourism economy as well as a symbol to strengthen cultural identity in the community. In these experiences, the agro-cultural landscape is an outcome of community efforts to enact and represent traditions, informs community members of how to connect with their ancestors, and demonstrates what a better place should be. It is part of the social process in the making of enactment and representation. The agro-cultural complex articulated by the material and symbolic meanings of ritual crops show the mutual embeddedness of social and ecological systems. While new power structures under colonization and modernization continually reshaped economic orders in indigenous societies, people reacted to transitions by recalling/reinterpreting their traditions. Ritual crops are different in the Ifugao and Tayal communities. However, the efforts to re-accommodate themselves in the broader political economic contexts and the struggles of commodifying ritual crops are common issues that the two communities share. It helps to rethink what a good cultural landscape conservation is after revealing the meaning of revitalizing the agro-cultural landscape and its dynamic relationship with habitus. Cultural landscape conservation is very often taken as the practice to conserve the physical feature. Nevertheless, without the consideration of the


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social mechanism, it will easily turn to constrain or even undermine the agency to continually enact/interpret traditions. Such an agency is the key to make ritual crops meaningful in new political-economic contexts. It is, therefore, more important to institutionally support the agency than physically keeps the feature of landscape unchanged.

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Stephen Acabado is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. His archaeological investigations in Ifugao, northern Philippines, have established the recent origins of the UNESCO-listed Cordillera Rice Terraces, which were once known to be at least 2,000 years old. His work revolves around agricultural systems, indigenous responses to colonialism, subsistence shifts, landscape archaeology, and heritage conservation. He is a strong advocate of an “engaged” scholarship where descendant communities and various stakeholders are involved in the research process. Da-wei Kuan comes from Tayal indigenous group in Taiwan, and is currently Associate Professor of Ethnology at NCCU. His research interests include: indigenous geography, indigenous land policy, community mapping, and community-based resources management. Devoted to integrating his works of academic research, teaching and community engagement for the claim of indigenous land rights, he collaborates with indigenous communities in many traditional territory mapping, land-use planning and development projects. In addition to the fieldwork in Taiwan, Daya also commits himself to the comparative studies and collaborations within the Austronesian languagespeaking peoples in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Of Boars and Men: Indigenous Knowledge and Co-Management in Taiwan Scott Simon

Around the world, especially since the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, indigenous people have hoped that advances in legal rights can help them gain recognition for their ecological knowledge and autonomy in the use of natural resources. Even in the best situations, however, there can be a disconnect between the aspirations at the international or national levels and the lived experience of local people. For local people, the legalization of hunting, trapping, and fishing for subsistence purposes are among the most important issues. In this article, with the Truku hunters of Taiwan as a case study, I argue that a political ecology of indigenous peoples and their ecological knowledge requires the addition of what Ingold (2000) calls a “dwelling perspective.” I subsequently explore what implications this approach may have for indigenous policy in Taiwan on hunting and co-management of natural resources. Since 2005, when the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s Parliament) passed the Basic Law on Indigenous Peoples, indigenous activists, politicians, and bureaucrats have negotiated legal and institutional reforms for the country’s 528,000 indigenous people.1 Part of global indigenism (Niezen 2003), Taiwanese indigenous rights activists have built a dynamic social movement, lobbied politicians, and presented their causes in UN and other international forums. Constitutional revisions, the Basic Law, and other laws have integrated key concepts from international conventions into 1 Taiwan’s indigenous people, part of the Austronesian peoples of the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas, are currently classified into 14 officially recognized “tribes”. They have a fixed quota of seats in the Legislative Yuan, currently for six legislators. Their presence on Taiwan dates at least 6,000 years, whereas permanent Chinese settlement on the island began only in the seventeenth century.

This chapter was previously published in Human Organization 72.3 (Fall 2013), pp. 220–229. S. Simon (B) University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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domestic legislation. One challenge, of importance to hunters and trappers who wish to carry out their traditional practices legally, is to create co-management institutions for Taiwan’s mountainous regions, according to Article 22 of the Basic Law: The government shall obtain consent from the locally affected indigenous peoples and formulate a common management mechanism before establishing national parks, national scenery, forest district, ecological protection zone, recreation zone and other resource management institutions. The regulations shall be made by the central relevant authority jointly with the central indigenous affairs authority. (ROC 2005, emphasis added)

The problem is that, although hunting for subsistence and cultural purposes was legalized in the Basic Law, it remains illegal to hunt in national parks (where indigenous people own land and reside on a permanent basis), and trapping is illegal everywhere. Indigenous activists, thus, promise hunters that their problem will be solved with the eventual creation of co-management boards and, even further on the horizon, new forms of indigenous autonomous governance (Simon 2007; Simon and Mona 2013). The goal of this article, based on field research with the Truku since 2004, is to explore risks and possibilities presented by this legislation, especially as Truku activists are currently lobbying to create co-management boards in existing parks. The challenge is to move beyond the declarations of indigenous rights and the legislation that claims to promote these ideas, and better understand the lifeworlds of hunters on the ground. How do the Truku, through their life projects and practices, gain knowledge about the ecology of their traditional territories? What do differences between the lifeworlds of local actors, in terms of lived practices and social positions, suggest about the future composition of co- management boards? What does this mean for Truku hunters and trappers? What policy recommendations can be made for the future creation of co-management boards?

1 A Political Ecology of Truku Land Taiwan, an island of 35,980 km2 , has the highest mountains in East Asia. With 165 mountains surpassing 3,000 meters, it is one of the world’s most densely alpine countries. Taiwan has eight national parks, amounting to 8.64 percent of its land mass. The Taroko National Park, established on November 28, 1986,2 covers 92,000 hectares ranging from tropical rainforest to arctic tundra and snow-capped peaks up to 3,705 meters. The main tourist attractions are the Taroko Gorge, steep limestone canyons carved out by the Liwu River, the Skadang River, the Baiyang Waterfall, and various Chinese-style buildings. The park, known for floral and faunal biodiversity,

2 The

park was first planned as the Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park in 1937 when Taiwan was part of Japan. Taroko is the Japanese pronunciation of Truku.

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covers part of the traditional territory of the Truku people, which also extends well beyond park boundaries.3 For the Truku, the Park is a vivid reminder of their colonial situation. In precolonial days, clan-based communities moved as needed through the mountains in search of game and fertile soil. They were acephalous societies with no permanent institutions of power, in which all adult men were political equals. The sacred law of Gaya, enforced by utux (ancestral spirits), regulated social relations between community members. Clans sometimes formed weak alliances based on marriage exchange with other groups in the same watersheds but were frequently at war with groups competing for hunting territories between rivers. This situation ended after the 1914 Taroko Battle, when the Truku capitulated to the Japanese. The Japanese ruled over Truku territory as well as the rest of Taiwan until 1945 when the island was transferred to the Republic of China (ROC) after World War II. After the anti-Japanese Musha Incident in 1930, all but two Truku communities were forced to resettle to places where they would be easier for Japanese police forces to control.4 The hamlets of Xoxos and Skadang remained in their mountain location until 1979, when they were encouraged to move to the foot of the mountain. Their land is now entirely within the boundaries of the Taroko National Park. The Taroko National Park has been the arena of frequent protest, as its inhabitants experienced the criminalization of many of their practices after the park’s establishment (Chi 2001). The inhabitants of Skadang and Xoxos maintained legal title to the land they farmed but were suddenly subject to park regulations as well as national laws. There are, thus, conflicts between the hamlets and park administration about construction of work sheds, permitted forms of agriculture, transport of agricultural products and implements up and down the mountain by cable car, and the elimination of wildlife (especially boars and macaques) that threaten crops and fruit trees. Whether in the park or not, the Truku value their traditional knowledge and practices and hope to have at least an equal voice in policies affecting their traditional territories. It is probably no surprise that the Truku have emerged as strong proponents of indigenous autonomy (Simon 2007). Hunting was banned in national parks in 1972. This restriction was applied to Truku territory when the Taroko National Park was created in 1986. The Wildlife Conservation Act (1989) further restricted hunting, making most hunting and all trapping practices illegal. After the passage of the Basic Law, the Wildlife Conservation Act was revised to permit some indigenous hunting for ritual and subsistence. 3 The

correct ethnonym was the subject of local debate. The Truku of Hualien were recognized in 2004 as an independent tribe. Other local factions advocated the name Sediq (meaning “human being”) incorporating the Truku, Tkedaya, and Teuda subgroups. Following local usage, this word is spelled as Sejiq in Truku, as Seediq in Tkedaya, and as Sediq in Teuda. The Council of Indigenous Peoples uses the Teuda spelling. The Sediq tribe was recognized in 2008. Individuals are free to register as members of either group at local household registration offices. In February 2013, there were 28,55 1 people registered as Truku and 8,412 as Sediq. 4 For a full discussion of this history, within an anthropological analysis of state-indigenous relations in Taiwan, see Simon (2012a).


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In enforcement, however, this conflicts with laws and regulations criminalizing the use of traps and unregistered rifles. In the absence of a transparent rifle registration process, police continue to arrest and prosecute indigenous hunters. Without a legal hunting supplies industry, moreover, hunters must get by with rifles, bullets and gunpowder hand-crafted from items sold in ordinary hardware stores. The Truku experience the criminalization of hunting as a colonial imposition and refer to it as such. Outside of the park, the Forestry Division, the Veterans Affairs Commission, and private owners of farms and tea plantations have all successfully laid claim to traditional Truku hunting territories in both Hualien and Nantou Counties. Truku lobbyists hope that the creation of co-management institutions with the Taroko National Park can help them assert autonomy, leading someday to regional forms of indigenous autonomy, but many hunters and trappers are skeptical about how useful such institutions can be for their life projects. They often describe proponents of indigenous autonomy as “elites” seeking political positions for themselves, without any practical benefits for “ordinary people.” It is difficult to understand these different perspectives without bodily experience in the dwelling of hunting.

2 Political Ecology Plus: Ingold’s Dwelling Perspective Political ecology, a rich theoretical field within and beyond anthropology, has provided key insights into how indigenous peoples have been deprived of effective control of their territories by resource-hungry states and corporations within unequal power relations. Arturo Escobar, for example, showed how discourses of “development” justify the actions of external interests in the “Third World.” Recognizing the threat that “biodiversity” discourses may merely extract local knowledge for deepened commodification of nature, he nevertheless hopes that ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples can articulate alternative strategies within a context of decentralization, debureaucratization, political pluralism, and cultural autonomy (Escobar 1995). Calling our attention to the unequal power relations between states and indigenous peoples, Mario Blaser (2004) likewise calls attention to the “life projects” of indigenous peoples, who are unlikely to subordinate their fundamental interests without resistance. These life projects, as this article demonstrates in a discussion of Truku hunters, are intrinsically tied up with what Thornton (2010:110) calls topophilia (“loves of places”) and historia (“atlases of time”). They love their land in a way that cannot be compromised or exchanged for other values. The goal of incorporating indigenous ontologies and epistemologies into conservation can be elusive. Even in North America, where well-intentioned policymakers have promoted co-management, unequal power relations between the state and First Nations stakeholders have marginalized First Nations perspectives (Nadasdy 2005; Spak 2005; Stevenson 2006; Thornton 2010). There is always the threat that state institutions transform indigenous knowledge into only one form of data among many

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others, subordinating indigenous autonomy to other agendas. This compartmentalizes indigenous knowledge, limits its use, and denies its bearers real autonomy. In the Canadian Yukon, for example, Kluane First Nation elders are consulted, and indigenous people constitute half of the members of co-management institutions, but their lifeworlds are systematically ignored in policy formulation and implementation (Nadasdy 2003). Certainly, the study of conflicting ontologies is important to understanding the relationship between indigenous peoples and nature, as a number of scholars have documented (e.g., Blaser 2009; Descola 2005). Ingold’s (2000:42) dwelling perspective allows for further nuance, especially as he apprehends ontology as “not of making a view of the world but of taking a view in it.” There is, thus, a closely related question of epistemology, of how people know and, based on this experience of being, create ontologies. In this spirit, Ingold (2000) and Nadasdy (2003) emphasize the importance of skills and lived experience to the accumulation of knowledge. Nadasdy argues that Athapaskan peoples favor knowledge gained from experience. He argues that new political institutions risk transforming hunters into bureaucrats, distancing individuals from knowledge learned on the land and, thus, undermining the real inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge into co-management. The colonial situation has subordinated indigenous epistemologies and ontologies to the goals of the state and other external forces. The goal of the indigenous movement is to shift that balance of power back to indigenous communities. Research with Truku hunters and trappers, especially excursions into the forested mountains, has taught me the importance of a dwelling perspective.5 Since the beginning of the research, fieldwork has involved living in the villages and participating in village life. Over time, I became initiated into the male world of hunting and trapping. This began as I was offered game to eat, causing delight when I ate the raw muntjac liver or lightly boiled flying squirrel intestines that Taiwanese visitors usually refuse in disgust. Men began to discuss their hunting practices with me, showing me guns and traps, and even taking me with them while hunting or trapping. In return, I shared with them hunting stories from my own family. This field research gave me insight into what Ingold (2000:153) calls a dwelling perspective, which treats “the immersion of the organism-person in an environment or lifeworld as an inescapable condition of existence.” This fieldwork also made real to me the differences between different Truku actors. The hunters inhabit a lifeworld of nearly vertical mountainous terrain, the danger of poisonous snakes, and the masculine glory of sharing game with family and friends. The social activists and indigenous legislators inhabit a lifeworld of auditoriums and boardrooms, the danger of political opponents, and the masculine glory of sharing political victory with family 5 The

research for this article is based on nearly a decade of work with Truku hunters. First, I conducted 18 months of research in two Truku villages in Hualien and one Seediq village in Nantou from 2004 to 2007 and have subsequently made annual visits. In the summer of 2010, 1 conducted ethnobiological research in two villages, which permitted me to not only gather lists of local species but also to engage in conversations with hunters and accompany them to their traplines. In 2012 and 2013, I conducted six months of more traditional fieldwork, which included time spent high up in the mountains with local people.


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and friends. Although hunters and activists are relatives, meeting at various events that punctuate Truku social life, their daily lived experience could hardly be more different. As an ethnographer, I experienced both worlds, which led more than one hunter to remark gleefully that I dared to eat raw muntjac liver, whereas some of their self-proclaimed leaders refuse the delicacy due to fear of parasites or food poisoning. The following story, from fieldwork in 2007, illustrates how different positions in the state system have led to differences between Truku actors in terms of dwelling perspectives.

3 The Politics of Indigenous Hunting One winter, the time that Truku hunters consider to be hunting season, two older men climbed a mountain in the Park to inspect their traps and shot some flying squirrels. As they returned at night, park police stopped them, shone searchlights in their eyes, and demanded to inspect their bags. One of the men was so frightened by the prospect of a heavy fine or prison sentence that he fled and slipped down a cliff to his death. Fellow hunters were so furious that they considered storming the police station in an act of “head-hunting.” They, thus, expressed their grief and anger through an appeal to Truku concepts of justice—head-hunting being called mgaya (“implementation of the sacred law of Gaya”) in Truku (Pecoraro 1977).6 These men’s anger clearly expressed the power of historia, atlases of time, as they claimed both their historical territory and a right to exercise their former means of enforcing territorial boundaries. As word spread, proponents of Truku autonomy suggested they instead hold a protest demonstration. This is also a project of historia, as indigenous activists use the Chinese chucao (“head-hunting”) to mean “to protest,” thus preserving the Truku sense of justice. Truku activists, local Presbyterian churches, and indigenous legislator Dr. Kung Wen-chi (Kuomintang [KMT] or Chinese Nationalist Party) organized a petition drive, a demonstration, and a hearing. In the “Taroko Nation Statement to Oppose the Violation of Human Rights,”7 they demanded a public apology from park police, a promise that the captain and officers would be evicted from Truku territory if they again “violate human rights,” and implementation of the Basic Law to guarantee indigenous people the right to hunt. They freely evoked discourses of inherent sovereignty and human rights from the international indigenous movement. About 30 people showed up for the early morning demonstration. Respecting the request of park managers, they did not prepare protest banners. Instead, Dr. Kung and Truku activist Tera Yudaw (a retired high school principal) led the crowd in 6 The

Truku, like all other indigenous groups on Taiwan, were formerly known for headhunting. For a broad discussion of head-hunting among the Sejiq (Sediq), of which the Truku are a part, see Simon (2012b). 7 Truku nationalists prefer to use the Japanese spelling Taroko in English documents, saying the word is already well-known due to the Taroko National Park and is inclusive of all three sub-groups (Truku, Tkedaya, and Teuda). The Council of Indigenous Peoples uses the spelling Truku, which is closer to local usage.

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protest chants. The police, who had prepared a paddy wagon in case arrests were made, watched idly. Everyone then entered the air-conditioned auditorium, which park administration had provided for the occasion. Park administrators, staff, and police officers were all waiting inside. Dr. Kung, Tera, and one hunter sat around a table on the stage. Kung began by framing the issue in terms of human rights, saying that “we are merely subsisting on our own land.” Tera argued that the central mountains had always belonged to the Truku, who never ceded their territory to Chinese or Japanese colonial administrators. Noting colonial continuity, he said that the ROC now uses the National Park Law to dominate the Truku and that police actions constitute colonial violence. Kung asked the hunters—all middle-aged to elderly men—to testify. The first hunter said that the police regularly arrest them at night, shine lights in their eyes, and point guns in their faces. “You will never stop us,” he said. “Hunting is part of our culture, our life, the spirit of the Truku.” In an appeal to historia, he said the government should learn from history, since the Truku fought against state control in the Taroko Battle of 1914 and the Musha Rebellion of 1930.8 He said, “The police should not force us. We are prepared to use our own lives to protect our land.” Dr. Kung said that these angry words express the daily pain of the people. He explained that the Basic Law recognizes the right of indigenous people to hunt for cultural, ritual, or subsistence purposes. He acknowledged that necessary revisions have not yet been made to the National Park Law, which bans hunting in national parks, or to other relevant laws. He suggested, however, that police simply refrain from enforcing the old laws until legal revisions could be made. He blamed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which then held control of the Presidency and Executive Branch, and its environmentalist allies for blocking progress on indigenous hunting rights. In succession, community members testified that they have been harassed and fined for carrying weapons, collecting wild plants, and cooking in the park. They claimed to have been searched arbitrarily and warned by the police not to enter mountain areas too frequently, even though they possess title to land within the park. Evoking the topophilia toward ancestral land, they stressed that they merely practice the same subsistence activities as their parents and on the same land. Audience members occasionally shouted, “We are the masters of this land.” A representative from the Ministry of the Interior, who had come from Taipei for the hearing, took the microphone. When asked by Kung for an apology, he said that the police should reflect on their practices and on their “service attitude.” He said that there are 30 police officers in the park, and 20 of them are indigenous.9 The local police captain took his turn, saying that “we want to be flexible, but we need to enforce the law.” When he said that tourists sometimes report gunshots and the 8 This

is a bit of an anachronism. In fact, the Musha rebellion was instigated by six villages of the different, yet closely related, Tkedaya group. 9 According to Truku hunters, indigenous police officers are rarely Truku. They say the administration hires Amis people as police officers in a long-standing colonial practice of using some groups to oppress others.


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police must respond, someone shouted, “We kill squirrels, not people!” As the crowd began to get agitated, Tera seized the microphone and said, “Just apologize!” The police officer bowed his head and apologized. Kung gave another speech about legal reform, blaming the DPP for manipulating “partnership” with indigenous people as an empty slogan. After further questions from the audience about such issues as collecting bamboo sprouts and building work sheds, Tera said the main problem was the National Park Law, which attempts to impose a North American model of “parks without people” on Taiwan. The vice-superintendent of the park concluded the event by promising that park administrators would help the Truku communicate with the police. Needless to say, his words fell on deaf ears. In the literature distributed at the events, the Committee for the Promotion of Taroko National Autonomy declared, “The land is our blood. The mountain forest is our home. Only with hunters do we have land. Only with hunters do we have wild animals.” Their argument was that indigenous hunters know more about local ecology than park officials and that only their hunting activities can contribute to effective conservation. Their proposed solution was to create a Truku autonomous government that would appoint members to a co-management board with park administrators.

4 One People, Many Dwelling Perspectives An unpacking of this event shows that hunting as well as political claims to indigenous rights are actions of actors with conflicting ontologies and motives. Shortly before an election, Dr. Kung wanted to present himself as a champion of indigenous rights, gain political support, and discredit the ruling party. Proponents of Truku autonomy wanted to justify their agenda of self-government and co-management. The police wanted to prevent communal violence. Park administrators wanted to present themselves as peaceful mediators. The family of the deceased hunter wanted an apology and some kind of compensation. Others wanted to air personal grievances with the park, claiming the right to farm and hunt as in the past. After the hunters’ protest, only some actors achieved their goals. Dr. Kung subsequently held a hearing in Taipei, sent DVDs of the hearings to his supporters, and was re-elected. The park administrators and police pre-empted a potentially violent conflict with local people. Tera Yudaw refined his message, taking it to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and was able to gain assurances after 2008 from newly elected KMT President Ma Ying-jeou that the Truku would gain autonomy—a promise that has not yet been implemented. But, the family of the deceased hunter never received any compensation, and the issue that sparked the demonstration eventually faded from memory. This disappointing denouement only contributed to the cynicism of ordinary Truku villagers toward the state, the park authorities, and toward the Truku political actors who speak in their name. These actors all have very different dwelling perspectives. Dr. Kung, who holds a Ph.D. from Great Britain, was escorted in a chauffeured car to fly back to Taipei

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by air. Tera Yudaw and other members of his autonomy promotion team, including local politicians from two townships, drove to their offices and homes across Hualien County. The park officials and police officers merely returned to their offices in the park headquarters. The hunters and their families from the two neighboring villages returned home on scooters and on foot, certainly returning as soon as possible to their trap lines. Although they grew up in indigenous villages, Dr. Kung, Tera Yudaw, and others like them have followed careers that took them far away from the Truku hunting grounds of their fathers. Park officials, mostly non-indigenous Taiwanese from urban areas, are well educated in forestry and related disciplines but spend more time in air-conditioned offices than in the forest. Hunters are quick to point out these differences of dwelling. Proud of their abilities to climb difficult terrain, carry back heavy animals, and endure long periods on the hunt without food or water, they point out that the Truku elite, like the non-indigenous Taiwanese, are incapable of surviving such ordeals. Truku hunters prioritize an epistemology of lived experience. They argue that forestry theory taught in Taiwan is based on the relatively flat terrain of North America, whereas their ancestors derived knowledge from generations of hunting Taiwan’s mountainous terrain. Their knowledge comes from physical experiences of using headlamps to find flying squirrels in the night, navigating steep slopes and crossing perilous cliffs to set traps, listening to dreams given to them by their ancestors, and carrying heavy animals back down the mountains. In the same way that they criticize forestry experts, they also express cynicism about their own leaders. When Truku nationalists drafted a “Taroko Constitution,” for example, some people said that it seemed to be inspired by the ROC constitution more than by Truku Gaya. Hunters claim that the superiority of their knowledge is proven by the fact that animals still inhabit the forests after 6,000 years of hunting. A reflection on Truku Gaya, thus, has practical as well as theoretical implications.

5 Entering the World of Gaya Gaya, which the Truku translates as law (“fa” in Chinese), is “at the center of the life of the Taroko, the source, criteria, and the judge of their entire personal or social life from birth to death—and after! Gaya is certainly the most sacred reality for the Taroko” (Pecoraro 1977:70). Gaya regulates relations between people in such domains as property rights and sexuality, as well as between humans and nonhumans. It regulates relations between the living and the ancestors, especially during the pig sacrifices made at weddings and other events.10 The Truku speak often of Gaya in terms of sexual morality. The ancestors enforce Gaya through punishment in the immediate life. A hunter who has committed adultery, for example, may fall and injure himself. Many Skadang and Xoxos people say 10 A

comprehensive analysis of Truku Gaya can be found in the Ph.D. dissertation by Lin (2010).


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that they violated Gaya by giving up their ancestral land and moving. Shortly after relocation, they were punished by a spate of fatal traffic accidents. The Truku also accuse people of violating Gaya if they accumulate individual wealth or political power. In acts that seriously violate Gaya, such as divorce, they appease the anger of the ancestors by sacrificing pigs. Converts to Christianity say that their new religion is the same as Gaya, calling the Ten Commandments the “ten Gaya” (Chien 2001). Hunters talk about a close relationship between hunting and the continuity of Gaya. One story, also recorded in Japanese ethnographies (Ko-jima 1996), concerns the origin of hunting. In ancient days, whenever someone wanted to eat the meat of a wild boar, mountain goat, muntjac, or other animals, he or she would simply call the animal’s name. The animal would come out of the forest and let the person extract two or three hairs from its back. The person would put the hairs in a pot and cover it with grass. After a while, the pot would be filled with meat. One day, however, a woman called a wild boar and greedily cut off its ear. The boar screamed in pain and returned to the forest, where it told other animals what had transpired. Ever since, animals are afraid of humans, and humans must hunt for food. This story is used to explain that greed is a violation of Gaya and has spiritual repercussions. Hunting, in ways not captured by state law, is intrinsically a ritual activity. When hunters enter the forest, they self-consciously enter the realm of ancestor spirits and Gaya. They begin with ritual oblations of rice wine, cigarettes, and/or betel nuts, accompanied with prayers for a successful catch and safe return. They avoid areas of the forest perceived as sacred, including places where ancestors are buried. They sometimes wait for messages from the oracle bird sisil, who communicates messages from the ancestors, predicting success or failure. Some hunters carry with them a small bag, in which they place boars’ tusks or other animal parts given to them by more experienced hunters, for good luck. Trappers rely on dreams given to them by the ancestors to inform them when an animal has been caught. Hunters, more than anyone else, are aware of Gaya, since violation of Gaya leads to failure to catch animals, injury, or even death. Successful hunting is interpreted as an outward manifestation of moral righteousness (Huang 2000; Simon 2010). Hunting is also a community relationship, as hunters bring back the meat and share it with others in ways that reinforce bonds of kinship and friendship. They are proud of their generosity and perceive game as the most valuable gift they can offer. Whether hunters return with a 100 kg boar or a small flying squirrel, giving endows the giver with a sense of identity, place, and power and binds people in an unbreakable relationship. It is considered immoral to eat alone, and those who do so are called qeulit (rats). Although there seem to be no formal rules for meat sharing, it is important in social relations and must be reciprocated. In the past, men were expected to provide meat to the parents of a prospective wife, proving his ability to hunt as a prerequisite to marriage. When they hunt in pairs or in groups, the glory of the catch and the meat are shared equally. It is a violation of Gaya to boast about one’s hunting ability, and hunters always speak about their catches collectively. Sharing is, thus, integral to Gaya. The Truku see hunting as central to their identities. The fact that they hunt on treacherous mountain terrain is meaningful, and they refer to hunting as “going up

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the mountain.” The relationship with mountains is so important that hunters expressed surprise when I said that North Americans hunt in forests that are not mountainous. Hunting is also important for linguistic survival. As a collective activity of older and younger men, it is one of the few social arenas for cross-generational communication in Truku. Men and boys speak Truku while hunting, upon arrival in the village, and while preparing meat. They refer to all talk about hunting and hunting tools as “men’s talk.” There are, however, differences in hunting practices. Almost all young men hunt flying squirrels at night by shining lights into the trees. The squirrels are stunned by the light, their eyes reflecting back the glare, which allows the hunter to identify the position of the squirrel and shoot. If he kills the squirrel, which can be difficult with hand-crafted rifles and lead pellets, he must then descend into the treacherous ravines to find it. Often, a hunting dog is used for this purpose. Trapping is practiced mainly by older men. When I asked one elderly trapper how he knows where and when to lay traps, he simply replied, “Of course I can trap here. I bought this land, and it is mine.” Thus, there seems to be a difference between trappers, who own land, and squirrel hunters, who are often young and landless. There are also a few expert hunters, also predominantly older men, who venture deep into the mountains with homemade hunting rifles and ammunition.11 There are also differences due to religious confession. Some Protestants now pray to God rather than to the ancestors and pay less attention to oracle birds. Members of the True Jesus Church avoid ancestral worship and observe biblical injunctions requiring that blood be let immediately after slaughter from animals trapped alive. If an animal is found dead in the trap, they bury the body instead of eating it, a restriction that means True Jesus trappers inspect their lines more frequently. The Catholics are more open to syncretic practices. Because all of these complex practices require intimate knowledge of the forests, hunters have extensive knowledge of animals. These dwelling experiences, far more than the legal classification of “indigenous” on personal ID cards or what Ingold (2000: 133) calls the “genealogical model” of indigeneity, explain differences between most indigenous and non-indigenous people but also within those groups. Truku hunters point out that non-humans are better at observing human behavior than are humans at observing theirs. Monkeys, for example, can distinguish between the sight of a hunter’s gun and that of a farmer trying to scare them with a broom. Similarly, they disperse at the sound of gunshot but remain unfazed by similar sounding firecrackers. Flying squirrels watch curiously at men eating and drinking around a campfire, but disappear into the forest when the hunt begins. One hunter told me, “We are unable to catch local squirrels, since they know us and run when they see us coming. We can only catch the occasional squirrel who come from outside, since they are naive.” Birds intentionally convey messages to humans, especially about the success or failure of the hunt. Hunters say that animals try to pre-empt hunting attacks, as wild boars may charge hunters or mountain goats may push a hunter over the edge of a cliff. These are intentional acts, as the same animals would not attack 11 For

a detailed study of Truku hunting practices, written by a Truku hunter, see Huang (2000).


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pleasure hikers. This knowledge of animal behavior is created from actual experience with animals in the mountain forests. This perspective is very different from the natural epistemologies taught in Taiwanese schools and promoted in the visitors’ center of the Taroko National Park. The permanent exhibit shows the Linnaean classifications of the animals and plants one is likely to view in the park. The very last panel, presenting the “indigenous hunter,” says that hunters destroy the environment by killing animals and that poaching should be reported to park police. In this perspective, human beings, even those who inhabited the forests before the establishment of the park, are foreign to the environment and should be removed in an ethic of “conservation.” For the hunters, this reveals an intolerable difference in power between them and the powerful nonindigenous people who simply do not understand Taiwan and its natural world. To many of them, the prohibition of hunting is only the latest blow in a history of injustice.

6 Contemporary Hunting Practices Long-term participant observation with Truku hunters lends credence to their claim that Taiwan’s game animal population has survived and thrived for millennia because of their hunting practices. An understanding of Truku epistemologies suggests that their knowledge may be relevant for conservation and, thus, for the work of comanagement boards. In the 1990s, wildlife biologist Kurtis Pei (whose research methods are quite ethnographic) found that Rukai hunters in southern Taiwan have a hunting system that contributes to sustainable populations. It does so through three characteristics: (1) hunting only in the winter and mainly on hoofed animals with higher reproductive performance; (2) scattered distribution of hunting territories that disperses hunting and leaves most areas as effective wildlife protection areas; and (3) limiting the number of hunters in each hunting territory (Pei 1999). Fikret Berkes (2008), however, has noted that there are two further requirements for making management of such common resources work: (1) members of a given community must be able to exclude outsiders and (2) they must have ways of making and reinforcing rules for resource use among themselves. Truku hunters meet the above conditions quite well. With very few exceptions, they hunt in the winter, when it is possible to keep the meat fresh for longer periods of time, and when they are not busy with agricultural work. They hunt mostly hoofed animals, with a preference for the Formosan Wild Boar (Sus scrofa taiwanus), the Formosan Reeve’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi micrurus), the Formosan Serow, or mountain goat (Capricornis swinhoei), and, but only rarely and by specialists, the high elevation Formosan Sambar (Cervus unicolor swinhoei). For pleasure and selfconsumption, young men, in particular, shoot flying squirrels, and there is some bird hunting, although these activities are not considered to be “real hunting.” Other animals, including macaques and civet cats may be caught accidentally in traps and are eaten. It is widely considered a violation of Gaya to kill the Formosan Black

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Bear, people saying that ancestral retribution will arrive quickly as deaths in the immediate family of the hunter. The favored species tend to be precisely those that wildlife biologists identify as having the highest reproduction rates. Conservationists generally agree with hunters that the Formosan Wild Boar and the Formosan Reeve’s Muntjac could be hunted sustainably and that the sambar is not in danger (Hsu and Agoramoorthy 1 997). Pei (1999) even thinks that some animals can be hunted sustainably for a game meat market. The boar, the capture of which brings great prestige to hunters, can certainly be considered a cultural keystone species, defined by Garibaldi and Turner (2004: 15) as “culturally salient species that shape in a major way the cultural identity of a people. Their importance is reflected in the fundamental roles these species play in diet, materials, medicine, and/or spiritual practices.” The boar figures prominently in the above legend about the origin of hunting. Hunters use boar teeth as talismans, and young men wear them as jewelry as signs of their virility. The boar and the domestic pig play important roles in the generalized reciprocity between the living and the dead: the living sacrifice domestic pigs regularly to the ancestors, and the ancestors give success in hunting, especially boars, to those who uphold Gaya. Like Rukai hunters, Truku hunters have widely scattered hunting areas. Due to hunting restrictions, the most common form of hunting is for farmers to lay a few traps near their fields for the wild boars that attack their crops. Based on my observations, they are rarely successful, saying that the boars have a strong olfactory sense and can smell human traces on even a well hidden trap. The more active hunters all have very clearly defined hunting territories, and all members of the community are quite clear about who hunts where. This is the main rule within the community for hunting management and seems to be strictly enforced. Hunters also insist that they are able to exclude outsiders. Nonetheless, their options for enforcement of local norms are limited. Like elsewhere in the world, where encapsulating states have displaced former, self-regulating institutions (Spaeder and Feit 2005), the state-based regime risks contributing to a tragedy of the commons. The trapping lines require difficult labor, which is where the dwelling perspective is especially revealing. Trappers must carve paths through the forest on steep slopes, often crossing dangerous cliffs, and they must do so regularly as the rain forest vegetation grows back quickly. In fact, part of the difficulty of this work is conquering the fear of heights. The trap lines are socially recognized as the product of human labor and as belonging to individuals. Due to the difficult terrain and the need to maintain the paths, trappers rarely establish trap lines far from their hamlets or agricultural lands, making it easier to exclude outsiders. The need to navigate steep slopes while carrying heavy animals, a wild boar weighing up to 100 kg and a mountain goat up to 30 kg, means that hunters tend not to stray too far from their hamlets, their work sheds, or the main roads. Hunters and trappers are expected to share the meat equally with anyone who accompanies them and helps carry the load. Hunters must also cut paths through the forest and, thus, work in similar ways. The one renowned sambar hunter I worked with, who unfortunately passed away during my research, was actually a good example of this, as he set up a temporary hunting lodge during the winter months near his hunting paths. From the perspective of the


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animals, who can navigate terrain inaccessible to humans, this means that hunters are widely dispersed and that most territory is effectively protected area. Hunters and trappers alike say that they do not hunt at the higher elevations, meaning that they capture only surplus populations that move away from those protected areas and toward human settlements. In line with the usual balance of power between states and indigenous peoples, some conservationists suggest that hunting can be sustainable “if the government develops an effective management system of sustainable use” (Hsu and Agoramoorthy 1997:835, emphasis added). A political ecological approach, combined with Ingold’s dwelling perspective, suggests just the opposite. Governments and office-bound bureaucrats are part of the problem; indigenous hunters with epistemologies and ontologies rooted in the forests of their ancestors are more likely to provide effective solutions. Most hunters recognize that they need some kind of institutional framework for hunting, and some of them told me quite frankly that they had overhunted during the 1970s and 1980s when the Taiwanese economy was growing rapidly and the bushmeat market appeared as a lucrative source of income. But, observing the renewal of animal populations since then, they wish to hunt and in ways that they control themselves.

7 Conclusion Current practices in the Taroko National Park obstruct Truku autonomy, as the Truku are excluded from all decision-making processes that affect their lives and lands. Truku activists hope for co-management, noting an affinity between the park’s goals of conservation and hunters’ hopes to guarantee game animals for generations. From the perspective of Truku hunters, cultural survival and wildlife survival are closely interwoven. Thriving wildlife communities are necessary to maintain hunting practices, certain rituals, and social norms of reciprocity. Hunters, who call the mountains their “ice-box,” are concerned about the survival of boars, muntjacs, and squirrels. The relevant ends for Truku hunters are an affirmation of masculinity and community identity. Hunting also contributes to intergenerational knowledge transmission and linguistic survival. National Park administrators, on the other hand, work toward wildlife conservation and generally perceive the death of even one individual animal as an obstacle to that goal. For the Truku, knowledge of animals, and especially of certain mammals, ranks among their greatest intellectual assets. Perhaps it would be a good idea, as Thornton (2010) has proposed for Alaska, to think of natural resource management as cultural repatriation rather than as co-management of empty wilderness. Recognition that Truku stewardship of their forests, or even of certain cultural keystone species such as the Wild Boar, constitutes cultural property that is inalienable but that has been violated and can be repatriated, might be a step in the right direction. Based on this understanding, it would then be possible to create new hunting institutions based on

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Gaya in which hunters could legally hunt one or two of the more populous species in return for an obligation to participate actively in the stewardship of the forests. It is certainly worth studying other examples of co-stewardship, such as that of the James Bay Cree, where Cree hunters serve as tallymen of the forest (Scott 2005), and participating hunters are guaranteed an income even when not hunting (Scott and Feit 1992). In fact, the Cree, trapping for Euro-American markets in a similar colonial situation, depleted beaver populations until their resource tenure was recognized (Berkes 2008). Berkes (2008) argues that indigenous knowledge contributes to conservation only when autonomous communities can contribute to common rights regimes with rules of access, etc., in a process of participatory, community-based resource management. If appropriate institutions can be created, wildlife management may become an effective arena to promote both conservation and indigenous autonomy. Although the actual management of hunting should be done by Truku hunters themselves, perhaps on co-management boards, I think that this research leads to some useful policy suggestions on how to implement existing laws calling for the legalization of indigenous hunting and the creation of co-management boards (see below). Perhaps the most important applied contribution of this article is that it demonstrates the utility of Ingold’s dwelling perspective when planning the composition of co-management boards. There is a difference between the grizzled old trapper who brings meat to a church feast every Sunday and the retired high school principal who gives speeches about Truku hunters in English at the UN. All of these people can claim indigenous status by what Ingold (2000:150) calls a “criterion of descent,” but only hunters maintain a sense of real kinship with other creatures that share the same forests. If co-management boards are to contribute effectively to goals of autonomy and conservation, they must include not only park administrators and well-educated indigenous activists but also experienced hunters and trappers who may lack the educational credentials of the state.

8 Policy Suggestions 1. The first hurdle is legislative. In accordance with the Basic Law, the Wildlife Conservation Act should be revised to permit indigenous people to trap, as only this change can make other suggestions possible. 2. The Basic Law permits hunting for cultural and subsistence uses, but this has been interpreted to mean that local associations (NGOs) apply to township offices for permission to kill a specified number of specific specie, for public rituals and ceremonies. This actually violates Gaya, according to some hunters, as only the ancestors give animals to hunters and determine the number. The understanding of culture must be expanded to permit hunting and trapping by individuals. 3. Incentives should be provided to hunters and trappers, perhaps identified as “stewards of the boar,” to encourage them to join a new management regime. An income security program, like that of the James Bay Cree, could give them a minimum


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income all year but on the condition that they hunt and trap within agreed-upon limits (e.g., regarding species, seasons, catch limits, zoning, etc.). At a minimum, trappers could be given better traps and training (e.g., on how to remove human smells from traps) in exchange for joining a licensing regime. 4. Legalization of trapping would make it possible to better regulate traplines. Currently, Taroko National Park officials ask Truku men to stop trapping in the name of hikers’ safety. Legalization would make it possible to more clearly demarcate traplines, with signs warning hikers to stay on official park paths. 5. Legalization would make it possible for trappers to acquire better traps and would make it possible for co-management boards to require the use of certified traps. Currently, trappers use old foothold traps with tightly closing jaws that they purchased when trapping was still legal. If these could be replaced with modified traps triggered only by heavier animals (such as boars), they could minimize the risk of capturing non-target animals such as civet cats and macaques. 6. Legalization would make it possible to conform to international humane trapping standards, similar to those developed by Canada, the European Union, and Russia. Legalization would make it possible for trappers to report catches, as well as to turn in non-target animals to co-management boards, practices that would make it possible for conservationists to gather better information on species populations.

References Berkes, F. (2008). Sacred ecology. London: United Kingdom: Routledge. Blaser, M. (2004). Life projects: Indigenous peoples’ agency and development. In M. Blaser, H. A. Feit, & G. McRae (Eds.), The way of development: Indigenous peoples, life projects, and globalization (pp. 26–46). London: Zed Books. Blaser, M. (2009). The threat of the yrmo: The political ontology of a sustainable hunting program. American Anthropologist, 111(1), 10–20. Chi, C. C. (2001). Capitalist expansion and indigenous land rights: Emerging environmental justice issues in Taiwan. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 2(2), 135–153. Chien, H. M. (2001). The conversion experience of Taiwan’s indigenous people: The case of Meihsi Village, Jen’ai District, Nantou County. Inter-religio, 40, 46–63. Descola, P. (2005). Par-delà nature et culture. Paris: France: Éditions Gallimard. Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Garibaldi, A., & Nancy, T. (2013). Cultural keystone species: Implications for ecological conservation and restoration. Ecology and Society, 9(3). Retrieved February 22, 2013, from Hsu, M. J., & Agoramoorthy, G. (1997). Wildlife conservation in Taiwan. Conservation Biology, 11(4), 834–838. Huang, C. H. (2000). Hunting culture of the Eastern Seediq Group [Dong Saideke qun de shoulie wenhua]. Minzuxue yanjiusuo ziliao huibian 15. Taipei: Taiwan: Academia Sinica. Ingold, T. (2000). The perception of the environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling, and skill. London: Routledge. Kojima, Y. (1996). Fanzu Xiguan Diaocha Baogao Shu, Di yi juan, Taiyazu. Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, trans. Taipei, Taiwan: Academia Sinica Institute of Ethnology.

