16. Taiwan Aborigine Association of the United States

Taiwan Aborigine Association of the United States


Taiwan , formerly known as Formosais inhabited by approximately twenty-three million people 2% of which or more than 400,000 are aboriginal tribal people.

In 1968, archaeologists unearthed evidence of a culture inhabiting Taitung Countyfor more than 25,000 years. This culture is called the Ch’angping Culture. Chipped stone implements found at this site have been carbon dated to be seven to nine thousand years old.

In 1976, while excavating a site for a new railway station in the Peinan District of Taitung City, a megalith named Peinan Man was unearthed. Further investigation of this site determined that the Peinan Culture was separate from the Ch’angping Culture and is estimated to be between 3500 and 4000 years old. A third prehistoric culture named the Chihlin Culture was also found in Taitung Countyand is estimated to be approximately 2500 years old.

The most recent cultures to inhabit the area are the Amis Tribe of Taitung and Hualien counties and the Yami tribe on Lanyu or Orchid Island . Both tribes are estimated to have settled in the region approximately 750 years ago. Tribal villages found in the mountains of Taiwan and on Orchid Island still hold an abundance traditional culture.

In recent years, the tribal people who had migrated to the cities began to find it difficult to maintain their customs and languages and came to the conclusion that if they did not as indivduals actively take measures to preserve their ethnic roots, they would soon disappear. Many of thes city dwellers are now returning to their tribal villages in the mountains and by the sea in order to document and record and preserve oral histories, ceremonies and music.

There are an estimated forty to fifty groups involved in creating written records of individual tribal cultures. TheTaiwan Aboriginal Cultural Research Centeris responsible for consolidating and cataloging the data collected by these groups.