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Lin, C. H. (2010). Women and Land: Privatization, Gender Relations, and Social Change in Truku Society, Taiwan. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh. Nadasdy, P. (2003). Hunters and bureaucrats: Power, knowledge, and aboriginal- state relations in the Southwest Yukon. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Nadasdy, P. (2005). The Anti-Politics of TEK: The institutionalization of co- management discourse and practice. Anthropologica, 47(2), 215–232. Niezen, R. (2003). The origins of indigenism: Human rights and the politics of identity. Berkeley: University of California. Pei, K. (1999). Hunting system of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan, Republic of China. Proceedings of the International Union of Game Biologists XXIV Congress, Thessaloniki, Greece, Retrieved Feb 22, 2013 from Pecoraro, F. (1977). Essai de dictionnaire Taroko-Français. Paris, France: SECMI. Republic of China (ROC). (2005). Basis Law on Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved August 15, 2012 from 50B4006467D4B40DD3AC1D7378. Scott C. H. (2005). Co-management and the politics of aboriginal consent to resource development: The agreement concerning a new relationship between Le Gouvernement du Québec and the Crees of Québec. In M. Murphy (Ed.), Canada, the state of the federation 2003: Reconfiguring aboriginal-state relations (pp. 133–163). Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Scott, C. H., & Feit, H. A. (1992). Income security for cree hunters: Ecological, social, and economic effects. Montreal, Canada: McGill Programme in the Anthropology of Development. Simon, S. (2007). Paths to autonomy: Aboriginality and the Nation in Taiwan. In C. Storm & M. Harrison (Eds.), The Margins of Becoming: Identity and Culture in Taiwan (pp. 221–240). Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz. Simon, S. (2010). Animals, ghosts, and ancestors: Traditional knowledge of truku hunters on formosa. In D. Kapoor & E. Shizha (Eds.), Indigenous knowledge and learning in Asia/Pacific and Africa: Perspectives on development, education and culture (pp. 81–95). London, United Kingdom: Routledge Press. Simon, S. (2012a). Sadyaq balae! L’ autochtonie formosane dans tous ses états. Québec, Canada: Presses de l’Université Laval. Simon, S. (2012b). Politics and headhunting among the formosan sejiq: Ethnohistorical perspectives. Oceania, 82(2), 164–185. Simon, S., & Awi, M. (2013). Human rights and indigenous self-government: The taiwanese experience. In S. S. Bagchi & A. Das (Eds.), Human rights and the third world: Issues and discourses (pp. 99–122). Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. Spaeder, J. J., & Feit, H. A. (2005). Co-management and indigenous communities: Barriers and bridges to decentralized resource management-introduction. Anthropologica, 47(2), 147–154. Spak, S. (2005). The position of indigenous knowledge in canadian co-management organizations. Anthropologica, 47(2), 233–246. Stevenson, M. (2006). The possibility of difference: Re-thinking co-management. Human Organization, 65(2), 167–180. Thornton, T. F. (2010). A tale of three parks: Tlingit conservation, representation, and repatriation in Southeast Alaska’s National Park. Human Organization 69(2), 107– 118.

Scott Simon is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Ottawa (Canada), and specializes in Indigenous rights and political ecology. Having done Taiwan Studies since 1996 and more than three years of fieldwork in Seediq/Truku communities, he has written three books and many other publications about Taiwan in English, French, and Chinese. His 2012 book Sadyaq Balae: L’autochtonie formosane dans tous ses états (in French) is about Indigenous-state relations in Taiwan. He is working on a new ethnography about Seediq/Truku lifeworlds; and doing research on human-animal relations in the Austronesian Pacific.

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan Darryl Sterk

1 Introduction According to Karen Thornber in her monograph Ecoambiguity, the Taiwan indigenous writer Topas Tamapima’s last hunter character indulges in “sport hunting” (Thornber 2012: 133). The last hunter Biyari is reluctant to change his “lifestyle” (134). He “believes he should be able to use landscapes to fulfil his personal desires, even when this means hunting the forest’s most endangered animals” (135). Thornber writes as if Biyari is a selfish consumer who chooses the most pleasurable lifestyle in wilful ignorance of the environmental cost. In this article, I put indigenous hunters like Biyari into cultural context and appreciate what they have to offer to an environmental ethic. Where Thornber does not find “significantly different perceptions of ideal relationships with the nonhuman” (135) in Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter,” I see in indigenous hunting stories survivals of a “gift culture” that speaks to issues of sustainability and community. I interpret “the hunter’s gift” in three stories—Auvini Kadresengan’s “Eternal Ka-balhivane” (Home to Return to), Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter,” and Badai’s “Ginger Road”—as a symbol of ecological and social integration, which can be understood in contrast to appropriation as well as alienation. The sociologist Helmuth Berking argued that early man perceived appropriation from nature as a problem. The solution was to reconceive appropriation as “an This chapter was previously published in Archiv orientální 81.3 (2013), pp. 555–580. I am much obliged to the editor Táˇna Dluhošová for permission to reprint. Thanks to Henning Klöter and Ann Heylen for inviting me to the International Symposium on Taiwan Literature Off the Mainstream at Ruhr University Bochum on 5–6 November, 2010, where the first version of this article was presented, to the anonymous reviewers, and to many friends for comments. The research for this article was supported by an ROC National Science Council grant (No. 101-2410-H-002-206-). D. Sterk (B) Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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exchange relation”—an exchange of gifts—in which hunters ritually returned the souls of animals to the lord of the hunt and shared the meat “among the mothers and children” (Berking 1999: 57). Ritual sharing consecrated the community and integrated it into nature. The consumption of meat bought in plastic-wrapped styrofoam trays no longer carries such meanings. Though we appreciate the social value of a turkey dinner, we often eat alone and tend to think of turkey in terms of price, pleasure or calories. In contemporary indigenous villages in Taiwan, however, hunting remains a ritual act performed in accordance with the traditional moral order, which encompasses nature and humanity. According to the anthropologist Scott Simon, oblations must be made, and taboos respected, when Truku hunters in Hua-lien (Hualian) County “go up the mountain.” When they come down, hunting is “a sign of masculinity, a source of prestige, and proof of one’s moral standing,” which means it is about “sharing and community building” (Simon 2010: 90, 93). Yet, today indigenous hunters often break the law by selling wild games. They may deny that the state has any right to interfere, but in appropriating the gift of nature they have accepted “alienation,” the logic of capitalism. For modern indigenous writers, then, hunting is not just a symbol of integration; it is also a site at which to explore the effects of modernity. The three authors I discuss in this article dramatize conflicts between cultural, social, ecological or economic values in exchanges between hunters and their families, businessmen, policemen, and consumers, in order to work out their own mixed feelings about modernity. As each had a modern upbringing—Auvini Kadresengan became an accountant, Topas Tamapima a doctor, Badai a lieutenant colonel—none rejects modernity outright. Yet while they appreciate the convenience of the commodity and the need for state authority, their stories inscribe a desire for self-sufficient social and ecological integration in a gift economy.

2 Gift Economy, Alienation, Ecorealism With the goal of building an interpretive framework, I begin by contextualizing the anthropology of gift economy, show how Marcel Mauss’s notion of “the spirit of the gift” resists alienation by weaving people and things together into networks of relationships or webs of meaning, then consider “(magic) ecorealist fiction” as a genre of integration that sometimes literally speaks to contemporary ecological and social concerns. Ever since Marcel Mauss’s The Gift, published in French in 1923–4, problems of liberal capitalism have been in the background of the study of gift culture. In his great monograph, Mauss addresses the “crisis” in liberal theory if not in “liberal society” (Mauss 2002: 5, 84). Liberal philosophers had claimed a social role for homo oeconomicus—for rational, free, self-interested market agents exchanging commodities according to “icy, utilitarian calculation” (98). The invisible hand would make society richer and allow everyone to give more gifts in private life, thereby melting the ice of the market. In liberalism, gift-giving was also supposed to be voluntary (even though we are obliged to reciprocate on specific occasions like birthdays and Christmas).

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Mauss wanted to toss the liberal fiction of the frosty free individual, along with the distinction between gift and commodity, “into the melting pot once more” (93). He suggested a return to a more social notion of man and the archaic or primitive gift. In the olden days, and certain remote places, there was no distinction between gift and commodity. All exchange was gift exchange, and the gift was a kind of unwritten, involuntary, socially enforced contract. Like a legal contract, it carried obligations. According to Mauss, there were three obligations: one had to give, to receive, and, at the appropriate time, to return the gift in some other form. Gift obligations tied people together in numerous ways: “the object received as a gift, the received object in general, engages, links magically, religiously, morally, juridically, the giver and the receiver” (Mauss 1997: 29). In the kind of community Mauss had in mind, there was no free market in which “[a] simple exchange of goods, wealth, and products in transactions concluded by individuals” could occur (Mauss 2002: 6). The only site of exchange was the “economy of the exchange-through-gift,” and any exchange in this “gift economy” was meaningful in multiple ways (92). Giver and receiver, as representatives of clans, not individuals, were tied more and more tightly as they exchanged the roles of giver and receiver, passing wealth back and forth. Trade was not an end in itself. The point was the exchange of “politeness” and the “recognition” of social roles (6. 52). Unfortunately, in the potlatch in the late nineteenth century, superior and inferior roles were recognized: chiefs gave away vast amounts of wealth to put their peers to shame. The potlatch was a status economy. Yet, though gift culture was not entirely unproblematic, Mauss still preferred it to liberalism. One of the attractions in gift culture for Mauss was the spiritual or religious dimension. In a gift culture, a return gift has to be made because the spirit of the giver remains in the gift. To give a gift is to give “a part” of one’s living “spiritual essence” (16). In a culture in which all exchange is gift exchange, “[e]verything passes to and fro as if there were a constant exchange of a spiritual matter, including things and men…” (18). Like the whole, the parts are alive: they even have feelings and desires. They can roam around, but ultimately the spirit of the gift “wishes to return to its birthplace” (15). Thus, things are “personified,” both in themselves and as synecdoches, as parts of a larger whole. Personified things can talk, of course, or at least they could. “Everything speaks…” said one Trobriand islander (44). We have very good reasons for making the distinction between things and persons, of course, but we might try to hear things speak, at least in our imaginations, as a way of overcoming alienation. From a Marxist perspective, alienation is one of the basic problems of liberalism, in which market agents buy and sell (i.e., alienate) commodities without forming or acknowledging social ties. According to the early Marx, the worker in a capitalist regime confronts the product of his labour as “an alien object exercising power over him” (Marx 1988: 75). He finds himself trapped in a world of objects to which he is in thrall. He is alienated from himself, so much so that he does not realize he is alienated. He is alienated from nature, too. “Man lives on nature – means that nature is his body, with which he must remain in continuous interchange if he is not to die” (76). The only contact the industrial worker had with nature was the industrially processed food he ate, which had no obvious connection to plants in the ground or animals in


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the forest. Mauss did not use the term “alienation” in The Gift. Yet when he writes that, “[t]he economic prejudices of the people, the producers, arise from their firm determination to follow the thing they have produced, and from the strong feeling they have that their handiwork is resold without their having had any share of the profit,” he seems to articulate resistance to alienation (85). People in a gift economy tend not to suffer social alienation as an effect of exchange, because the spirits of the gifts they exchange keep them tied together. Not making a strict distinction between “society” and “nature,” people did not suffer ecological alienation, either. Mauss touched on the “thanksgiving rites” whereby premodern people discharged obligations to the gods (Mauss 2002: 19). Marshall Sahlins pointed out in 1974 that the text which gave Mauss the idea of the spirit of the gift, the famous discourse of the Maori sage Tamati Ranapiri, was about “a sacrificial repayment to the forest for the game birds taken by Maori fowlers” (Sahlins 2004: 156). Fowlers could take birds from the forest, but could not appropriate without return. For Maori fowlers, what alienation could there be, in theory? Exchange on the ground is, of course, more complicated, but many who make use of gift theory have not done fieldwork and tend to contrast more than compare. For the literary critic Lewis Hyde, for instance, the principles of a gift economy are “flow” and “abundance,” not the “accumulation” and “scarcity” of capitalism (Hyde 2007: 27). But anyone who engages with gift theory has to remember that gift and commodity are “ideal types,” as are “gift culture” and “commodity culture.” Even in a liberal-capitalist society, in which any number of gift cultures can thrive, there is at least little sociality in any purchase, a little self-interest in any gift, and a lot of sociality and self-interest in any bribe. Nor should one assume that the distinction between premodern and modern according to, for instance, the presence or absence of “markets” is self-evident. Marxists insist that the market is a modern invention of a state to defend the interests of a ruling class (Graeber 2001: 10). Liberals argue the market is a venerable grassroots form of efficient exchange which modern states can help regulate, arguing against a clear break between premodern and modern in terms of the form of exchange. Regardless, we should not fail to acknowledge that for local people living in small communities without permanent power structures, the introduction of capitalism with state assistance can be an awful imposition. The Marxist anthropologist Michael Taussig has studied how local people respond to the encounter with capitalism. Discovering devil worship among the miners and plantation workers in South America, he argued that, “the devil is a stunningly apt symbol of the alienation experienced by peasants as they enter the ranks of the proletariat” (Taussig 2010: xi). In “the Andean version of the story of Faustus,” a peasant sold (i.e., alienated) his soul to rationalize appropriation (208). However, according to Taussig, devil belief might “stimulate the political action necessary to thwart or transcend the process of commodity formation,” because proletarianized peasants might fight back (17). The literary scholar Mark Osteen has used the Ojibwe writer Louise Erdrich as an example in his own investigation of resistance to consumer alienation. Osteen argues that the “discourse of the gift” can stop modern consumers from “frantically calculating self-interest and exchanging commodities that do nothing more than

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confirm [their] alienation,” because it “recovers some respect for these immaterial qualities – the spirituality and sociality – of subjects and objects” (Osteen 2002: 244). In Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible,” a used automobile (whose origin the narrator does not reveal) is converted into an inalienable possession when two brothers take a trip in it. It becomes a symbol in the story of their brotherhood. Taussig studied oral narratives at the production end, Osteen written ones at the consumption end, raising the issue of interpretive method: how could there be a “one size fits all” approach to the reading of stories about gifts from different kinds of societies? There is attention to the oral narrative in anthropological writing about the gift. Mauss wrote that every gift has “its name, a personality, a history, and even a tale attached to it” (Mauss 2002: 30). Annette Weiner’s “inalienable possessions,” which defined a clan’s social distinctiveness, were inalienable partly by virtue of narrative: they were authenticated by “fictive or true genealogies, origin myths, sacred ancestors, and gods” (Weiner 1992: 33). But premodern narratives are problematic for critique. They might be “fictive.” Stories about artefacts might leave out the process of creation (Graeber 2001: 185). On the other hand, stories capitalists and consumers tell about the commodities they sell or purchase are problematic because they tend to leave out production. I adopt “ecorealism” as an interpretative framework for the modern stories I discuss in this article. This term is currently used in and outside of literary studies to mean that ecological degradation is real, but to my knowledge it has not been used to designate a genre of fiction. In the nineteenth century literary realism, a thirdperson omniscient narrator tells a putatively objective story about the integration of the individual into society, and in an ecorealist work there would be a further integration into nature. Realist fiction was originally a bourgeois art form but can be put to other uses, or interpreted with other concerns in mind. Thus, according to Fredric Jameson, moments of “daydreaming” in realist narratives “tell us about the otherwise inconceivable link between wish-fulfilment and realism, between desire and history” (Jameson 1981: 182). Reading allegorically, Jameson unearths utopian desire in a Balzac novel. In other words, realism is capacious, capacious enough I would argue to include nature. An ecorealist narrator would place individual and collective human action in both social and ecological context, without neglecting the “social lives” of things (Appadurai 1986: 3). No mere prop, each thing would have its own role to play in an ecorealist story. I see a special role for modern indigenous writers in the development of this critical and possibly utopian genre. Modern indigenous writers have often experienced proletarianization and have almost certainly encountered socialist and environmental discourses, which they may understand in terms of the modes of perception and the morality of the gift economy. To simplify greatly, if Juan Valdez’s son became a writer, he would tend to tell a story about the production implicit in a cup of coffee. He or she might add a magic realist touch: the myriad presences in the coffee might begin to speak, drowning out the popular music and the traffic noise in the curbside café. Reading an ecorealist story about coffee, you would discover you are playing a role in a coffee drama. You have to interact with the other actors on the stage, from the good earth and the farmer to the distributor and the barista. You are obliged to all


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of these people, for they have given you a gift. If you view a coffee as a commodity, by contrast, you do not have to listen to any stories. You have paid for your coffee. You can decide, based on “marginal utility,” if the pleasure of another cup is worth the price. Rather than a cup of coffee, the metaphor I explore in this article is the hunter’s gift, of meat or articles obtained in exchange for meat. The hunter’s gift, which can be given, taken, stolen or sold in service of many different value agendas, seems to have many symbolic possibilities, but has received almost no scholarly attention. The anthropologist Christopher Hill argues that the hunter founder story about the hunter’s gift of meat “serves in Mende oral histories as a symbolic statement validating contemporary authority patterns” (Hill 1984: 654). The three ecorealist stories I discuss are clearly not intended to naturalize hierarchy. Rather, they serve as reminders that the land and community are inalienable possessions, not sources of natural resources and labour power. As a trilogy, they tell a story that moves outward in space as it travels forward in time. It is a story in which a premodern hunter walks a hundred kilometres from home to alienate the gift of the ancestors, in which a modern hunter who has tried and failed to make it in the big city hopes to give the gift of the forest only to have it confiscated, and in which a contemporary hunter who can read the business news about billionaire investors in distant cities gives the gift of nature even when he has the chance to sell. It seems to be a story about accommodation to scarcity, alienation, and control in the long Formosan indigenous encounter with modernity, but it is also a story about the critical potential of resistance and desire.

3 The Hunter’s Gift and the Indigenous Encounter with Modernity In 1624, the Dutch East India Company established a colony in southwest Taiwan. Chinese farmers worked the fields; and there was a lively trade between foreign guests and aboriginal hosts. Trade continued through the Cheng (Zheng) era and into the Ching (Qing) dynasty. In John R. Shepherd’s account, Trade was necessary to acquire the shot and powder needed for aborigine hunting guns, as well as the textiles and ornaments that satisfied an expanding need for creature comforts. To acquire these goods and to meet the demands of the state and interpreters for revenue and squeeze, the plains aborigines overhunted the deer herds. (1993: 365)

This “deer economy” was exhausted by the first half of the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century, the plains aborigines had mostly Sinified. Although the people who lived in the mountains were more isolated, they traded for the same commodities, by cash or barter. Meanwhile, gift economy must have persisted within the community as it does in the modern family. This is the historical geography in which I wish to discuss the first literary hunter’s gift.

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


3.1 The Alienated Gift in Auvini Kadresengan’s “Eternal Ka-Balhivane (Home to Return to)” Auvini Kadresengan was born in southwest Taiwan in the Rukai hamlet of Kochapongan, located a day’s hike into the mountains from the nearest town on the plains. The author recalls gathering herbs, schlepping them down to town to sell, then using the money to take a bus to Ping-tung (Pingdong) City, just to see a motion picture. It is undeniable that he should be understood in a context of mechanized transport and mass entertainment, and I take up his modernity below. I discuss his story first because it appears to recreate a premodern village with minimal market contact and a mode of perception that recalls Mauss’s spirit of the gift. At the start of the story, the narrator conveys an animistic sense of beneficent vocal presences. Stones speak, the falling leaves speak, the steps the hunter takes speak—even the hunter’s calluses speak—of the brevity of life. Everything speaks, or sings, and all speech, or song, is a gift: a bird sings of blessings, and when the horticulturalist hunter hero Esai asks the ancestors to bestow blessings upon him, the ancestors sing through the birdcalls, assuring him that his hunt will go well. Esai seems innocent of the modern world, but he carries a gun, an industrial product, and a market commodity. He did not use money to buy it but obtained it through barter. Esai and a neighbour travel down from the hills to the plain in Tai-tung (Taidong) in south-eastern Taiwan to trade with a headman, who has in turn been trading with “people from elsewhere” (Kadresengan 2005: 101). Most of the description concerns the rituals of hospitality surrounding the barter. The montagnards present the plainsman with mountain products. These things were given by the ancestors; now they are given away. The hospitable headman receives them with sweet rice wine. Then the barter itself takes place “amid excited smiles that would produce singing in a dream” (102). The young deer and set of antlers that Esai has brought, along with his “beloved Dutch rifle,” are worth one shell shoulder belt, a roll of wire (for snares), and an American rifle (101). Then Esai and his neighbour go into the hills and bring back a log for a new mortar for the headman (presumably to pound sweet rice to make more wine). In return, the headman gives them food for the road. The barter is embedded in a gift exchange, following norms of hospitality that modern consumers have mostly forgotten. “Eternal Ka-balhivane” does not, however, describe a way of life that is predominately based on barter. It is about a largely self-sufficient community in which calculating self-interest apparently never figures. Community members live in a world not of commodities but inalienable possessions. On the way home from Tai-tung, Esai dreams of an old woman who presents him with gifts. When later Esai brings down a young buck (perhaps to replace the deer he traded away), he thinks his dream has come true. Observing tradition, Esai and his companion show gratitude to the ancestors by conducting the fallen leaf ritual, which involves a sacrificial offering— a part of the prey that is returned to the original giver—and a liturgy: “We are still immature, but our hearts are pious, we offer this small heartfelt gift” (103). They go on to ask the ancestors for wisdom, love, calm spirits, and grateful hearts. In this


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way, they return the gift in verbal and material form. When Esai arrives home, the proceeds of the barter, along with the young buck, are welcomed into the community. They are offered to the ancestors in a ritual in which they take on personalities: the gun, for instance, is given a life, a soul, and a name. Meanwhile, Esai’s wife admires the craftsmanship of the shoulder belt. In John Balcom’s translation, “a lot of time had gone into making it” (106). Translating more literally: every detail “showed the time behind the life of this thing” (Kadresengan 2003: 167). The origin of the life of the thing is not included in the story, though Esai’s wife must have some idea of how much work went into it. She recites a blessing, thanking the ancestors for what the family has been given, thanking the gun, even thanking the steel wire, “like a dog curled in sleep” (Kadresengan 2005: 106). Once these objects have gained membership in the community, they become inalienable possessions. The belt, for instance, is to be a betrothal gift for when Esai’s young son gets married. This belt gives us reason to question the romantic assumption that economic considerations did not apply in old Kochapongan. Esai reflects that the belt will suffice if his son marries an aristocrat’s daughter, but if he marries a chief’s daughter an ancestral ceramic vessel will have to be added. The belt has value in the local status economy. Even so, the gift will not be used to purchase the bride. The gift is not a “bride price.” It will be given, as will the bride, along with gifts from the bride’s family. Rukai marriage was a Maussian gift exchange. Yet it is also important that the betrothal gift is obtained through barter. Indeed, the story seems to be as much about the influence of markets and technological modernity on social and ecological relations as about “tradition.” (Though the author projects eternity upon the community or the landscape in the title of the story, all cultures and ecosystems are in a state of change.) Following Esai’s return to the village, the narrator launches into a list of the prey animals Esai hunts and traps with rifle and wire snare: 120 deer, over 70 boar, and 3 bear. This hunting orgy gives Esai the right to count himself “among the glorious lily bearers,” to participate in a public ceremony in which the chief confers a lily headdress upon him (108). But Esai’s hunting exploits are overkill. Only 6 boar were required to bear the lilies (Taiban 2006: 68). Esai hunts for industrial goods and for status. The former he obtains by barter, the latter as recognition for contributions to the community. Whether the improvements in hunting technology had any impact on the norms of the status economy, they seem to have had an ecological effect: Esai laments a “decline in nature” (Kadresengan 2005: 109). Though Esai respects taboos against the hunting of smaller animals as well as the clouded leopard (which accompanied the first hunter to Kochapongan), ecological equilibrium has been lost. But the hunters carry on hunting all the same. Over two decades later, Esai returns to the plain to trade, with the son of the headman, for salt and matches, needle and thread, handwoven fabric (a betrothal gift for his daughter), and a new rifle. The rifle is the third in the story. The latest technology, it bears what sounds like a brand name. Esai has become a consumer, perhaps even a technophile. Unfortunately, he is unable to enjoy his new toys, or welcome them into the community: he goes missing on the way home.

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


The loss to the community goes uncompensated by any widening of perspective. Esai was granted a vision of ancestral battles and journeys on his first trip home through the realm of the ancestors, but he knows nothing of the provenance of the products he obtains through barter, nor does the narrator display any curiosity. They are merely bought objects of desire brought from far away. Yet the fact remains that Esai trades ancestral gifts for industrial products. Auvini Kadresengan explained that the soul of the deer might migrate into the gun, which would then bear the deer’s biography. But what about the ultimate fate of the antlers? Even if stories attach to them, part of their biography will be lost, and a story about how the lives of different beings are interconnected will be incomplete. The narrator does not confront this issue. Esai died in a local world that modernity was only just beginning to change. Given that the author was born sixteen years after the Japanese had established a police station in the village, this setting makes the story seem like partly imaginary nostalgia. The author misses old Kochapongan. Sasala Taiban’s Ph. D. dissertation fills in some of the details about this way of life. Society was stratified, with chiefs, aristocrats, and commoners. According to legend, the land was divinely given to the chiefs. The chiefs gave hunters temporary use of tracts of land, and in return received the first fruits of the forest, which they then redistributed, along with recognition for the hunters: “the cultural principle of sharing renders [sic] the accumulation of wealth unnecessary” (Taiban 2006: 170). In this way, “[p]eople, spirits, and animals have formed [sic] an ecological system that is [sic] based on sharing” (117). Taiban’s dissertation also seems nostalgic. One of the first acts of the Japanese police, when they arrived in 1929, was to confiscate rifles. Hunting and swidden farming were discouraged in favour of intensive cultivation for the market, which eventually left people dependent on the market. The commons were privatized. The culture of sharing declined. Wage labour was introduced. The chiefs lost power to the police. Local leaders were co-opted. Children were sent to school to turn them into loyal Japanese subjects and later patriotic Chinese citizens. The Kuomintang continued Japanese policies after 1945, the year Auvini Kadresengan was born. By 1965, indigenous communities witnessed “the replacement of artistically-enhanced daily use goods with cheap commodities purchased on the market” (Harrell and Lin 2006: 4). There was a labour outflow from Kochapongan. In 1979, remaining community members moved to a site in a nearby river valley. After 1973, hunting was permitted only on reserve lands, not in traditional hunting grounds, many of which were turned into preserves or developments. By the 1980s younger hunters no longer aspired to bear the lilies. They were making money in the bushmeat trade. In 1961, Auvini Kadresengan had left the old village at sixteen years of age to go to school. He worked as an accountant for Christian organizations on the plains until, in his mid-forties, in response to the “return to the land” and “cultural revitalization” movements in the late 1980s, he returned to write about the traditional Rukai world, as a kind of cultural salvage effort. The village was greatly changed. But the slate house he had grown up in was still standing, up in old Kochapongan. He installed solar panels and began writing on a laptop. Everything he wrote was about a world


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before computers, solar power, corner stores, police stations, buses, churches, and schools. The only psychological trace of the modern world in “Eternal Ka-balhivane” appears to be counting: the numbers of hunted animals seem too large and too precise for a premodern subsistence hunter. Esai was able to count into the hundreds, an ability necessary in a cash economy. There is no money in the story, but there is barter, and the current anthropological consensus is that barter emerges only if currency has: currency supplies an abstract standard for the calculation of value, and barter occurs in the event of a lack of liquidity (Graeber 2001: 222). Barter is therefore outside a gift economy and requires a head for numbers, not just a sense of value. “Eternal Ka-balhivane” is in this respect about the creeping influence of accountancy. At the same time, it seems to preserve an older, animist consciousness. In the next two stories the magic is wearing off, though, as we shall see, it has not lost all its force.

3.2 The Confiscated Gift in Topas Tamapima’s “The Last Hunter” Topas Tamapima was born in 1960 in the Bunun village of Loloko in Nan-tou (Nantou) County, near the geographical centre of Taiwan. By the time he was a child, daily life had been commoditized, technologized, and politicized. He was a twentysix-year-old medical doctor when he wrote “The Last Hunter.” Topas Tamapima shows how modernity diversifies the professional possibilities for indigenous people. In “The Last Hunter,” though, he writes about a marginal figure and a disintegrating community. The last hunter Biyari, like Auvini Kadresengan, has left the village and come back. But the sort of labour he did was less specialized; Biyari was proletarianized. After the war, more and more aboriginal youth left the village in search of work. Most of them found it in factories or mines or on construction sites or fishing boats. Wherever they went they encountered non-indigenous Taiwanese society. This was not exactly a liberal-capitalist society: Taiwanese people had their own “petty capitalist” or family-based gift economies (Gates 1997: 204–242). But members of Taiwanese society tended to be uninterested in gift relations with marginal aborigines like Biyari, who usually entered the wage labour market. If things do not go well in the city, young men return to the “little world” of the tribal community, “which retains both social and emotional salience despite its partial breakdown” (Harrell and Lin 2006: 18). Marginal men tend to hunt when they go home. Biyari has done temporary work packing goods for a shipping company in the city. Presumably, he was packing commodities to be shipped and sold to middle-class consumers. But he was fired after five days on the job because the boss wanted to save money, and he even left 800 dollars in pay behind. The boss fired him for the sake of an abstraction, a quantity of money, 160 dollars a day. The sensuous world of ritual, personality, and morality of “Eternal Ka-balhivane” has been monopolized by

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


a utilitarian mentality, by accountancy. To the boss, the amount of money he will save seems more real than a person. Esai’s hunting yielded gifts, but Biyari’s labour is an extractable commodity. In other words, the modern diversification of employment possibilities for indigenous peoples may simply jam them into slots in the capitalist division of labour. There was even a pressure to specialize before Biyari left. Whereas Esai saw no contradiction in being a horticulturalist hunter, Biyari’s father always said you are either a hunter or a farmer: you have to choose. Biyari explored another option, and for five days he had a bit part in the drama of the modern economy. Now he has returned home to Loloko. Mostly he hunts. After all, he was born in the month of the Bunun rite of passage, the ear shooting ceremony; he feels he was born to be a hunter. However, the entire context in which the traditional hunter lived is gone: daily life has been commoditized. Village inhabitants now rely on the market for daily necessities. Whereas Esai had to travel a week to barter, Biyari can buy rice wine, betel, matches, and gas for his motorcycle at the local store. Shopping in this store is convenient but humiliating. The Hakka proprietor suggests expensive sorghum wine, saying, “I like it myself, the rice wine is too plain,” like an actor in a television commercial (Tamapima 2005: 6). Biyari replies, “The strong stuff is for those who are dying. Keep it and sell it to those sad people to wash away their suffering. I just want plain old rice wine. Here’s thirty yuan.” Biyari felt around in his pockets. Fortunately he had the thirty yuan (6).

Biyari’s relationship with the proprietor is not fleshed out by gift-giving, either material or verbal. The proprietor’s words are manipulative, intended to tempt Biyari to spend beyond his means; while Biyari’s words are bluster, meant to uphold his wounded honour. All speech in “Eternal Ka-balhivane” was a ritual gift that conferred recognition and expressed respect; in Biyari’s world, words are instrumental. The proprietor and Biyari recognize each other, but there is no enduring connection between them, because they deal with each other as buyer and seller, not as human beings. There may be drama here but it is hardly social. Biyari, like Esai, has possessions, including a home, and at least one personal connection, which he tries to maintain by contributing to a connubial gift economy. His most prized possession is a jacket, which he first saw in a shop window. Having no idea of the production of the garment, he regarded it as an object of desire. He purchased it, forming no relationship with anyone. But unlike a typical consumer, whose daily life is surrounded by quantities of things that can be tossed out without a second thought, the jacket is one of the only possessions Biyari has got. It has worn through in places, but he cherishes it. As an inalienable possession, it has a biography—Biyari has hunting stories to tell about it—though the story only begins when he put down his money. His house is as in need of patching as his jacket. Unfortunately, the situation at home is precarious. His wife Pasula has suffered a miscarriage and has yet to recover her health. The first gift in the story is a chair Biyari had hoped to give to his unborn child. Probably he made the chair from scratch, accepting the gift of nature and creatively shaping it into an artefact. But, angry at Biyari for his inability to provide, Pasula throws the chair at him, almost


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breaking one of the legs. Biyari explicitly identifies the leg of the chair with the leg of their unborn child. This is an apparent literary personification and metaphor (the chair stands for the child), but to Biyari there is a magical connection. Pasula does not take magic seriously anymore, and the hunter’s marginality is most immediately and painfully obvious in his relationship with his wife. All he has to offer is affection she will not accept. Pasula’s verbal treatment of him shows how fraught the connubial gift economy has become. She is sarcastic, and even threatens to leave him unless he goes hunting, sells some meat to the Hakka proprietor, and fixes the leaky ceiling. However, she continues to give him material gifts, such as a sweet potato (which I like to think she has grown herself) for him to eat in the forest. So, after receiving a message in a dream, Biyari sets out. Whereas Esai would have hunted in a hunting party, Biyari goes alone. Traditionally, the hunter took what the forest gave as a gift of the ancestors. But though they may communicate with Biyari in a dream, the ancestors have fled the forest. What remains? Only the Christian image of Eden, which is ironically projected upon the forest. Biyari and the narrator see people in terms of natural features, a literary suggestion that people come from nature. To Biyari, Pasula is “like maple leaves that turn red in autumn and lose all their charm in winter” (9). To the narrator, Biyari’s face is like an alpine landscape; Biyari (also spelled Qobiaz) is a kind of plant. But the landscape itself is not explicitly personified. Whereas Auvini Kadresengan’s landscape was alive, Topas Tamapima’s is aestheticized, described as like “a painting” (5). When the narrator reaches at the poetic he grows vague: “the beauty of the forest is harmonious and green” in the Balcom translation (9). More literally: “a green, harmonious integration” (Tamapima 2003: 17), quite an abstract formulation compared with Auvini Kadresengan’s vocal calluses. However, this unity, which is also described as “all one green blur,” suggests an organic holism that resists the capitalist will to chop up the forest and extract the resources (Tamapima 2005: 16). The birds, who pay no heed to human territorial divisions, once told the hunter whether the hunt would succeed, but now, when the birds cry, it does not sound like a message from the ancestors, or even like a song: it sounds like “a truck horn” (12). Development is apparently killing the forest, for though it retains its “magic,” the forest is no longer as fertile as it once was (16). The hunter’s failure to catch anything means that “the forest is shamed” (12). This is the only personification of the landscape in the story. Biyari blames the forest’s shame on the Chinese government officials who abstract and calculate nature, as the factory owner did Biyari. Biyari thinks they: should come and listen to the birds and beasts and the wind and falling leaves; they should go to the valley to see the magnificent cliffs; they should take off their shoes and put their feet in the water and watch the fish swimming in the unpolluted water, unafraid of people. They would unravel the enigma of the forest and, like sinners condemned to hell, they would regret their previous lack of understanding in seeing the forest as nothing but a source of timber. (16)

“A source of timber” in the original Chinese is more literally “the thickness of the logs” (2003: 26). But the sense is similar: the officials have only the crudest utilitarian concept of the forest and are unable to appreciate it qualitatively, as Biyari does.

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


The Forestry Bureau misses the forest for the trees, but indigenous people may be contributing to the problem. The forestry officials may include some brown-skinned Bunun who now calculate the economic value of the forest. Other local people might be to blame for a forest fire a decade before. Hunters claim that forestry officials set the fire themselves after extracting all the valuable trees. It would be reassuring to think that the hunters burned the forest to forestall appropriation, but the fire might have been lit by an indigenous tree poacher or hunter, perhaps by accident. Biyari’s illegal, extra-market use of wood in stoves and campfires might also contribute to deforestation. Karen Thornber discusses the complexities of ecological, social, and economic value conflicts in the village in terms of ecoambiguity. I do not think that ecoambiguity is lost on Topas Tamapima, though it may be on Biyari. Putting aside for a moment the issue of whether or not Biyari shares Thornber’s environmental concern, I would argue that Biyari’s values are those of the old gift economy, and that these values have an ecological and social benefit. Biyari claims that hunters “knew life in the forest accounted for half the life on earth, most of which was closely bound up with the hunters,” indicating awareness of interdependency (Tamapima 2005: 9). Unfortunately, in a time of environmental scarcity, the hunter’s social obligations are hard to meet, because if nature does not give, how can a hunter? Biyari, walking down a slope, meets another hunter, walking up. This is a potential sharing situation, a moment that might restore a relationship. But the words Biyari and Luka exchange are ironic. “If it isn’t the great hunter…” says Luka (10). Biyari calls Luka the Forest Chief in return, and reminds him that, “the hunter walking downhill should share his meat with the hunter walking uphill,” hoping to shame him into sharing when all Luka has is a squirrel, a gift for his son (10). (To Luka, a son is given, and if Luka is a hunter, then obviously Biyari is not the last hunter.) Biyari even threatens to lay a curse upon Luka. Indeed, Biyari is the scion of a family of shamans. Shamanry, a remnant of the old magical world, is now just words. Once Biyari’s grandmother’s curse compelled five hunters to deliver meat to her door—a reminder that fear was as much an emotion of the gift economy as gratitude—but now Luka does not take the threat seriously. When Luka finally offers to share, Biyari humiliates him by refusing to accept. Biyari immediately regrets his cruelty to Luka, but it is returned to him at the end of the story by a forest policeman, a decommissioned soldier from mainland China who appeals not to the hunter’s code but to the law of the land to make Biyari cough up the prize of his catch, a muntjac he wants to give to Pasula. What was once communion has been reconceptualized as stealing. The policeman says, “The government takes care of you people so that you don’t have a care,” implying that welfare is a free gift and Biyari is unable to take care of himself (19). Pathetically, Biyari appeals for sympathy, explaining, “I had a fight with my wife. She looks down on me and laughs because I can’t find work” (19). But the policeman does not care, because he does not need a relationship with Biyari. His position may not be entirely secure, as he feels the need to explain why he needs to take the animal—so he can report to his superiors. Emphasizing Biyari’s agency, Liou Liang-ya reads the exchange as a “bribe” (Liou 2012: 814). Karen Thornber thinks the policeman


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“confiscates” the muntjac (2012: 134), locating Biyari’s agency not in the exchange but in his determination to continue hunting (of which she disapproves). While Biyari is standing there, the policeman points at a purchased piece of pork hanging on a hook, as if the capitalist supply of meat is the most natural thing in the world. If Biyari has money for betel and wine, it is plausible to assume he has money for pork as well, but wanted to give Pasula something more potent, something wild— something from outside the commodity economy. Indeed, he hopes, by feeding her fresh muntjac meat, to “put some meat back on her bones” (Tamapima 2005: 17). To Karen Thornber, Biyari is hunting for personal reasons, but it seems to me that, like Luka, he is hunting both to uphold his dignity and for another’s sake. For Biyari and Luka, cultural and personal values are inextricable. Pasula is more modern than her husband and would probably prefer to purchase industrially produced meat (though Biyari does recall how fond she is of wild goat intestines). Her ultimatum—that he must sell the prey or she will leave—is a demand for Biyari to turn the gift of nature into a commodity. In a traditional Maussian gift economy, economic and symbolic or social values were intertwined. In “The Last Hunter,” in which there are stateregulated commodity and gift economies, there is a divisive and complex clash of values over the fate of a muntjac. Hunting had been severely restricted before the 1980s, but it was not until around the time of “The Last Hunter” that it became a cause for indigenous intellectuals. The radical indigenous journal Hunter Culture (Lieren wenhua), published on the 27th of the month from 1990 to 1992 (to commemorate Mona Rudao’s resistance against the Japanese in 1930) used the hunter as a symbol to express hostility to modernity. If indigenous people have been selling the fruits of the forest for over three hundred years, the claim that they have been resisting modernity is problematic. But resistance to modern life is not all or nothing; Biyari rides a motorcycle, even if he tries to evade state control of a traditional cultural practice. In the late 1980s, the return my land (huanwo tudi) movement took to the streets, demanding sovereignty. Clearly, “The Last Hunter” raises the issue of indigenous use of traditional hunting grounds under the control of the Forestry Bureau. However, published in early 1987, this story does not seem to articulate a demand for sovereignty, though it appears to be a critique of development and governance (as well as a Bunun self-critique). The final story, Badai’s “Ginger Road,” addresses the opposite issue to state interference—state neglect—while greatly enlarging the economic context of indigenous lives.

3.3 The Returned Gift in Badai’s “Ginger Road” Badai was born in 1962 in the Puyuma village of Damalagaw, located west of Taitung City in south-eastern Taiwan, at the foot of the mountains. He served in the Special Forces for over two decades before putting down the gun and picking up the pen. Published in 1987, the year the Martial Law was lifted, “The Last Hunter” emphasized the state-society problem. Published in 2000, three years after the Asian Financial Crisis, Badai’s “Ginger Road” places characters in a much larger economic

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


context than they can possibly comprehend. As in “The Last Hunter,” the characters in “Ginger Road” are challenged to balance the values of gift and commodity economy. But Badai’s characters are not as marginal as Biyari. They have possessions and occupations. They have capital, an intact community that relates with dignity to Han Chinese outsiders, and enough cash to buy commodities to give as gifts. An aging farmer named Luben, to whom Heaven has given a strong body, grows ginger in a preternaturally fertile field on the other side of the mountain. Whereas Biyari rode to his hunting ground along an industrial road, Luben can only access his field by the ginger road, a footpath that the community has to maintain itself. Luben owns land on this side of the mountain, but the fertile ginger patch belongs to his brother-in-law, who has given Luben cultivation rights in exchange for 30 days of service a year. This sounds like a premodern land tenure arrangement, but the parties to the exchange might see it as a gift exchange. Though that is all we learn about the brother-in-law, it seems unlikely that his relationship with Luben is a purely contractual relation. At any rate, it is clear that Luben is a capitalist, the ginger field his capital, and ginger his commodity. Biyari’s moral right to his hunting ground was recognized only by fellow aborigines; Luben’s contractual right to plough would receive legal protection. Biyari’s hunting was a traditional practice, while Luben’s ancestors would not have cultivated ginger for the market. Biyari wanted to prove himself to other men and his wife by hunting, while Luben’s head is full of abstractions that allow him to make the most of his capital. He has quantified the land in the same way that Biyari accused the Chinese officials of doing to the forest. Moreover, he accounts for the rates his boss says the factory (presumably a produce processing factory) will pay community members to harvest and haul the ginger the three kilometres from the field back along the ginger road. However, this utilitarian mentality coexists with a warm-hearted, moral consciousness. The ginger road and patch are the objects of Luben’s affections. Though Luben is feeling his age, he could not bear to part with the field. It has been so many years! He is very proud of what his eldest son, the most adventurous of his children—who is planning to go west to explore the professional possibilities for untrained indigenous men—described as the Puyuma Silk Road. As in “The Last Hunter,” there is no longer any sense of living, personal presences in nature. Unlike Biyari, Luben is not even granted a sign in a dream. But Luben’s meaningful, emotional attachment makes the land much more than capital. Badai suggests the experience of a trip along the ginger road poetically: the switchbacks make it look like a “beautiful hundred-pacer snake” (Badai 2005: 34). A hundred-pacer snake is also deadly, but the whole landscape is bursting with life. There has been no decline in nature in the hills above Damalagaw! Each rhizome growing in the ginger patch “looked like a giant’s hand” (31). The ginger is no mere commodity, but like a limb of a living being who gives parts of Himself to the people. This is the only personification of the landscape in this story. Though Badai, like Topas Tamapima, aestheticizes the land by describing it as “a watercolour painting,” through metaphors the painting comes to life, with people in it (26). The narrator conveys not just a sense of the living landscape, but also a creaturely sense of community as couples make dirty jokes that go over the heads of the kids. The tone is distinctly informal, in contrast


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to the sacred speech in “Eternal Ka-balhivane” or the sarcasm of “The Last Hunter.” But it is very social. The economic relations between these folks have not severed any communal connections. The most interesting connection in the story is between Luben and Ni’en (“neck” in Puyuma), a local Han Chinese farmer who markets produce for aboriginal farmers like Luben. Within Chinese society, Neck is marginal. He has found his place in the national economic anatomy as a middleman connecting aborigines to the market. He has a mentality fine-tuned to a commodity economy: …some people in the village regarded him as a little stingy. He liked to shortchange people and would haggle over a few cents. But there was no winning because he was the only outsider to handle the sale of the village crops and offer them odd jobs. (28)

This description makes Neck seem like a stereotype, like the unnamed shopkeeper in “The Last Hunter.” And it seems to Luben that Neck will always get the better of him by taking advantage of his monopoly position. But Badai’s characterization of Neck is not so simplistic. The relationship between Luben and Neck is not just functional: gift exchange fleshes out a friendship, producing an economic hybrid reminiscent of Mauss’s gift economy. Neck uses Luben’s language, Puyuma, to greet him, and offers to buy him lunch. Neck asks, “Will you let me take your ginger off your hands this year?”—making Luben a request, not a business offer (26). And he offers to pay for lunch for the whole crew the following day. There is an added, psychological interest in the scene because Neck’s generosity causes Luben discomfort. Assuming that Luben might want more money, one of Neck’s wives (yes, Neck has two wives, suggesting the greed of the Han Chinese middleman) offers a bit extra, only to meet with Luben’s “insulted and peeved” refusal (27). Literally, the “old big (man)” (laoda) in Luben’s heart is unhappy (Badai 2003: 102). For Luben, as for his hunter ancestors, giving others the sense of one’s endless abundance is the substance of a man’s honour. With his capitalist’s scarcity consciousness, Neck has no qualms about haggling; Luben feels haggling is beneath him but is in fact just as much a penny pincher as his patron. However, the story would remain a charming, keenly observed work of ecorealist fiction with a rural palate of local colour, if it were not for the wild goat capture, in which the most compelling of all the Formosan literary hunter’s gifts are given. The episode lifts both Neck and Luben out of the sphere of petty self-interested calculation in a market or honour economy. For though he is semi-specialized (as a cultivator who does odd jobs off-season), Luben is not exclusively a ginger farmer or handyman. He still goes hunting “with his fellow villagers” (Badai 2005: 27). Part of the profit from the ginger crop is for bullets for Luben’s gun. One afternoon at the ginger patch, during a moment of daydreaming, Luben recalls trapping a wild goat live, though his experience out in his hunting ground is a gap in the text, either because hunting is now illegal or because it is now such a small part of his life. Luben also remembers how thrilled Neck was to hear about the capture, because fresh wild goat blood might be the solution to his problem. For Neck is a middle-aged man with two wives and a belief in the vital power of blood. There is thus a remnant of magical thinking in this story, as in “The Last Hunter.” At the moment of slaughter, Neck

The Hunter’s Gift in Ecorealist Indigenous Fiction from Taiwan


…came to ask Luben to sell him a bowl of the blood. Luben, of course, knew why he wanted it but said nothing. He mixed the blood with onion flowers, medicinal herbs, and wine and gave it to [Neck] free of charge. But the following day his two wives came up the mountain and, when they came to Luben’s door, they blushed and presented him with some fruit. (36)

In the original, Luben does not give it to Neck “free of charge,” which would merely reject Neck’s interpretation of the exchange as a commodity transaction. He literally “cuts away what he loves” (geai 割愛), a common verb-object compound in Mandarin that conceals an older meaning in which generosity hurts, in which you cut away part of yourself when you give (Badai 2003: 116). The pain of giving a part of oneself recalls another flashback in which Luben remembers getting very sick and going to the hospital and having his blood taken (Badai 2005: 36). Seeing that Biyari identified the leg of the chair he made for his son with his son’s leg, we might identify the blood Luben gave at the hospital with the blood the goat gives to Luben and which Luben in turn gives to Neck. If we see goat and Luben as separate creatures, the identification is merely metaphorical: the goat’s blood is simply similar to Luben’s blood. If, however, we see goat and man as parts of a larger being, for which each is a synecdoche, the identification is literal, and Luben really gives a part of himself, which is also a part of the goat and the giant who lives in the hills above Damalagaw, to Neck. There is “a constant exchange of a spiritual matter, including things and men,” without alienation (Mauss 2002: 18). Of course, the episode is also a joke at Neck’s expense, because if Neck wants the blood to restore his sexual vigour his manliness is therefore in doubt. But the tone of the scene is serious. The gift probably does not follow from the dictates of the hunter’s code, in that Luben is not obligated to share with Neck specifically. It is discretionary sharing. But his memory’s emotional force, intimate and terrifying, derives from a primitive hunting rite. Then there is the return gift of fruit. Fruit is a typical Taiwanese gift. In Tai-tung fruit boxes are sold at roadside stands. But this gift of fruit is not purchased. Nor is it picked wild from nature. It is picked from a cultivated fruit tree in Neck’s own orchard. Neck farms fruit to sell as a commodity, but in this case his wives make a gift of it. The wives must feel embarrassed in several ways, at being obliged to Luben and at their domestic relations being publicized. But there is a bloom of sincerity on this fruit. The poignancy of the gift stems from the fact that Luben’s teenage son had stolen fruit from Neck’s orchard in an act of resistance against someone who exploits his father. The gift of fruit seems to forgive this childish transgression against private property. It also returns the gift of the generative spiritual substance of nature in a different form—fruit for blood—allowing it to flow and somehow atoning for appropriation. However, to the extent the relationship between two minor operators in a local gift economy is humanized and ecologized, the larger system is not. The narrator sets the drama of the ginger patch in a small corner of the stage of global finance. Near the end of the story Luben’s teenage son flips through the financial news by the side of the ginger road:


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…trading on the stock market was hot. At mid-session the market was at 11 thousand and by the close of trading it was up another 235 points. 1.5 million shares were traded, delighting investors. He didn’t understand a word. Bored, he flipped to the back page and read: …in high tech, Forbes listed four new tycoons with an average age of 36 … with respective fortunes of $25 billion, $22 billion… “With so much money, how many bikes could they buy?” he asked himself, puzzled. … How could he, living in a mountainous [sic] village where they slaved planting ginger and carrying baskets for a year’s income far from the modern world, understand that a rise of a couple of points in the stock market meant pockets of cash? He didn’t understand. His father didn’t understand. The men and women workers who were planning on drinking, chatting and singing that night didn’t understand either. A bird returning to its roost flew over his head. A blot of droppings fell, punctuating the end of the section of newspaper.” (Badai 2005: 40)

The bird seems to have a comment to make about the orgy of capitalist accumulation. There is also a suggestion of commodity fetishism in this passage, reminiscent of Taussig’s analysis of The New York Times (2010: 30–31). Especially in the original Chinese: Balcom’s “the market was at 11 thousand” is more literally “intraday (trading) at one point stood above 11 thousand points” (panzhong yidu zhanshang yiwan yiqian dian 盤中一度站上一萬一千點), as if the stock market index is a mountain climber; Balcom’s “in high tech” is literally “show gratitude for the bounty of the technology industry” (bai keji chanye zhi ci 拜科技產業之 賜), as if the investors are vassals, the technology industry a feudal lord (2003: 123). Commodity fetishism invests mere commodities with agency while concealing producers like Luben. In the depersonalizing logic of the system of global finance, economic and moral economies are completely separated. The narrator understands the larger system’s logic and cares about the characters. Luben probably does not understand, but he also shows concern for distant strangers, in that he wonders whether the long journeys of the ancient silk road traders were anything like his treks along the Puyuma silk road. To the investors, by contrast, it is all about the numbers. As I have shown, as an economically marginal farmer, Luben also worries about the numbers. He also has to pinch his pennies as a father and husband. He has to give gifts, tokens of affection (but also status symbols), to his family members, and these gifts cost quite a lot of money. The ginger is sold by unit weight, and rather than return the yield to the field, Luben uses his profits to buy manufactured commodities, the production of which he knows nothing, to give as gifts. His teenage son wants a 2,000 NTD bike, almost a tenth of the annual income from the ginger plot. His wife wants a sewing machine. Somehow in the end Luben finds a way to satisfy both of them. Though the bike and certainly the sewing machine might serve as capital, these investments turn out to be too risky. For this may be Luben’s last season growing ginger, and not because he is getting old. The ginger road, which opened opportunities for Luben’s community but also opened it up to the alienating global economy—gets

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washed out the following July. If Neck will not help him repair the road, the local gift economy will collapse, and Luben may have to go to work in a factory.

4 Conclusion In her article on Syman Rapongan, another prominent Taiwan indigenous writer, Chiu Kuei-fen writes, “[a]s an active affirmation and critical selection, inheritance is an attempt to avoid a foreclosure of the possibility of future—in this case, the domination of certain prescribed narratives in envisaging the future of Taiwan” (Chiu 2009: 1085). Thus, modern aborigines can critically select from tradition to question prescribed narratives and propose their own visions. Chiu studied the narrative of indigeneity, in which Taiwanese people identify with aborigines to distinguish themselves from the Chinese. The three authors I have discussed address another narrative: Taiwan’s transformation under an authoritarian state from third world pauper to high tech powerhouse. By ending their stories in lamentation, grim determination, and irony, in a social or ecological loss—Esai loses his life, Biyari a muntjac, Badai the ginger road—they show us that the Taiwan economic “miracle” is a mystification and that beneath the story of postwar Progress is a subtext of scarcity, control, and alienation. But although in ending their stories tragically, they take something away from the reader, they offer something in return: the hunter’s gift, which, I have argued, “personifie[s] an abstraction” (Mauss 2002: 55). This abstraction could be described as social and ecological integration. I began by claiming that these three authors dramatize value conflicts in exchanges to work out mixed feelings about modernity. My discussion suggests that they also redirect conflict into a productive critique of modernity. They reveal in what respects the state is falling short. They also allow us to see—and hear—the factory workers, farmers, hunters, animals, and even forests in the commodities we consume. In doing so, they turn objects of desire in the shop window or the supermarket back into Maussian gifts and thereby help us overcome consumer alienation, at least in our imaginations. In this way, their tragic tales partake of “a ‘comic’ archetype or a ‘romance paradigm’” about an alternative narrative of Progress (Jameson 1981: 103). Fredric Jameson claimed that only Marxism could, “like Tiresias drinking the blood,” personify the mystery of the cultural past and awaken utopian desire (19). Perhaps in sipping from Luben’s bowl of wild goat blood, we can try to digest a different cultural tradition, in order to make liberal capitalism more social and sustainable, for the benefit both of people and of things.


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5 Afterword: The Sustainability of the Bushmeat Trade In his monograph on the history of the representation of hunting, Matt Cartmill claims that “[t]he importance of hunting lies in its symbolism, not its economics” (Cartmill 1993: 28). In this article, I have followed Cartmill and explored the symbolism of hunting. But for many indigenous hunters in Taiwan, hunting is an economic endeavor. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up “hunting the forest’s most endangered animals” (Thornber 2012: 135). Today, the black bear is endangered, the sambar deer threatened (Pei n.d.: 2). The muntjac is “highly exploited” according to the IUCN Red List (Timmins and Chan 2016). Mining, tourism, and Buddhist bird releases also have an impact on animal populations (Thornber 2012: 140–145). But the sustainability of hunting remains an issue. In addressing this issue, we cannot assume that the hunter is a rational, selfinterested, individual subject who maximizes utility. Hunting, even for the market, remains a cultural practice with symbolic and social values. Scott Simon has clarified by e-mail how “gift and commodity logics co-exist,” in that gizzards may be publically given to certain members of the community, and the rest of the meat sold. This coexistence of logics shows how capitalism is socialized in actual indigenous communities. We should also realize that indigenous cultural practices are self-regulatory. In a study of the Rukai, the conservation ecologist Kurtis Pei argues that traditional cultural restrictions help make hunting, even for the bushmeat trade, sustainable. Hunters harvest animals that reproduce rapidly, in the colder months, and in hunting grounds close to human civilization. Pei also notes customs like bird and dream divination. This is not, of course, to say that traditional practice is an adequate response to environmental issues. Culture has to respond to current concerns, and hunters must confer with experts, including conservation ecologists. Biyari cannot assume that ecologists do not understand the forest just because they number crunch it. An aversion to numbers, coupled with a cornucopian attitude towards nature that led indigenous buffalo hunters to indulge in “a riotous orgy of killing,” is dangerous (Rose 1994: 4). Indigenous hunters should also confer with legal experts. The legal scholar Carol Rose argues that Native American traditions can inform environmental management practices for hunting specifically and the environment in general. The Rule of Capture in common law gives a hunter ownership over an animal, while Rose takes seriously the Native American notion that a resource like animals in the forest can be conceived of as a gift, as long as this reconception is not used as an excuse for abuse. We parcel up the land into alienable parts, while Rose suggests traditional Native American temporary land sharing arrangements can reinvent the concept of property. She disputes the notion of an inevitable tragedy of the commons, and points out the problems that the ideology of exclusive ownership has caused. Rose also suggests a role for indigenous writers to play. For Rose, poetry matters to practice, in the sense of having material effects. She implies that capitalist appropriation depends on metaphors “of the garden and the zoo” (30). These are settings

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for a “tame and placid property” (4) that turns out not to be so tame, because “a real tree will talk back, even in a garden” (30). She calls for an acknowledgement of the wild streak in property by using (rather Tarzanesque) metaphors like “the untrammelled, leaping mountain lion,” noting that to the hunters, who did not assert property rights, the wilderness was tame (30). The three indigenous writers I have discussed offer the metaphor of the hunter’s gift, which they invest with symbolism of integration and set in ecorealist stories that contextualize apparently alienable things. In this way, they contribute to an ethic of “eco-nomy”—literally, “home management”—that honours nature as our largest home and the greatest giver of gifts.

References Appadurai, A. (1986). Introduction: Commodities and the Politics of Value. In A. Appadurai (Ed.), The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, pp. 3–63. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Badai. (2003). Jianglu [Ginger Road]. In D. C. Sun (Ed.) Taiwan Yuanzhu Minzu Hanyu Wenxue Xuanji: Xiaoshuo juan (xia) [Anthology of Taiwan Indigenous Chinese Language Literature: Fiction (vol. 2 of 2)], pp. 99–124. Taipei: Ink. Badai. (2005). Ginger Road. In J. Balcom, & Y. Balcom (Eds.) Indigenous Writers of Taiwan: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems (J. Balcom, Trans.), pp. 25–40. New York: Columbia University Press. Berking, H. (1999). Sociology of Giving (P. Camiller, Trans.). London: Sage. Cartmill, M. (1993). A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Chiu, K. F. (2009). The Production of Indigeneity: Contemporary Indigenous Literature in Taiwan and Trans-Cultural Inheritance. The China Quarterly, 200, 1071–1087. Gates, H. (1997). China’s Motor: A Thousand Years of Petty Capitalism. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Graeber, D. (2001). Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave. Harrell, S., & Lin Y. S. (2006). Aesthetics and Politics in Taiwan’s Aboriginal Contemporary Arts, 20 p. In North American Taiwan Studies Association Annual Conference (2006). Retrieved July 3, 2019, from Hill, M. H. (1984). Where to Begin? The Place of the Hunter Founder in Mende Histories. Anthropos 79, 653–656. Hyde, L. (2007). The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. New York: Vintage Books. Jameson, F. (1981). The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Kadresengan, A. (2003). “Yongyuan de Guisu (Ka-balhivane)” [Eternal Home (Ka-balhivane)]. In D. C. Sun (Ed.) Taiwan Yuanzhu Minzu Hanyu Wenxue Xuanji: Xiaoshuo juan (shang) [Anthology of Taiwan Indigenous Chinese Language Literature: Fiction (vol. 1 of 2)], pp. 157–180. Taipei: Ink. Kadresengan, A. (2005). Eternal Ka-balhivane (Home to Return to). In J. Balcom, & Y. Balcom (Ed.) Indigenous Writers of Taiwan: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems (J. Balcom Trans.), pp. 100–113. New York: Columbia University Press. Liou, L. Y. (2012). Autoethnographic Expression and Cultural Translation in Tian Yage [Topas Tamapima]’s Short Stories. The China Quarterly, 211, 806–826.


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Marx, K. (1988). Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In K. Marx and F. Engles. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the Communist Manifesto (M. Milligan Trans.). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books. Mauss, M. (1997). Gift, Gift. In A. D. Schrift (Ed.). The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity, pp. 28–32. New York: Routledge. Mauss, M. (2002). The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies (W. D. Halls, Trans.). New York: Routledge. Osteen, M. (2002). Gift or Commodity? In M. Osteen (Ed.). The Question of the Gift: Essays Across Disciplines, pp. 229–247. London: Routledge. Pei, K. (2019). Hunting System of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan, Republic of China, 18 p. Retrieved July 3, 2019 from Rose, C. M. (1994). Given-ness and Gift: Property and the Quest for Environmental Ethics. Environmental Law, 24, 1–31. Sahlins, M. D. (2004). Stone Age Economics. London: Routledge. Shepherd, J. R. (1993). Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600–1800. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Simon, S. (2010). Animals, Ghosts, and Ancestors: Traditional Knowledge of Truku Hunters on Formosa. In D. Kapoor & E. Shizha (Eds.), Indigenous Knowledge and Learning in Asia/Pacific and Africa: Perspectives on Development, Education, and Culture, pp. 81–95. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Taiban, S. (2006). The Lost Lily: State, Sociocultural Change and the Decline of Hunting Culture in Kaochapogan [sic], Taiwan. Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington. Tamapima, T. (2003). Zuihou de Lieren [The Last Hunter]. In D. C. Sun (Ed.). Taiwan Yuanzhu Minzu Hanyu Wenxue Xuanji: Xiaoshuo juan (xia) [Anthology of Taiwan Indigenous Chinese Language Literature: Fiction (vol. 2 of 2)], pp. 7–33. Taipei: Ink. Tamapima, T. (2005). The Last Hunter. In J. Balcom & Y. Balcom (Eds.). Indigenous Writers of Taiwan: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems (J. Balcom, Trans.), pp. 3–20. New York: Columbia University Press. Taussig, M. (2010). The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press. Thornber, K. L. (2012). Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures. Michigan: Michigan University Press. Timmins, J., & Chan, B. “Muntiacus reevesi.” In IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2016. Accessed July 3, 2019. Weiner, A. B. (1992). Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving. Berkeley: California University Press.

Darryl Sterk teaches translation at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has published a book called Indigenous Cultural Translation: A Thick Description of Seediq Bale (Routledge, 2020), about the translation of Wei Te-sheng’s screenplay for the epic film Seediq Bale into the endangered indigenous language Seediq. He is also a literary translator who works mainly on Taiwanese fiction. His translation of Wu Ming-Yi’s The Stolen Bicycle was longlisted for the Booker International.

The Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge in Taiwan Shu-yuan Yang

1 Introduction On October 8, 2013, I had an illuminating conversation with Nihu in my field site: a Bunun village called Bulbul, in Southeastern Taiwan.1 Nihu shared with me his dissatisfaction with a guest speech on the Bunun clan system and migration history given by a Bunun scholar, Haisul Palalavi, in the Bunun Cultural Museum located in Haituan. He criticized Haisul’s lecture in the following way: ‘Haisul’s knowledge all came from books, especially those written by Japanese scholars. But has he visited those ancestral places he talked about? No! I am different. I’ve been there. I participated in several root-searching expeditions (shiungen huodong) and hiked to Lamatasinsin and Dahun. I followed the paths of our ancestors and went hunting in the ancestral land’. Nihu’s criticism of Haisul indicates how the Bunun value embodied experience within ancestral territories as a form of knowledge and a way of reclaiming their ancestral past. The Bunun were the first indigenous group in Taiwan to initiate rootsearching expeditions, through which indigenous peoples pay visits to their ancestral settlements (which they were forced to leave under the relocation policy imposed

1 The

Bunun is one of the sixteen Austronesian-speaking indigenous peoples officially recognized by the state. My field site, Bulbul, belongs to the administrative township of Haituan, in Taidong County. This chapter was previously published in Senri Ethnological Studies 91 (2015), pp. 25–43. I would like to thank National Museum of Ethnilogy (Japan) for granting permission to reprint. S. Yang (B) Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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during the Japanese colonial period) and learn about the traditional culture, ethnohistories, and ecology.2 In the past decade, these root-searching expeditions have overlapped more and more with community mapping practices, and have taken on the potential of representing a means of asserting indigenous land rights claims. This article aims to understand why this overlap has occurred, and to highlight the importance of embodied, placed-based knowledge. I will first give a brief introduction to indigenous social movements in Taiwan, and focus particularly on land rights movements and the state’s response to these movements. Then I will use the example of one of the Bunun’s root-searching expeditions to show the importance of embodied knowledge in the relationships between indigenous people and the land and to highlight its significance in claiming the ancestral past. Following this, I will discuss how the Bunun attempt to assert land rights claims by combining root-searching expeditions and tribal mapping projects. Finally, I shall conclude with a hopeful note for the future (Figs. 1 and 2).

2 Indigenous Social Movements 1983 is commonly regarded by scholars and indigenous leaders as the starting point of indigenous movements in Taiwan (Hsieh 1987a, b; Wang 2003). In this year, a few indigenous students at National Taiwan University published a campus magazine Gau Shan Ching (‘High Mountain Green’) and distributed it to more than three hundred indigenous students nationwide. The articles in the magazine advocate an awakening of ethnic consciousness and call on indigenous college students to stand up and fight for their survival rights, in view of the serious crisis of extinction that the indigenous peoples are facing (Icyang 1994, 2008). The authoritarian KMT (Kuomintang) party was shocked by these messages and ordered its campus organization to confiscate these magazines, write countering articles, and keep indigenous student leaders under surveillance. Partly because of the reaction of the KMT party, many indigenous students found the opposition group (commonly called Dangwai, which became the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] in 1986) as natural allies, and the Dangwai setting up a ‘Minority Group Committee’ within its organization (Hsieh 1987a). In 1984, these indigenous leaders decided to form their own organization and named it the ‘Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines’ (ATA, Taiwan Yuanzhumin quanli cujinhui). The members of this organization came from almost every indigenous group in Taiwan (with the exception of Saisiyat and Tao [Yami]). While the different indigenous groups each have their own distinctive culture and language, their shared experience of being colonized and dominated by the Han Chinese provided a foundation for the formation of common goals and united actions among them. Some indigenous leaders consider the establishment of the ATA the first time in the history that different indigenous 2 The first root-searching expedition took place in 1991 in Nantou County, the “homeland” or origin

place of the Bunun.

The Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge …


groups viewed their common interests as more important than their differences. A pan-indigenous consciousness gradually developed as a result (Sun 2000). From 1984 to 1986, the work of the ATA was task-oriented, focusing on solving specific social issues concerning indigenous peoples such as mining disasters, girls forced into prostitution, detained ocean-liner fishermen, and enslaved laborers (Icyang 1994; Wang 2003). 1987 marked an important shift in its strategies. On the one hand, the ATA announced the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Taiwan Aborigines’ (taiwan yuanzhumin chiuanli shiuanyan) in 1987. This Declaration comprises seventeen sections and encompasses: entitlements to all human rights; rights to basic livelihood, self-governance, cultural identity; rights to regional autonomy; rights to land, ocean, natural resources; rights to use indigenous languages and traditional names. The declaration also demanded state recognition of the indigenous culture, custom, and social organization (Lusolamen 1999: 85–88). On the other hand, with the abolition of Martial Law in 1987 and Taiwan’s newly democratized politics giving increased room for demonstrations, it was also during this year that the ATA began to take to the street for large-scale protests to fight both against Han domination and for various rights. Notable movements from this time include those campaigning for land claims, name correction, and rights to the traditional naming system, and against a nuclear waste storage site in Lanyu (Orchid Island), adolescent prostitution, and the Wu Feng myth.3 The most relevant here is the indigenous land rights movement, which was made up of three waves, and it is to that which I now turn.

3 Land Rights Movements, Traditional Territory, and Tribal Mapping In order for the indigenous movement to yield political reforms, it needed to gain wider support in society. Besides the opposition party, its most important alliance was with the Presbyterian Church. Graduates from Yu-Shan Seminary, the Presbyterian Church’s Bible College for indigenous students, were key participants and leaders in these movements, with nearly a third of the members of the ATA originating from the Church.4 They were influenced by liberation theology and saw street protest as a legitimate and effective means of making rights claims. Because the Presbyterian Church had established wide-ranging organizations among indigenous societies, it had the ability to mobilize crowds from KMT-dominated indigenous communities (Wang 2003: 109).

3 The

story of Wu Feng is a settler myth. He was represented as a benevolent Han Chinese who loved and took care of the Tsou, an indigenous group, but was killed by this savage and ungrateful people. 4 Students and graduates from the Presbyterian Church’s Bible College constituted 32.1% of the members of the ATA (Hsieh 1987a).


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In 1988, the ATA, the Social Service and Development Committee of the Presbyterian Church, and other indigenous organizations got together to form the ‘Indigenous Land Rights Movement Alliance’ and launched the first ‘Return My Land Movement’ (huan wo tudi yundong). It was estimated that about two thousand people took their protest to the street, the biggest crowd drawn by the indigenous movement thus far (ibid.: 117). In 1989, the second wave of the indigenous land rights movement took place. It upheld slogans such as ‘Land Is Life’ and ‘Land Is Mother’, explicitly drawing on discourses from the burgeoning development of global indigenism and the international land rights movement (Stainton 1999; Yang 2013).5 In 1993, the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, Taiwanese indigenous peoples organized the third wave of the Return My Land Movement and released a 4000-word declaration of land rights claim. The declaration proposed the notion that indigenous peoples have ‘natural sovereignty’ to their traditional territory (Kuan and Lin 2008: 119). The government’s response to the two previous waves of land claim movements had been to increase the size of the indigenous reservation area and treated the negotiations between the state and the indigenous peoples as a minor problem. The indigenous peoples were not satisfied by such responses and attempted to raise their negotiations with the government to the sovereign level, as a consultation carried out between two nations. Therefore, in the third wave of land rights movement, they brought their demands to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instead of the Ministry of Administration (Wang 2003: 119). Indigenous social movements in the 1980s and 1990s had successfully achieved the goals of name correction, the establishment of a cabinet-level ‘Council of Indigenous Peoples’ (1996), constitutional reform (1997), and a change of state policy from assimilation to multiculturalism.6 However, little progress had been made in regards to the land rights claims. It was only with the coming of the new millennium that indigenous land issues began to be taken seriously. In 1999, during his election campaign, Presidential Candidate Chen Shuei-Bien (of the DPP party) proposed a ‘new partnership’ (between the government and the indigenous peoples) policy in an 5 In

late 1986, the Presbyterian Church’s indigenous leaders paid a visit to the Philippines, where they met with the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). The CPA shared with them a copy of the Statement of Principles of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) (Stainton 1999: 423). The Declaration of the Rights of Taiwan Aborigines announced by the ATA in 1987 was strongly influenced by the Statement of WCIP. 6 The name correction or name rectification movement (zhengming yundong) centers on indigenous peoples’ rights to name themselves and to use their native language to name things. For centuries, Taiwanese indigenous peoples have been referred to by various names under several different colonial regimes. The Qing dynasty called them Shengfan (uncivilized barbarians or savages) or Shoufan (civilized barbarians). The Japanese first called them Ban (savages) and then later Takasagozoku. The Republic of China in Taiwan, ruled by the KMT, called them Shanbao (mountain compatriots). Except for Takasagozoku, which has positive connotations in Japanese, all other appellations are derogative ones. Therefore, name correction became a key step for the indigenous peoples in disengaging themselves from their stigmatized position and in pursuing self-identity. The ATA raised the demand for name correction in 1984, and it finally prevailed with an official name change from Shanbao to Yuanzhumin (indigenous peoples) in 1994. Following the success of this official name correction, various indigenous groups have been campaigning for renaming their groups or for state recognition as a distinct ethnic group (Chap. 6).

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attempt to reconcile the long-troubled relationship between the Han and the indigenous people. This policy entailed that the new government would respect the indigenous peoples’ natural rights to their traditional homelands, and, possibly, grant the recovery of these traditional homelands to respective indigenous groups. To assure the indigenous people of his commitment, an official ceremony to ‘reaffirm the new partnership’ was held on October 19, 2002, two and a half years into Chen’s presidency. With this new set of principles, the government began to draft an indigenous self-government act and to fund research for indigenous community mapping in order to study the traditional territory of indigenous peoples (Chi 2010). The government-initiated Indigenous Traditional Territory Survey began in 2002, and it continued for five years. The survey defines the indigenous peoples’ traditional territory as those sections of public land traditionally used by the indigenous peoples since the Japanese colonial period, including old settlements, cultivated lands, hunting grounds, government confiscated lands, river banks used by indigenous peoples, and fishing grounds (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002: I–2–3, 30). The Council of Indigenous Peoples organized an expert team composed of geographers and other scholars to assist selected indigenous communities in initiating tribal mapping work. The purpose of the survey was to provide ethno-historical foundations for future land returns and the demarcation of indigenous autonomous regions. Critics of the Indigenous Traditional Territory Survey have pointed out its problems and limitations. First, when it follows a top-down, government-initiated approach, tribal mapping becomes a tool of state policy, and loses its original meaning of empowerment for indigenous peoples (Kuan and Lin 2008). When indigenous community mapping emerged in North America in the 1960s, its aim was to counterbalance the authority of government mapping agencies and to bolster the legitimacy of indigenous people’s customary claims to lands and resources (Chapin et al. 2005; Fox 2002; Lin and Hsiao 2001). Ironically, this was then was appropriated by the Taiwanese government and became another manifestation of state sovereignty. Second, the Indigenous Traditional Territory Survey presupposes the concept of unitary, exclusive land rights, and places a strong emphasis on boundary demarcation, hence neglecting the indigenous peoples’ dynamic, fluid, and multilayered relationship to the land (Ishigaki 2005, 2014; Kuan and Lin 2008). Third, the use of mapping technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) and modern spatial information technology (SIT) privileges particular conceptions and forms of knowledge, and consequently marginalizes indigenous forms of knowledge. It also engenders unequal access to information (Fox et al. 2005). Fourth, the Indigenous Traditional Territory Survey was participated in only by certain members of the socalled ‘indigenous elites’ who have access to information, modern technology, and government funding, not by the wider community. It benefits only the members of certain elites and widens class inequality in indigenous communities (Chi and Chin 2012). Partly because of critical reflections on indigenous social movements of the past two decades and partly because of their dissatisfactions over the governmentpromoted traditional territory survey, the indigenous peoples began to organize counter-mapping initiatives. Indigenous social movements in the 1980s and 1990s


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were criticized for displaying urban elitism and a lack of grass-roots organization and community work (Hsieh 1992; Icyang 1994: 289–290), and the 1990s saw the emergence of a new form of ‘tribalism’ (buluo zhuyi) seeking local, place-based cultural authenticity. A distinctive practice associated with the quest to reclaim the ancestral past and awaken cultural self-consciousness is that of root-searching, by which members of various indigenous communities pay visits to ancestral hamlets or settlements, relating historical narratives and evoking ancestral memories through their embodied engagement with the place and landscape. Frequently on these rootsearching journeys, the indigenous groups also draw maps different from those produced by the Indigenous Traditional Territory Survey. Some indigenous communities explicitly use these maps in their fight against the construction of national parks and dams, and other development projects (Chi and Chin 2012; Lo 2010; Kuan and Lin 2008; Sasala 2008). In the following section, I will use the example of one of the Bunun’s rootsearching expeditions to show the importance of embodied knowledge in the indigenous people-land relationships and to highlight its significance in claiming the ancestral past.

4 Root-Searching Expeditions and Embodied Knowledge The Bunun of Bulbul made their first root-searching trip in 1998, when Lamatasinsin, a Bunun headhunter deemed responsible for the Dakuanshan Event and killed by the Japanese, was made into a historical figure and ‘national hero’ by a Han Chinese novelist and the local government. The Dakuanshan Event happened in September 1932, when three Japanese police officers were attacked by the Bunun while out checking telephone lines near the border of Taidong County and Kaushiong County. Two of them died on the spot, and the third was shot but survived. After three months of investigation, Lamatasinsin was isolated as the mastermind behind this action, and held responsible for planning not only the attack but also how to mislead the subsequent police investigation. All the men in his family, including a fourteen-yearold boy, were arrested and executed. The Japanese police also burned his house and destroyed his gardens so that no one would live there outside police surveillance again (Asano 1988 [1933]).7 For the Japanese, the capture of Lamatasinsin symbolized the ultimate triumph of colonial power. The Bunun finally understood how powerful the Japanese were and felt frightened. As a result, they stopped treating the Japanese police and colonial officials with disrespect and contempt. They stopped treating them with disrespect and contempt but showed their submission and obedience in every respect. Many members of the ‘escape settlements’ showed their willingness to move to where the police stations were, and the rate of school attendance increased dramatically. 7 In

traditional Bunun culture, it was a taboo to build a new house on the land where a house was burned before.

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Fig. 1 Bunun elders preparing their guns before setting off to Lamatasinsin

Headhunting stopped and many rebels returned the heads and knives of the Japanese police they had killed to the police station (ibid.). The people of Bulbul, however, have different narratives and interpretations of the Dakuanshan Event. Some recognize Lamatasinsin as an anti-Japanese warrior and man of prowess, but most see him as an innocent person framed by the Japanese police because of his refusal to live under police surveillance. Still, others depict him as a villain who was disrespectful to his elders (Yang 2003). And yet, although the Bunun’s narratives about Lamatasinsin are multiple, contested, and influenced by the narrators’ self-positioning in the patrilineal clan system, he has been turned into an objectified symbol of Bunun resistance to the Japanese through the romanticizing writings of a Han Chinese novelist, Jia-Shiang Wang. Wang published his About Lamatasinsin and Dahuali in the spring of 1992 in a newspaper. In 1995 it became part of a book with the same title and won him a literary prize. In this historical novel, there are two narrators; both are anthropologists. The story begins when a young anthropologist is given an old diary written in Japanese by an old man in Evago, the settlement next to Bulbul, and starts to translate the diary and to solve the mystery of why the old man’s father wrote such a book. Gradually, the identity of the writer is uncovered. He is a Japanese anthropologist, Mori Ushinosuke, who was thought to have disappeared in 1926 on a ship sailing from Taiwan to Japan. In fact, he did not get onto the ship but hid in the mountains. This anthropologist was fascinated by the aboriginal people and decided to live in his utopia, to give up his old Japanese identity and to take on a new identity as a Bunun. He settled in Evago, exchanged a rifle for a house and some land, and later married a Bunun woman.


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Fig. 2 The results of a successful hunt on the way to Lamatasinsin

Mori recorded his life among the Bunun and their resistance to the Japanese. He was very sympathetic to the Bunun. In his eyes, the Bunun people were mild, kind, and peaceful. They were forced into resistance through the injustice of the colonial policy of confiscating their guns. The Japanese colonial government did not understand how important hunting was to the Bunun and acted despotically. The Bunun have no literacy, and Mori was therefore concerned to record their version of history and to see justice done for them, for he knew that their heroic resistance would be construed as a crime within the annals of Japanese colonial history. Wang’s novel interweaves Japanese records of several episodes of Bunun resistance with his own historical imagination to present a depiction of how the Bunun culture and their ideal way of life were inevitably and tragically lost under Japanese colonial domination. Lamatasinsin and Dahuali, two important heroic figures who fought against the Japanese, symbolize the Bunun’s fight and their struggle to preserve their dignity and the right to live in the way they wanted. There is a strong sense of nostalgia in the novel for a past lost under colonial brutality. The publication of this novel attracted the attention of many members of the Bunun elite and local government officials, as it came at a time when the indigenous peoples’ cultural self-consciousness was growing and they were eager to reclaim their ancestral past. There were many commemorative gestures made in honor of Lamatasinsin, such as naming a street after him, building monuments, and

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constructing two Lamatasinsin Memorial Parks in Kaushiong and Taidong Counties. Representations of the past have become a political resource fought over by the Bunun in various areas under the intervention of the Han Chinese and the state. The Bunun in Haituan township considered making a root-searching journey to where Lamatasinsin had lived the most effective and indisputable way of reclaiming him as ‘theirs’. Four male Bulbul elders were the forerunners for this root-searching trip, and they set off two days earlier to clear the path to Lamatasinsin. They left marks on the trees for the rest of the group, composed of six Bunun elders and two young photographers, to follow.8 The people of Bulbul perceived this root-searching endeavor as an unusual hunting expedition, as Lamatasinsin lies in a very remote, wildlife-rich area that has not been visited for several years. It is considered very difficult and dangerous to get to Lamatasinsin, with rugged terrain and the spirits (hanitu) of those who died accidentally in the forest roaming around. I joined the elders of Bulbul on this six-day trip, and was able to observe closely how they evoked historical memories through their embodied practices in the ancestral hunting ground. However, because the elders perceived this root-searching trip as a hunting expedition, the fact of my being a woman caused some concerns and stimulated discussions about whether it should be considered a violation of taboo (masamu) to allow me to accompany them, and whether I would bring bad luck to their hunting.9 Throughout the whole journey, Bunun elders repeatedly placed emphasis on the significance of reenacting the ancestral way of life. We were to live our days in the forest like the ancestors did. We travelled light, brought only a minimal amount of rice, and had to rely on their hunting skills and good fortune to obtain enough food. The elders stayed on high alert for the signs of wild animals and followed traditional hunting taboos. During our breaks, they pointed out many named places and some specific features of the landscape, such as a stream, a tree, the remains of a house or a piled stone trap for catching wild pigs, and told the migration histories of their patrilineal clan, or recalled intimate stories about their ancestors. At night they stayed up late, drying wild meat on the fire and relating more ancestral stories and their childhood memories while drinking rice wine. The self-imposed lack of sleep induced a mental state similar to that of the annual séance of spirit mediums, i.e., a state more susceptible or sensitive to the existence of spirits (Yang 2006). Frequently, the elders expressed a sense of ‘being followed’ or accompanied by the spirits of their ancestors. Their success in hunting was also regarded as a form of ancestral blessing, as it was the ancestors who had brought the wild animals to them. Thus, after every successful hunt, the hunter presented a small piece of liver, some blood, and some rice wine as offerings to his ancestors, expressed his thanks, and asked for further ancestral protection and blessing (Fig. 3). Hunting is not only an activity carried out for economic purposes, but also an important occasion for knowledge transmission, as geographical knowledge and the history of ancestral migrations are inscribed in the topography and landscape. The 8 Iqanovan is the Japanese name for the place where Lamatasinsin used to live. As for the Bunun name

for the place, some said it was Ihanupan, some said it was Mavandaz. However, now Lamatasinsin


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Fig. 3 Drying wild meat on the fire while telling ancestral stories

Bunun notion that corresponds to ‘history’ is palihabasan, which literally means ‘telling what happened in the past’ (habas). Palihabasan is a very broad concept; it includes myths, samu (taboos and norms), stories, and the migration processes of patrilineal clans. It also includes laihaiban or linnahaiban, the places one has been to and the things one has done. In other words, the Bunun concept of history includes narratives, places, and practices. Hunting provides an occasion when these can intertwine, and named places and the landscape serve as mnemonic devices which trigger memory. Therefore, the Bunun conceptualize root-searching as hunting. To perceive root-searching as hunting is also to emphasize its embodied aspect. In official commemorations of Lamatasinsin, the past is used as a discursive resource in the context of a nationalist rendering of history. However, it is different when we turn away from ‘history as representations’ to ‘history as an activity’ (Rappaport 1988: 736). When the people of Bulbul go hunting, they experience the past in a very different way. It is not narratives, but landscape and the body, which play the central role in mediating between present experience and the ancestral past. The importance of the landscape in encapsulating and transmitting memory has been emphasized is used to refer to both the person and the place, an indication that person and place are mutually constitutive (Bloch 1995). 9 Fortunately, this turned out to be a very rewarding hunting trip and the elders praised me for being malai (one who brings good hunting luck to others).

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by a number of scholars (Casey 1999; Kenny 1999; Kuchler 1993; Rosaldo 1980; Santos-Grenero 1998), and I find the notion that kinship is implicated in landscape (Gow 1995; Morphy 1995; Toren 1995) most helpful and relevant in the Bunun case. Like the Bugkalot (Ilongot) of the Philippines described by Rosaldo (1980), the Bunun are generally uninterested in historical accounts that cannot be verified through personal experience or the experience of trustworthy persons known to them.10 As a result, genealogical memory is shallow, and the landscape and places where people were settled at given times are of paramount importance to memory. The resettlement forced on them by the Japanese is often cited as the reason why they have forgotten their ancestral history. However, on the hunting expedition to Lamatasinsin, with the topography lying before us, the elders volunteered many more stories about the migration of their patrilineal clan than when I had asked them before, back in the settlement. The evocation and recollection of intimate kinship memories are closely linked to the emphasis repeatedly placed by the elders on re-enacting the ancestral way of life on our journey. Connerton (1989) and Casey (1999) have eloquently argued that re-enactment of the past is sustained by bodily practices, an argument which is clearly borne out in the case of activities such as hunting. By trying to live and act like their maladaigaz (elders, ancestors), the Bulbul elders strengthened their spiritual connections with the ancestors and with the land. Through the inter-animation of body and landscape, they experienced a special form of simultaneity with the past, a kind of ‘reliving from within’ (Munn 1995: 84). For the Bunun, this form of embodied, placed-based knowledge gives higher authority or authenticity to attempts to reclaim the historical past. After their first root-searching expedition to Lamatasinsin, the Bunun in the Bulbul area made subsequent visits to ancestral settlements. Some of these root-searching trips were carried out simultaneously with community mapping practices. As I highlighted above, the Bunun experience the past and strengthen their connections with the land through the inter-animation of body and landscape, so their ancestral lands claim should not be separated from this intimate form of knowledge. Unfortunately, this form of embodied, placed-based knowledge that the Bunun prioritize tends to be neglected or marginalized in the land rights movements led by the urban indigenous elite. In undertaking their root-searching trips to Lamatasinsin and other ancestral settlements, the Bunun of Bulbul were not intending to make land rights claims. They were more concerned about authenticating their interpretations of history and reaffirming their spiritual connections with the ancestral places. However, in other areas such as Pasikau in Yenping Township, Taidong County, the Bunun have been very active in combining root-searching expeditions and tribal mapping projects as an effective means of making indigenous land rights claims. In the following section, I will explain why they are quick in responding to changes in state policy, and explore how they deftly use different forms of knowledge in asserting their claims to traditional territory.

10 This

Austonesian-speaking people call themselves and their language Bugkalot. ‘Ilongot’ is a lowlanders’ term for them (Yang 2011).


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5 Asserting Land Rights Claims Through Root-Searching and Tribal Mapping Pastor Biung Istanda of Pasikau Presbyterian Church, a graduate of Tainan Theological College and Seminary, established the Bunun Cultural and Educational Foundation (BCEF) in 1995. It was the first non-profit organization registered with the government to be founded by Taiwanese indigenous peoples. The aim of the BCEF is to address the needs of the Bunun, to foster sustainable development, and to elevate cultural awareness of the indigenous community from both traditional and contemporary perspectives. Thanks to Pastor Biung’s efforts, the organization has gained support from several Han Chinese NGOs and NPOs, and the BCEF is thus able to raise millions in funding every year from small donations and big enterprise sponsorship that it uses to aid its successful operation. It has also applied for many government projects and received substantial subsidies from these. In addition the BCEF undertakes various business ventures, such as ethnic and ecological tourism, performing arts, and organic agriculture, and is able to provide many job opportunities for the Bunun. Thus, it has been recognized as a classic example of ethnic redevelopment that takes place as part of the decolonization process (Tung 2013: 102). The issues of cultural identity and indigenous empowerment have always been a central concern for the BCEF. In the end of 2001, its members organized the first root-searching trip to Laipunuk, the area where their ancestors lived before they were forced to move to the foothill and plain areas under the relocation policy of the Japanese. From the beginning, a tribal mapping project was on the agenda. Nabu Istanda related that he felt encouraged to return to Laipunuk when he was introduced to the concept of tribal mapping by a Chinese scholar at the turn of the century (Martin and Blundell 2014). Apparently he was impressed by the implication of empowerment for the indigenous peoples that tribal mapping carried with it. With several elders who were familiar with Laipunuk guiding the way, the group of 12 people visited two old hamlets and the remains of two Japanese police stations in the area. With the financial backing of the BCEF, the people of Pasikau region embarked on four more root-searching and tribal mapping trips in the space of just a few months. They did not only learn about their ancestors’ former daily life in the mountains, surveying the area and drawing maps, but also produced a documentary titled Open the Window on Taiwanese History: The Return to Laipunuk to record these expeditions. On April 26, 2002, the BCEF held the first public screening of the documentary and began to collect signings on a petition, demanding the government to return their traditional territory of Laipunuk to them. A tour of Bunun villages in Yenping County was organized, with the aims of showing the documentary and creating an opportunity for signing the ancestral land return petition. The notion that Laipunuk is the ‘window on Taiwanese history’ came from the anthropologist Ying-Kuei Huang. Huang (2001a, b) analyzed Japanese police reports that documented their investigation of the Laipunuk area and found that Laipunuk demonstrated some unusual social characteristics as a Bunun society. First, although

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the Bunun replaced the former owner Rukai as the dominant group in Laipunuk, interactions with different ethnic groups, including Rukai, Paiwan, Puyuma, and Tsou, were frequent. Second, the population of Laipunuk was much larger than average. It formed a powerful regional center and, perhaps due to influences from the Paiwan, showed signs of developing from an egalitarian social system into a hierarchical one.11 Third, there were many Han Chinese in the area, not on the periphery of the society but an integral part of it. They married Bunun women and served as traders, as intermediaries or peacemakers, and as a communication network that transgressed ethnic boundaries.12 Because of the presence of the Han Chinese, trade was very prosperous. Tobacco agriculture, and the trade and manufacture of guns and gunpowder, were significant industries, providing economic revenue in the region. Due to Laipunuk’s military prowess, the Japanese colonial government encountered great difficulties in asserting control over the region. Laipunuk formed an internal frontier, and its incorporation into the rule of modern state occurred very late. It was only after the Dakuanshan Event of 1932 that the Japanese were able to take better control of the area. In Huang’s opinion, the specific social, political, and economic features of Laipunuk, and the fact that it was the last area to be annexed into the modern state ruling system made it a ‘window on history’ which offers a fresh angle with which to view Taiwanese history (Huang 2001b). For the Bunun of Yenping Township, Huang’s appraisal of Laipunuk as an emergent regional center that provides new insights with which to view Taiwanese history provides a much-appreciated academic justification of their fight to regain their traditional territory. They argue that Laipunuk is an important cultural heritage because it has significant values to anthropological, archaeological, and historical studies, and it should be restored and taken care of by the Bunun because their ancestors had established intimate connections to the land. Those who went to Laipunuk for rootsearching and tribal mapping brought back some soil from the area, and ailing elders whose ill health had prevented them from returning to Laipunuk on foot showed strong emotions and wept when they saw this soil from the homeland. The BCEF constructed the notion that Laipunuk is these elders’ ‘umbilical cord burial ground’, referring to the Bunun traditional practice of burying the placenta (kat-uvazan) under the house (Yang 1992).13 This notion was to testify or argue for the identification between the person and the land, and the BCEF used it to demand the state to help

11 I disagree with his idea that the Bunun in Laipunuk were Paiwanized. Instead of essentializing the Bunun as an egalitarian society, I argue that the egalitarianism displayed by the Bunun is, to a large extent, a consequence of Japanese colonial rule. Before the advance of Japanese colonialism in Taiwan, the Bunun socio-political order oscillated between egalitarianism and hierarchy, and the most important factor triggering this shift was hostility and headhunting warfare between different ethnic groups. The suppression of headhunting and tribal warfare by the Japanese colonial state in effect halted such oscillation (Yang 2005). 12 The descendants of these Han Chinese were incorporated into the Bunun patrilineal clan system as a clan named Maibut, which means they were formerly Han Chinese. 13 The umbilical cord (pusuh) was not buried, but rather stored in a safe place in the house after it dried up and dropped off the baby’s body. To be exact, the navel was not buried.


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the Bunun elders to be reunited with Laipunuk by providing them with helicopter transportation. On December 10, 2002, International Human Rights Day, government-sponsored helicopters brought 15 Bunun elders, all over 65 years of age, to Laipunuk. The Director of the Council for Cultural Affairs, Yu-Shio Chen, also went there to show the DPP government’s commitment to human rights, multicultural values, and the ‘new partnership relationship’ between the indigenous peoples and the state. On the flag post of a former Japanese elementary school, the Bunun hoisted a flag of ‘Laipunuk Year One’, indicating that this was the first year of their reclamation of their traditional territory. Having, as it does, sufficient funding and organizational skills, the BCEF is quick in responding to changes in state policy. It is very resourceful in executing tribal mapping projects and in using academic research and mass media to promote their land rights claims. Bunun elders deploy their traditional knowledge to become the tutors of tribal mapping projects and young people apply modern mapping technology such as GIS. So far, more than 20 root-searching and tribal mapping trips to Laipunuk have been made and some accurate and detailed maps have been drawn up. Numerous newspaper reports and television broadcasts on these root-searching and tribal mapping trips have raised the visibility of their land rights claims. A conference on indigenous peoples’ natural sovereignty and cultural reconstruction has also been held by the BCEF. However, the return of Laipunuk to the Bunun of Yenping Township as their traditional territory remains still a goal, and not yet a political reality. Although the BCEF is highly skillful in using various forms of knowledge to assert their claims to traditional territory, its members know that they cannot disregard the embodied knowledge that is so deep-rooted in Bunun culture, and the Bunun people value it as a form of reclaiming the ancestral past. Therefore, the BCEF tries to preserve and share such knowledge through various means. The making and screening of the documentary film Open the Window on Taiwanese History: The Return to Laipunuk is one of their attempts to disseminate embodied, place-based knowledge. This 60-minute documentary emphasizes that Laipunuk is the homeland and a place of memory for the Bunun living in Yenping Township. By recording how the Bunun imagined and recalled their ancestors’ former daily lives in the mountains as ‘memories’ while on treks to old hamlets, the documentary intends to give authenticity to its historical narratives. According to Ishigaki (2014), the root-searching trips engender a process of identification through which the present-day Bunun (re-)confirm or (re-)imagine that ‘they are the Bunun’. He sees them as pilgrimages to sacred places. For the presentday Bunun, caught up in the fervor of the indigenous movement, former hamlets in their traditional territory acquire historical continuity as ‘fixed places’, becoming the moorings of their culture and identity as Bunun. Moreover, he thinks that the screening of Open the Window on Taiwanese History: The Return to Laipunuk does not only help to connect contemporary Bunun with their history but also allows the audience to have a ‘simulated experience’ of the former daily life of the Bunun. In

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other words, those who do not participate in these root research trips can also share such memories and reimagine their traditional life. I have serious doubts that embodied experience and place-based knowledge can be simulated through watching a documentary. However, this is only one of BCEF’s attempts to preserve such knowledge. Through extensive interviews with the elders about their experience in the mountains, studies on place names, migration history, ecological knowledge, the distribution of clans, the traditional land use system, resource management, and relationships with other ethnic groups, are accumulating. What I find most fascinating with reference to the aims of this paper is the BCEF’s attempts to enliven Laipunuk through reenactment of the ancestral past and the inter-animation of body and place. After 15 Bunun elders were taken back to Laipunuk by government-sponsored helicopter, the BCEF started up projects to plant millet (the most important of the traditional Bunun crops with a rich symbolic meaning), build a traditional stone slab house, and perform traditional annual rituals such as Malahtangia and Minpinang in Laipunuk. Needless to say, hunting and offering wild meat to the ancestors have already been carried out on repeated root-searching trips to Laipunuk. Through bodily practices in the ancestral land, Laipunuk is no longer an objectified, fixed ‘traditional territory’ which the Bunun of Yenping Township pursue for political reasons but a living cultural heritage. The BCEF has its fair share of critics and internal divisions. However, its attempts to raise indigenous cultural awareness and to assert rights in self-determination and historical interpretation have been very successful. Stainton (1999) argues that indigenous movements in the 1980s and the 1990s have transformed the idea of indigenous self-governance from imported heterodoxy to indigenous doxa—that which is taken for granted in any particular society, or knowledge that is in the realm of the undiscussed (undisputed). We can say that the BCEF’s grass-roots works among the Bunun have achieved the same thing. Notions of indigenous natural sovereignty over their traditional territory and self-determination have transformed from the elitist self-fashioning of an indigenous political project to what Bourdieu (1977: 164) called ‘cultural arbitrary’, viewed by the Bunun as ‘common sense’ and an inherent right.

6 Conclusion Since the 1980s, riding on the tide of Taiwan’s democratization and the worldwide indigenous movements, the indigenous peoples in Taiwan have waged waves of social movements to fight against Han domination, cultural imperialism, and ethnic inequality. Despite their many impressive achievements, the indigenous social movements have inadvertently widened the class gaps between different sectors of the indigenous communities due to the strong urban elitism that characterizes these


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movements. Critical reflections on the shortcomings of indigenous social movements led to the rise of a new ‘tribalism’ and an eagerness to pursue a local, placedbased cultural authenticity in the 1990s. The proliferation of root-searching expeditions among indigenous peoples is partly a result of this quest for cultural authenticity. Nevertheless, root-searching endeavors gain a new relevance when indigenous communities attempt to make land rights claims over their traditional territory. As I have detailed above, the Bunun value embodied experience as a form of knowledge and a way of reclaiming the ancestral past. They perceive root-searching expeditions as hunting because they place emphasis on the reenactment of the ancestral past through the inter-animation of body and landscape. In this way, the ‘traditional territory’ is imbued with deep cultural significance. Indigenous land rights movements led by the members of the urban elite tend to draw discourses from global indigenism at the expense of this embodied, place-based knowledge. As a result, they may alienate rather than unite ordinary indigenous people. The BCEF offers an example of how to combine different forms of knowledge in asserting territorial claims. While the BCEF is skillful in drawing discourses from global indigenism and using academic research to justify their land rights claims, its members do not forget how the Bunun value embodied experience in the ancestral place. In organizing and embarking on repeated root-searching and tribal mapping expeditions, the BCEF effectively makes demands to the state and reconnects the Bunun with their ancestral lands. With the current political stagnation affecting the return of traditional territories to indigenous groups, the BCEF is putting more effort into enlivening Laipunuk through bodily activities such as hunting, millet planting, house building, and ritual performance. By reenacting the ancestral past through the inter-animation of body and place, Laipunuk has ceased to be an objectified, fixed ‘traditional territory’ which the Bunun of Yenping Township pursue as a main political goal, and become a living cultural heritage. No matter in which direction the issue of indigenous land return develops in the future, the indigenous peoples will surely be able to anchor their cultural identity in ancestral lands through these embodied practices.

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Lin, Y., & Hsiao, H. (2001). Preliminary analysis of community mapping and indigenous society [Buluo ditu yu yuanzhumin shehui chutan]. Taipei County Culture Quarterly [Bei xiang wenhua], 72, 68–81. Lo, S. (2010). Cultural identity, ecological conflict and ethnic relations: Discourse on the traditional territory by the amis of tolan [Wenhua rentong, shengtai chongtu yu zuqun guanxi: yo ameizu tulan bulao de chuantong lingyu lunsu tan qi]. Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology, Taiwan University [Taida kaogu renleixue kan] 71, 1–34. Lusolamen, A. (1999). The shouting of Tawu mountain [Tawushan de nahan]. Taipei: Amnesty International. Martin, S. A. & D. Blundell. (2014). A new trial for the journey home to the Bunun villages of old Laipunuk: Contextualizing island Formosa through cultural heritage. Paper Presented at the 2014 International Conference on Formosan Indigenous Peoples: Contemporary Perspectives, Sep 15–17. Taipei: Academia Sinica. Morphy, H. (1995) Landscape and the reproduction of the ancestral past. In E. Hirsch & M. O’Hanlon (Eds.) The anthropology of landscape (pp. 184–209). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Munn, N. D. (1995) An essay on the symbolic construction of memory in the Kaluli Gisalo. In D. de Coppet and A. Itéanu (Ed.) Cosmos and society in Oceania (pp. 83–104). Oxford: Berg. Rosaldo, R. (1980). Ilongot headhunting 1883–1974: A study in society and history. Stanford: Standford University Press. Rappaport, J. (1988) History and everyday life in the colonial Andes. Man (N.S.) 23, 718–739. Santos-Grenero, F. (1998). Writing history into the landscape: Space, myth, and ritual in contemporary Amazonia. American Ethnologist, 25(2), 128–148. Sasala, T. (2008) The division and re-construction of traditional territory: Re-Examining humanland configuration and spatial change of Kucapungane [Chuantonglingyu de liejie yu congou: Kucapungane ren ditupu yu kongjian bianqian de zai jianshi]. Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology, Taiwan University [Taida kaogu renleixue kan] 69, 9–44. Stainton, M. (1999). Aboriginal Self-Governance: Taiwan’s Uncompleted Agenda. In M. A. Rubinstein (Ed.) Taiwan: A new history (pp. 419–435). London: M. E. Sharpe. Sun, T. (2000). Ethnicity construction in-between powerful forces [Jiafeng zhong de zuqun jiangou]. Taipei: United Literature. Toren, C. (1995) Seeing the ancestral sites: Transformations in Fijian notions of the land. In The Anthropology of Landscape ( pp. 163–183). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Tung, W. (2013). Art for social change and cultural awakening: An anthropology of residence in Taiwan. Plymouth: Lexington Books. Wang, C. (1995). About Lamatasinsin and Dahuali [Guan yu lamadaxianxian yu lahe alei]. Taipei: Yu-Shan Press. Wang, M. (2003). A review and prospect of indigenous people’s movements in Taiwan [Taiwan yuanzhuminzu yuntong de huigu yu zhanwang]. In M. Chang and Y. Cheng (Ed.) Analyses of Social Movements on Both Sides of the Straight [Lianan shehui yuntong fenxi] (pp. 95–135). Taipei: Third Nature Publishing. Yang, S. (1992). Gender, Kinship and the Concept of Personhood: A Study of the Bunun of Bulbul [Liangxing, qinshu yu ren de guannian: Yi wulu bunongren weilì de yanjiu]. MA dissertation, Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University (unpublished). Yang, S. (2003). Between history and memory: Dakuanshan event and beyond [Lishi yu jiyi zhi jian: Cong dakuanshan shijian tanqi]. Humanitas Taiwanica [Taida wenshizhe xuebao], 59, 31–64. Yang, S. (2005). “Political systems of highland Taiwan: Preliminary analysis of the Bunun case [Taiwan kaodi de zhengzhi tixi chutan: Yi bunongren weili de yanjiu]. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology [Taiwan renleixue kan], 3(1), 185–219. Yang, S. (2006). Personhood, ritual healing and social change: The example of the Bunun [Renguan, yishi yu shehui bianqian: Yi bunongren weili de yanjiu]. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology [Taiwan renleixue kan], 4(2), 75–111. Yang, S. (2011). Headhunting, christianity, and history among the Bugkalot (ilongot) of northern Luzon, Philippines. Philippine Studies, 59(2), 155–186.

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Yang, S. (2013). Recognition and contestation of indigenous land rights in the Philippines. Paper presented at the Conference Legal Ground: Land and Law in Contemporary Taiwan and the Pacific, Sep. 11–12. Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.

Shu-yuan Yang is Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. She received her PhD from the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has extended fieldwork experiences among the Bunun of Taiwan and the Bugkalot (Ilongot) of the Philippines. Her research interests include state-minority relations, indigenous Christianity, sociocultural change, and comparative Austronesian studies

Part III

Settler Colonial and Decolonial Critique

Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler-Colonial Unconscious Katsuya Hirano, Lorenzo Veracini, and Toulouse-Antonin Roy

1 Introduction What are the implications of recovering settler colonialism as a mode of domination that fundamentally shaped Taiwan’s history? The article argues that this uncovering is crucial to understanding the formation of successive polities on the island of Taiwan, but this is not to say that a settler-colonial studies lens should replace a colonial one. On the contrary, we emphasize that the two modes of domination—colonial and settler-colonial—are premised on each other. The Dutch invited settlers from across the Straits because they aimed to mobilize resources that would sustain colonial trades; the Qing administration managed a middle ground (White 1991)1 that mediated between Aboriginal groups2 and largely autonomous settler communities; 1 Our

use of the term “middle ground” is from Richard White’s path-breaking book, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815, where he explores the forms horizontal commercial, political, and cultural exchange that emerged on the North American continent between colonists and Indigenous peoples. Throughout the period examined in White’s book, imperial states forged strategic alliances with American Indian polities to gain leverage against their rivals. These possibilities shrunk considerably with the rise of territorial nation-states though. We believe that these historical dynamics could also be found in the Taiwan context. For more see White 1991. This chapter was previously published in Critical Asian Studies 50.2 (2018), pp. 196–218. K. Hirano (B) · T.-A. Roy University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, US e-mail: [email protected] L. Veracini Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia 2 Taiwan’s

Indigenous peoples, or “Aborigines” as they are commonly referred to in English, have historically been divided into plain and mountain-dwelling groups. The Qing regime ranked these

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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Japanese colonizers critiqued abusive Chinese settlers because they were intent on incorporating Taiwan into its regime of capitalist accumulation as sovereign territory; and post-WWII Guomindang (KMT) authorities critiqued Japanese brutalities because they were a regime premised on settler-colonial policies of nationalist assimilation. The settler-colonial perspective complicates our understanding of colonial rule and domination by disclosing what colonial studies often tends to overlook: the dissonant and often conflictive relationship among colonial authorities, settlers, and Indigenous peoples (Shepherd 1993).3 From the seventeenth century onward, Taiwan was an intersectional node where different regimes of domination worked against each other for the expropriation of Indigenous people’s land and means of sustenance. Uncovering Taiwan’s settler-colonial unconscious is crucial for bringing this historical process to the foreground.

2 Taiwan’s Triangular Relationships and “Middle Ground” During the Dutch and Chinese Regimes The arrival of the Dutch East India Company in 1624 on the shores of what is now the city of Tainan marked the beginning of Aboriginal interactions with outside colonizers (Andrade 2008). At the dawn of the seventeenth century, the Dutch Empire had turned to Chinese silk and Japanese silver to secure its commercial dominance of the wider Asia-Pacific world (Andrade 2006, 430). From their headquarters at Fort Zeelandia, Dutch administrators, soldiers, and commercial agents established contact with surrounding Aboriginal villages. The Dutch first came into contact with lowland Aboriginal groups, such as the Siraya, Taivoan, Makatau, Pangsola-Dolatok, and Lungkiau (Wang 1980, 35–36). The early focus of Dutch activities was the lucrative deer trade. During this period, the sale of deer-related products, such as venison, deerskin, and deer horns fetched a high price among merchants in Tokugawa Japan, and the southern coastal provinces of China. As the Dutch expanded their commercial operations it became increasingly difficult for Aboriginal communities near the vicinity of Fort Zeelandia to maintain an independent economic, political, and cultural existence. Though their administrative and military resources were limited, the Dutch imposed a number of taxes on subjugated villages, limited movement based on their perceived degree of “acculturation” (“raw” versus “cooked”). Japanese anthropologists added ethnographic classification. They named many of the current tribal categories. Taiwan’s sixteen official Indigenous groups are: Amis, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Yami, Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, Seediq, Hla’alua, and Kanakanavu. Most of these historically belong to the “hill” Aborigines. The total population is 546,700 people (December 2015). There are 14,500 within the overall Aborigines population who do not recognize themselves as belonging to any of the official sixteen categories. See Republic of China Executive Yuan 2016. 3 Our work is not the first to examine Taiwan history through the prism of “triangular relations.” John Robert Shepherd’s classic account Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600–1800 does this for the Dutch and Qing periods. While his work predates the formation of settler colonial studies, we draw extensively from his insights. See Shepherd 1993.

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between these, and involved themselves in tribal affairs by appointing chieftains. Missionary education in community schools was also common, and by the end of the Dutch period, a good portion of plains groups like the Siraya had nominally converted to Christianity (Andrade 2006, 431). The Spanish had ruled the northern part of Taiwan between 1626 and 1642, using it as a trading port. The Dutch, however, established rice farms and sugar plantations and imported Han Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian as laborers. They also brought 25,000 Han Chinese as soldiers to Taiwan when they established Fort Zeelandia. Total Han Chinese settlers at this stage were somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000. This compares to a Dutch population of 600 officials and 2,200 soldiers. As of 1650, a limited survey conducted by the Dutch showed that the indigenous population was 68,657 (Matsuzawa 1991, 274–75). Importing Chinese labor was a response to provisioning limitations and security needs. Thus, while Han immigrants were key to the success of the Dutch colonial enterprise on the island, their presence formed a firm ground for Chinese settler colonialism that would fully develop in the eighteenth century. As one Dutch official perceptively put it, “the Chinese are the only bees on Formosa that give honey” (Andrade 2006, 431). Chinese immigration also produced a typical settler-colonial triangular system of relations among colonial authority, settlers, and indigenous peoples. This would become a defining feature of successive regimes in Taiwan. Chinese immigration to Taiwan, however, predates the establishment of Fort Zeelandia. As historian Ronald G. Knapp has argued, the Taiwan case does not constitute an instance of state-sponsored settlement of “adjacent territory” (Knapp 1976, 43). Because of endemic conflict and political instability along China’s southern coastland many people had already moved to what would become Taiwan in the hopes of finding stability by the time the Dutch invited further settlement. As Chinese immigrants settled in large numbers, Aboriginal access to traditional hunting grounds became limited. Disputes over land became more frequent. From 1634 to 1660, the Dutch East India Company purchased between 20,000 and 150,000 deerskins for export, mainly to Japan, where samurai used them for their armour (Hauptman and Knapp 1977, 177). Initially, Dutch merchants acquired hides directly from Aborigines. Later, in an effort to increase exports, the Dutch government issued licences to Chinese colonists. This led to fierce competition. The drop in the deer population was significant enough by 1649 that one official asked the governor to allow only indigenous people to hunt deer. This ban on deer hunting by Chinese colonists was also a response to growing violence. Chinese hunters routinely trespassed onto Aboriginal lands. By the close of the Dutch period, Aborigines in the southwestern plains were in an increasingly vulnerable position (Hauptman and Knapp 1977, 177; Shepherd 1993, 47–91.) With their hunting territories shrinking and Chinese colonists at their doorstep, Aborigines found it difficult to maintain their traditional economies, tribal institutions, and headhunting practices. The influx of settlers intensified under the brief interregnum of the Zheng family. In 1661 Zheng Chenggong invaded and conquered Fort Zeelandia. Zheng, a Ming loyalist, had fought against the Manchu invaders on the mainland. When the Manchus defeated the Ming forces, Zheng fled to Taiwan. Though he died in 1662, his son


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assumed power and encouraged colonization of outlying Indigenous areas (Andrade 2006, 446–449; Ka 1995, 13). The Zheng family did not follow the Dutch’s strategy of producing cash crops. For example, under the Zhengs, sugarcane production fell from 17,000 chia to 10,000 chia (Ka 1995, 13). During the Zheng family’s brief rule, three indigenous uprisings occurred (Wang 1980, 39). Land was monopolized by settlers, mostly former soldiers who had taken part in the campaign against the Dutch. The regime’s officers served as landlords. Lands opened up by the army became tax-exempt (Ka 1995, 12–13; Shepherd 1993, 91–104). When the Qing conquered Taiwan in 1683, they abolished the Zhengs’ landlord system and offered tenurial rights in exchange for taxes. In addition to the break-up of larger estates, the Qing redistributed land into smaller holdings. Small owner-cultivators working less than five chia became numerous. Large estates were eventually reconstituted, however. Government and military officials would amass large properties but could only serve in the island for a limited tenure. “absentee” landlords held large tracts (Ka 1995, 16).

3 The Qing Imperial Regime The dissolution or reduction of Indigenous land and hunting territories under the Zheng and early Qing regimes gave way to the establishment of permanent agrarian settler communities. Han Chinese reproduced their southeastern villages and language patterns. People from Fujian settled the most arable land while Hakka speaking people from Guangdong settled marginal lands (Knapp 2007,17–18; Veracini 2010, 16–33).4 The local settler community developed distinct cultural traits. As for land distribution, ownership was divided into two categories. A reclaimant, or k’en-hu, held use-rights, and became the legal landowner (yeh-hu) after registering his claim and paying taxes. Below the k’en-hu was the tien-hu, or tenant, who paid rent for use rights to land (Ka 1995, 17–20). This type of rights allocation and tenure arrangements reflected Han Chinese agricultural practices, but there was a significant difference in that tenants on the island retained more autonomy than elsewhere, a comparative advantage settler-colonists often enjoy vis-à-vis peasants in the old land. The patent holder would typically recruit peasants from southern China (Knapp 2007,17–18). Under the terms of this “one field two owners” system, individuals were recognized as landowners if they reclaimed the land within a specified period of time. After a period of exemption, the owner was responsible for taxes, depending on its productivity. Since tracts were not initially defined with precision, settlement patterns tended to be dispersed (especially in the north), yet another circumstance 4 Taiwan’s three non-indigenous ethnic groups (Hoklo, Hakka, and Chinese exiles) constitute a hier-

archy of indigenization. Groups of Hoklo and Hakka started to immigrate to Taiwan in large numbers in the eighteenth century. The KMT took over the island in 1945. Violent conflicts ensued between residents and newcomers. Forced assimilation into a type of Chinese identity for all followed. On the population economy of a settler society, a dynamic characterized by the tension between indigenizing and metropolitan settlers.

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not uncommon in settler frontiers elsewhere (Knapp 1980, 55–69; Knapp 2007, 17–18). Through this intergenerational transfer of proprietary rights, settlers began “indigenizing” to their new locales. The expansion of land reclamation activities in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was also accompanied by a corresponding rise in Sinicization efforts. Now compelled, or voluntarily deciding to participate in the emerging Sinocentric order, some Aborigines adopted Chinese customs, ceased all forms of headhunting and ritualized warfare, abandoned their autonomous political structures, paid taxes, and performed different kinds of military service or forced labor. Huang Shu-Ching’s early eighteenth-century ethnography of plains Aborigines in the north reveals this assimilationist drive: Taiwan is entirely a land of barbarians. Their foreheads tattooed, their locks shorn, [they are as hard to keep in order as] a mess of ants or a swarm of bees. For those in service overseas keeping the barbarians pacified must surely be considered difficult […]. Lately, in their villages there are some who study the writings of the Four Philosophers (the Four Books of the Confucian canon), and learn one of the scriptures (the Five Classics). With encouragement and guidance can we not convert their uncouth ways to those of civilized men? (Thompson 1969, 48–49.)

Qing territorial expansion now reached more remote areas. While the Dutch had focused on international trade during their occupation, Qing authorities focused on establishing a fiscal base and administrative control over the growing population of settler immigrants. This required curtailing illegal settler incursions into Aboriginal land. Administrative control, however, further eroded traditional Aboriginal support structures, and new laws led to Indigenous communities having to work within the parameters of the Chinese system of land ownership. The first step taken in this direction was in 1704, when the Taiwan governor (the highest ranking official on the island) decreed that all settlers seeking contract with Aboriginal tribes (either for farmland or deer-hunting fields) must first seek official approval.5 This was done ostensibly to ensure that land acquisition took place in accordance with Aboriginal land rights. Indigenous communities agreed or were forced to agree to transform their “wilderness” and common deer-hunting fields into lands subject to taxation, thereby allowing Chinese settlers to open these up for cultivation in exchange for settlers respecting Aboriginal land tenure. Illegal incursions though continued apace. One official complained in 1717 that the ….. New settlers increase daily at ever greater distances from the county yamen [settlers] are violent, resist arrest, and steal. Cleverly they seek to open tribal lands, to occupy aborigine homes, and take aborigine wives. The aborigines fear them and suffer patiently, but before long the enmity between settlers and aborigines will bring disaster (Shepherd 1993, 183).

With Han colonists pressing further into the hinterland to claim land and expand the administrative reach of the state, Aboriginal insurgencies became common. Plains 5A

full account of the evolution of Aboriginal land rights is well beyond the scope of this paper. Numerous attempts to clarify the legal terms of Aboriginal land tenure were made throughout the eighteenth century. These policies in many ways served as a recognition of the growing permanence of Han settlement, and as such should be seen as another steppingstone in the gradual erosion of indigenous sovereignty. See Shepherd 1993, 16–17 & 239–308.


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Aborigines, for example rose up multiple times to protest burdensome taxes and excessive corvée labor in the early 1700s (Shepherd 1993, 125–132). For those that could no longer compete with the growing presence of settlers on their ancestral territories, forced migration into hilly territory, and even sometimes as far as the island’s east coast, did occur.6 Attempts to erase aspects of Indigenous culture could also be seen in the development of government-run academies that promoted Chinese-style education. As early as 1686, Chu-lo Magistrate Fan Wei-ping set up four community schools in the Aboriginal districts of Sinkan, Bakloan, Soulang, and Mattau near Tainan. In 1733, two years after a major revolt by the Ta-chia, Qing officials established forty-seven more community schools in the western plains. Sustained contact with Chinese colonists also contributed to assimilatory efforts, leading to the slow death of plains Aboriginal languages (Hsu 1975, 223–225). Meanwhile, settler communities retained a significant degree of autonomy and managed their internal affairs through informal systems of social control. Especially where settlers were opening new lands, there was a political vacuum (Shepherd 1993, 137–214). Like in frontier areas elsewhere, the settlers would promote stability by organizing local associations. Expansion, not commerce, drove economic growth. Many of the settler immigrants brought with them mainland loyalties and affiliations from the southern provinces to their new homes in Taiwan. Intra-settler rivalries and clan conflicts were endemic, at times spilling over into large-scale fights. Compounding these feuds were local versions of the secret societies, sworn brotherhoods, religious orders, and other associations settlers had brought with them from the mainland. These not only facilitated the replication of settler culture, but also helped re-entrench continental forms of social rebellion and strife (Hsu 1980). The Qing government often used assimilated Aborigines as special auxiliary troops to help suppress unrest. This further drove a wedge between settlers and Indigenes, as disputes on the frontier among Han agrarian villages forced plains Aborigines to seek protection from the Qing authorities. A settler-colonial triangular system of relationship was thus maintained. As the Indigenous population on the western plains experienced absorption and displacement, the state devised new mechanisms for those living beyond imperial jurisdiction in the central mountains. During the eighteenth century the Qing state gradually shelved its earlier ideas of “civilizing savages” and began turning to what scholar Ka Chih-ming dubbed “ethnic politics” (minzu zhengzi) to preserve the island’s demographic status quo (Ka 2001; Tavares 2004, 111–128). As Han and Aborigine-led revolts broke out during the early eighteenth century, the Qing looked to a policy of spatial segregation for Han, assimilated Aborigines, and unconquered mountain groups to keep frontier violence to a minimum. In the early 1700s the Qing government formally established a “savage boundary” (fanjie) near the 6 As

early as the Dutch period, groups in the southwest began autonomously relocating to other villages to avoid fiscal pressure. This trend intensified under the Qing, when continued eastward movement by settlers drove some plains Aboriginal groups into the mountainsides. This is not to say that the plains populations who fled became hill aborigines, as this origin hypothesis has long been discredited. See Wang 1980.

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base of the foothills to prevent Han Chinese farmers from trespassing onto Indigenous lands beyond Qing control. This border initially consisted of earthen works. During the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1736–1795), the Qing “savage boundary” became more rigidly demarcated, with a designated Chinese area of settlement and a “buffer zone” that straddled the system of earthen works and the foothills where “raw savage” populations resided. This buffer zone was populated by plainsdwelling tribes (or “cooked savages” as they were known) that paid taxes to the central government and performed military service. Over time, this buffer zone became an area for government-sanctioned military colonies (fan t’un) where plains Aborigines were allotted land and kept watch over populations in the highlands (Tavares 2004, 118–119; Shepherd 1993, 308–362). The terms “raw savages” (seiban) and “cooked savages” (jukuban) were later adopted by the Japanese as well to distinguish between plains and hill Aborigines. Relationships in the eastern borderlands were fluid and shifting for much of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A kind of provisional frontier diplomacy existed insofar as the Qing state was unable to exert administrative control in the areas beyond the officially sanctioned border. Central to this middle ground was a network of “interpreters” (t’ung-shih) who first assisted in tax collection among plains Aborigines during the early Qing period, and later, brokered trade between remote hill communities and agricultural settlements bordering the Qing perimeter (Barclay 2005; Nakamura 2003). Han Chinese often exchanged food, liquor, beads, cloth, and other items with hill groups for wild game and forest products. Typically, interpreters who facilitated these exchanges were Han men who had married into plains Aborigines communities, learned the local language, and helped government officials collect taxes, resolve disputes, and ensure the loyalty of a specific village. The Qing regime in the eighteenth century used these interpreters to maintain a complex system of cultural brokerage and administrative supervision. Abuses were rampant, as interpreters, unchecked by Qing officialdom, used their strategic positions for extortion. An excerpt from a 1697 travelogue written by the literati Yu Yonghe reveals the important political functions of interpreters, as well as their corrupt tendencies: In each administrative district a wealthy village person is made responsible for the village revenues. These men are called “village tax farmers” [literally village merchants, she-shang]. The village tax farmer in turn appoints interpreters and foremen who are sent to live in the villages, and who record and check up on every jot and tittle [grown or bought in by hunting] of all the barbarians…But these [interpreters and foremen] take advantage of the simplemindedness of the barbarians and never tire of fleecing them, looking on whatever they have as no different than their own property. (Barclay 2005, 327)

Corruption and exploitation of Aborigines only intensified (Hsu 1975, 303–305). Nevertheless, cross border trade involving Han, “cooked,” and “raw” Aboriginal communities, even with all its abuses, implied a state recognition of Indigenous independence. Eventually, this system of cultural brokerage via interpreters also came to include “raw” Aboriginal women as emissaries. Mid-nineteenth century accounts written by missionaries and Western observers described how male Aboriginal elders


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would “sell” their daughters as brides to plains Aborigines men to secure trade relations. These women became important commercial and cultural mediators. American naturalist Joseph Steere described these arrangements in 1874: The Kale-whan [Paiwan], in times of scarcity, frequently sell their daughters to the Chinese and Pepo-whans [Plains Aborigines], who take them as supplementary wives and make them useful interpreters in thus bartering with the savages. […] the Kale-whan the chief offered to sell us three girls of the tribe at twenty dollars each (Barclay 2005, 335).

The middle-ground policies of the Qing state - though mired in corruption, interpreter abuse, and plagued with administrative inconsistencies - provided Indigenes with important respite from land and resource-hungry colonists, who by the start of the eighteenth century, had already overtaken and Sinicized much of the island’s southwest. While the system of earthen works and boundary markers did much to physically keep Chinese and Aborigines apart, porous frontier social relations always stayed ahead of imperial institutional arrangements and official attempts to enforce strict ethnic segregation. Intermarriage, commercial exchange and subsistence needs brought various actors into contact with one another. In the long run, however, the Qing could not tolerate the coexistence of multiple sovereignties and overlapping territorial claims. By the early 1870s, the Qing Empire’s growing entanglement with regional imperialist rivalries for control of treaty ports and exclusive trade privileges prompted a comprehensive attempt to redraw established borderlands arrangements involving Han areas of settlement and Indigenous sovereignty in the mountains. Aborigines in the central mountain range had managed to maintain their independence via the interpreter system, but increasing demand for the island’s natural resources during the late nineteenth century was transforming the middle ground. The Qing government lifted restrictions on foreign trade, which led to the growing presence of Euro-American firms (Tavares 2004, 107–181). The growing presence of foreign merchants in the region and a Japanese incursion in southern Taiwan in the 1870s, in addition to an unsuccessful French invasion of northern Taiwan in 1884–85, all put pressure on the government to expand its control of the island. These events compelled the central government to secure its presence in the mountainous hinterland. The imperialist challenge resulted in the renunciation of established borderlands arrangements. This steady dissolution of Taiwan’s middle ground bears striking resemblance to other settler-colonial contexts, particularly North America, where the rise of territorially-bounded states in the context of interimperial rivalries had ended centuries of inter-cultural frontier diplomacy, and shrank considerably the political leverage previously afforded to different Indigenous groups (Adelman and Aron 1999). With the collapse of similar arrangements in Taiwan, settler-colonial violence directed at Indigenous polities in the mountains intensified.

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4 Settler-Colonial Relations Under Centralizing Imperial States The Qing state’s reluctance to project its power in areas beyond the “cooked” zone was part of a strategy to maintain political stability. In the early 1870s, gunboat diplomacy forced the Qing administration to establish control over unconquered borderlands. In 1871 Paiwan tribesmen killed a group of Ryukyu fishermen whose ship had run aground on Taiwan’s southeast coast. In response, the Japanese government demanded an indemnity and mobilized troops to punish the attackers. Needing to assume responsibility for the actions of its subjects, the Qing administration was forced to transform its de jure claims of sovereignty over Taiwan’s highlands into a de facto reality (Eskilden 2002; Barclay 2017, 43–78). The Qing government began implementing policies to establish effective control of the territories beyond the central mountains. In 1875, Imperial High Commissioner Shen Baoshen launched the kaishan fufan policy (“open the mountains, pacify the savages”). The aim of this policy was twofold: to establish a network of roads, telegraph lines, and other communications infrastructure to secure eastern Taiwan’s maritime defences, and to buttress Qing claims to sovereignty over the whole of the island. At the same time, the development of frontier industries like camphor or lumber would help pay for these projects. The government mobilized its own troops and “pacified” Aborigines to establish a presence in the mountains (Chang 2003, 62–69). This policy was accompanied by a relaxing of controls on settler-emigrants from the mainland. The relaxation of emigration, coupled with the state’s new military and developmental goals, brought renewed strife to the frontier, as this strategy necessitated direct occupation of lands and resources beyond the then increasingly-irrelevant “savage boundary.” Elements of the middle ground persisted though. Especially in the camphor industry, which required construction of distilling implements at the base of mountainous areas, workers often necessitated payment of customary “mountain fees” to Aboriginal groups to ensure their safe passage into forest clearances.7 Governor Liu Mingchuan was a crucial promoter of the kaishan fufan policy. Liu, a decorated official who served during the Taiping Rebellion, became Taiwan’s governor in 1887, the same year the island became a province of the Empire (Speidel 1967). In his vision, the exploitation of central mountain lumber and camphor would assist Taiwan’s modernization and defense. Knowing that a sudden increase in government personnel and military force along the border would incite violence, Liu also proposed a number of peaceful measures. These included providing loyal 7 The

camphor industry emerged from the Qing empire’s procurement system for gathering lumber used in the construction of ships. Later the system was dominated by western merchants, who used Han brokers and traders to secure a supply of camphor from workers deep in the interior. The Qing sought to control this system and limit foreigner access to the highlands, though they were only partially successful. Workers on the fringes of this system of production often came into direct contact with Aboriginal communities, whom they negotiated a form of payment with to avoid being attacked. Violence though was still commonplace, as the intensification of camphor logging activities led to increased hostilities over the course of the late 1860s, 1870s, and beyond. Tavares in his dissertation offers a comprehensive overview of this history. See Tavares 2004.


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chiefs with food, clothing, and other items in exchange for allowing guard stations, roads, and other infrastructure to be built in areas under their control. Liu also hoped that highland Aboriginal communities would take up farming. He also planned a network of government schools in major cities where young Aboriginal men would study the Confucian classics. Finally, Liu argued that Chinese colonists should gradually settle in Aboriginal areas in order to encourage further assimilation. In a report on the advance of pacification operations, he wrote: Sinicization must rely on land reclamation [by Chinese settlers]; otherwise there will be no way to change their primitive nature. [After] the civilized aborigines have traded and intermarried with Chinese for a long time, they understand the benefits of [Chinese] clothing, food, and social relationships; their love for killing then subsides naturally. At present virgin land is abundant in central Taiwan on the east coast. It is essential that we find Chinese to develop it (Speidel 1967, 281).

For Liu, only the organic exportation of Chinese “social relationships” to Aboriginal areas would guarantee the irreversible transformation of Taiwan’s eastern region into a productive and integrated area. This of course implied a demographic overtaking of Aborigines by settlers; the latter would help populate unreclaimed areas, teach agricultural skills, and convince natives to abandon ancestral practices. The overall goal was to extinguish indigenous autonomy as well as cultural distinction. By the late-1880s the rough contours of Liu’s assimilationist strategy had begun to take shape. In 1886 the government set up the “Pacification-Reclamation Bureau” (fukenju), which consisted of eight guard stations and multiple sub-stations along the foothills near major Aboriginal areas. Agents working for the Bureau were responsible for regulating the sale of firearms and ammunition to Aborigines. “PacificationReclamation” agents also were to provide barbers to have young Indigene men shave their heads, help Aborigines learn the Confucian classics, teach them farming skills, and encourage them to cease hunting for wild game or head-taking (Speidel 1967, 284–285). These campaigns returned mixed results, and Indigenous resistance intensified in the lead up to the Qing collapse. Fighting reached a crescendo in the early 1890s, as Qing expedition armies launched reprisals to avenge attacks by Aborigines on settlers and camphor stills (Davidson 1903, 253–255). Liu’s vision of erasing the Indigenous presence through a mixture of violence and acculturation was short-lived, as in 1895 one imperial state replaced another.

5 Japanese Rule With the defeat of the Qing in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the promulgation of the Shimonoseki Treaty, Japan acquired Taiwan as a colonial possession. Between 1895 and 1945, however, Taiwan was not a mere exploitation colony seeking to develop resources to be traded in international markets. Chinese settlers, and the legacies of settler colonialism, did not depart with the Qing. Japanese administrators and ideologues drew significantly from the history of Chinese-Aboriginal interactions on the island. Japan posited itself as a benevolent polity capable of bringing centuries

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of racial and settler-indigenes hostility to an end. In stressing historic abuses against Aboriginal communities in the hills, Japanese administrators were able to explain away acts of Indigenous resistance to their rule as irrational violence and a legacy of previous patterns of aggressive Chinese settler behavior (Barclay 2017, 1–114; Matsuda 2014, 1–38; Kitamura 2008, 31–61). Put differently, Japanese administrators sought legitimacy by portraying their predecessors as inept and incompetent and blaming them for having fueled Aboriginal hatred toward outsiders. Paradoxically, however, the Japanese continued to draw heavily on settler-colonial forms despite the fact that they often explicitly denounced them. During the early period of Japan’s rule, for example, the Taiwan Government-General directly modeled its institutions on Qing Governor Liu Mingchuan and his fukenju stations. Meanwhile, networks of commercial agents or interpreters from the height of the middle ground period remained vital for some time, as they helped Japanese officials secure a foothold in unincorporated regions and establish relations with influential headmen (Barclay 2017,114–161). In frontier industries like camphor, settlers, and indigenes continued to negotiate customary agreements, though these would later become heavily circumscribed by new monopolistic controls. On the surface, Japanese colonial rule looked less invasive than the Qing regime. Japanese settlement remained largely administrative and economic; no large-scale emigration project was attempted.8 But, in reality, it was more belligerent than its predecessor in its attempts to subsume both settlers and indigenes within a larger imperial system of capitalist production. As a result, the middle ground was further eroded. This new imperial rule altered, if not diminished, a triangular system of relationships.9 While the Japanese colonial state built its legitimacy on the back of Qing failures, it did pursue policies that were very much in line with those of their predecessors. In June 1896, Civilian Affairs chief Mizuno Jun, the number two to the colony’s 8 From 1869 to 1945, imperial Japan pursued a prototypical settler colonial policy in its colonization

of Hokkaid¯o or Ainu Mosir inhabited by the indigenous Ainu. The Tokugawa bakufu, the Meiji government’s predecessor, had developed an extensive (often abusive) trading relation with the Ainu people, which resulted in the latter’s rebellions against Japanese merchants and administrators residing on the island. Once Meiji Japan declared Hokkaid¯o to be a terra nullius in 1869, it began to promote a series of massive migration to the colony. In comparison with Taiwan, Hokkaid¯o’s case demonstrates that imperial Japan deployed different colonial strategies, depending on specific local conditions that it had to deal with, in its attempts to expand its territories and create a system of capitalist expropriation. See Hirano, 2015. 9 In the introduction to his book Outcasts of Empire, Barclay also alludes to the settler-state-native triad and its implications for Taiwan. Drawing from the work of C.A Bayly, James C. Scott, and Eric Wolfe, Barclay makes the distinction between settlers, who are involved in “intensive peasant commodity production,” and natives, who are organized in “lineages, clans, tribes, and chiefdoms,” and don’t surrender surplus wealth to the state. Settlers squat, settle, and farm. The surplus they create is appropriated by the state, which reinvests those resources. “Natives, in contrast, lived under political systems that fissured, subdivided, and recombined within the limits imposed by the politics of redistribution and reciprocity, which could never attain the surplus-extracting capabilities of states.” While early modern states could be found oscillating between the interests of settlers or natives, the introduction of modern capitalist relations shifted things decisively in favour of settler societies. This recap meshes rather nicely with this article’s claims about the shrinking possibilities for Aborigines under the Japanese. See Barclay 2017, 16–17.


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first Governor Kabayama Sukenori, recommended the creation of a PacificationReclamation Bureau (bukonsho), an outfit that resembled the one Liu had overseen in the 1880s. Mizuno spelled out his vision in a June 1896 policy outline for Aboriginal administration: The future of Taiwan and its enterprises is in reality to be found within the savage territories. The promotion of these enterprises involves making the savages submit to our government, having them acquire proper living conditions, and have them emerge from their barbaric state. In order to conquer the savages force as well as benevolent care must be practiced at the same time […]. Like the previous government, we must establish offices of pacification and reclamation, assemble the savage chiefs to give them wine, cloth, and other products all while striving to educate them, we will then secure their good intentions. The felling of camphor trees, manufacture of camphor, management of forests, development of land, etc. should then proceed harmoniously. In addition, if we set aside a certain amount of land and agriculture can be practiced, we will be able to transform them into good imperial subjects. (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 3–4; Tavares 2004, 181)

While Japanese administrators looked to a long-term mixture of diplomacy (labelled “benevolence”, or buiku) and assimilatory measures to encourage Indigenous submission to the new order, the threat of force was also proposed as standard operating procedure.10 Just as Mizuno and Kabayama were planning the rough contours of this Indigenous pacification policy, the Government-General also took practical steps to enclose and occupy the highlands. One of the Japanese state’s first order of business upon takeover was to seal off the Aboriginal border from all outsiders, as the Chinese authorities had done centuries earlier. Under the terms of Ordinance Number Thirty (1896), all persons wishing to enter “savage territory” (banchi) would require special permission from district authorities, or risk a fine and possible imprisonment (Takekoshi 1907, 211). The government justified this ordinance on the grounds that it was protecting Aborigines from anti-Japanese insurgents or greedy settlers. As a result, minimizing Aboriginal contact with non-state agents was imperative, especially as anxieties about the possibility that an indigenous insurgency could parallel a settler one. In articulating its colonial policies, the Japanese Government-General routinely emphasized the failings of the Qing, and also the abuses of settlers, to shore up the legitimacy of its rule. For example, in one of his first statements on the indigenous question, Governor Kabayama Sukenori worried about the Aborigines’ “two hundred-years old perception of Chinese as sworn enemies” as a possible disruption for their state-building efforts in the highlands (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 2–3). For Kabayama, the volatility of the Qing-Japanese transition, if not managed properly, could lead to indigenes looking upon their new imperial masters in an antagonistic fashion not unlike previous frontier relations. Other observers echoed this governmental view, and recounted similar stories of Chinese abuse or trickery toward Indigenous peoples on the island to further distinguish the new regime from its predecessor. In his highly celebratory account, the 1907 Japanese Rule in Formosa, historian and politician Takekoshi Yosabur¯o for example described a practice whereby Chinese 10 For an overview of the bukonsho’s evolution, both in terms of its institutional arrangements and policies, see Kitamura 2008, 41–54.

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frontiersmen would hold banquets for Aborigines in order to broker logging agreements, only to seize their guests as hostages once “the wine began to work.” The Chinese would also kidnap women and children and hold them hostage until logging within a given district had been completed (Yosabur¯o 1907, 228). Statements highlighting the cruelty of settlers toward Aborigines were key for the early identity of this budding colony. In addition to its policy of isolating natives from all outside influences, the colonial government introduced regulations to minimize access to firearms in 1897. In contrast to the 1896 directive, which was aimed at preventing inter-ethnic violence, the weapons ban had more long-term objectives. According to these regulations, all merchants seeking to sell rifles or gunpowder to Aborigines needed official bukonsho approval. Meanwhile, station chiefs were to provide regular reports to law enforcement and military police on the distribution of weapons in the borderlands.11 The goal was to disrupt a hunting-based economy and make Aborigines dependent on farming. For centuries, Aboriginal communities had hunted wild game to supplement their slash-and-burn practices and for trade. The Japanese saw reliance on hunting as a mark of “savagery” as well as a sign of Aboriginal refusal to accept Japan’s rule. Later, the government’s policy of regulation became a policy of full-blown confiscation. According to one Japanese government report for example, by the late 1930s, some 32,412 rifles had been seized (Taiwan Government-General Police Bureau 1939, 70). It is worth mentioning however that the bukonsho was unable to fulfil much of its ambitious mandate at this stage, as the agency was severely understaffed, and reliant on loose networks of translators or informants to conduct its affairs. Their ideas and practices though set important precedents that would continue to reverberate throughout the colonial period. By the late 1890s, the Japanese regime had developed a Janus-faced policy of managing native groups on the basis of both “force” (iryoku) and “benevolence” (buiku) (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 3–4.) The colonial bureaucracy however began downplaying the tribal diplomacy Mizuno had initially outlined in his proposal. This shift in strategy was in part due to increasing governmental attempts to regulate the camphor industry and redirect its profits to secure Taiwan’s financial independence. Though the Qing had attempted to regulate this industry, state control was heavily circumscribed by frontier social relations. As noted earlier, customary arrangements, where camphor workers paid Aborigines various forms of rent-in-kind (liquor, pork, commercial goods) or monetary compensation for safe passage into their forest clearances, were common in the late Qing period. Similar practices persisted for some time under the Japanese as well (Tavares 2005). As early as October 1895, however, efforts were made to put in place a permit system to prevent illicit camphor production as well as streamline tax collection. These half-hearted measures failed, and the Japanese colonial government settled on a monopolistic system in June 1899, which it also used for other industries like salt, tobacco, alcohol, and opium. But 11 Outlines

of the ‘official duties’ of the bukonsho usually list firearms control as part of their functions. See In¯o, Kanori 1918, 41–42 & 49. For more on the bukonsho’s firearms policy, see also Barclay 2017, 93–94.


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the state’s newly promulgated controls over camphor production and commercialisation alone could not guarantee the industry’s growth.12 Only further encroachment upon native land would ensure this industry’s viability. Aborigines of course did not passively accept this assault on their lands by state agents and camphor capitalists. For example, in 1898 alone, Aborigines killed 557 individuals in an estimated 303 individual assaults, which the government often euphemistically referred to as “damage inflicted by savages” (bangai) (Taiwan Government-General Police Bureau 1939, 70). Defence against these early attacks fell largely into the hands of hired guards and posted sentries stationed along the border. Poorly armed and often lacking organization and discipline, these units were largely ineffective. With the expansion of camphor production in the highlands, the government’s stance would morph into one of full-scale military aggression. Pacification expeditions, launched ostensibly to defend bukonsho installations or camphor work gangs, began in January of 1897, when, following an assault on government personnel by members of the Truku tribe in the northeast, a combined police, military, and paramilitary force was dispatched to deal with the attackers (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 34– 35). Later, in August 1898, the colonial government launched a devastating invasion of Maibarai village, which belonged to the Atayal tribe of north-central Taiwan. One of the villagers had reportedly killed government personnel in the lead-up to the assault. According to government records, security forces descended upon the village and “set their savage huts ablaze, and made them submit” (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 129). In the summer of 1898, the bukonsho was also abolished. Over the next few years, the agency was replaced by a vast Aboriginal Affairs bureaucracy encompassing police forces and frontier outposts staffed by paramilitary guards. A pattern of disproportionate assaults on poorly armed Indigenous communities became a recurring pattern after this. Violence against Indigenes reached a new turning point in the early 1900s. In December of 1902, the government suppressed a large-scale rebellion led by Indigenous elder Ri Aguai (of the Saisiyat tribe) in the southern frontier town of Nanzhuang. For decades, Ri had benefitted from middle ground arrangements by operating a number of camphor stills and deriving customary fees from these. With the imposition of monopolistic controls though, relations between Ri and the Japanese deteriorated. In July of 1902, he and a group of nearby Atayal tribesmen launched a series of attacks on local Nanzhuang district offices, to which the colonial state responded with deployment of police forces and artillery soldiers (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 175; Tavares 2005). The rebellion was quickly suppressed, and security forces continued to target adjacent communities suspected of harbouring runaways from Ri’s group in the months that followed (In¯o, Kanori 1918, 178–79). Following the Nanzhuang revolt, more Indigenous communities - particularly those affiliated with the Atayal, Seediq and Truku groups - would experience regular assaults by mixed units, who attacked Aboriginal villages with the help of long range mountain guns. These campaigns often resulted in the incineration of entire villages, the destruction of food stocks, 12 See Tavares 2004. Nakamura Masaru outlines the industry’s growth and the articulations of frontier

household production and merchant capitalism which enabled it. See Nakamura 1998.

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and forced relocations.13 These incursions were paralleled by embargos on food, salt, and rifles, which deliberately starved indigenous communities who refused to surrender. Though the specific effects of these embargoes are not well documented, Takekoshi described the case of two Aboriginal communities forced to surrender following a severe blockade. He writes: Recently a body of savages in Toshien and Shinko Districts came to our officials and requested to be allowed to surrender, pledging themselves never more to inflict injury upon the peaceful inhabitants of the district. This they did, because their supply of fire-arms, ammunition and salt was so reduced as to endanger their very existence. (Takekoshi 1907, 216. Emphasis added.)

Meanwhile, as Japanese forces invaded, occupied, and embargoed Indigenous villages, the former Qing “savage boundary” (renamed the “guard line,” aiyuusen) was outfitted with electrified barbed wire, sunken mines, and mounted sentry guns to curtail Aboriginal incursions into government-run areas.14 By 1909, fighting between the two sides reached a crescendo with Governor-General Sakuma Samata’s “FiveYear Plan to Pacify the Northern Savages” (1909–1914). This five-year military campaign, which aimed to suppress the last remnants of unincorporated Aborigines, included the use of especially destructive military tactics. Long-range artillery guns shelled Aboriginal villages for months at a time, while large numbers of police and imperial army battalions isolated, encircled, and eventually subjugated restive tribes. Native sovereignty was no longer tolerated; all populations would be subject equally to imperial control. As the Japanese government ratcheted up punitive measures against recalcitrant tribes, many commentators retained a sympathetic view toward Aborigines, whom they believed had suffered from centuries of Chinese settlers’ abuse. The sentiment that Aborigines viewed the Chinese as “sworn enemies” informed not just government policies but also scholarly and popular publications. In The Island of Formosa (1903), American Consul at Formosa James Wheeler Davidson provided an extensive overview of the history of Chinese settler-colonial policies, with an emphasis on the deleterious effects these had had on Aborigines. Recounting the period of early settlement on Taiwan’s west coast, Davidson described how colonists used every form of violence, trickery, and deceit to force native groups to flee to remote upland jungles:

13 Barclay also offers in-depth analysis of these campaigns in his Outcasts of Empire. He puts the total figure of Japanese-Aborigines military encounters from 1896 to 1909 at 2,767. See Barclay 2017, 97–114. 14 A later report described the highly militarized and battle-ready state in which the guard line found itself by the early 1910 s: “Where it becomes necessary to perfect the defensive arrangements, wireentanglements, charged with electricity, are used, or mines are sunk. These have a great effect in giving an alarm of the invading savages. Grenades are very often used during the course of fighting. Telephone lines are constructed along the guard-road, and in certain important places mountain and field guns are placed. One gun is sufficient to withstand the attack of several tribes.” See Taiwan Government-General Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs, 16.


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The aborigines made a stout resistance, but by force of arms, or by that equally effective weapon, intoxicating spirits, their lands were gradually taken from them, the denuded victims fleeing to the mountains, in whose friendly jungles peace and refuge could be found. Quite naturally, this entailed, not only on the individual but on the whole Chinese race, the undying hatred of an entire savage population […] We are thus led to believe that the extreme antipathy with which the savages regarded the Chinese – a condition which has continued until the present day, and will last, we believe, as long as the two races come in contact – was due to the misdeeds of the celestial race, and that little blame should be attached to the savages (Davidson 1903, 67).

Even though Davidson did not articulate settler colonialism as a mode of domination, his analysis was premised on an understanding of the Chinese presence on the island that emphasized an irreducible hostility. The consensus among “Taiwan hands” by the turn of the century was that Indigenous social relations were governed by a violent hostility toward outsiders in response to centuries of Chinese depredations. In his Japanese Rule in Formosa, Takekoshi Yosabur¯o also repeated the notion that Aborigines were predisposed to violence due to historic interactions with the Chinese. Takekoshi placed great emphasis on the historic independence of settlers as well as the Qing government’s strategy of limiting the flow of emigrants to the island. He claimed that with no administrative mechanisms in place to police and track settler behavior, abuses had been rampant. The Qing administrators “had no wish to civilize the island,” and merely wanted to “retain it as it was” he noted. Only the “private efforts” of Chinese emigrants brought “social and industrial improvements” (Takekoshi 1907, 68). Without a strong government presence, the “barbarous principle of the survival of the strongest reigned” as the island “convulsed with periodic insurrections” (Ibid.). Takekoshi described a frontier populated by criminals, ruffians, brigands, robbers, and other social outcasts from Fujian and Guangdong. They had never known “good government” and: … plundered the native tribes, stealing their lands, wasting their farms, and cheating them out of their crops. They even went so far as to set fire to their houses and shoot them on sight until at last the latter were forced to fly for refuge further and further into the mountains… (the) poor savages began to regard all strangers as their natural enemies, and their inborn ferocity was greatly increased by the cruel wrongs they had suffered; consequently race fights between them and the Chinese settlers became so frequent, that for more than two hundred and twenty years hardly a day passed without one. (Ibid., 69)

Takekoshi, however, did not recommend that the Aborigines’ “hostility” be allowed to naturally subside. Even if settler colonialism was denounced, it could not be undone, and there were more pressing issues anyway: If there were a prospect of their becoming more manageable in ten or twenty years, the present policy might possibly be continued for that length of time, but if the process should require a century or so, it is quite out of the question, as we have not that length of time to spare. This does not mean that we have no sympathy at all for the savages. It simply means that we have to think more about our 45,000,000 sons and daughters than about the 104,000 savages. We cannot afford to wait patiently until they throw off barbarism and spontaneously and truly entertain towards us feelings of friendship and goodwill. It is far better and very necessary for us to force our way into the midst of their territories and bring all the waste land under cultivation. (Ibid., 230)

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Empathy, representations of victimized “savages,” and an understanding of their deep-seated antagonisms for all outsiders did not translate into solidarity. On the contrary, these became decisive reasons for more violence. Indeed, violence was naturalized and became a suitable grammar for the Japanese regime to manage relations on what became a remarkably brutal frontier. The application of unrestrained force as the only possible approach to the “savage question” became commonplace while blaming Chinese settler colonialism to be the direct cause of the problem. It is no accident that Davidson and Takekoshi wrote their sympathetic accounts just as pacification armies were intensifying their assaults on indigenous communities. Although the period following Japan’s pacification campaigns did not see significant annihilative military expeditions (with the exception of the 1930 Musha rebellion), assimilatory strategies to erase the Aboriginal presence, either through forced Japanese education or restrictions on foundational cultural practices like facial tattooing and headhunting, persisted.15 Meanwhile, forced resettlement continued. Between 1903 and 1941, 7318 families representing 43,112 individuals (about half the indigenous population) were forcibly moved to lower-elevation areas (Huang, and Liu 2017, 4.). Vital ties to ancestral homelands were permanently lost. Long gone was the strategic leverage afforded by the political and commercial opportunities of the imperial middle ground. Taiwan’s Aborigines were now subjects of the Japanese empire, and could only pursue their traditional existence in a severely diminished capacity. The final years of Japanese rule would leave a complex legacy, as the colonial government relaxed some of its more authoritarian measures, dropping, for example many of its references to “raw savages” in official parlance in favor of “Hill People” (Takasagozoku) (See Ching 2001, 211). With the outbreak of WWII in the Pacific, some Taiwan Aborigines even enlisted in a special jungle warfare unit of the Japanese imperial army: the Takasagozoku giy¯utai (Formosan Volunteer Corps) (Kond¯o 1996).

6 Conclusion: Settler Colonialism in Post-WWII Taiwan At the conclusion of WWII and the Civil War on the mainland, a defeated KMT replaced a defeated Japanese empire in Taiwan. Triangular relations remained, even if indigenous autonomy was now foreclosed rather than managed. Forced assimilation

15 The

“Musha Incident” began on October 27th, 1930, when a Seediq elder by the name of Mona Ludao launched a surprise attack on a group of Japanese settlers gathered in the town of Musha (or “Wushe” in Chinese) for a Sports Day celebration. A number of police stations were also attacked that day. The reprisal was swift and vicious, as police and military troops chased down and encircled the rebel group. Warplanes and chemical agents were also used. The revolt ended in late November of that year following the suicide of Mona and other rebellion leaders. For more on post-1914 assimilatory policies, or the “Musha Incident,” see Kojima 1981; Kond¯o 1996; Ching 2001; Kitamura 2008; Barclay 2017.


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became even more forceful. This time, too, the new regime criticized the previous one in order to legitimize its rule.16 “Mainlander rule” was in many ways a type of settler rule, even if this new settler-colonial formation was radically different from previous ones and operated in a profoundly changed geopolitical context.17 A new wave of settlers (between 1.2 and 2 million in the late 1940s) took over, quickly asserting political dominance over the descendants of previous settlers and Aborigines alike. These mainlanders often literally replaced departing Japanese occupiers and were accommodated in vacated Japanese residential areas (Liu 2013, 5). This distinction between “old” settlers and “new” settlers was officially denied throughout the Cold War, as was the indigeneity of Aborigines. Like minorities in China, the latter were declared already Chinese. The KMT’s determination to impose a unified Han Chinese identity on every individual on the island resulted in the 1947 “February 28 Incident.” The anti-government uprising was brutally suppressed. Both indigenous peoples and Han “Taiwanese” (old settlers) suffered in the post-2/28 White Terror roundups. The ensuing martial law would last nearly four decades. Perhaps because Han Taiwanese and Aborigines alike had been victims of political violence in the post-war years, centuries of their conflict, especially the former’s exploitation and expropriation of the latter, disappeared from view. The settler-colonial triangular system of relationship continued to define the new era even if the distinction between Han Taiwanese and Aborigines became blurred and indigenous autonomy was foreclosed. Tomonori Sugimoto’s reading of settler colonialism in post-WWII Taiwan identifies two successive moments (Sugimoto 2017). During the first phase, government policy focused on equally repressing the political expressions of old settlers and indigenous peoples. This was followed by a more tolerant period. Sugimoto argues that both policies were settler-colonial in that old settlers pursued self-indigenization both politically and culturally by replacing the position of Indigenous peoples. The former’s claim on autonomy was predicated on the negation of the latters. The KMT’s control over political expressions only ended up encouraging indigenizing tendencies among the old settlers. The “Native Soil Literature Movement” (xiangtu wenxue yundong) of the 1970s, for example, can be interpreted in this context as advocating one way of settler-indigenizing, proclaiming the need for “nativization,” by redefining a meaningful relationship between the past and the present through artistic representation that would move beyond the dominant anti-communist literature of the 1950s and 1960s (Bouchard 2008). After 1987 and the end of Martial Law, the political life of the island was transformed, and the violent repression of settler nationalism gave way to a political dialectic between what can be described as an “indigenizing” settler party (DPP) and 16 See

Wu 2004. This author calls the ‘émigré KMT regime’ a “settler state” (18), but notes how this settler regime was simultaneously enabled and constrained by American “suzerainty,” a clearly recognizable form of imperial control (p. 18). Different colonial formations overlapped and interacted. On interacting colonial legacies, see also Huei 2015, 133–154. 17 An army, a party, and a war machine contributing to a global Cold War effort and responding to the needs of American power could not be more different an invasion than the unorganized waves of autonomous settlers moving through a loosely supervised frontier.

Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler-Colonial Unconscious


a “sinicizing” party (KMT). But settler colonialism remains, as indigenous voices and visions of history continues to be marginalized or negated. The DPP seeks to appropriate the history of Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples to assert political independence, while the KMT denies this history and insists on China’s timeless sovereignty over the islands. Both positions have demonstrated that identity formation, the construction of a collective “self,” demands the willful forgetting of the past. Indeed, Taiwan’s current political divisions can be interpreted as resulting from the forgetfulness of the past, namely, the settler-colonial unconscious. But the KMT regime also did more settler-colonial work. It represented Taiwan as a “new” and yet simultaneously an “old” and more authentic China, and consistently sought to represent its rule as necessary for the protection of traditional Chinese culture.18 The party attempted to build a more genuine China than both the original neo-China it found in Taiwan and the “perverted” China it left behind on the mainland. Post-WWII Taiwan was not about a “new” or a “better” country, but about reproducing a more authentic country. “Here” and “there” were not premised on a “new” and “old” dialectic, but on the opposition between “authentic” and “nonauthentic.” Yet as the identity between “old” and “new” country has already been proclaimed, the process of becoming the new country must be foreclosed. The new country is already the old one. Locating Taiwanese history Uncovering Taiwan’s long history of settler-colonial formation has significant consequence for the way the island is located in space and time (Chang 2008; Harrison 2006; Manthorpe 2005; Roy 2003). Is it within China (Damm 2007)? Is it postcolonial (Fangming 2007)? These questions are the ground of bitter political contestations. A perspective formed through historical orthodoxies, whether representing the KMT or DPP position, has defined the contours of the debate (Shih and Liao 2014; Chen 2010). Highlighting settler colonialism and its consequences would radically call into question historical orthodoxies and proposes one way out of ossified perspectives. This article demonstrates that Taiwan is to be seen as a node of intersection and convergence, the location of multiple seafaring external interventions, and dominations. In this regard, our analysis echoes Ann Heylen’s problematization of traditional Taiwanese historiography that treated the island as part of the larger process of Chinese cultural, historical, and geographical development. Heylen offers her a compelling analysis of the evolution of Taiwanese historiography by introducing historian Ts’ao Yung-ho’s work that disrupted the traditional narrative: … [he] emphasized the need to recognize and explore in greater detail the long history of the interactions and connections between aborigines, Chinese people and other cultures on the island. […] In hindsight, this was the best possible framework through which Ts’ao could have made his opinions known. In this way he was already unconventional, going against the mainstream of the historical Sino-centric master narrative. (Heylen 2010, 19) 18 This is a type of guardianship epitomized by its “proprietary ownership” of a number of “national treasures,” the historical and archaeological artefacts, and texts brought to Taiwan during its displacement See Chun 1996, 116.


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According to Heylen, this marked a breakthrough, a declaration of historiographical independence.19 But this new historiographical intervention was more than creating a space for narrativizing Aboriginal peoples. Rather it was about establishing a perspective that emphasized “a region-centered approach,” about creating space for “a sea-centered geographical perspective, one that interconnects Taiwan with other ‘maritime regions’ in Asian and also in world history” (Heylen 2010, 20). The notions of “Ocean Taiwan” and “multiethnic Taiwan,” tropes that were widely mobilized by “Pan-blue” (KMT) and “Pan-green” (DPP) supporters, are grounded in this historiographical shift (Ibid., 22). Related to these developments, the “specialethnicity” argument was also articulated: inter-racial marriages, it was claimed, had produced a new nation (Ibid., 25). Introducing settler colonialism as a specific mode of domination to the interpretative framework was the next step. Heylen adumbrates this possibility: Perhaps one could argue that transnational studies in general are characterized by an overreliance on a one-dimensional understanding of these movements, a tendency to assume that the migrating peoples are themselves the victims of colonization or some form of oppression. Yet in the case, for example, of Chinese people moving into their diasporic communities, we could as well be speaking of colonizers, a privileged group who may not be so concerned about the impact their move has on the current local conditions and peoples. (Ibid., 26, italics are ours)

Our article is a response to Heylen’s insightful suggestion. Uncovering a settlercolonial unconscious contributes to the discussion of Taiwan’s locality vis-à-vis China’s universalistic position, that is, the island’s specific historical formations as a node of intersections and convergence among different maritime powers vis-àvis the continent’s national imperialistic gesture toward the island. Furthermore, the article is a call for reflecting on the implications this new historical approach has for the analysis of Chinese expansion. A settler-colonial perspective renders visible the historical truism that, just like Taiwan, many of the officially recognized minority groups in the PRC were only subdued during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Qing state routinely established settler-colonists—both military and civilian—in recently conquered peripheries. This history of China as a colonizing power is often hidden behind the predominant discourse of its “humiliations,” its violent subjection, at the hands of European and Japanese imperialists during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Perdue, 2005). We can certainly count Taiwan as one of those colonized territories by imperial China, but its experience is distinct in terms of its settler-colonial formations. There is an important difference between colonialism with settlers, a routine occurrence in the history of Chinese expansion, and settler colonialism. In the latter case, the settlers are able to assert their distinct identities and localized sovereign claims. Taiwan is a representative case of the latter. This particular feature of Taiwan’s long settler-colonial history further distances Taiwan from the Chinese state’s project of re-sinicizing the island.

19 Chou

Wan-yao’s, A New Illustrated History of Taiwan also contributed to this historiographical rupture. Chou 2015.

Vanishing Natives and Taiwan’s Settler-Colonial Unconscious


Shu-mei Shih (2012) has argued that a settler-colonial lens could help frame better historical narratives. She sees Chinese colonialism as a diversified phenomenon that includes, but is not limited to, settler colonialism. The latter, she argues, is especially relevant in the case of Taiwan and British Malaya, both locales where several colonial polities succeeded each other, and where the Chinese expatriate community was able to develop autonomously (Shih 2012, 5–7; Shih 2011). Taiwanese and Singaporean settlers, Shih argues, are not Chinese. They are Sinophone, and have developed autonomously: A significant percentage of Han Taiwanese, though settler colonizers, do not consider themselves Chinese despite the ideology of “territorial integrity” promulgated on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. China bombastically claims that Taiwan is its own, and Taiwan fearfully rejects this claim. The Han settlers who started arriving in Malaya – geographically encompassing today’s Malaysia and Singapore – in the seventh century and whose migration there peaked in the nineteenth century also consider themselves not overseas Chinese but locals. Sinophone writers and critics there launched several major debates and campaigns throughout the twentieth century to resist the call of Chineseness and the Chinese state’s resinicization pressures. (Shih 2011, 713)

Shih further developed the above idea in her more recent meditation on settler colonialism in Taiwan in “Theory in a Relational World.” Reflecting on the limitations of the post-colonial perspective as applied to the study of Taiwan, Shih argues that: … the utility of a postcolonial theory for Taiwan, after Dutch, Japanese, and second-wave Chinese colonialisms, is largely limited to the Han Taiwanese. Postcolonial theory in Taiwan is a tautology that serves the interests of the Han Taiwanese self, that is, it is its own prophecy and goal—a self-serving pretense of significant truth. The indigenous peoples have never been postcolonial. Since settler colonialism is not an event but a structure that can never be thoroughly overturned, as Patrick Wolfe has famously argued, the nature of Han Taiwanese knowledge in Taiwan, though caught between empires (China and the United States), is settler colonial knowledge, and critique of this knowledge formation will only be the first step toward the true decolonization of knowledge. (Shih 2016, 740)

This article is a response to her invitation too. Shih’s call for a radical rethinking of the postcoloniality of Taiwan and the identity politics based on it seems acute. In 2007, for the first time, Taiwan requested to “join” the UN instead of asking to be “readmitted” (since 1971, Taiwan annually appealed to the UN to be readmitted). This reformulation mirrors a post-2000s shift from claiming to represent a more authentic China to a determination to be recognized as an independent polity. And it was made possible by Han Taiwanese appropriation of Austronesian indigeneity through the promotion of indigenous festivals, “traditional arts,” and surviving languages. Taiwan’s claim on a distinct identity and political autonomy may no longer entirely depend on The National Palace Museum in Taipei that displays “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” a 35 cm high and 11.5 meters long miniature representation of Chinese traditional life. But this new self-representation may neither signify a settlement with the settler-colonial present. Like any settler-colonial societies that enacted the violence of vanishing natives, unearthing the settler-colonial unconscious through creation of new historical inquiry and analysis would be a first step for the decolonization of Taiwan.


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Katsuya Hirano is associate professor of history at UCLA. He is the author of The Politics of Dialogic Imagination: Power and Popular Culture in Early Modern Japan (U of Chicago Press). He has published numerous articles and book chapters on cultural and intellectual history of early modern and modern Japan, settler colonialism, Fukushima nuclear disaster, and critical theory, including “Thanatopolitics in the Making of Japan’s Hokkaido: Settler Colonialism and Primitive Accumulation” (Critical Historical Studies vol 2) and “Terra nullius and the modern settler colonization of Ainu Mosir” (Critical Asian Studiesvol 51). His current book project examines the intersection of racism and capitalism in the making of the modern Ainu with a focus on the settler-colonization of the land that once belonged to the indigenous people. Lorenzo Veracini is Associate Professor of History at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. His research focuses on the comparative history of colonial systems and settler colonialism as a mode of domination. He has authored Israel and Settler Society (2006), Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (2010), and The Settler Colonial Present (2015). Lorenzo coedited The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism (2016), manages the settler colonial studies blog, and is Founding Editor of Settler Colonial Studies. His Displacement as Politics: A Global History is forthcoming in early 2020. Toulouse-Antonin Roy received his PhD in history at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in the Japanese conquest and occupation of Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples (1895– 1945). He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in history and East Asian Studies from McGill University. He is the author of “‘The Camphor Question is in Reality the Savage Question:’ Indigenous Pacification and the Transition to Capitalism in the Taiwan Borderlands, 1895–1915,” Critical Historical Studies, Volume 6 (1): 125–158.

Decolonial Theories in Comparison Breny Mendoza

1 Introduction In the last decades, the academy both in the west and non-west has witnessed a great proliferation of theoretical discourses based on analyses of different colonial experiences around the world. I refer to postcolonial, Latin American decolonial studies and studies on settler colonialism that are in great vogue today in universities. This recent proliferation of colonial studies has created new disciplines, new possibilities for career academics, new series of publications, new lecture circuits, and funding opportunities for research (Moreton-Robertson 2016).1 The colonial is the most important category of analysis today both within the social sciences and the humanities, increasingly displacing the analytical categories of Marxism such as social class and theoretical approaches, such as postmodernism and poststructuralism. Something that stands out from this new academic production is that for the first time some of its main authors are indigenous scholars, scholars of African origin or from the Global South, although the largest production of colonial studies is still in the hands of the descendants of the colonizers. Moreover, as funding is reduced with the budget cuts in the universities, conventional disciplines (almost always dominated by white men) try to appropriate the contents of the new disciplines. As a curious detail, in the United States, the new indigenous studies on settler colonialism were for the first time recognized as a discipline at Princeton University, one of the elite universities of that country (Moreton-Robertson 2016: 7). That is to say, there has 1 Aileen Moreton-Robinson, “Introduction. Locations of Engagement in the First World” in Critical Indigenous Studies (Tucson: Arizona University Press, 2016), pp. 3–16.

This chapter was previously published in the Journal of World Philosophies 5 (Summer 2020), pp. 43–60. B. Mendoza (B) California State University, Northridge, CA 91330, US e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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been an openness at the highest level of the pyramidal structure of US American universities for the study of coloniality or the ways in which colonial structures remain in place after independence. We had witnessed something similar before with postcolonial studies, but today postcolonialism is strongly questioned by the newer studies of settler colonialism and decolonial theory. These new studies not only compete or put in question its value in explaining coloniality, decolonial theorists also accuse postcolonialism of being an indirect agent of Eurocentrism due to its association with postmodernism.2 Whatever the case may be, the issue of coloniality has generated great interest and created a vast demand in the academic market of ideas that do not seem likely to diminish for now. In the north, this growing interest in the colonial might be in part due to the greater presence of academics from the colony in universities. The last decades have witnessed the entry of indigenous people and migrants from former colonies in metropolitan universities in relatively significant numbers, and even in Latin America, we can see greater access of indigenous and Afro-descendant populations to universities. But, more important than this, has been the growing political mobilization of indigenous people and Afro-descendants worldwide, especially since the nineties with the fifth centenary of the so-called discovery and the struggle against extractivism today. However, this new set of theories about the colonial fact is not produced exclusively in the academy. Outside of academia, indigenous, Afrodescendants, and mestizx intellectuals from different latitudes are also engaged in the investigative work of the colonial as part of an effort to break the monologues of western academics and to create alternative spaces for the production of knowledge based on other epistemic logics. Another particular characteristic of the recent trend in the field is that studies of coloniality tend to concentrate on the European colonial expansion that began in 1492 with Portuguese and Spaniards in America, extending one hundred years later (1607) with the English, Dutch, French, and Germans occupying the vast territories of North America and towards the end of the eighteenth century (1788) those of Oceania and India. New studies on the late colonization of Africa (1870–1900) carried out by the British, French, Germans, Belgians, and Dutch can be included in this long list as well, as well as studies on the colonization of Hawai’i by the United States (1778/1959). Last, but not least, is the recent incorporation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in the aforementioned settler colonialism studies. This almost exclusive attention to European colonialism makes us lose sight of other colonial experiences in which Europeans were not involved at all, or if they were involved, then only briefly or intermittently. This is the case of the colonial experiences of the Austronesians peoples from the territories of what is now Taiwan that was occupied by the Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese in different periods, but also of Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia, and, of course, Vietnam. Vietnam 2 Ramón

Grosfoguel (2011) and other decolonial theorists have said that postmodernism, as well as postcolonialism, are “Eurocentric critiques of Eurocentrism.” See Grosfoguel’s talk (uploaded 2014) “Postcolonial or Decolonial? (last accessed on 2 March, 2020).

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suffered one thousand years of Chinese colonization (from 111 BCE to 938 CE and intermittently later until the fifteenth century) and later in 1887 they underwent the occupation of France that lasted till 1954 (Shih 2015).3 From the perspective of the indigenous peoples of Asia, colonization has not been an undertaking exclusively of Europeans. The fact that their colonial experience is not considered in postcolonial and decolonial studies as well as in settler colonial studies is due to a form of Eurocentrism that inadvertently persists in these theories. This criticism is beginning to generate greater interest in conducting studies that examine non-European colonialism and some even begin to think that it is necessary to revise colonial theories that are limited to the study of European colonialism.4 But it has not been only the excessive attention to the maritime empires of Europe and the little attention to continental expansionism of non-European empires that can be disputed. Within the new studies of the colonial, we can observe other divisions, among them those that focus on the experiences of the peoples who suffered Iberian colonialism and those who were colonized by north-western Europeans, especially by the British. Another dividing strategy has been to separate the colonial experiences of the First World countries from those of the Third World countries (Moreton-Robinson 2016). In other words, there has not been a rigorous comparative analysis like the one Shu-mei Shi proposes (Shih 2015) that is interested in seeing the inter-imperial connections and the intersectionality of the different colonial experiences.5 Instead, these new studies of the colonial have preserved the hierarchical, imperial vision of the north that prioritizes the British Empire while ignoring Iberian empires.6 One has also maintained the separation of disciplines and objects of study 3 Shu-mei

Shih, “World Studies and Relational Comparison,” in Modern Language Association of America PMLA 130, no. 2 (2015): 430–438. 4 In theoretical comparisons of postcolonial and decolonial theories, decolonial theorists like Quijano (2000), Dussel (1995) and Grosfoguel (2011) argue that chronological markers in the study of colonialism/coloniality matter. 1492 is viewed as a critical point in world history as it was then that truly global colonial empires encompassing the whole planet could emerge for the first time. From this perspective, postcolonialism errs by fixing their analysis in the experience of British colonialism in India and the Middle East, because it ignores the previous three hundred years of Iberian colonialism. For more, see my “Colonial Connections” (2017). Anibal Quijano, “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America” in Nepantla: Views from the South 1 no. 3 (2000), pp. 533–580. Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas, New York: Continuum, 1995; Ramón Grosfoguel, “Decolonizing Postcolonial Studies and Paradigms of Political Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality.” Transmodernity 1, no. 1 (2011): 1–36; Breny Mendoza“Colonial Connections,” in Feminist Studies 43, no. 3 (2017): 637–45. 5 Shu-mei Shih proposes a comparative analysis in relation to the study of world literature. The idea here is to situate world literature within world history and understand how it occurs in the field of power relationships. 6 North Atlantic historiographies have a long history of erasing Iberian colonialism from the history of modernity and capitalism. Postcolonial theorists and Marxists have been no exception. For Marxist Iberiantalism, see the work of Meiksins Wood (2003). Some have referred to this practice of erasing Iberian history from modernity and colonialism as Iberiantalism echoing the meaning of Orientalism, or forms of scholarship that deliberately falsify and disparage a history and a culture. Iberiantalism can be also harked back to the Black Legend. The term Black Legend was coined in the nineteenth century but has a much longer history dating to the sixteenth century with the ascent


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that has characterized the western university. This prevents us from seeing the interconnectivity and the historical continuity that exists between the different processes of colonization. Another problem of another nature that is often mentioned is the use of colonial studies as a platform for the formation of identities that curiously not only remain often tied to colonial definitions, but produce new essentialisms and divisions that end up separating academic projects and the resistance politics of the different colonial subjects (Hokowithu 2016).7 A case in point is the Chicanxs in the United States who have caused discomfort among US indigenous peoples by claiming an indigenous identity for themselves (Hartley 2012).8 In the same vein, postcolonial studies that study the colonial experience of India and the Middle East take little or nothing into account about Iberian colonialism in their analysis of the historical course of colonialism. Nor do we find adequate attention to Iberian colonialism in the indigenous studies of Canada, United States, and Oceania. There are a certain provincialism and even a historical myopia that does not allow us to see common origins, imbricated processes and juxtapositions of the different colonial trajectories. It is also interesting to note that despite strong criticisms of the settler colonial state, the nation-state remains the unit of analysis of settle colonialism theory. The historical continuities and the interrelationships and rivalries between the different colonial empires and even of those prior to the conquest are obscured in these delimitations.9 There is neither integrative analysis of the parallels nor of the connections between the different histories. Often these divisions unconsciously follow the parameters of the so-called Anglo-sphere and Hispanic-sphere. The US American historian Darrin M. McMahon establishes a series of properties and qualities for each sphere that makes societies and cultures as well as imperial/colonial projects of the Iberian and Anglo-Saxon totally different and incompatible (McMahon. 2004).10 There is no doubt that these artificial divisions are related to the mythology of the so-called US American exceptionalism in which this nation attributes to itself such a singularity that it separates itself irremediably from of Spain as the first European global power. The Black Legend portended to portray Spain as a backward and particularly cruel colonial power outside of the history of modernity and capitalism. It also sought to deny Spain membership in the community of European nations. See my “Crítica al debate contemporáneo sobre los imperios” (2014). The Spanish scholar, Maria Elvira Roca Barea (2016) offers us a new interpretation of the Black Legend from a conservative perspective. See Ellen Meiksins Wood, Empire of Capital (London & New York: Verso, 2003); Breny Mendoza, Ensayos de Crítica Feminista en Nuestra América, Mexico City: Editorial Herder, 2014; Maria Elvira Roca Barea, Imperiofobia y leyenda negra: Roma, Rusia, Estados Unidos y el Imperio español Ediciones Siruela, 2016. 7 Brendan Hokowithu, “Monster: Post-Indigenous Studies,” in Critical Indigenous Studies, ed. Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Tucson: Arizona University Press 2016), pp. 83–101. 8 George Hartley. (2012). “[email protected] Indigeneity: The Nation-State, and Colonialist Identity Formation” in Comparative Indigeneities of the Americas (Tucson: Arizona University Press, 2012), pp. 53–66. 9 Analyses of indigenous empires and indigenous collaboration in the Spanish conquest is still a blind spot in decolonial and settler colonialism theories. 10 Darrin M. McMahon, “The Other Transatlantic Tie: The Hispanosphere,” Orbis 48, no. 4 (2004): pp. 657–672.

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other human experiences, making its own superior to all of them. These separations bring about several analytical problems and political implications that will be the subject of what follows. What I will present in the next pages is a relational comparative analysis of decolonial theory inspired by Latin American authors such as Aníbal Quijano and settler colonialism theory written by native and non-native scholars of North America and Oceania. My intention is neither to make a genealogy nor an ethnography of these theoretical approaches, nor to establish which offers the best decolonization recipes. My interest is to discover or uncover, as well as create links between these theories which are concealed when they are constituted as separate entities. In this chapter, I will do through the review of four major areas: (1) the comparison between the concept of the coloniality of power of Anibal Quijano and the concept of settler colonialism of Patrick Wolfe and Lorenzo Veracini, (2) the different treatment of the idea of race and miscegenation that each theory uses, (3) the place that gender analysis occupies in both theories, and (4) and finally, the conceptions that each one has about decolonization. By carrying out these analyses, I hope to show how different processes of colonialism are historically interrelated.

2 Decolonial Theory and Settler Colonialism Patrick Wolfe and Lorenzo Veracini, both of European origin, define settler colonialism as a type of colonization carried out by colonists coming from overseas who arrive with the previous intention of permanently establishing themselves in a territory that does not belong to them (Veracini 2010)11 ; Wolfe (1999,12 2001,13 201614 ). Their intentions of settlement imply that their migratory project (if one can describe it that way) requires the displacement of the population that originally occupied the territories. They are settlers who come to stay with the firm purpose of establishing a new political order. The settlers are not in this case representatives of an overseas colonial administration, nor do they feel strongly obliged to obey the monarchical will of the metropolis. From the beginning, they arrive with the plan to establish a new independent political order. To put it another way, their relationship with the metropolis appears tenuous from the beginning. As Veracini (2010) says, the settlers carry sovereignty with them, it is carried in their bodies. Wherever they set foot, the sovereignty of the settlers is built, and, on their March, they destroy the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples. But whereas the objective is to create a new homeland 11 Lorenzo

Veracini, Settler Colonialism. A Theoretical Overview (Great Britain: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010). 12 Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology ( London and New York: Cassel, 1999). 13 Patrick Wolfe, “Land, Labor, and Difference: Elementary Structures of Race” in The American Historical Review 106, no. 3 (2001): 866–05. 14 Patrick Wolfe, Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race (London: Verso, 2016).


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or an exclusive community of white men, they do not completely leave behind the societies they abandoned, they always seek to replicate them in the new place. Wolfe and Veracini differentiate the usurper settler from a migrant or refugee who arrives at a territory already preconfigured politically as a nation-state. What the migrant and the refugee are looking for, is inclusion in a preestablished order and not the creation of a new one. The refugee is in this sense, the antithesis of the usurper settler because he arrives in new lands involuntarily and without a previous plan. Unlike the migrant and the refugee, the usurper settler opens up space by means of the war of conquest of new territories and his plan is to create a new society of settlers. It would make more sense to compare the settler colonial with other agents of colonization like the conquistador and encomendero of colonial Spain. Interestingly, neither Wolfe nor Veracini makes a comparison between the usurper settler from northern Europe and the Spanish conqueror or encomendero. This would be the most logical thing to do given that the migrant and the refugee are rather late modern figures. I think that this silence around the Iberian conqueror is due in part to the sharp division that Wolfe and Veracini make between settler colonialism and what they call exploitation colonialism, that is, a type of colonization that is fundamentally characterized by the exploitation and control of indigenous labor. For them, following the itinerary of iberiantalism, exploitation colonialism is what took place in Latin America/Abya Yala and therefore something different and unrelated to settler colonialism. These conceptual distinctions between colonialisms open an immense theoretical gap between the colonialism that occurs in North America and Oceania and that which occurs in Latin America. It creates a binary opposition between settler colonialism and the colonialism of exploitation that becomes insurmountable; I say insurmountable because this division is what gives internal consistency to the theory of settler colonialism. Without this distinction, the premises of settler colonialism could not be sustained. Let us see how this theory is constructed. As in any binary construct, the theory of settler colonialism gives a different valuation to each of the sides. In this case, settler colonialism is seen as the most profound and efficient form of colonization because, as Wolfe (1999) says, it works with a logic of extermination of the indigenous (it gets rid of the obstacles in its way). Exploitation colonialism is based on the labor exploitation of the indigenous people. Therefore, there is an interest in preserving the indigenous population— which means keeping obstacles in the bosom of the new society. Settler colonialism requires the usurpation of indigenous territories, the physical and cultural elimination of the indigenes, and the importation of enslaved Africans to work the expropriated lands. The land is, therefore, of the maximum importance for settler colonialism, while control of labor is of the maximum importance for exploitation colonialism. In this type of colonialism, the importation of slaves is complementary, and slave labor does not substitute the exploitation of indigenous labor. If we follow the definition of settler colonialism suggested by Wolfe and Veracini, we must assume that the colonial situation of Latin America is radically different from that of settler colonial societies. Since land is not essential, we must presume that Iberian colonizers did not arrive with the intention of creating a new political

Decolonial Theories in Comparison


order. Instead, they came with the idea of extracting as much wealth as possible, to get rapidly rich and return to where they came from. Such a colonizer would be interested in preserving the labor only temporarily. Nonetheless, unlike the settler usurper, the Iberian colonizers would be a minority in front of a vanquished indigenous mass now reduced to servitude that can become in any moment insurgent. In contrast, in settler colonialism the indigenous population is reduced culturally and physically. It is not used as labor and is simply considered non-existent. For the settler usurper, the disappearance of the indigenous is indispensable for his project of re-foundation. He is forced to imagine the new lands as terra nullius and transform this fiction into reality to legitimize his power over the usurped territories, and thus become the legitimate, “real” natives. The disappearance of the indigenous said was so ingrained in the mind of the usurper settlers that the concept of settler colonialism was at first not even associated with processes of conquest and colonization. The activity of the settlers occurred mentally in unoccupied lands even in the heads of its theoreticians (Veracini 2013).15 According to Wolfe and Veracini, none of this happened in Latin America (although they include occasionally Argentina in their analyses). This strict separation between settler colonialism and exploitation colonialism presents us with several analytical and historical problems. On the one hand, it is absurd to think that the exploitation of indigenous labor in exploitation colonialism can go without the usurpation of territories. Obviously, labor exploitation was and always is preceded by the occupation of territories. The control of land, as well as indigenous labor, was essential not only for extractive activities like mining but was indispensable for agriculture also, because it was what guaranteed the reproduction of indigenous labor and the survival of the encomendero-conquistador. Needless to say, from the indigenous perspective, whether the control of territories was by settlers who were relatively independent of the metropolis or encomenderos under monarchical control did little to change the despoliation of their lands. Shannon Speed, one of the few indigenous scholars in North America who criticizes the land-work binary of Wolfe’s settler colonialism concept, notes that settler colonialism not only characterizes the colonization of Latin America, but also that the colonization of Latin America was more destructive. Here indigenous people were forced to work in the same lands that were expropriated from them (and this we see to this day). In short, in Latin America indigenous people were subject to both forced labor and territorial dispossession (Speed 2017: 785).16 For Speed, settler colonialism is then a hemispheric phenomenon that has historical continuity and parallels between the north and the south of the Americas.

15 Lorenzo Veracini, “‘Settler Colonialism’: Career of a Concept,” in Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 41, no. 2 (2013): 313–333. 16 Shannon Speed, “Structures of Settler Colonialism in Abya Yala,” American Quarterly 69, no. 4 (2017): 783–90.


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Also, it would be absurd to think that the Spanish colonizers did not come to stay. More than a century before the usurping settlers of northern Europe, the Spanish conquerors arrived and stayed. In fact, in the new confiscated territories, they refounded the new political societies that are what we inherited today. Do not forget that it is Iberian colonialism that opened the way to the usurping settlers of northern Europe. It is in the competition and dispute with Iberian colonialism in America that British colonialism itself is constituted, that is, through the invasion and recolonization of territories occupied by Spaniards and oftentimes the French. In other words, without Iberian colonialism there is no British (nor French for that matter) colonialism. That is why there are similarities, parallels and points of divergence between both; that is, there is more in common than what is thought. To illustrate, colonizers of both northern and southern Europe applied a genocidal reason to the indigenous peoples. The Spanish completely exterminated the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. In the rest of America, they created a dramatic decline in the population through war, forced labor, forced migration, and contagious diseases. Both colonizers, although in different periods, resorted to the massive importation of African slaves to replace indigenous labor. Although it is important to mention that new studies (Reséndez 2017; Bossy 2016; Gallay 2002),17 are finding that indigenous labor was not entirely irrelevant to the settler colonialism of North America as has been said so far. Sufficient evidence has been excavated to confirm that indigenous slavery existed in tandem with African slavery. The reason for its invisibility until now is that the indigenous slavery was carried out in secrecy. These studies estimate that between 2.5 and 5 million indigenous people suffered slavery during colonization (Reséndez 2017: 5). In the Spanish colonies, there existed a series of clauses that allowed indigenous slavery even after its prohibition in 1542. It was allowed by a just war, if indigenous people did not accept Christianity, if they were part of the practice of ransom, if they served as slaves before the arrival of the Spaniards, if they had been captured by other Indians, or if they were categorized as cannibals, etc. To demonstrate that they did not fit into any of these categories, indigenous slaves had to go to the courts of Spain to regain their freedom, a process which could take several years. Hundreds of indigenous slaves were transferred to Spain or other territories of the Spanish colonies. Many of them never returned to their villages nor enjoyed freedom (van Deusen 2015).18 It is also important to emphasize that indigenous slavery was not limited to “legal” slaves. It continued in Latin America in an extensive and clandestine way, lasting even to this day. In the north as in the south, it was above all the trafficking of female slaves and indigenous children that prevailed, which according to Andrés Reséndez, a US American historian, was very similar to the sexual trafficking that we see today. Women were coveted for sexual exploitation and for the biological reproduction 17 Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery. The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Boston, Mariners Books 2017); Denise I. Bossy, “The South’s Other Slavery: Recent Research on Indian Slavery,” Native South 9 (2016): 27–53; Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 18 Nancy E. Van Deusen, Global Indios. The Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Sixteenth Century Spain (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015).

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of labor. What is really interesting here is that in in the nineteenth century, some indigenous peoples in the north of the Americas, among them the Apaches, the Comanches, the Utes and the Navajos became slave traders themselves. They traded in other Indians, who were kidnapped in Mexican territory and then sold in the United States (Reséndez 2016: 7). This reveals the historical links that have always existed between these nations and also the interconnectivity of colonization processes. In other words, the thesis of the irrelevance of indigenous labor that settler colonialism proclaims cannot be held. The presumed differences with exploitation colonialism are more of degree rather than essence. In sum, this sharp separation between settler colonialism and exploitation colonialism is not very useful. What does the decolonial theory of Latin America tell us in return? If we compare the concept of the coloniality of power of Aníbal Quijano with the concept of settler colonialism of Patrick Wolfe we realize immediately that the vision of Quijano is planetary, that it has few overtones of the provincialism that we observe in settler colonialism. For him, the coloniality of power is a pattern of global power that characterized the entire world from 1492 onwards. 1492 is considered as the founding date of a new world because it marks the beginning of a colonial rule that covers the entire planet for the first time in history. This does not mean that Quijano does not recognize the different effects that European colonialism had in different parts of the world. On the contrary, Quijano details, in his work, the differences between European colonialisms in India and elsewhere outside of the Americas. In the case of America, he recognizes the different effects on the indigenous and black population and the different political configurations that emerge from the differences between the south and the north. But his vision of America is hemispheric. Quijano is not interested in delineating these experiences as if they were unrelated or as if they could be analyzed in isolation. This does not prevent him either from seeing their own particularities in the context of the totality of the European colonial experience. Yet within settler colonialism theory, the separation between both regions is so categorical and unavoidable that not only does it not allow a comparative analysis, but it becomes necessary to exclude Latin America altogether from the analysis. In turn, what gives Quijano’s coloniality of power its global character is at the same time, what confines it to Europe. Despite the distinctions that separate the theoretical and even political project of settler colonialism from the project of coloniality of power, we also find some points in common. The coloniality of power implies a historical process that continues to this day. Coloniality continues today to structure the power relations within the former colonies and between the metropolis and the former colonies. This is the utility of the concept: to discover the historical continuity of the colonial logic in the configuration of power locally and globally in the present. It is not as Speed points out in her article “Structures of Settler Colonialism in Abya Yala” that Quijano sees the end of coloniality with independence or coloniality as a residue of colonialism (Speed 2017: 786). Quite the contrary, the heuristic capability of the concept of coloniality of power is that it lays bare the coloniality that still shapes power in the present


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(lately, Rita Segato has refined Quijano’s vision by talking about conquestability to denote that the process of conquest is an unfinished process in Latin America (Segato 2016).19 Wolfe says something similar when he states that settler colonialism is a structure and not an event (Wolfe 1999). It is not something that occurred in the past and that no longer exists, but something that continues to configure power relations wherever settler colonialism takes up residence. This means that for both Wolfe and Quijano the process of conquest is still ongoing. One could surmise that Wolfe applies the same logic to Latin America, but because he does not carry out a comparative analysis in relation, we cannot know this. Latin America, as we have mentioned earlier, is completely outside his parameters of analysis. But for Speed, who has done a comparative analysis between the north and south of America, although very briefly, it is Quijano and other Latin American anti-colonial theorists who cannot see the continuity of coloniality. She gives the example of Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, who according to her, views internal colonialism as a relic of the past (Speed 2017: 786). There is no space here to delve deeply into the fine grain of the texts of these theorists. But one has to emphasize that the coloniality of power of Quijano implies by definition a historical colonial continuity that encompasses the present. It is a colonial process that is active, continuous and structural, and not an occurrence in the remote past of which only ruins are left. There are still other points in common. Both theories, the coloniality of power and settler colonialism try to distinguish themselves from the traditional notion of colonialism, although they do it differently. In Quijano, coloniality differs from colonialism because colonialism ends with independence from the Spanish Crown, that is, when the external and direct administrative rule comes to an end. But the coloniality of power, or the colonial logic, continues to structure social relations even after independence. Similarly, both Wolfe and Veracini distinguish between colonialism and settler colonialism. According to them, colonialism requires an exogenous domination of a minority over an indigenous majority. The numerical relationship or the demographic ratio seems to have some importance in this vision. This distinction is not as strong as Veracini notes. It would mean that once the colonizers are the majority, they would no longer be colonizers or if the indigenous become a minority they would no longer be colonized. This would be absurd (Veracini 2010: 5). Rather, Veracini and Wolfe seek to differentiate settler colonialism from colonization by exploitation. That is, colonialism is supposedly what happens outside of settler colonialism. Exogenous domination or excessive metropolitan power is what characterizes colonialism, that is, colonization by exploitation, while endogenous and autonomous domination is what defines settler colonialism. But as Speed correctly says, this definition ignores the permanent tensions between the encomenderos and the Spanish Crown (Speed: 2017). As is well known, the conquistadores-encomenderos developed very early on their own particular interests outside those of the Crown and created their own projects of domination independently of the objectives of the Spanish Crown. Only 19 Rita L. Segato, “Patriarchy from Margin to Center: Discipline, Territoriality, and Cruelty in the Apocalyptic Phase of Capital,” The South Atlantic Quarterly 115, no. 3 (2016): 615–24.

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when these tensions and the political projects of the Spanish colonizers are ignored, can the distinction between exploitation colonialism with settler colonialism retain some meaning. It is a distinction that ends up defining colonialism as what happened in Latin America and settler colonialism as what happened in North America.

3 State, Race, and Miscegenation The theoretical gaps grow even greater when we analyze the different conceptions of the nation-state and of the idea of race and miscegenation that each theory presents. In the analysis of the nation-state of Quijano, we see an emphasis on the social relations of capital. That is, it is the organization of labor, or of the forms of exploitation of labor based on the idea of race that will define the form of the national state that is formed after independence. There is no doubt that for Quijano labor is the central category. It is not surprising because we know that Quijano comes from Marxism. However, he adds the role of race in the distribution of labor that not only distances him from Marxism but leads him to very different conclusions. Yet it is notorious that the question of land occupation that is so important for theorists of settler colonialism is somewhat absent in Quijano.20 The occupied territory in which capital is organized as a racialized social relationship, and then the nation-state that derives from it, is out of focus. In this sense, Shannon Speed is right when she says that for decolonial theorists, territorial occupation is a fait accompli. Decolonial analysis seems to see the occupation of land as irrevocable (Speed 2017: 786). Quijano privileges the question of labor, and not the occupation of the land as if he followed the premises settler colonialism has of the colonization of Latin America. It could be that the descendants of the Spanish colonizers or mestizxs like Quijano, (or myself), may not feel they are land usurpers in the present. Do we take for granted the occupation of the indigenous territories of the new Latin American nation-states as an irreversible fact, and that our “rightful” presence in the conquered lands is 20 Quijano follows in part the footsteps of the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui (1971) but in reversed order. For Mariátegui the “problem of the Indian” was the land-tenure system of Peru and the labor relationships of “Indians” based on servitude that continued after Independence. Perú needed to end feudalism or gamonalismo and return communal property to indigenous peoples in order to become a viable modern nation-state. The solution was based on economics. For Quijano, the problem was more the entrapment of the modern nation-state within a colonial society. It was the continuity of the coloniality of power based on the idea of race and Eurocentrism at the societal level that gave shape to the nascent modern nation-state and that determined the persistence of labor relations based on the servitude of indigenous and the descendants of African slaves. As long as the coloniality of power based on race persisted, indigenous peoples had no place within the nation-state and liberal democracy. In this respect, no agrarian reform could solve the “problem of the Indian” successfully inasmuch indigenous peoples were still considered inferior races and as people without rights. The solution is therefore more political or an issue of power distribution. See Mariátegui, José Carlos, Marjory Urquide, Jorge, Basadre, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (Austin: University of Texas, 1971); Anibal Quijano, “‘El Movimiento Indígena’ y las Cuestiones Pendientes en América Latina” in Cuestiones y horizontes: de la dependencia hist´oricoestructural a la colonialidad/descolonialidad del poder. (Buenos Aires: CLACSO, 2014).


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indisputable? Is it the old dilemma of the mestizxs who have no sociological location or ur-community to fall back on and who see themselves therefore as the rightful inheritors of the conquered lands? I think the answer to these questions is very important for our decolonization projects. As far as the state is concerned, for Quijano what will determine its coherence, stability, and democratic quality will be the greater or lesser the presence of indigenous labor, African descendants and European white population. This is, in other words, defined demographically. The greater the free-waged white population, the stronger the sovereignty of the state and citizen rights and vice versa. The greater the indigenous population and the black population working in conditions of servitude, the lower the degree of sovereignty that a state can obtain, and the less rights citizens can aspire to have. The racial composition of Latin America truncates the form of the state and citizenship, while given the existence of a white majority in the United States and Canada, it is possible to establish a strong and hyper-sovereign state and a democratic society. We should, however, be reminded that the foundations of the state in the Unites States and Canada were never democratic. Neither women, indigenous nor blacks were initially included in the political society. Interestingly, as this demographic composition is inverted in the United States due to the massive immigration of Latin Americans, the “American Experiment” comes to an end in the Trump era. In contrast, for the theorists of settler colonialism, the nation-state is an illegitimate state based on the continuous and violent occupation of indigenous lands. By definition, we are dealing with a settler colonial state that depends on the extermination of the indigenous population to be able to constitute the usurpers or the white majorities not only as legitimate owners of the expropriated territories, but as the only ones that can enjoy political rights. From this theoretical perspective, everyone who claims rights to this usurping state becomes a usurper of the rights of indigenous people, including migrants who come from elsewhere (Tuck and Yang 2013).21 On the other hand, settler colonialism theory recognizes (although it does not delve much into this topic) capitalism as a prevailing system. But given that indigenous labor is irrelevant to its reproduction as a system, the indigenous political project demands, above all, the restitution of lands and sovereignty. State reform, or inclusion in the nation-state as citizens, does not matter much. From this perspective, the anticapitalist struggle by itself would not be enough because it would leave intact the possession of the land in the hands of non-indigenous people. As we see, the analysis of capital and labor is not as essential as it is for Quijano. It only emerges in the analysis of settler colonialism to differentiate the form of subordination of enslaved Africans in the settler colonial state from that of indigenous subordination. According to this analysis, usurper settlers do not apply a logic of extermination to enslaved Africans. On the contrary, during slavery, as many slaves as possible were needed for work on the plantations in occupied lands. The role of enslaved black women was crucial because they provided the supply of slaves. Their 21 Eve Tuck and Wayne K. Yang, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization, Indigeneity,

Education and Society 1, no. 1 (2012): pp. 1–40.

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children were born slaves (even when the father was white, or the children were the result of rape). In the case of indigenous women, it was the complete opposite. The usurper settler raped them or kidnapped their children to create white kinship (Nahwilet Meissner and Whyte 2017: 157).22 In the United States, these different rationalities towards the indigenous and the enslaved African produced different racial policies for each group. The so-called “rule of one drop” was applied. As Wolfe tells us in one of his last works, the so-called one-drop rule allows the assimilation of the indigenous, because the mixture with the white is enough to make them disappear. In contrast, a single drop of African blood is enough to immediately lose the white or indigenous status of a person (Wolfe 2001: 866). In these racial politics, indigenous blood seems easy to dilute, while African blood is credited with extraordinary polluting powers. This racial policy did not allow the development of a stratum based on miscegenation or mestizaje. From the indigenous point of view, miscegenation meant their extinction, however, for the African it meant their segregation, and for the white, it was seen as a mongrelization. In Latin America, the opposite is supposed to be the case. A drop of white blood is presumed to whiten both the indigenous and the African creating mestizaje and “mulataje.” There is no place to delve deeply into these categories and the politics of the caste system that during the colonization period meticulously regulated the social classification of people according to such notions as the “purity of blood” and the different possible mixtures of race. The notion of “purity of blood” was meant originally to distinguish Old Christians from New Christians or converted Jews and was applied in the colonies as an organizing principle of inclusion/exclusion of the different racialized groups. To be sure, the caste system reveals the complexity and virulence of racial classifications in Latin America. We can see how the creation of mestizaje, or the racial democracy Brazil speaks of, has served as a cloak not only for the deep racism against indigenous and blacks that exists in Latin American societies, but also for the logic of elimination that also characterizes us. This is because mestizaje is nothing more than the extinction of the indigenous in the figure of the mestizo. In this sense, the ideology of mestizaje as the foundation of the Latin American nation-state is revealed as a stratagem of elimination that seeks to get rid of the undesirable elements of the indigenous and the black (Silverblatt 2012).23 The different conceptions of the state, race and mestizaje have political consequences. In Latin America, the indigenous movements combine the claim of the territories and fight against the permanent dispossession of their lands at the same time that they rely on the state to protect their rights. The re-foundation of the state in plurinational states, and the incorporation of indigenous principles such as “Buen Vivir” and the rights of nature in the constitutions, are merely reforms to the mestizocriollo state and not its overthrow. The acceptance of indigenous principles in the 22 Shelbi M. Nahwilet, and Kyle White, “Theorizing Indigeneity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism,”

in Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race, eds. Paul C. Taylor, Linda Martin Alcoff, and Luvell Anderson (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), pp. 152–167. 23 Irene Silverblatt, “Heresies and Colonial Geopolitics,” Romanic Review 103, nos. 1–2 (2012): 65–80.


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constitutions by mestizo-criollo and even indigenous politicians such as Evo Morales have been cosmetic reforms that legitimize rather than transform the mestizo-criollo State. They are not interventions that endeavor to change the colonial character of the state. In contrast, the indigenous politics of settler colonialism imply a total rejection of the usurper colonial state. In the north of the Americas, the indigenous population has been cornered in reserves or dispersed in different urban centers through forced transfers after massive expropriation of their lands. Their relationship with the state is of exteriority. Their recognition as nations within the settler colonial state has been key to defining this exteriority with the state. Exteriority has allowed the usurper states of the United States and Canada not only to build a complex and perverse network of indigenous authorities in the reservations that do not enjoy sovereignty or real autonomy, but also to reserve the right of impunity over any violation of the rights of the indigenous people. To illustrate, for the longest time a white man who raped an indigenous woman could not be judged by indigenous authorities on an indigenous reservation.24 Indigenous women are the ones who suffer most from male violence in the United States and most of their perpetrators are white men.25 It is understandable that this is one of the reasons indigenous peoples in North America insist on the non-recognition of the nation-state as a legitimate authority. Their antistate policy is non-negotiable. But, this position places them in an almost impossible situation because only the destruction of the nation-state of the greatest power in the world could guarantee the return of their lands and the recovery of their sovereignty. Both in the north and in the south, indigenous people have faced the dilemma of sharing land, sovereignty and power with their invaders. Both the British settlers and the settlers of other parts of Europe, as well as the Iberians in the south, have come to stay. The mestizxs that are the result of the colonial fact have tried to convert these colonial relations in their favor by raising mestizaje as the substratum of the nationstate (Mendoza 2001).26 In this way, they claim the inheritance of the conquerorencomendero father. In the north, miscegenation works as a way to whitewash the indigenous, make them indistinguishable from whites, and to proclaim whites as the legitimate heirs of the invaded lands. None of these situations are favorable for indigenous people. What to do then? What should decolonization entail? I will return to this topic at the end.

24 The Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 restored tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. However, the criminal jurisdiction is limited only to spouses, former spouses, or dating partners leaving all other non-Indian criminals scot free. 25 In her book, The Beginning and End of Rape (2015), Sarah Deer shows us how fundamental and consistent the rape of Indian women by non-Indian men has been for settler colonialism throughout history. She argues against the idea of thinking of the high rates of rape of Indian women today as epidemic. Instead, we should see it as an historical necessity of Indian extermination and the breaking of their spirit. Sarah Deer, The Beginning and End of Rape. Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015). 26 Breny Mendoza “De-Mythologizing Mestizaje in Honduras: Evaluating New Contributions,” Mesoamerica 22, no. 42 (2001): 256–278.

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Before closing this section and without being able to go into much detail, I want to address another point in which Wolfe’s settler colonialism differs from Quijano’s coloniality of power. I am referring to the different historiographies that they use to understand the origins of the concept of race and racism. In his latest book “Traces of History,” Wolfe retraces the history of race and racism to compare the different race regimes that were established in Australia, the United States, Brazil and Israel (Wolfe 2016). As is common in the Anglo-sphere, Wolfe ignores the history of race and racism of Iberian colonialism to locate the origin of the conception of race and racism directly towards the end of the eighteenth century in northern Europe in its transition from mercantilism to industrial capitalism. This transition is aided by the economic conditions that prevailed in the settler colonies, where he includes Brazil as a kind of counterpoint (Wolfe 2016: 8). It is well known that the Iberian colonizers did not use the terms “race” or “racism” in their social classification systems, nor did they use the term “colonies” to refer to their overseas territories. This does not mean of course that racism and colonization did not exist. Many authors, however, do not recognize the origin of the idea of race and racism in the Iberian colonies because the social distinctions there were based on religious criteria and occurred in a “precapitalist” economic environment. For Wolfe, as for many Anglo-centric authors, race is constituted from the advent of the Enlightenment and science as the central nucleus of modern society. Race and racism exist only when science justifies, essentializes and naturalizes the color of the skin as a proof of biological inferiority. However, to attribute the creation of race and racism to science and industrial capitalism is to put the cart in front of the horse. Scientific racism is nothing more than the culmination of a long history of racialization that begins as far back as the eighth century with the Muslim enslavement of Africans. If we make use of a long historical memory it can be said that racism somehow predates the European colonial expansion and its origins are even outside Europe. James H. Sweet in his work “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought” (Sweet 1997),27 traces its history very convincingly. Eight hundred years before the Iberians, Muslims had already begun to capture Africans as slaves, citing a cultural and biological inferiority based on their skin color and phenotype. Arab-Muslims saw the ways of life of Africans as expressions of a cultural inferiority that was indisputably related to a biological inferiority that placed them close to the animal kingdom. That is why Muslims, who also had white slaves, reserved the heaviest jobs for blacks. It did not take long for black skin to mean inferiority even when one was not a slave. Little by little, blackness came to amount to slavery in the entire Islamic world that for a long time included the Iberian Peninsula. Judeo-Christian traditions began adding new justifications to the degradation of the African by associating black slavery with the curse of Ham, the son of Noah, who in punishment for having sodomized his father is condemned to be black and slave for eternity, according to the Old Testament. These biblical allusions created a religious discourse on racism and black slavery. Arabs began to associate the so-called African inferiority to their 27 James

H. Sweet, “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought,” The William and Mary Quarterly 54, no. 1 (1997): 143–66.


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condition as infidels. Iberians took up many of the myths and symbols of the Arabs and Jews and added new arguments (Sweet 1997: 8). During the Reconquista, or the historical period when Iberian Christians reconquered the territories occupied by Muslim kingdoms, blacks were not only not Christians, but they were also forced to be servile towards the Arab non-believers, that is to say, they were doubly condemned to slavery. Not even conversion to Christianity or Islam exempted them from their destiny to be slaves. Later, Iberians would turn the same racist principles against Muslims and Jews that they applied to Africans, accusing them of being infidels and taking them as slaves. By 1441, the Vatican had given its blessing to black slavery by extending all power to the kingdoms that imposed Christianity. The purity of blood was not based exclusively on the quality of the Christian. It was based equally on the color of the skin. As a result, both Portuguese and Spaniards began to dedicate themselves to the slave trade. As the demand for slaves increased, racist ideology became more coherent in the Iberian world. Portugal even based its entire economy on the slave trade. This became the case before and then after its invasion of what is now Brazil. By 1480, there was already an important flow of slaves through Spain and Portugal. At the time of the conquest of America, Iberians were already well equipped with a racist ideology that would justify the large-scale slave trade and genocide in America. The idea of race that Quijano and other decolonial theorists refer to is this Muslim and Iberian prelude. That is why Quijano spoke of the idea of race to denote its anteriority and difference from race as a scientific category that the British would develop in the eighteenth century. To conclude, racism precedes capitalism and does not emerge solely in British space. Rather it has deep roots in the Muslim and Iberian worlds. Yet racism will become the engine of capitalism once it is resourced with the vast territories confiscated in America. Scientific racism is, as has been said several times, just a secularization of a process that had been developing for several centuries. This history of race and racism is completely erased from the history of settler colonialism.

4 The Treatment of Gender It would be almost redundant to say that gender receives a secondary treatment in both the theory of settler colonialism and in the coloniality of power of Quijano. In Wolfe and Veracini, there is a sepulchral silence around the subject. And Quijano, although he includes the control of women as a substantive area of the coloniality of power, does not develop it in his writings. The younger decolonial theorists are correcting this neglect of gender, but nowhere does gender have the same stature as race. Both for settler colonial and decolonial theorists, the question of race occupies a central stage. To analyze the treatment of gender within decolonial theory and settler colonialism, we have to resort to the works of indigenous and decolonial feminists who have been influenced by these two theoretical currents. Literature in this field is very broad and I cannot do it justice. However, I would like to briefly compare on the one hand, the

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texts of Rita Segato on violence against women, an Argentinean author who can be considered a Quijanist, and Maria Lugones (2007, 2020),28 also Argentinean, who coined the term the coloniality of gender inspired by Quijano. And on the other hand, I take up the texts of such feminist indigenous theorists of North America as Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang who wrote “Decolonization is not a Metaphor” (2012) and Andrea Smith (2005),29 all feminist theorists of settler colonialism. I will make only a brief sketch of the points of intersection and divergence that exist between these authors. Segato goes back to the moment of the rupture of the gender relations that existed before the conquest, and to the constitution of the public sphere and later the mestizocriollo State, to understand the extreme violence against women and the levels of cruelty that have been reached in contemporary Latin American societies. She creates a link between the original colonial violence and the violence of what she calls the apocalyptic phase of capital. For her, the constitution of the public sphere and the state as strictly masculine spaces, cause the collapse of the patriarchal order that existed before the colonial intrusion. That patriarchal order was by far more benevolent than that brought by the colonizers. It recognized the female difference and gave women an ontological status. Despite this, according to Segato, indigenous men enjoyed privileges that women did not have. But this was not an abysmal hierarchical order; there was no binarity, nor did masculinity become a universal referent. Even more, she tells us it was a “trans” order in which masculinity and femininity were accessible for both men and women alike. This historical event, Segato warns us, is not an event that we can relegate to a secondary level in decolonial thinking. For Segato, the collapse of the village world under the colonial regime and the reconfiguration of patriarchy and gender are both the key to understanding the history of the contemporary world, or the coloniality of power. Treating the problem of women as an isolated issue separate from the great milestones of history is not just an error; its minoritization and its subordination to other major issues lead to our not understanding the centrality that patriarchy has in the constitution of every society. In this way, Segato reveals herself as a descendent of radical feminism in the classical sense because she sees patriarchy providing the blueprint of all power relations that subsequently emerge.30 We should deduce from here that race is for Segato a derivative of gender relations and not the other way around, as Quijano proposes. It is from the pathologies of coloniality and capitalism based on their patriarchal foundation that we can explain the excessive cruelty of the massive femicides that are occurring in Latin America, and also the extreme concentration of global wealth that

28 See Maria Lugones (2007) “Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System” Hypatia

22 (2007): 186–209, “Revisiting Gender: A Decolonial Approach,” in Theories of the Flesh, eds. Andrea J. Pitts, Mariana Ortega, and José Medina (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 29–37. 29 Andrea Smith, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2005). 30 I owe this observation to Sandra Harding.


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we are witnessing today.31 The concentration of wealth that is observed everywhere from Chile to Qatar is nothing less than the instantiation of the modern/colonial project that is now in its terminal phase. The state is no longer public, but private; its national territories are real estate controlled by personal lordships that repeat the feat of the conqueror based on “plundering, displacing, uprooting, enslaving, and exploiting labor to the fullest” (Segato 2016: 621). The only way to survive this apocalyptic phase of capital is by subjecting the population to a pedagogy of cruelty that renders it immune and insensitive to catastrophe and inhumanity. This process of the decomposition of modern/colonial society is global. What happens in Latin America, has parallels elsewhere. Latin America is the mirror of the decline of capital that is now visible worldwide. Maria Lugones will refute the centrality of patriarchy and gender that Segato proposes because her gender was non-existent in indigenous societies. Lugones does not grant distinctions between patriarchies, nor can she place patriarchy at the center of a society, in cases where it is thought that there were no asymmetric power relations between men and women. For that reason, for Lugones, analyzing the relations between indigenous men and women before (and after) colonial intrusion, as well as using gender as a category of analysis, is equivalent to a colonial gesture. However, the dehumanization that the introduction of a racist logic in the social fabric of the colony effected, structured a new order. In this new order, the women of the colonizers became the bearers of a new stratum, namely gender, that reproduced the biological and social order of the colony. Hence, she derives the concept of the coloniality of gender from Quijano’s coloniality of power. Indigenous women and enslaved African women (and men) were reduced to beasts of burden who could be worked to death. They were rapeable, disposable, sexless but without gender. That is, they were not members of human society. For Lugones, then, it was not the loss of an honorable gender status that caused the decline of the indigenous society. Rather it was the dehumanization, violence, and rupture of the communal bond that the conquest produced. Gender in this case as with race for Quijano are co-constitutive elements of colonial society that divide humanity between humans, subhumans, and non-humans. Both Segato’s and Lugones’ arguments begin from the conquest of America, but their vision and scope are hemispheric and planetary. They think the world from the hecatomb of 1492. In doing so, they follow the decolonial tradition from which part of their discourse comes. But they differ from Tuck and Yang, and Smith who though also starting from 1492, confine their narratives to the experience of the North of America. Like Wolfe and Veracini, Iberian colonization is completely outside the parameters of Tuck and Yang’s and Smith’s analysis. Their vision continues to show signs of provincialism and Anglo-centrism, Tuck and Yang perhaps more than Smith. Notwithstanding, like Lugones they conceptualize relations between men and women in indigenous societies before the conquest as egalitarian. In reality, Lugones takes 31 Sarah Deer (2015) makes us aware of the parallels that exist between femicides in Latin America and the extremely high rates of rape as well as femicides in indigenous communities of North America.

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up much of the ideas of indigenous feminists from North America to arrive at her conclusion about the non-existence of gender in indigenous societies. Sexual violence for Tuck and Young, and Smith, as for Segato and Lugones is a tool of conquest comparable to race and as indispensable. For Smith, settler colonialism functions with a logic of sexual violence; or, better said, the logic of elimination is constructed on the basis of a logic of sexual violence. The indigenous woman is the target of the violence of the usurper settler who seeks to extirpate the indigenous progeny. The destruction of matrilineality, the introduction of heteropatriarchy and the political degradation of indigenous women was and still is essential for the disappearance of the indigenous peoples and the expropriation of their lands. The introduction of new identities as oppressors and oppressed is what allowed the internal destruction of indigenous communities. One can say that as indigenous men accepted their new roles as oppressors of women, they preserved western patriarchy within their communities. For this reason, the analysis of sexual violence and patriarchy are fundamental for any project of decolonization. As Maria Galindo from Mujeres Creando in Bolivia well said, there can be no decolonization without depatriarchalization (Galindo 2014).32 Both Tuck and Yang, and Smith emphasize the logic of elimination of settler colonialism. They refer to the form of the States of the United States and Canada as illegitimate, and as states for which indigenous people should not claim inclusion. In this manner, they follow the programmatic politics of settler colonialism theories of Wolfe and Veracini to the letter; but they insert a feminist analysis that recovers the importance of gender violence and patriarchy that is absent in Wolfe and Veracini. Nonetheless, one of their greatest contributions has been to incorporate the colonial fact into the Anglo feminist analyses that until now take for granted the legitimacy of the usurping settler state. They have also put on the table a critique of the usurping settler state and the politics of inclusion of some segments of AfricanAmerican and migrant social movements. Both Smith and Tuck and Yang declare the United States to be an illegitimate state, and identify the return of the land, the recovery of sovereignty and the reconstitution of the indigenous community as the main demands of their politics of decolonization. All of this depends on the recuperation of indigenous women’s autonomy and political authority. Without the demand for the restoration of land, sovereignty, and community, any call to decolonization is only a metaphor, Tuck and Young argue. These ideas of decolonization are the ones that will differentiate the field of settler colonialism from the theory of the decolonial.

5 Decolonization: Contrasting Conceptions I want to conclude with some comments on the different conceptions that these theories have about decolonization. As we have seen so far, settler colonialism is motivated by a desire to recover territory and sovereignty. Tuck and Yang’s, and 32 Maria

Galindo, A Despatriarcar: Feminismo Urgente (La Paz, Bolivia: Lavaca Editora, 2014).


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Smith’s criticism of the usurping colonial state is profound, and they question the legitimacy of its continuity. The future of indigenous people depends on their achievements on these fronts of struggle. Decolonization can include other issues, such as the struggle against capitalism and environmental destruction, the regeneration of ancestral knowledge and the reconstitution of sovereignty for peoples now dispersed in cities. But without the recovery of land and full sovereignty, decolonization does not make any sense. In the field of decolonial theory, we have seen that neither the return of the land nor the destruction of the state is in the foreground. I do not mean by this that there is no criticism of the mestizo-criollo state, or that the protection of indigenous territories is outside the political agenda. But this is not the impetus of the theory. Perhaps this is because this theory is not written by indigenous people, but mostly by mestizxs and white Latin Americans. If we read Quijano and other decolonial authors such as Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh (2011,33 2000,34 201835 ), we will see that decolonization is understood in epistemic terms. Both Quijano and Mignolo emphasize the ominous role played by Eurocentrism in the coloniality of knowledge. Eurocentrism not only colonizes lands and bodies, but colonizes how we understand the world, our sense of being. Eurocentrism colonized time and space; it denied the multiple ontologies of human diversity and destroyed the ancestral knowledges of the indigenous people. For these decolonial authors, more for Mignolo than Quijano perhaps, decolonization lies in the recovery of epistemic rights, the destruction of Eurocentrism, de-westernization (Mignolo 2011), and, to a certain extent, the re-Indianization of society. Epistemic decolonization, they tell us, will lead us to the decolonization of society. The decolonization of society cannot precede the decolonization of knowledge. Knowledge will set us free. It will decolonize us. At the same time, it is interesting to note that despite the centrality of race in decolonial theory, there is very little analysis of race relations in Latin America. There is no elaborate mestizaje analysis, nor is there adequate self-reflection on the writer’s place of enunciation on the system of race. Decolonial authors situate themselves geographically and historically in colonial history but do not delve into their own racialized locations. The “I am from where I think” of Mignolo (1999)36 is very suggestive. But it does not go far enough to reach the place that deals with the history of racialization. It seems that no distinction is made between the place of the indigenous, the black, the mestizo and the white. They all appear in the same plane. Likewise, it gives the impression that decolonial theory continues to operate with unitary analytic categories such as the “indigenous” or the “enslaved African” and does not take a hard look at intersectionality. The absence of mestizaje in the analysis 33 Walter D. Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity. (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2011). 34 Walter D. Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs. Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). 35 Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2018. 36 Walter D. Mignolo, “I am Where I Think: Epistemology and the Colonial Difference,” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 8, no. 2 (1999), 235–245.

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and the fixation on unit categories is curious given the critiques of the very notion of the analytical category that decolonial theory does (in particular, in Lugones’ work). I say this, because it seems to me that this dislocation of decolonial authors, including feminist theorists like Segato and Lugones, in the system of race in Latin America is what determines the type of decolonization project that is proposed. We do not examine our own involvement in the coloniality of power. We do not question our presence on the land we inhabit; we take it for granted. Although the nation-state is seen as a product of colonization, we do not demand its destruction. At least up to now, such a demand has not been prioritized. In this point, settler colonialism takes the lead. However, in turn, settler colonialism theorists have to abandon their provincialism and Anglo-centrism to understand their own history. But they must do so not only to understand their history, but also to be able to carry out their decolonization projects. This is because the decolonization of the hemisphere is not limited to a single country, a region or a specific ethnic group. Decolonization is trans, it is global, and it must be total.

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Mignolo, W. D. (1999). I am where I think: Epistemology and the colonial difference. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 8(2), 235–245. Mignolo, W. D. (2000). Local histories/global designs. coloniality, subaltern knowledges, and border thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Mignolo, W. D. (2011). The darker side of western modernity. Durham & London: Duke University Press. Mignolo, W. D., Walsh, C. E., & Decoloniality, O. (2018). Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Durham: Duke University Press Books. Moreton-Robinson, A. (2016). Introduction: Locations of engagement in the first world. In Critical Indigenous Studies (pp. 3–16). Tucson: Arizona University Press. Nahwilet, S. M., & Kyle, W. (2017) Theorizing indigeneity, gender, and settler colonialism. In The routledge companion to the philosophy of race (pp. 152–167). New York: Routledge. Quijano, A. (2000). Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America.” Nepantla: Views from the South, 1(3), 533–580. Quijano, A. (2010). Coloniality and modernity/rationality. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 168–178. Quijano, A. (2014). El Movimiento Indígena’ y las Cuestiones Pendientes en América Latina” in Cuestiones y horizontes: de la dependencia histórico-estructural a la colonialidad/descolonialidad del poder. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Reséndez, A. (2017). The other slavery: The uncovered story of Indian enslavement in America. Boston: Mariners Books. Rivera Cusicanqui, S. (2015). Violencia e interculturalidad: Paradojas de la etnicidad en la Bolivia de hoy. Telar: Revista del Instituto Interdisciplinario de Estudios Latinoamericanos, 10(15), 49–70. Rivera Cusicanqui, S., Domingues, J. M., Escobar, A., Leff, E. (2016). Debate sobre el colonialismo intelectual y los dilemas de la teoria social Latinoamericana. Cuestiones de Sociologia, 14, e009. Retrieved from Segato, R. (2016). Patriarchy from margin to center: Discipline, territoriality, and cruelty in the apocalyptic phase of capital. The South Atlantic Quarterly, 115(3), 615–624. Shih, S. M. (2015). World studies and relational comparison. PMLA, 130(2), 430–438. Silverblatt, I. (2012). Heresies and colonial geopolitics. Romanic Review, 103(1–2), 65–80. Speed, S. (2017). Structures of settler colonialism in Abya Yala. American Quarterly, 69(4), 783– 790. Speed, S. (2016). States of violence: Indigenous women migrants in the era of neoliberal multicriminalism. Critique of Anthropology, 36(3), 280–301. Smith, A. (2015). Conquest: Sexual violence and american indian genocide. Durham: Duke University Press. Sweet, J. H. (1997). The Iberian roots of American racist thought. The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 54(1), 143–166. Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 1–40. Van Deusen, N. E. (2015). Global indios: The indigenous struggle for justice in sixteenth century Spain. Durham: Duke University Press. Veracini, L. (2010). Settler colonialism: A theoretical overview. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Veracini, L. (2013). Settler colonialism’: career of a concept. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 41(2), 313–33. Wolfe, P. (1999). Settler colonialism and the transformation of anthropology. New York: Cassel. Wolfe, P. (2001). Land, labor, and difference: Elementary structures of race. The American Historical Review, 106(3), 866–905. Wolfe, P. (2016). Traces of history: Elementary structures of race. London: Verso. Wood, E. M.(2003). Empire of capital. London & New York: Verso.

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Breny Mendoza is professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the California State University, Northridge. Her latest publications are “Can the Subaltern save us?” in Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society. Open Access Journal. Taylor & Francis, 2019; “Colonial Connections” in Feminist Studies Volume 43, Number 3 (2017), pages 637-645, “Coloniality of Gender and Power: From Postcoloniality to Decoloniality.” In Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory Edited By Lisa Disch and Mary Hawkesworth. Oxford University Press, 2016, and Ensayos de Crítica Feminista de Nuestra América, in Spanish, Editorial Herder Mexico, October 2014

Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance Against Japan and Indigenous Peoples’ Collaboration with Japan Fang-mei Lin

1 Introduction After the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan. This basic fact is known by most Taiwanese common people, but until 2012, history textbooks had said little about this event and its aftermath. Due to the lack of historical knowledge regarding 1895 and the guerilla fights that took place that year, the film 1895 is meant to cater to its audience’s historical curiosity. This film, based on the Hakka people’s resistance to the Japanese armies in 1895, ranked fourth in box office revenue in 2008. In 2015, indigenous writer Badai published a novel entitled The Last Queen in which a different history is presented: in the novel, in 1896, the aboriginal people in eastern Taiwan, under the leadership of their female chieftain Chen Da-da, collaborated with Japan in order to drive away Qing soldiers on the island. Resistance and collaboration have taken shape as two distinct discourse paradigms with regard to the year 1895 and the aftermath of the events that took place then. This paper intends to analyze two texts and their relation to social, cultural, and political contexts. To be more precise, I actually address three texts. The film is based on Li Qiao’s screenplay entitled Attachment to Our Land, but the director of the film, Hong Zhi-yu, rewrote it almost entirely to such an extent that the film and its original screenplay are enormously different from one another. Therefore, I have to examine and compare three texts: the screenplay Attachment to Our Land (written by Li Qiao), the film 1895 (directed by Hong Zhi-yu and screened in 2008), and the novel The Last Queen (written by Badai and published in 2015). The comparative method I will use is not to simply point out the similarities and differences among the three texts being treated as static entities. Rather, I will use what has been termed by Glissant and Shih as “relational comparison” (Shih, “Theory in a Relational World” 722–746; Shih, “Position Paper” 209–227). Shih, citing Hobson, F. Lin (B) National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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a world economic historian, points out that the world has been economically interconnected for a very long time, much before the sixteenth century, when the rise of the West began to take shape (Shih, “Position Paper” 209–227). Similarly, Japanese scholar Haneda Masashi also argues that the history of Europe and Asia should be regarded as an integrated history of a trade relationship in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and he further explains that, in this period, the main actors of history were not nation-states, but rather the British and Dutch East India Company. I will begin by exploring the relationship between each text and the social, cultural, and political contexts that have made their emergence possible. The text is regarded as a dynamic process of signification, which is embedded within specific social contexts. What kind of speaking strategy is adopted by the text? In what ways does the text choose to occupy a specific speaking position in order to invoke certain kinds of historical imaginations that can fulfill the collective need for constructing contemporary Taiwanese consciousness and nationalism? In addition to social contexts, each text should be examined in terms of the genre or genres that it belongs to. Both social context and genre analysis involve the vertical axe of diachronic development and the horizontal axe of synchronic co-existence. Thus, each text is constituted by relationality, and these three sets of relationality come to shape meta-relation, which is the focus of this paper. The ideal of relational comparison comes from Glissant and Shih, but I will also use Jameson’s method of historical comparison that he demonstrates in The Political Unconscious. He proposes looking at the three levels of text, genre, and history. For him, history can be seen as the absent third term with which to analyze literary works and how they can be read as a symbolic act of social reality that masks the conditions of class tensions and historical contradictions. My research method of relational comparison thus involves three sets of relations: text, genre, and context. Contexts can also be conceived as “history” in terms of Jameson’s literary analysis in The Political Unconscious. Each text has to be analyzed in terms of these three sets of relations. It is important to distinguish between two levels of “history,” as I use the term throughout this paper. First, history refers to the shared content of these three texts, namely the first Sino-Japanese War. Furthermore, history refers to the cultural, social, and political contexts that instigated the emergence of these three texts. On the second level, history also refers to the history of genre, Chinese and Taiwanese nationalism, and social movements. History at the second level thus takes postwar history into consideration, particularly the developments following the lifting of the martial law. According to Jameson, a text should be first examined as belonging to a certain genre; however, this does not imply a static classification of texts and genres. Rather, a genre is understood only when compared and set in contrast to another genre (for instance, romance and comedy, or romance and epic). Furthermore, narrative and genre evolve and change along diachronic and synchronic axes. Those generic features produced in a specific social formation can survive and continue to exist even after the social contexts that produced them have long disappeared. This process is referred to by Jameson as “sedimentation,” and can be regarded as a historical method for textual analysis (140). However, history as such is invisible on the textual level;

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it is an absent third term that a researcher excavates from comparisons of numerous texts, genres, and contexts (Jameson 146). To rephrase what I have explained above, the historical perspective that I will use has less to do with the content of the three texts regarding the history of 1895 than with the historical conditions that make possible the emergence, decline, and sedimentation of discursive formations which deploy the events of 1895 as a means of constructing and transforming contemporary discourse paradigms ranging from nativism, Taiwanese nationalism, multiculturalism, international indigenism, and so on. The diegesis of the content of the three texts is about the first Sino-Japanese War, and the extradiegetic dimensions of history regarding these three texts are the development of various discursive formations since the post-war period. This paper will be divided into five sections. In the first section, I have already introduced the research method of relational comparison and historical perspective, particularly the dynamic process of “sedimentation.” The second section addresses Li Qiao’s screenplay, Attachment to Our Land, and how its articulation within social, cultural, and political contexts can illuminate our understanding of the construction of nativism and a Taiwanese nationalism that is Han-centered and male-centered. Third, I examine the film 1895 and its twofold narrative structure of Taiwanese as well as Japanese perspectives through the juxtaposition of the Hakka guerilla leader (Tang-xing) and the Japanese military doctor (Mori). Fourth, before I discuss the content of The Last Queen, I shall begin with a brief background introduction of the domestic indigenous social movement and international indigenism so that we can delve into the relations between local history, East Asian history, and world history, as embodied by the novel. And finally, in the conclusion, I show that this chapter has implications for indigenous history not only as interconnected with world history, but also as a short-circulated domain of signification regarding Taiwanese identity politics.

2 Attachment to Our Land: Nativism and Taiwanese Nationalism Here, I begin with the context of nativism and Taiwanese nationalism, which we have to understand in order to subsequently make sense of Li Qiao’s writing career. Li Qiao, born in 1934, is a famous writer who belongs to the “postwar first generation.” He is most well-known for the canonical work Trilogy of Wintry Night, written in the late 1970s, which depicts the land settlement of the Hakka people during the Japanese colonial period, along with a vivid portrayal of the protagonist’s resistance to the Japanese colonial regime. In the 1970s, when Taiwan was under martial law, he established the writing of the family saga and trilogy as a paradigm for the representation of Taiwan’s history. Such a Taiwan-centered historical imagination was a counter-discourse against the hegemony of KMT Chinese nationalism. Li’s work,


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therefore, embodied the spirit of nativism and Taiwanese nationalism in opposition to Chinese nationalism. In the 1970s, Li Qiao was a pioneer in challenging the dominant ideology of Chinese nationalism. In the 1980s, the Hakka social movement arose alongside the emergence of various social movements, such as the women’s movement, the labor movement, the indigenous movement, and so on. Li Qiao successfully transformed from a literary writer to a Hakka movement activist. Li has remained an active public figure in speaking out for the Hakka people and for the Taiwanese people as a whole. His work, Wintry Night, was adapted into a TV series by the Taiwan Public Television Service in 2003. As the first DPP president, Chen Shui-bian responded positively to the Hakka movement’s advocacy of establishing a Hakka council at the level of national government, and the Hakka Affairs Council was established in 2001. In addition to the Public Television Service, a separate Hakka Television channel was established in 2003. Li was also appointed as Chen Shui-bian’s presidential advisor. Within less than two decades, the Hakka movement had been assimilated into state institutions. Hakka culture is regarded as emblematic of Taiwanese nativism and cultural nationalism. By nativism, I refer to discourses that emphasize the importance and distinctiveness of Taiwanese culture as different from Chinese culture, and by nationalism, I refer to cultural discourses such as nativism and the imagination and implementation of a nation-state with independent sovereignty and clearly delimited territory boundaries. For Li’s cohort, nativism and Taiwanese nationalism go hand in hand, and deSinocentrism is a necessary step toward cultural and political independence. Within a short period of time, from the early 1980s to the years following 2000, the Hakka movement was hastily assimilated into the state institutions mentioned above. The women’s movement and the indigenous movement also bore witness to similar processes. With regard to the formal characteristics of the text, Attachment to Our Land is not a play to be read as a literary work. It is actually a technical screenplay for filmshooting, with detailed descriptions of shooting angles and visual effects. The plot is very simple as it depicts the resistance leader, Tang-xing, and his guerilla fights against Japanese armies, with a subplot of the conjugal affection between Tang-xing and his wife, Xian-mei. Toward the end of the screenplay, Xian-mei is described as riding a horse and leading a group of women to fight against the Japanese. The couple sacrifices their lives for the sake of their village and their country. A few indigenous people appear in the screenplay, saying simple words such as “killing” or “headhunging.” In other words, Hakka women and indigenous people are included in the scenario of resistance to Japan, but there is no evidence that women and aborigines participated in 1895 guerilla fights. The inclusion of women and aborigines can be seen as co-opting minority groups into a universalizing discourse of resistance against Japan. Li Qiao self-claims to portray his protagonists as heroes, and little is mentioned about Qing troops having already been stationed on the island before 1895. According to many scholars, these troops had received neither salaries nor food since 1895. Thus, they became bandits and robbers. The Hakka guerrillas, aside from fighting

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against Japanese troops, also turn against these Qing soldiers/bandits. In areas such as Hsinchu and Miaoli, where Tang-xing and his comrades came from, there are local elders’ oral recountings of how Hakka guerrillas killed Qing soldiers and then cooked and ate their flesh, partly because of the lack of food at that time (Tai 132–3). Up until now, there are small temples in these areas to commemorate these mainlander soldiers. Due to the political chaos, official soldiers, guerilla fighters, and local armed groups who appeared to be bandits but were actually common people practicing selfdefense with martial arts, all changed their positions constantly. Historians believe that there are a variety of different reasons for the resistance to Japan, from loyalism to Qing, to self-defense, to grabbing profits during chaotic times. Not unlike history textbooks that promulgate nationalism and patriotism, Li Qiao’s screenplay erases the diversity of armed activities and single-mindedly portrays virtuous and heroic Hakka men and women fighting against the Japanese. In the 1970s, when the KMT ruled Taiwan with the cultural hegemony of Chinese nationalism and a proclamation of the ROC representing the entire mainland China, which presented an imagination of the ROC representing the entire mainland, in addition to Taiwan, Li’s Taiwan-centered discourse was a vivid counter-discourse set against the KMT. The discourse of resistance was a trope for resistance to the KMT, despite the irony that both discourses shared the same value of being anti-Japanese. Nativism first manifested itself in the form of literary writing during the 1970s, and it partially converged with the political oppositional movement in the 1980s. In the 1990s, with events and phenomena such as the lifting of martial law in 1987, the proliferation of newspapers and cable TV channels, cultural nativism, identity politics based on gender and ethnicity, scholarly interests in Taiwan history, and so on, Taiwanese nationalism gained ascendency and at the same time also instigated anxiety, qualms, and antagonism among mainlanders regarding a new hegemony of Taiwan nationalism, which appeared to mirror Chinese nationalism. Post-modernism and multiculturalism emerged as alternatives to the newly established discourse paradigm of nativism and Taiwanese nationalism. In the 1990s, it is worth noting that in the literary arena, realism was regarded as too naive to represent the complicated social situations of contemporary Taiwan; instead, postmodern aesthetics and writing techniques such as meta-writing, fragmentary employment, and multifarious narrative voices were deemed to be appropriate for the time. The ascendency of nativism and Taiwanese nationalism have never been without controversy, and are doomed to be challenged by a contradictory alliance between KMT politicians and progressive intellectuals who employed the rhetoric of postmodernism to position themselves as “marginal and oppositional,” pushing nativism and Taiwanese nationalism into a new position of the hegemony. Written in 2007 and 2008, Attachment to Our Land is a straightforward narrative of the 1895 guerilla fights, and as such demonstrates the sedimentation of Hancentric and male-centric literary realism in the post-millennium cultural and political circumstances of multiculturalism. The plot and content are set to be like a “war movie,” but Li wrote the screenplay in Hakka, including a pronunciation table which the author claims to be his intellectual property. The author has stated that he writes in Hakka so that this screenplay can be used as a supplementary pedagogical tool


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for learning Hakka. Henceforth, we realize why the literary value is unabashedly absent from this screenplay. Its genre has changed from a piece of war literature to a non-literary publication of a Hakka learning tool. Nevertheless, Li still intends to imbue the screenplay with an epic flavor, and the denouement of the story is the death of the hero, like a burning flame dissolving into the empty air. The hero is treated like a sacrificial icon as he ascends into sainthood. Whether in this specific text, or in his other literary works, Li always pays attention to the roles of women and other ethnic groups, including indigenous people. However, his writings have many blind spots regarding gender and ethnicity. With respect to women, he idealizes Hakka women as virtuous, hardworking, patient, and always supportive of their husbands and children. Most important of all, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the “larger” benefit of the family, the village, and the country. He adds images of women riding on horses in order to participate in guerilla fights, but there is no historical evidence for this ever having happened. Indigenous people show up only to utter simple words such as “killing” and “headhunting.” All kinds of people are imagined by Li as devoting themselves to fighting against the Japanese, erasing the well-known fact that some Han people in Taipei introduced Japanese armies into their townships in order to maintain peace, as well as the less known fact that in Tainan, Presbyterian missionary Barclay, on behalf of the Tainan people, provided the Japanese with access to the town for the same reason. The universalizing representation masks the true condition of ethnic tensions and conflicts, particularly the asymmetry of power across gender and ethnicity. Attachment to Our Land seems to belong to the genre of screenplay, and in particular, a screenplay for the making of a war movie. However, it was written in Hakka and was hardly readable. As the author explained in the prologue, the text was meant to be used as a pedagogical tool for learning Hakka. To recapitulate what I have written so far, Li Qiao began his Hakka story in the 1970s as a Taiwan-centered counter-discourse against the ruling regime’s Chinese nationalism. Nativism and Taiwanese nationalism soon achieved momentum in the 1990s, and after the millennium had been incorporated into state institutions under the DPP’s rule. But Han-centered and male-centered nativism and Taiwanese nationalism were soon eclipsed by globalization, feminism, the indigenous movement, and multiculturalism. Li’s screenplay is therefore a sedimentation of the 1970s, with tenuous attempts to bring in women and indigenous people as secondary roles in his story of the Hakka resistance to Japan. Finally, the screenplay, written in Hakka, barely belongs to the genre of screenplay, but instead was written to be a Hakka learning tool. The outdated Han-centered and male-centered nativism were largely changed by the film 1895. In the following section, I will analyze the film 1895 as a viable way of resolving the contradictions mentioned above—contradictions between nativism and postmodernism, between males and females, and between the Han people and indigenous people. By invoking the double voices of Hakka and the Japanese narrative alongside a structure of Japanophile feelings, 1895 appeals to the younger generation’s understanding of history through audio-visual perception.

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3 1895: Historical and Cultural Symbols as Daily Life Practice and Consumption 1895 is the first Hakka-speaking film, and the film received partial funding from the Hakka Affairs Council. Hong Zhi-yu, the director of the film, rewrote the screenplay almost completely. He was born in 1968, 34 years younger than Li Qiao, and he had participated in the Wild Lily student movement in the 1990s. Like Li Qiao, he is interested in public affairs and veers toward nativism. However, he grew up in the 1970s and 1980s at a time when Japanese popular culture had been widely disseminated and well-received by young audiences across other East Asian countries. The major difference between Li Qiao’s screenplay and the film is the latter’s double narrative perspectives of both Hakka and Japanese. The following passages will address the textual characteristics of the film. The film adds the voice-over of Mori Ogai, a military doctor who was also a famous literary writer who left a huge literary legacy for Japanese modern literature. He kept a diary during his mission to Taiwan, and this diary was used by the film. The film sets up two parallel narrative lines, but only Mori enjoys the privilege of voice-over and the power of gazing upon the idyllic landscapes and Hakka villages of Taiwan in order to pay tribute to them. The voice-over is done in Japanese, and its slow pace is intent on creating a tranquil sentiment and a tone of self-reflection. Mori observes the natural topography of Taiwan and is constantly impressed by its beauty, and he also expresses humanitarian concerns regarding the cruelty of war. Their leader, Katasi-no-miya Yosihisasinnou, a royal prince, also expressed qualms about the “inferno in the human world” due to his order to kill people.1 Overall, the Japanese army is represented as disciplined, dignified, humane, and capable of self-reflection, in contrast to Li Qiao’s negative portrayal. The privilege of voice-over is reserved for Mori, and in contrast, the Hakkas have direct dialogue only. Their lack of voice-over exposes them as being engaged in actions without further thought regarding the consequences. Toward the end of the film, the prince is hurt and lies on a bed, knowing that he is going to die soon. He begins to imagine being surrounded by sakura blossoms. This scene is highly stylized, intending to create an ambience of tragic beauty. Such visual arrangements are criticized by Hui-chen Huang, who regards this as erasing the cruel and brutal behavior of Japanese armies (Huang 183–210). Such criticism, however, only exposes the ideological position of the critic, as civilians, Japanese armies, Hakka armies, and Qing armies were all engaged in cruel behaviors during the time of political chaos. The unexamined assumption that only Japanese armies killed people reflects a historical discourse paradigm that eliminates the diversity of peoples, as well as their motivations and behaviors. Due to the limitations of investment and funding, along with the director’s decision to redefine the genre of the film from a war movie to a romance, many of the war scenes are represented simply by showing maps with subtitles to indicate the dates 1 Guerrilla


fighters mixed themselves among the civilians, causing the Japanese to decide to kill


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and locations of the battles, whereas Li Qiao emphasizes the dramatic effects of fighting, such as explosions of bombs and depictions of bleeding human bodies. The film defines itself as a romance, and commercials and film posters describe this film as “the love story of Tang-xing and Xian-mei.” Xian-mei is not depicted as a warrior, and there are scenes with explicit sexual interactions between Tang-xing and his wife. The film uses long shots and high angles in order to present panoramic views of mountains, rivers, and woodlands with bright lighting, achieving an aesthetic effect while depicting Taiwan’s diverse landscapes. Combined with the Japanese voice-over and the sakura blossoms, the film looks like a Japanese idol drama.2 Not coincidentally, in the same year, the number one box office film, Cape No. 7, displays similar features such as Japanese voice-over and the evocation of the colonial period as an object of nostalgia. Furthermore, Li Qiao chose traditional Hakka music for the film, but the film actually uses contemporary songs with English and Hakka lyrics. The English lyrics increase the sensation that we are watching a contemporary film that arouses nostalgic longings. The film does not endow us with the illusion of historical facts,3 but instead indicates its status as an art object and a product of aesthetic allure to be consumed. There are also musical melodies that were composed years after the Japanese take-over, but the task here is not to point out such anachronistic mistakes; rather, it is worth keeping in mind that the intention of the film is to construct a beautiful, romantic, and nostalgic consumer product with a contemporary touch, rather than a serious heroic discourse imbued with patriotism. Now I will turn my attention to the cultural, social, and political contexts that produced such a film. Hong Zhi-yu is much younger than Li Qiao and belongs to a totally different generation. This generation is familiar with the products of Japanese popular culture, such as video games, computer games, mangas, animations, and idol dramas. They more or less know some Japanese phrases, while some take a serious attitude toward learning Japanese. Chuang Chia-yin conducts interviews and focus groups composed of the film’s audience, many of whom indicate that the Japanese voice-over sounds familiar and pleasant, whereas the Hakka language appears strange to them, and they have to rely on the Chinese subtitles (Chuang 85–110). In spite of these linguistic barriers, the audience in general enjoys this film and thinks that it has a positive value in terms of enhancing our interest in Taiwanese history and instigating our love for Taiwan. They also agree with Hong’s statement that the people on every side of a historical event should be treated as potentially good, and that it is not necessary to exaggerate the evil characteristics of Japanese armies. The audience of this film espouses nativism, but in quite a different way from Li Qiao’s version. Since the 1990s, globalization and the rise of China, both pose challenges to nativism as an imagination of a “pure and authentic Taiwan.” Homi Bhabha advocates eliminating the binary opposition between the colonists and the colonized, 2 “Idol

drama” in Taiwan refers to a Japanese TV series that displays gorgeous characters to be worshipped by the audience as “idols.” In addition to good-looking actors and actresses, everything is deliberately represented as elegant and highly stylized. 3 However, the production team conducted research and found historical materials that are barely known by the general public. For example, Mori’s diary is an important historical source.

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focusing instead on the hybridity of various cultures. The boundary of the imagined Taiwan has become porous, and in the meantime, quite ironically, Japanese cultural images, and, as I will show in the following section, indigenous cultural images, have been deployed as free-floating signs that mark Taiwan as distinct from China. The Taiwanese people have outgrown feelings of victimhood, and absorb Japanese popular culture from the subject position of a cultural consumer. Furthermore, the Japanese colonial period has come to represent nostalgia and historical legacy. This film departs from Li Qiao’s serious approach to resistance history; instead, its depiction of the resistance can satisfy the audience’s need for historical information, while what is really appealing is a structure of feelings that veers toward Japanophile. By Japanophile, I do not mean that the young generations identify with the nation of Japan; rather, this is more an issue of cultural consumption habits than cultural and political identification. History is self-consciously perceived to be a product of story-telling that can provide the audience with pleasure, and this film is a translingual practice that combines Hakka, Hoklo, Japanese, and English, with a striking absence of Mandarin Chinese. The representation of the Japanese through signs such as the presence of sakura blossoms can be short-circuited to become a signifier of Taiwan. It is precisely with this easy appropriation of Japanese cultural images into those of Taiwan that we come to realize the paucity of the cultural imagination of indigeneity. The appearance of aborigines in this film is like a phantasmagoria, the people murmuring some seemingly indigenous words which the film does not bother to translate into its Chinese subtitles. And through a reading of Li’s screenplay, we know that what is being said by the aborigines are the repetitive words of “killing” and “head-hunting.” This film thus exposes its inability to properly represent indigenous people and their culture, and such an inability, along with that of Li, masks the true relations of power regarding settler colonialism imposed upon the aborigines by the Han people. The film received funding from the Hakka Affairs Council, and it was planned and produced during the DPP administration. When it was originally screened, the national government had changed to become the KMT administration, which continued to endorse this film and helped to provide access to publicity and media exposure. This kind of partnership between the private sector and the government in terms of producing films is an innovation in the history of Taiwanese film. Such a phenomenon illuminates the ways in which multiculturalism has become the mainstream. However, we should be alert to the fact that multiculturalism often appears in the form of consumable signs, such as Hakka-speaking media products or aborigines’ dance performances in public ceremonies. In terms of film genre, films that focused on patriotism and resistance to Japan had appeared in the 1970s, and there were many of them. These films were produced at a time when Taiwan’s diplomatic situation was in jeopardy. The anti-Japanese theme, not unlike anti-communist films and literary works in the 1950s, was mobilized as a response to resolve the crisis at that time. In these films, resistance to Japan referred to the historical period of WWII, when Japan invaded mainland China. These films combined features of anti-Japanese sentiments and patriotism, on the one hand, and plots of espionage on the other. In particular, the roles of female spies indicate


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stardom and commercial appeal. As such, the context is different from the resistance to Japan in 1895. This film thus does not belong to the genre of anti-Japanese war and espionage movies that were prevalent in the 1970s. Therefore, the films of the resistance to Japan that were produced in the 1970s could be transcoded to signify Chinese patriotism and nationalism. The decade of the 1970s is a bewildering decade that bore witness to the coexistence of nascent Taiwan-centered nativism, on the one hand, and Chinese nationalism on the other. By 2008, the year in which 1895 was screened, Chinese nationalism had declined; nativism and Taiwanese nationalism had come from an oppositional position to the mainstream position, which soon encountered challenges from globalization, feminism, postmodernism, postcolonial hybridity, and the consumer culture. Hong Zhi-yu’s film, 1895, is not a reemergence of the 1970s patriotic films; rather, it can be seen as a continuous social and artistic attempt to evoke the ethos of Taiwan’s New Cinema, as demonstrated by Hou Hsiao-hsian. The early works of Hou evoked the Japanese colonial period and its icons as objects of nostalgia and Taiwan’s historical legacy. However, it is not without inner contradictions regarding Hong’s textual embodiment of the resistance theme and the simulation of Japanese signs. Hou Hsiao-hsian is also a Hakka, but he is a mainlander, too; he was born in China, and he came to Taiwan in 1949 when he was only 1 year old. For him, China is the “original homeland” of Hakka; for Li Qiao, whose family lived in Taiwan for centuries, Hakkas in Taiwan are Taiwanese, not Chinese. Hou Hsiao-hsian’s Japanese style can be seen as a repression of Taiwan’s social and political reality into an aesthetic domain of exquisiteness and subtlety.4 Hong, from the younger generation, has to deal with two antithetical discourses and stylistic formations at the same time: Li Qiao’s nativism, which focuses on Taiwan and uses a linear narrative and single point of view, and Hou Hsiao-Hsian’s perspective, who has to resort to stylish representation as a way to elide the political and social reality in Taiwan. Hong adopts an innovative compromise in order to construct a narrative with double perspectives: he keeps intact the historical fact of Hakka resistance, and at the same time, he uses the perspective and voice-over of Mori, the military physician. The slightly antiquated nativism is dissipated into the free circulation and consumption of both Hakka and Japanese signs. In addition, the translingual practices of Hakka, Japanese, Hoklo, English, and a few hardly recognizable Austronesian indigenous words together create a contemporary feel under the circumstances of globalization and postcolonial creolization. As Edensor points out, nationalism depends on popular culture and everyday life to promulgate its value. The free circulation and consumption of signs, such as historical maps, traditional Hakka villages, costumes, and idyllic landscapes and so on, demonstrate the validity of Edensor’s argument. Following Edensor, in Chuang Chia-yin’s study of the film, she states that the practice of nationalism is not simply 4 Hou’s

famous film, A City of Sadness, is the first film to address the 228 Incident. However, his treatment of this sensitive topic is to resort to an aesthetic strategy of containment, thereby eliding the issue of perpetrators and their crimes. He presents political issues only to cancel them into stylistic terms.

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limited to the exercise of citizenship in the public sphere; nationalism and identity are also experienced and practiced by citizens in daily life situations, including in the consumption of cultural and media products (Chuang 85–110). I have analyzed the differences between the film 1895 and Li Qiao’s screenplay not by ways of direct comparison on the textual level, but rather I began with the advent of nativism as embodied by Li Qiao in the 1970s and proceeded to analyze the trajectory of nativism from the counter-discourse to the mainstream paradigm adopted by state institutions. The film arises on the social and historical conditions of globalization and the pervasiveness of Japanese popular culture, and thus attempts to transform nativism into a postcolonial and postmodern multiculturalism. In spite of the film’s transnational touch, the text’s relationship to the world is a symptomatic manifestation of global forces rather than a self-conscious exploration of Taiwan’s relations to the outside world. In the following section, I will examine Badai’s novel, The Last Queen, as a self-reflection of the mutual constitution of both indigenous history and world history.

4 The Last Queen: From Local History to World History The terms and concepts of “king,” “lord,” “queen” are not intrinsic to indigenous peoples. In their political organization, there is no such role as a single person commanding great power and authority. A tribe is collectively ruled by a council of elders (Lin 74–5). An inter-village federation is also common, but the relationship is unstable. After the arrival of the Dutch, the East India Company administration appointed a single chieftain for each tribe (Blusse 153–82). And in the Qing Dynasty, when official Qing troops obtained assistance from the indigenous tribes in order to defeat the rebellion by Lin Shuang-wen in 1787–88, the emperor afterward bestowed the title of “lord” (wang 王) on the chieftain Puyuma. Badai belongs to Punuyumayan people, part of which had been ruled by Puyuma Lord. Henceforth, they have had the habit of attributing the Han concept of lord to their chieftain, despite the fact that the council of elders has remained the function of collective governance. A female chieftain is thus a female lord, and I translate the term as “queen” in order to demonstrate that a translational practice has always been an important feature in indigenous tribes. They adjust to social and political changes instead of remaining static and “traditional.” In order to understand indigenous literature in Taiwan, it is necessary to introduce the history and context of the social movements that helped facilitate the emergence of indigenous literature. Who are the Taiwanese indigenous peoples? And how many different peoples (tribes) are there in Taiwan? Whether in Taiwan or across the world, indigeneity is a product of cultural, political, and historical forces, rather than the simply socalled ancestral origin (Chiu 1071–87; Igoe 399–420). It is a process of classification by anthropology scholars, government officials, and the peoples themselves. In different historical periods, a tribe may be considered a sub-tribe, and then, after


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tribal members’ fight for name rectification, this sub-tribe can be upgraded into a formally independent tribe. Over the years, we have witnessed an increasing number of new tribes in Taiwan. Currently, there are 16 officially recognized tribes. Badai belongs to Pinuyumayan, and this tribe had live on the plains instead of in high mountains, and had not been regarded as an “indigenous people” by the KMT government before 1956 (Wang 84). This attests to the fact that the definition and classification of indigenous peoples have been heavily influenced by administrative policies and legal procedures, along with people’s collective action in both the private and public spheres through street demonstrations, media events, and ritual performances. Li defines indigeneity as “a positioning which draws upon historically sedimented practices, landscapes and repertoires of meaning, and emerges through particular patterns of engagement and struggle” (151). In the 1980s and 1990s, many indigenous movement activists were also writers. They were more likely to write essayistic prose than fiction, and these writers used the first-person point of view to express their biographical experiences of being influenced by Han culture and the subsequent self-realization of searching for and investigating one’s cultural roots (Chiu 1071–87). After the millennium, indigenous writers do not necessarily have a direct relationship with the indigenous movement, and these writers are active more in the literary domain than in the political domain. Badai is an example of this phenomenon. However, both the indigenous movement and indigenous literature veer toward international networks and a global imagination of the world. For the state of Taiwan, as well as ordinary citizens, the enhancement of women’s status and indigenous people’s status is necessary in order to assert Taiwan as a multicultural, liberal democracy in the international community, as well as an effective means to distinguish Taiwan from China. In other words, the status of indigenous people is heavily related to the symbolic aspect of identity politics in terms of international relations. Nonetheless, within the domestic sphere, the actual improvement of indigenous people’s lives with regards to employment, education, health, land rights, and so on, has been slow, and protests from activists are unceasing. Overall, we can conclude with some hasty remarks that the indigenous movement in Taiwan has always been intertwined at three levels: the local, the state, and international NGO networks, particularly networks with UN-related conferences and activities. Its international character is very different from the insular character of the Hakka movement in Taiwan, in spite of the fact that the Hakka population has spread throughout the entire world. Indigenous literature in Taiwan first emerged in the 1980s, along with the indigenous social movement. After 2000, these two have undergone their respective development without ever being interwoven with each other. Badai, for example, has not participated in the indigenous social movement. Badai was born in 1962, and he published his first short story in 2000. Since then, he has been prolific, producing nine novels within the past 10 years. In contrast, famous writer Walis Nokan, born in 1961, began his cultural and literary career much earlier than Badai, in 1983, and he

Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance …


participated in the anti-KMT political movement in 1985, later creating an indigenous journal in 1989 entitled Indigenous News (Yuanbao) and another entitled Hunter Culture (Lieren wenhua) in 1990. Although Badai and Walis Nokan are almost the same age, their literary trajectories have been very different. Badai began his writing career around the year 2000, and has not been related to any social movement. His works in recent years, including The Last Queen, do not use linguistic experiments to assert the author’s Austronesian origin, nor does he describe the conflicting relationship between the Han people and the indigenous people, which had been an important dimension of indigenous literature in its early stages. We can thus observe the shifting status of indigenous literature being marginalized at first to later becoming part of the mainstream, and this pattern is also evident in Hakka literature. These social and cultural transformations set up the historical conditions under which Badai, as an indigenous writer, can develop his writing career without directly involving himself in political and social movements. His historical novels have been nominated by the “Award of Golden Canons for Taiwan Novels,” which is a literary award given by National Museum of Taiwan Literature, established in 2003 by the DPP administration.5 To summarize, Badai began his literary career after 2000, skipped the phase of being involved with social movements and the counter-discourse, and has been incorporated into mainstream literary institutions over a relatively short period of time. In recent years, he even commented that he did not wish to be seen as simply an indigenous writer; instead, his works belong to the history of Taiwanese literature, not merely that of indigenous literature. In other words, the identity politics of asserting one’s own indigenous background has been eclipsed by a new tendency toward a universalizing discourse of the autonomy of literature. Readers will recall what I have said about Li Qiao and Hong Zhi-yu, respectively. Li Qiao was directly involved with both the Hakka movement and the political movement in the 1980s. He occupied a strikingly clear position of the cultural strand of the Taiwan Independence movement. He was appointed as a presidential advisor by Chen Shui-bian, and his canonical work, Trilogy of Wintry Night, was adapted into a Hakka TV series by the Public Television Service. Hong Zhi-yu was involved in students’ movements for a short time, and he served as the assistant director of Hou Hsiao-hsian’s various films in the 1990s. He began his first film in 2000, and since then, some of his films have received financial investment from Chinese businessmen. His works are meant to win a large commercial audience across ethnic, cultural, and national boundaries. Finally, Badai focuses his historical novels on depicting Taiwanese history in terms of its relationship to East Asian history and world history. All three have likewise been incorporated into public cultural and 5 The

history of the museum can be traced back to late 1990 s, during KMT President Li Denghui’s administration. At that time, the preservation of the literary archive was considered important, but the project was not yet conceived in terms of establishing a national museum. Nativism and Taiwanese nationalism were officially adopted in relatively small scales under the presidency of Li. We cannot attribute every Taiwan-centered institution to having taken shape under the DPP administration.


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media institutions, but the method and pace of becoming mainstream have certainly been different for each of the three. Badai has been a very prolific writer in recent years. Three of his recent works can be seen as a trilogy of indigenous historical novels that demonstrate the ambition to establish a relationship between indigenous history, East Asian history, and world history. These three novels are: (1) The Last Queen, which is about the first SinoJapanese War; (2) Reef (Anjiao, 2015), which is about the event that led to Mudan incident; and (3) The Waves (Langtao, 2017), which focuses on the Mudan incident. As a historical novel, The Last Queen depicts the final decades of Qing rule of Taiwan. While the film 1895 depicts the resistance battles in the western part of Taiwan, there were battles in the eastern part of the country as well, but the object of resistance and the reasons for fighting were completely different.6 The protagonist of The Last Queen is female chieftain Chen Da-da, who was married to a Han man, Zhang Xing-cai. After the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the magistrate of Taitung fled to the mainland in a hurry, with no intention to defend the land and the people against Japan. At that time, Qing armies stationed in Taiwan were short of salaries and food, and they, therefore, began to harass the local tribes. This led the tribal people to a decision to collaborate with the Japanese military advisors in order to drive away the Qing soldiers. The last chapter highlights Da-da’s bravery in leading her tribal men to fight against the Qing soldiers. They won the battle, but Da-da was more concerned with the near future in terms of being further dominated by the Japanese, rather than imbued with joy at her victory. She had the hunch that Japanese rule would be much more corrosive to their traditional way of life than that of the Qing Dynasty. In other words, when the Han people, primarily but not exclusively Hakka, maintained their loyalty to Qing and resisted against Japan, the aborigines, according to Badai, were loyal to their own tribes and maneuvered to come into alliances with any forces that best served their interests at the time. Throughout history, indigenous people have lived under multiple instances of colonialism. What is patriotism for the Han people is another form of oppression of aborigines, which they either chose to cope with or turn to other forces for the strategic alliance against it. Patriotism is a Hancentric value system and ideology, whereas for aborigines, their form of political organization and governance is tribal federations led by major chieftains. Loyalty to any outside power or regime is unthinkable to them. In the prologue of his book, Badai traces the tribal history back to the time of the Dutch, when the Dutch believed that there were gold mines on the island and the aborigines helped them with their expedition to seek them out. This was an equal relationship that gradually deteriorated into domination by the Dutch. During the early Qing dynasty, when the Hakkas or Hoklos rebelled against the Qing, the aborigines chose to ally with the Qing, and after the incidents were resolved, tribal leaders were invited to Beijing to participate in royal banquets and received offerings 6 As a matter of historical facts, dispersed and helpless Qing soldiers wandered around the island and

became bandits. This phenomenon was not limited to the eastern Taiwan. Please see Tai Pao-Tsum, 2015.

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of royal headdresses. The first figure to appear in the novel is the protagonist’s mother, the queen, who dressed herself with an eclectic mixture of Qing and indigenous clothing. She was married to a Han husband, and both of them indulged in the use of opium. The first few pages succinctly depict the aborigines’ contact with the outside world, their changing alliances with the various political groups, and their receptive attitude toward various cultures on the condition that their own culture was not in jeopardy. Badai’s tribe, the Pinuyumayan,7 compared with other tribes in Taiwan, had a long history of establishing alliances with external groups and taking part in power games (Lin 76). They kept themselves updated with the outside world in order to attain new knowledge (e.g., agricultural methods) and better material resources (such as guns). These phenomena contributed to two hundred years of the tribe’s dominance in eastern Taiwan, as well as the legendary “Lord Puyuma.” His novels, therefore, challenge the stereotype of the enclosed nature of indigenous peoples. It is against the background of Lord Puyuma’s golden age that The Last Queen unfolds, laying out its story of glory and decline. The battle against Qing troops in 1896 was a victory, but ironically, this victory would soon be eclipsed by the arrival of Japanese colonial rule. Through the unfolding of these plots, the reader is informed of aborigines’ changing strategic alliances and their dwindling power and autonomy. As Hsieh Shih-chung argues, the status of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples had changed from them being the only masters of the island, to partial masters, and finally to becoming completely controlled by various colonial regimes (Hsieh, 2017: 404–19). Badai uses several famous Qing political and military figures as secondary characters in the novel, showing their brief relations with Taiwan and their later involvement with the first Sino-Japanese War, as well as with other affairs concerning international issues. This kind of narrative is quite new in terms of Taiwan’s mainstream historiography about the first Sino-Japanese War. Mainstream historical accounts are only concerned with what happened on the island, without the larger picture of the multiple causes of the war and its political and historical implications. The following issues, as consequences of the war, are important, but they are also barely mentioned in textbooks. First, the Qing Dynasty and Japan declared war with one another due to their dispute about the sovereignty of Korea. Second, the defeat of the Qing Dynasty by Japan resulted in a restructuring of the political order in Asia. Third, Japan was re-evaluated by the West as a new rising empire. Fourth, during and after the war, the Western powers were already paying attention to Japan in order to best protect or enhance their own interests. Lastly, Japan used the waging of wars as a means to modernize itself in a relatively short time (Lone 4–5). Badai’s novel, The Last Queen, explains the above-mentioned phenomena, and thus this novel opens up new spaces for rethinking Taiwan’s relationship with word history.

7 This tribe is recognized officially as Puyuma, and tribal members prefer Pinuyumayan. The former

is a legal recognition, while the latter is defined by participation in tribal rituals. We can see here the discrepancy between different ways of defining identity.


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In contrast, Li Qiao’s concern is confined only to the island, whereas the film 1895, in spite of the added voice-over of Japanese military physician Mori, deploys Japanese cultural images not to indicate a transnational understanding of East Asian history, but rather to construct a more diverse image of Taiwan. Both are Taiwancentered, with various degrees of multiculturalism present. Badai’s historical account is therefore strikingly different from the mainstream historiography in terms of seeing Taiwan as a site producing the global processes of colonialism, settler colonialism, and decolonization.8 The KMT’s mainstream historiography can be characterized by anti-Japan sentiments, China-centrism, and the narrative of the Han people’s victimhood caused by Western and Japanese imperial and colonial influences. In history textbooks published in 1972, the Hakka resistance was barely mentioned, and the key figure portrayed by the textbook as a hero is Liu Yong-fu, a military general who was sent to Taiwan by the Qing Dynasty. Four decades later, as demonstrated by the 2012 history textbooks, Hakka resistance fighters became the center stage for the unfolding of the Han-centered nativist narrative. Both KMT and DPP history textbooks fail to present multiple perspectives of Taiwan history and its interconnections with world powers. As an indicator of multiculturalism in Taiwan, in 2011 Ministry of Education presented curriculum guidelines for history education which stress “respecting the culture of minorities and cultivating global perspectives and knowledge of world history.” However, Sung and Wu’s analysis of history textbooks concludes that the depiction of important late Qing events still focuses on the single perspective of the Qing Dynasty, writing almost nothing about the implications of these events for Taiwanese aborigines and for the international world order (83–120). Badai also describes indigenous people’s anxiety at that time about their selfawareness of a lack of information and little knowledge about the outside world, which they intuitively imagined to be going through huge changes. In other words, in the epistemological domain, the aborigines were able to be under a situation of self-reflection regarding what they knew and what they didn’t know.9 In contrast, it is self-evident for Li Qiao that he knows what he knows, which means the hard and undeniable fact of the Hakka resistance. He pays tribute to the Hakka resistance without thinking about alternative ways of looking at history. Such self-confidence leads to the homogeneity and closing off of the historical imagination. Li Qiao’s works replace the single history of China-centrism with the single history of Taiwan-centrism, and Badai presents the racial histories in the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and transnational power struggles. The heroine of The Last Queen is a brave woman with martial abilities just like Xian-mei in Attachment to Our Land, but she is not idealized as the perfect woman, nor is her marriage filled with affection and endearment. She is portrayed by Badai as being pragmatic and constantly aware 8 The

novel itself does not deal with issues of decolonization, but the author’s prolific writing of historical novels from the indigenous perspective can be seen as endeavors toward decolonization. 9 As I mentioned above, the Pinuyumayan tribe has a long history of interacting with the outside world in order to obtain new knowledge, technology, and material resources. Therefore, Badai draws attention to their anxiety of not knowing enough about the outside world. Readers should not be mistaken about regarding such depictions as showing the tribe’s ignorance.

Two Historical Discourse Paradigms: Han People’s Resistance …


that her value system is different from that of her Han husband, who always places monetary interests as the utmost priority. Their marriage is smooth, but more like a political marriage that seeks to combine the different interests between the Han people and the aborigines. While Li Qiao consistently idealizes women in his various novels, revealing a kind of benevolent male chauvinism, Badai has always self-consciously explored the significance of gender relationships in his tribe. Pinuyumayan is a matrilineal tribe, which is often mistaken by the Han people as the reverse of the patrilineal tradition and the patriarchy. In the patriarchy, women are placed in an inferior and submissive position, while still being praised for their virtues and self-sacrifice. In a matrilineal society, men are not inferior or dominated by women; rather, men and women are relatively equal, and the tribal society has a set of sophisticated rules about premarital courtship that allows for a certain degree of free love (Liglave A-wu 415– 33). Da-da, in spite of her status as a female chieftain, had to face the situation that her tribe was still ruled by a council of male elders, and women, including Da-da, were not allowed to enter their meeting place. Badai is able to represent the roles of women in a realistic manner from the male perspective without idealization. In other works written by Badai, he outgrows other examples from the mainstream indigenous literature that focuses on traditional culture and tribal roots; instead, he pays equal attention to urban people as well. In his fictional representation of contemporary society, indigenous people are also urban dwellers, and some of his characters love Japanese literature or Qiong Yao’s romance fiction, for example. He attempts to not represent indigenous people and culture as a pure essence rooted in authentic traditional culture. In terms of genre, Badai’s historical novels belong not only to the area of indigenous literature, but also as a supreme embodiment of the new literary paradigm that has gained ascendency following the millennium. In the twenty-first century, there appears to be a large number of historical novels that can be explained to some extent as being the result of literary policies on the levels of both the national government and local governments. Cultural institutions provide funding and literary awards to novels, and there has been a proliferation of novels written by famous writers, as well as novices. The novel, a form suited for historical narratives, attracts writers who might have otherwise chosen short stories or other prose that was not encouraged by public funding. And in addition to the literary awards given by the government, NGOs and literary groups also provide other awards. The New Taiwan Peace Foundation, for example, gives literary awards to historical novels.10 These novels share a common characteristic: they almost always include characters and plots regarding indigenous people, whether or not the author is Han or indigenous. Han writers self-consciously put aside Han-centrism, seeking to represent indigenous experiences and portraying the gradual processes of how the Han people usurped the land of the aborigines by marrying aborigine women, or by fraudulent means. In other words, Han writers have begun to admit the historical and

10 Please

see the foundation’s website:


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political fact of settler colonialism. It is worth noting that many of the authors who receive this funding or these awards are novice writers. Chen Yao-chang, for example, is a widely popular writer who began writing after his retirement from positions as a medical professor and physician. His works, and those of Badai, can be seen as inter-textual dialogues regarding similar events which involved multiple interactions among the Dutch, Western missionaries and diplomats, Qing officials and military troops, Han merchants and land tenants, Japanese officials and military troops, and indigenous peoples. Furthermore, indigenous peoples were not homogenous in these novels; rather, inter-village and inter-tribal alliances or confrontations were common phenomena. All of these relations are examined through the lens of colonialism and world history, and the writers are intent on exploring possible ways for decolonization to occur. National cultural policies of monetary endowment and support, alongside the surge of interest in indigenous history as a means to be relationed11 to the world, go hand in hand in terms of reshaping contemporary Taiwanese literature to be less dominated by famous writers with long writing careers and instead more accessible to new writers from different backgrounds. These new writers include both the younger generation and those from the older generation, now in their fifties and sixties. Indigenous literature, particularly the historical novels written by Badai, has moved from a marginal position to a mainstream position, with a discourse paradigm of Taiwanese history as mixed racial and ethnic histories interwoven with world history. Badai seeks to set Taiwan’s history in motion in order to situate it in the intersections of world history, indigenous history, and the rise and decline of various imperial powers. I will describe such efforts as “worlding,” meaning to represent Taiwan as an active agent in the global processes of colonialism, decolonization, cold-war alliances, and liberal democracy. Taiwan is not a passive recipient of world events, but rather an active producer of the creolization of world cultures. To sum up, the various points presented here, the genre of historical novels began with representations of nativism and Taiwanese nationalism that were Han-centered and male-centered. Since the millennium, a multicultural imagination of Taiwan has become the mainstream viewpoint. The intersections of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and transnational forces have been the primary characteristics of these novels. Badai’s novels can be seen as representing indigenous literature, and at the same time, they also evoke a new imagination of Taiwan’s past in order to project a different future.

5 Conclusion This paper intends to not only compare Han writer Li Qiao’s discourse of resistance to Japan and indigenous writer Badai’s discourse of collaboration with Japan in 1895, but also to adopt the method of relational comparison so that Taiwanese history can 11 I am using the word “relation” as a verb, as used by Shih, who proposes relational comparison (“Position Paper” 209–27).

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be seen, as Shih has explicated, as a node of the production of global processes of colonialism and decolonization (“Position Paper” 209–27). I begin by examining the social, political, and cultural contexts under which these three texts take shape. Next, I look at each text in terms of genre, so that intertextuality can be established. A generic feature that emerged under an older social context may remain when the external environment has changed. Such processes can be called sedimentation. The social, political, and cultural contexts for each text can be described as the following: (1) Taiwan-centric and Han-centric nativism; (2) postcolonial translingual and transnational multiculturalism, which inclines toward the consumption of popular culture; and (3) international indigenism or indigenous worlding. The genres involved are the historical novel, with a vein of realism and nativism; the antiJapan patriotic film; contemporary Japanophilic films; indigenous literature; and the contemporary historical novel that emphasizes multiple racial and ethnic histories, and which is open to a wider world imagination. While contemporary cultural products evoke multiculturalism, Taiwan-centric and Han-centric nativism have remained as historical sediment. Rather than focusing on the history of 1895, I seek to explore the history and transformation of discourse paradigms from nativism to multiculturalism and indigenous worlding. The exploitations of cultural elements from Japan and from the indigenous people constitute a discursive terrain of identity politics, the imagined community of Taiwanese nationalism, and the postcolonial translingual and transnational cultural consumption. These various discursive formations compete with each other and implore governmental institutions to intervene. The establishments such as the Hakka Affairs Council, the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Hakka Television, Indigenous Television, funding and literary awards provided for writers, and so on each demonstrates the importance of state institutions. Lastly, Taiwan’s indigenous movement also participates in international indigenism, with the result that indigeneity has become a free-floating sign to be exploited by the state and the media in general as an indicator of Taiwan’s liberal democracy. Indigenous history is important not only because it endows indigenous people with a subject position from which to speak and to write, but also because indigenous history is world history. As such, its function should not be used as a showcase of Taiwan’s liberal democracy, or to appease the Taiwanese people’s anxiety for international recognition. Nor is it an expedient way of demonstrating multiculturalism. To see indigenous history as world history is to transform the intellectual and epistemological terrain of what constitutes historical knowledge as such, as well as how this knowledge can enhance our understanding of the competition, tension, negotiation, and partnership among various discourse paradigms in the symbolic domain of identity politics and Taiwanese nationalism.


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Masashi, H. (2018). Dutch east india company and asian ocean: How a transnational company created an integrated eurasian history for 200 years [Dongyindu gongsi yu Yazhou de Haiyang: Kuaguo gongsi ruhe chuangzao liangbai nian ouya zhengtishi]. (L. Yung-chun, Trans.). New Taipei City: Gusa Press. Niezen, R. (2003). The origins of indigenism: Human rights and the politics of identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Radway, J. (1984). Reading the romance: Women, patriarchy, and popular literature. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. Shih, S. M. (2016). Theory in a relational world. Comparative Literature Studies, 53(4), 722–746. Shih, S. M. (2018). Position paper: Linking Taiwan studies with the world. International Journal of Taiwan Studies, 1, 209–227. Simon, S. (2002). Writing indigeneity in Taiwan. In F. L. Shih, S. Thompson & P. F. Tremlett (Eds.). Re-Writing culture in Taiwan (pp. 50–68). London: Routledge. Simon, S. (2011). Multiculturalism and indigenism: Contrasting the experiences of Canada and Taiwan. In T. W. Ngo, & Hong-zen Wang (Eds.) Politics of difference in Taiwan (pp. 14–23). London: Routledge. Simon, S. E. (2016). From the village to the United Nations and back again: Aboriginal Taiwan and international indigenism. Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies, 9(3), 49–89. Sung, P., & Wu, T. (2013). Contextualized thinking and international worldviews in history education: An analysis of the mudan incident in junior high school social studies textbooks [Lishi mailuoxing sikao yu guoji shiye: Yi kuozhong shehui jiaokeshu Mudanshe shijian wei li]. Contemporary Educational Research Quarterly, 21(2),83–120. Tai, P. T. (Ed.). (2015). “Little Ones” and 1895 [“Xiaode” yu 1895]. Yushanshe: Taipei. Wang, J. (2016). Who are pinuyumayan?: A study on pinuyumayan identity recognition [Shui shi Beinanzu: Shilun Pinuyumayan de shenfen rending]. In Lin Chih-Hsing (Agilasay Pakawyan) and Badai(Ed.). Retrospect and Prospect of Pinuyumayan Studies, Collection of Pinuyumayan Studies Documents, Vol. 1 [Huining yu qianzhan: Beinanzu yanjiu de huigu yu zhanwang], (pp. 77–86). New Taipei City: Yelu guoji.

Fang-mei Lin is professor at the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, National Taiwan Normal University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Sociology from University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of teaching and research include: sociology of literature, romance, historical novels, gender and literature, cultural identity and nationalism

Mapping Formosa: Settler Colonial Cartography in Taiwan Cinema in the 1950s Lin-chin Tsai

Maps appear in most of the movies we see. Even if a film does not display a map as such, by nature it bears an implicit relation with cartography. A map we see in a film may concern locale, if the film is a documentary, or, if it tells a story, an itinerary. It may belong to the places in which a viewer experiences a film. Like an intertitle or a sign that tells us where the film is taking place, what it is doing, or where its characters are going, a map in a movie provides information; it whets the imagination. —Tom Conley Cartographic Cinema Mapping is an interpretive act, not a purely technical one, in which the product—the map—conveys not merely the facts but also and always the author’s intention, and all the acknowledged and unacknowledged conditions and values any authors (and his/her profession, time, and culture) brings to a work. —John Pickles “Texts, Hermeneutics and Propaganda Maps”

1 Cartography as Methodology, Taiwan as Settler Colony In the last few decades, humanities scholarship has witnessed a methodological shift that has been called a “spatial turn.” At least two emerging methodologies brought about this turn. The first, as the human geographer Edward W. Soja explains, has to do with the critical reflection on the tendency of social sciences and philosophy to privilege history over geography, stressing the significance of time over space. By reconsidering the hierarchical stratification between temporality and spatiality, recent This chapter was previously published in Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, Vol. 44, No. 2 (September 2018), pp. 19–50. I would like to thank the journal for granting permission to republish the essay in this volume. L. Tsai (B) University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021 S. Shih and L. Tsai (eds.), Indigenous Knowledge in Taiwan and Beyond, Sinophone and Taiwan Studies 1,



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scholars argue that “spatiality, sociality, and historicality are mutually constitutive,” and are interwoven in a “mutually formative and consequential relation” (Soja 18). Meanwhile, the study of conventional geography also went through diverse forms of “cultural turns” due to the reconfiguration of Marxism and the impact of British cultural studies which “placed culture in the spotlight and made it a central focus of struggles over identity, belonging, and justice in the contemporary world” (Barnett 38–48; Scott 24). Under these circumstances, transdisciplinary fields such as “cultural geography” and “human geography” took shape and developed over the past decades. The academic transformation and emergence of these new approaches enable us to re-conceptualize a fundamental and commonly used geographical object—the map. The map has long been taken for granted as a graphic representation or diagram which “mirrors” or “imitates” the objective world in a scientific way through its medium specificity. However, as J. B. Harley has expounded, the map should not be regarded as “a mirror of nature,” but must be viewed as “an image of the social order as a measurement of the phenomenal world of objects” (158). Although the map is constituted out of nonlinguistic elements, it can be interpreted as a “graphic text” in which the rules of society and the rules of measurement and classification operate through its cartographic representational system. Thus, we have to “read” between the “lines of technical procedures” and the “topographical content” in order to understand the “textuality” of the map, namely, the “narrative qualities” of cartographic representation (Harley 156–58). The map is not just geographical or directional equipment but a text that must be read and deciphered by map-readers. By the same token, Graham Huggan proposes that the map is “both product and process: it represents both an encoded document of a specific environment and a network of perpetually recoded messages passing between the various mapmakers and map-readers who participate in the event of cartographic communication” (4). The map is thus a medium where the interpretative interplay between the mapmaker and map-reader takes place. Consequently, the map is not a mirror of nature. Maps are, as Denis Wood describes, “engines” that convert social energy to social work by connecting objects in space. The linkages of objects and territories brought together onto the map, he further explains, “enter the social realm as discourse functions.. .. The fact that a map is a discourse function also means that it has a regular role in the discourse, in the talk, that shapes our world” (Wood 1–2; emphasis in original). This can also be seen in Harley’s elaboration that maps “state an argument about the world” and employ “devices of rhetoric” to express a discourse of world view (163). Hence, the map is a “nodal site” that interweaves humans, objects, ideas, places, territories, and the world together. The map, rather than an object merely waiting to be deciphered, is a text in which a network of discursive formations is forged. If the map is a nodal site that brings things together, then the act of mapping, as Denis Cosgrove writes, is “creative, sometimes anxious, moments in coming to knowledge of the world, and the map is both the spatial embodiment of knowledge and a stimulus to further cognitive engagements” (2). John Pickles notes that in the process of mapping, “objects to be represented are transformed and reconstituted as signs and symbols substantially different from the objects they communicate” (221). The act of mapping is a claim to certain sets of knowledge and can produce particular

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forms of belief or ideologies that are directly related to politics, in which different forms of power relations are engendered, and contrive specific effects that manipulate people and act back onto the material world. Huggan, for instance, considers that maps, especially in genres such as “adventure novel” and “frontier narrative,” have directly conspired with the act of colonization and conquest, serving the aims of imperial expedition and territorial dispossession (21–33). To investigate how “power works through cartographic discourse” and its effects in the process of mapping and map-making—the mechanisms of selection, omission, simplification, symbolization, signification, rhetoricalization, hierarchization, and above all, politicization— is especially crucial to understanding socio-political structures in a society (Harley 163–64). Drawing upon the above insights of cultural geography and the politics of cartography, this paper probes maps as texts and nodal sites of discourse and examines their function and meanings in cinema and their relation to settler colonial structure in Taiwan. Settler colonialism, according to theorists including Patrick Wolfe and Lorenzo Veracini, is a distinct mode of domination that differs from classic colonialism with its specific emphasis on settlers’ replacement of indigenous population and land dispossession. The objective of settler colonialism is to acquire “land” as the intention of settlers is to stay permanently and transform new colonies into “homeland.” While classic colonial narratives evince a “circular form” in which colonizers explore, invade, and interact with colonized “others” in foreign colonies but finally return to where they are from, settler colonialism is characterized by a “linear narrative” as settlers move to new territories without envisioning a return home (Veracini, Settler Colonialism 96–100). As a theoretical framework, the notion of settler colonialism further complicates our understanding of the classic colonial dualistic structure between the colonizer and the colonized by delving into the “triangular relations” between colonizers, settlers, and indigenous peoples in a transnational context that moves between the colonial metropole, settler colony, and indigenous population (Veracini Settler Colonialism; The Settler Colonial Present; Shih 737–40; Hirano et al.). If the occupation of land and strategies of territorialization constitute the characteristics of settler colonialism, the conception of maps and the act of mapping as a semiotic system and political acts that claim and demarcate territories, manipulate and transform the readers’ view about the world, then to investigate how maps are represented in cultural productions and to consider cinematic visualization as a process of cartographic communication are both productive ways to understand and critique settler colonial structures. Cinema and cartography, as Tom Conley theorizes, can be sensed and perceived in similar ways in terms of their epistemological functions and sensorial effects upon the spectators because they share “many of the same resources and virtues of the languages that inform their creation” and oftentimes work “in consort with each other” (1–2). A film, like a “topographic projection,” can thus be construed as a map that “locates and patterns the imagination of its spectators” (Conley 1). To conjoin the critique of cinematic representation through the lens of “cartographic methodology” via settler colonial criticism is therefore a “deconstructive reading” that begins to decolonize settler colonial mapping.


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My deconstructive reading which attempts to decolonize settler colonial mapping is also a practice of seeking what Soja has termed “spatial justice.” According to Soja, space that humans live in is “not an empty void,” but an imbricated and multidimensional construction which is “always filled with politics, ideology, and other forces shaping our lives and challenging us to engage in struggles over geography” (19). Moreover, “justice, however it might be defined, has a consequential geography, a spatial expression that is more than just a background reflection or set of physical attributes to be descriptively mapped”; therefore, the spatiality is “an integral and formative component of justice itself, a vital part of how justice and injustice are socially constructed and evolve over time” (1). The theoretical intersection of cultural geography and settler colonial criticism can thus shed light on “spatial justice,” which serves as a pivotal part of “transitional justice” in a settler society like Taiwan.1 Due to large-scale Han migration from China to Taiwan since the seventeenth century, Taiwan, an island whose indigenous inhabitants are Austronesian, is a de facto settler colony. However, the prevailing discourse in Taiwan has been “postcolonial,” articulating Taiwan in terms of either the end of the Japanese colonial rule (1985–1945) or the lifting of martial law (1949–1987), neither of which acknowledges the continuous colonization of indigenous peoples.2 Settler colonial criticism thus serves as a critical framework to fill in the discursive blind spots of (post)colonial studies in Taiwan. Generally speaking, physical map-making and cartographical development monopolized by the Nationalist authoritarian government during the period of martial law, as Chang Bi-yu investigates, were restricted to those used for military or educational purposes. The quality of maps and cartographical knowledge were relatively

1 “Transitional justice” has become a momentous topic recently in Taiwan, especially after President

Tsai Ing-wen’s formal apology to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan on August 1, 2016. The notion of transitional justice, as defined by Ruti G. Teitel, refers to a conception of justice “associated with periods of political change, characterized by legal response to confront the wrongdoings of repressive predecessor regimes” (69). 2 The postcolonial discourse was introduced to Taiwan by Chiu Kuei-fen’s seminal essay “Discover Taiwan: Constructing the Postcolonial Discourse of Taiwan” published in 1992, which later triggered a series of academic debates among scholars including Chiu Kuei-fen, Liao Chaoyang, Liao Hsienhao, Chen Chao-ying, Chen Fang-ming, Chen Yingzhen, and others, during the 1990s and the early 2000s. Taiwan’s postcolonial discourse is a “contested field” as different groups from different ethnic backgrounds or cultural identities in Taiwan may embrace different versions of postcolonial historiography. From the perspective of the orthodox Nationalist historiography, Taiwan entered the postcolonial phase right after the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. But for most of the early Han settlers who lived through the Japanese colonial period and suffered from the KMT’s authoritarian rule, 1987, the year in which martial law was lifted, should be regarded as the beginning of the postcolonial era. However, for indigenous peoples in Taiwan, postcoloniality is not just “belated” (as described by Liao Ping-hui and Liou Liang-ya), but rather, has “not yet” come into being, as in the eyes of indigenous peoples all Han people (be they the early Han immigrants since the seventeenth century or the new wave of migration in the late 1940s) are settler colonizers. That is why Patrick Wolfe argues that settler colonial invasion is a “structure,” not an “event” (163). For more discussion of postcolonial discourse in Taiwan, please see the scholarship of Liao Ping-hui and Liou Liang-ya.

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stagnant and deficient (67–106). Beyond actual maps, I argue that settler cartographical ideology of the Nationalist regime can also be found in other media. Drawing upon Conley’s analogy between cartography and cinema, I extend the concept of politics of cartography to cinema, considering films as constructing a form of “cinematic cartography,” not only by their representation of maps but also by their visualization of filmic space as an act of mapping, through the lens of settler colonial criticism. This paper will look into how Han’s settler colonial consciousness has been expressed in cinema by examining two representatives but rarely studied propaganda films made at the inception of the Nationalist rule in the 1950s, Descendants of the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi zisun, 1955, hereafter Descendants) and Beautiful Treasure Island (Meili baodao, 1952, hereafter Island). More specifically, the two films demonstrate the “Nationalist settler colonial consciousness” in the construction and formation of settler mentality of the new wave of Han migration in the early postwar era through their spatial and cartographical articulations. To further differentiate the narrative and discourse of settler colonialism from classic colonialism, I compare the two films with another imperial policy documentary from the Japanese colonial period, Southward Expansion to Taiwan (Nanshin Taiwan 1940, hereafter Expansion).

2 “Descendants of the Yellow Emperor”: Nationalist Settler Pedagogy The year 1945 marked a climactic moment in world history. In the final year of World War II, atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki terminated the second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). The Japanese government announced its unconditional surrender to the Allies on August 15, and Taiwan was “returned” to Chinese authority, the Republic of China (ROC), after fifty years of Japanese colonization. On October 25, Chen Yi (1883–1950), the governor of Fujian Province, was appointed to Taiwan as the official delegate of the Nationalist government by Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975). Chen signed the instrument of surrender with the last Japanese governor-general of Taiwan, Ando Rikichi (1884–1946), in Taipei City Public Auditorium (known currently as Zhongshan Hall in honor of Sun Yat-sen [1866–1925]). October 25 was declared “Retrocession Day of Taiwan” to commemorate the end of Japanese colonialism and the handover of Taiwan to the ROC. The official ceremony of Taiwan’s handover to the ROC was documented by a Japanese and Taiwanese film crew organized under the instruction of Bai Ke (1914– 1964), a film director who arrived in Taiwan on October 17 with the Nationalist delegation. Bai was born in Xiamen (Amoy) in Fujian Province, and worked at Nanning Film Studio in Guangxi and later Diantong Film Company in Shanghai. He participated in the production of Scenes of City Life (Dushi fengguang, 1935) and Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm (Fengyun ernu, 1935), directed by


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Chinese actor–filmmaker Yuan Muzhi (1909–1978). Serving as one of the propaganda committee members under the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office, Bai was authorized to take over the film associations (including the Taiwan News and Photograph Association and the Taiwan Film Association), film facilities, and equipment from the Japanese government in 1945. Bai later combined the two Japanese film associations into Taiwan Motion Pictures Studio (Taiwan dianyi shezhichang) and became the manager of this state-owned film studio. With the support of the Nationalist government, in its earliest phase, Taiwan Motion Pictures Studio produced newsreels and documentaries for propagandistic purposes. Today’s Taiwan (Jinri zhi Taiwan, 1946, dir. Bai Ke), for instance, documents Taiwan’s landscapes including Sun Moon Lake, Ali Mountain, and the everyday life of aboriginals to map Taiwan in a new settler colonial imagination (Huang and Wang 2004; Huang 2003; The traces of history 1996). Descendants was not only Bai’s first feature film but also considered the first officially produced Taiyu pian (Taiwanese-language film), also dubbed into Mandarin, at the direct request of Chiang Kai-shek. Set in 1950s Taiwan, this film revolves around a group of elementary school teachers who hail from different provinces of China and Taiwan. The theme of the film is present from the opening, as it begins with the lecture of the protagonist narrating the history of the mythological founder of Chinese civilization, the Yellow Emperor. By doing so, this film announces that everyone who lives in Taiwan, even with different backgrounds, is the “descendant of the Yellow Emperor.” The second half of Descendants depicts the schoolteachers’ trip from the north to the south, featuring various historic sites in Taiwan. During this trip, the teachers pair up and fall in love. In the finale of the film, they organize a group wedding ceremony at Zhongshan Hall. In what follows, I scrutinize the visualization of space and the use of multimedia, as cinematic devices, that are deployed to construct the settler colonial cartography in Descendants. The opening scene presents a group of students singing with their teachers in school playground in front of an instructional building. The image of Chiang Kai-shek occupies the center of the building, along with a typical Nationalist propagandistic slogan lining both sides of the portrait that reads, “Reclaim the mainland; Restore the nation” (fanggong dalu, fuxing minzu). The female protagonist Lin Xiyun’s classroom and her lecture on the Grand History of Chinese civilization together define the tenor of this film. Asking the students, “Whose descendants are we?”, Xiyun opens her lesson with the mythological figure of the Yellow Emperor, and then introduces a chronology of Chinese history with a series of illustrations. Chen Leng, a general from the Sui period in Chinese history who landed in Taiwan, is mentioned to emphasize the historical connection between China and Taiwan. The story of how Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong, a Ming loyalist who defeated the Dutch colonizers and reclaimed Taiwan as his anti-Manchu military base) expelled the Dutch colonizers in 1662 is amplified in Xiyun’s lecture. She reminds students of the cession of Taiwan to Japan after the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895 and the founding of the Republic of Formosa (Taiwan minzhuguo) during the same year. Then Xiyun turns to another medium, a film projector, to proceed with her lecture on the second Sino-Japanese

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War, punctuating her narrative with a reminder of the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek’s contribution to the anti-Japanese resistance. In addition to Xiyun’s lecture, the spatial layout of the classroom affects how this history is understood. The portrait of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the ROC, is placed on the wall in the very front of the classroom. Both sides of the classroom are decorated with the images of Chinese loyalists and patriots from different periods, including Su Wu (a Han diplomat who remained loyal to the Han imperial government in his captivity), Yue Fei (a Chinese general who defended the Song court against the Jurchen in northern China), Wen Tianxiang (a Southern Song official who determinedly refused to yield himself to the Yuan, a non-Han regime founded by Mongols in the thirteenth century), and so forth. In the back, the portrait of Chiang Kai-shek anchors the classroom. The layout reminds us of what Michel Foucault has termed “panopticism,” a space in which disciplinary dynamics operate through different forces of power relations in conjunction with knowledge formation and spatial formulation (“Panopticism” 206–13). Although the spatial layout of the classroom seems different from the original design of panopticon as theorized by Foucault, the “disciplinary gazes” of these historical figures on the walls represent the Nationalist discursive formation of knowledge, ideology, and historiography. They function as the apparatus of ubiquitous surveillance, especially the images of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, the political icons standing for the Nationalist authoritarian rule.3 Additionally, the domestic spaces presented in the film, such as the living room, the dining hall, and the family worship shrine, also operate as pedagogical apparatuses. In order to solve the quarrel between two students regarding their different “provincial origins” (jiguan),4 Xiyun visits one of the students’ families and discovers that the 3 After the end of World War II, Taiwan, an island colonized for fifty years by the Japanese Empire,

was “returned” to the ROC. Resolving the cultural, linguistic, social, and political gaps between China and Taiwan was a difficult task for the Nationalist government. To borrow Huang Yingche’s words, how to de-Japanize the Taiwanese and make them “Chinese” and how to integrate Taiwan into China through the education system became the top priority. Chang Bi-yu points out that the standardization of the spatial arrangement of school spaces and the layout of classrooms manipulated by the KMT played a crucial role in shaping students’ minds to fulfil the end goal of establishing national identity and patriotism (186–89). According to Chang, leaders’ photos, the map, national flag of the ROC, quotes or slogans from political leaders’ writing or speeches, the daily routine of raising and lowering the national flag, and so forth, were employed to regulate the behavior of students and indoctrinate patriotic sentiments, as can be seen in Descendants. 4 Jiguan is a social construct used in Taiwan to classify a person by “province of registration,” relating an individual’s ethnic identity to the origin of his or her father. After the “handover” of Taiwan to the ROC, a new ethnic category, “mainlanders” (waishengren), was coined to refer to people who moved to Taiwan from China during the early postwar years (1945–1949), as opposed to the so-called “Taiwanese locals” (benshengren), the descendants of early Han settlers since the seventeenth century. The population of Han settlers in Taiwan can therefore be roughly divided into two waves of migration: the early Han settlers since the seventeenth century and their descendants, and later the majority of “mainlanders” who arrived in Taiwan from 1945 to 1949, which constituted at least two different modes of settler mentality, respectively. The 228 Incident in 1947 intensified the tension between “mainlanders” and “Taiwanese locals” and resulted in the so-called “provincial complex” (shengji qingjie) which deeply influenced Taiwan’s society. In the 1990 s, the discourse


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student’s grandfather, whose surname is also Lin, happens to be her distant relative. The living room of the Lin family then becomes another “lecture room,” where the grandfather narrates his story of migration from China to Taiwan. In a flashback sequence, the hardship of the grandfather’s journey is underscored by images of barren land and sterile trees in China, as well as navigation of the terrifying waves of the Taiwan Strait. These are contrasted to the fecund rice fields after they arrived in Taiwan. The student soon joins them, sitting between Xiyun and his grandfather to listen to the story. Grandpa Lin’s lecture and their familial kinship connect the three characters across generations, expanding on the core tenet of the film: all people in Taiwan today were originally from China and they share the same cultural and ancestral root—they are all “descendants of the Yellow Emperor.” Later, a ritual at the ancestral shrine of the Lin family is organized to reunite all of the Lin families in Taiwan. In a sense, this ritual reunion effectively expands the Lin family unit to a much larger social network, by which this film iteratively thematizes the ideology that all people in Taiwan share the same consanguineous and cultural root and thus Taiwan is undoubtedly Chinese territory. Descendants utilizes different narrative modes of visualization to accentuate the historical continuity and unbreakable tie between Taiwan and China. While domestic spaces facilitate deepening interpersonal relationships, the film presents public spaces as spaces of art, which play a pivotal role in pedagogical spatialization. Theatre is the most prominent public space in the film. Two historical figures—Koxinga and Wu Feng—are presented on the stage. The story of Koxinga is performed as “shadow puppet theatre,” one type of traditional theater originating from China. Despite its relatively small scale, the shadow puppet theater accentuates the heroic image of Koxinga through the dramatic lightning and stylistic mise-en-scène, especially in a scene of the naval battle between the Dutch forces and Zheng’s troops. The play of Wu Feng is staged in the local Han theatrical form called “Gezai Opera” at Grand China Theatre. Wu Feng was a Han merchant from the Qing period who, according to popular tradition, sacrificed himself in order for the indigenous people to abandon their tribal practice of headhunting. Predictably, the contrast between the benevolent and self-sacrificing Wu Feng and the uncivilized and wild indigenous “raw savages” (qingfan) is overtly dramatized through the design of costume and make-up in the performance. The play even sanctifies Wu in the last scene. The dying Wu Feng stands still at the center of the stage, surrounded by a crowd of regretful aboriginal characters kneeling down and mourning for him, as Wu is transformed into a sacred martyr. More notably, this sequence intercuts back and forth between the “play within the film” and the diegetic audience who are watching the performance, consciously suturing the non-diegetic audience, the spectators outside of the filmic text, into this pedagogical world of cinema. of the “four main ethnic groups” (sida zuqun) was formulated, further categorizing the inhabitants of contemporary Taiwan into Holo, Hakka, mainlanders, and indigenous peoples. Currently, due to more “new immigrants” (xin yimin) from China, Southeast Asia, and other places to Taiwan, this discourse is no longer efficient to describe the multiethnic and multicultural reality of Taiwan. Please see scholarship by Hsu Chien-jung, Hsiau A-chin, Chou Wan-yao, Stéphane Corcuff, and Robert Marsh.

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By deploying two types of theatrical performances, one from China and another from the local context of Taiwan, Descendants not only hybridizes the two generic modes of performing arts but also rearticulates the artistic territories of China and Taiwan through cinematic remediation. As Hong Guo-juin points out, by means of the cinematographic design of the frontal and plastic representation in “still images and illustrations that offers an eye-level visual field” (44), this film seeks to emulate an effect of “operatic viewing experience” through cinematic representation. In Irina O. Rajewsky’s terminology, the film creates the cinematic device of “intermedial reference” to the operatic mode of visualization in that it not only makes use of another medium but also generates “an illusion of another medium’s specific practices” through its own media qualities, relating a given media product to another (54–55; emphasis in original). In addition to visual and theatrical devices, the soundtrack is equally crucial to Descendants as it further complicates the inter/trans-media construction of the film. Toward the end of the film, Descendants “airs” the linear and orthodox narrative of Chinese civilization again, highlighting the rigid connection between China and Taiwan, by broadcasting a performance of “singing and telling arts,” a traditional form of storytelling synchronized with singing and instrumentplaying, from “Taiwan Radio.” This radio scene is followed by a shot of a man listening to the radio, and later a scene of the Lin family members dining together, implying the accessibility and popularity of the broadcast program. This sophisticated inter/trans-media interplay between the videoscape and the audioscape effectively underpins the pedagogical spatialization in Descendants. The journey of the schoolteachers to southern Taiwan in the second half of the film not only extends its instructional route from the capital Taipei to the south of Taiwan but also brings the cinematic settler colonial cartography of Descendants to the forefront. The trip begins with a train scene where the teachers cheerfully view the fascinating landscapes of Taiwan. Before getting to the south, they stop by Changhua and visit the Babao irrigation system, the oldest irrigation system established by a Han settler Shi Shibang in the eighteenth century. Then they spend time in Chiayi, where the story of Wu Feng’s sacrifice took place, and visit the Wu Feng Temple. Finally, they reach Tainan, the oldest city in the south with the longest history of settlement, where they pay a visit to the Temple of Zheng Chenggong and the Chihkan Tower (also known as Fort Provintia, a Dutch outpost built in the seventeenth century and later used as the administrative center by Zheng). These physical monuments not only correspond to Xiyun’s lecture in the first half of the film but also embody and actualize the settler colonial ideology with material fragments of history. Specifically, the film employs the cinematic device of spatiotemporally linear “continuity editing” to exhibit the historic sites: from panoramic establishing shots of the architecture to close-up shots of tablets inscribed with the names of the sites, and then to sequences of the interior spaces as well as architectural details within the buildings. The tablet of Wu Feng Temple, inscribed with the characters “laying down life for righteousness” (shesheng quyi) in Chinese calligraphy, is spotlighted with a close-up, with the signature of Chiang Kai-shek on the left side. In the scenes of the Temple of Zheng Chenggong and Chihkan Tower, the statue of Zheng, calligraphy on the tablets, scrolls, walls and columns of the temple, the illustrations and oil


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paintings visualizing the sea battle between Zheng’s army and the Dutch forces, as well as other historical documents exhibited inside the buildings act multimedia interventions into the film. The architecture in these sequences, together with the historical fragments and details as represented in close-up, manifests how knowledge is spatialized in ideologically manipulated and discursively constructed locations for specific political purposes, just as Foucault described.5 A meta-cinematic moment in the film can help us unpack how the spatialization of knowledge as seen in architecture further involves spectators in the milieu of power relations. In addition to the schoolteachers, the student who previously quarrelled with his schoolmate over the issue regarding “provincial origins” also participates in this tour, and paints pictures of what he experiences during the trip. His artwork, not surprisingly, impresses the teachers. In his art, the student re-visualizes, or “remediates” what he has learned and perceived while (re)visiting the historic sites, through multiple forms of media (architecture, illustrations, calligraphy, and so forth), by creating another medium (his painting), and this act of remediation is further (re)remediated in a larger framing—the cinematic frame of Descendants. Accordingly, this intricate sequence articulates a multilayered process of transmission: Xiyun’s verbal history lesson is materialized through physical monuments and conveyed first to the young student, and then through his painting transmitted to his teachers, the diegetic spectators within the cinematic frame, and finally, further delivered to the non-diegetic audience outside of the silver screen. The diegetic and non-diegetic worlds are, therefore, sutured through the film’s layered remediation. History, along with the settler colonial ideology engraved in the materiality of those historic sites, becomes tangible, perceivable, and transmittable to the audience. Their journey to the south is not merely an intensive multimedia exploration, but more importantly, a territorial extension/expedition from the north to the south— a political claim of the Nationalist post-1945 settler project. After a brief stop at the Caogong irrigation system in Kaohsiung, the tourists end their journey by taking a train back to the north. By linking the history of Han settlement with the train as a symbol of modernity (both a symbol of modernization in the industrial revolution since the eighteenth century and a metaphor of visual modernity in film history), Descendants further develops its settler colonial cartography with spatial and temporal continuity, mapping the trip from the north to the south while traveling back and forth between the past and the present. Thus, the use of multimedia and the cinematic remediation in Descendants is a claim of “reterritorialization,” an authoritative force that solidifies the Han settler spatial consciousness, revealing settlers’ intention to control land. As Veracini notes, settler colonialism “turns someone else’s place into space and then into place again” (“Introduction” 5), or to put it in a Deleuzian context, it deterritorializes indigenous land and reterritorializes it as the settlers’ own. The multiple forms of media—architecture, illustrations, oil paintings, 5 Foucault

theorized the political importance and disciplinary function of architecture in many of his works and interviews. To Foucault, there is no distinction between “discursive formations” and “architectural construction,” and it is important to examine how “discourses enter into construction” and how “building or planned environments become statements” (Hirst 53). See Paul Hirst, “Foucault and Architecture.”.

Mapping Formosa: Settler Colonial Cartography in Taiwan …


calligraphy, audioscape, and technologies of modernization and industrialization— are remediated as supplements to accomplish the film’s settler colonial cartography. As formulated by Foucault, the “project of docility,” or “the mechanism of discipline,” is a “multiplicity of often minor processes, of different origin and scattered location, which overlap, repeat, or imitate one another, support one another, distinguish themselves from one another according to their domain of application, converge, and gradually produce the blueprint of a general method” (“Docile Bodies” 182). In this vein, remediation and reterritorialization in Descendants, as mechanisms of mapping, support one another and serve the similar political and pedagogical purposes, namely, the territorial expropriation in the realm of media and of the island of Taiwan. Descendants ends with a stately group wedding of the schoolteachers at Zhongshan Hall on October 25, the Retrocession Day of Taiwan of the ROC. This spatiotemporal setting of the ceremony unquestionably symbolizes a new page for the four couples and the rebirth of the ROC in Taiwan after fifty years of Japanese colonization. All people in Taiwan, be they “mainlanders” from China after 1945 or descendants of earlier Han people since the seventeenth century (as explicated in the film the so-called “Taiwanese locals”), will be welded together and brought into harmony under the Nationalist rule. This view is coupled with Grandpa Lin’s lines: “under the Nationalist regime, Taiwanese locals can also serve as officials in the government the same way mainlanders can. That is because everybody in Taiwan is the descendant of the Yellow Emperor.” The issue regarding the “provincial origins” between “Chinese mainlanders” and “Taiwanese locals” among students at the beginning of the film has been successfully solved. The artistic student takes the initiative to create a collective painting with other schoolmates—an image of a smiling Maitreya Buddha, the Buddhist deity regarded as the Buddha of the future, surrounded by a group of children, representing the traditional Chinese value of lineage continuity. More important, this painting crystalizes a typical settler mentality termed “animus manendi,” the intention to “stay” in the new territory, and the settler strategy to displace the indigenous population by demographic proliferation (Settler Colonialism 53). While the settlement of the past that was revisited during their journey to the south buttresses the ideological settler narrative to justify the settlers’ presence, the demographic reproduction, one of the typical strategies of settler colonial population economy, will then guarantee permanent residency for settlers in the future. A seeming contradiction to the ideological aims of the film, there is no intermarriage between Han and indigenous characters in the wedding. This remarkable detail, I argue, reveals the Nationalist strategy to resolve, or to smooth over the “provincial conflict” between “mainlanders” and “locals” after the February 28 Incident in 1947. Indigenous peoples during this phase were regarded as “excluded insiders,” if not entirely outsiders, in the Nationalist settler colonial blueprint—they were part of the “people” who lived within the geographical boundary of Taiwan, but were neglected by the cinematic cartography formulated mainly from the perspective of Han settlers’


L. Tsai

ideology.6 Examining the mechanisms of selection, omission, symbolization, and hierarchization in the making of the settler colonial cartography of Descendants is, therefore, a critical step for us to historicize the formation and complexity of Han settler colonial consciousness in Taiwan. The harmonious ceremony and the message conveyed through the finale in Descendants, in hindsight, seems more like the prelude to a cacophony. The Martial Law declared in 1949 and later the White Terror of the Nationalist party intensified the tensions and conflicts between different ethnic communities (mainlanders, l