President Tsai Ingwen said Aug. 1 that the government is committed to promoting the rights of Taiwan's indigenous peoples and enhancing public awareness of their culture and history.
Great strides have been made in improving the lives and wellbeing of the country's original owners since their designation was changed in a constitutional amendment 25 years ago, Tsai said. Other milestones include a presidential apology in 2016 to indigenous peoples for four centuries of pain and mistreatment and the enactment of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in 2005, she added.
Tsai made the remarks at a forum in Taipei City celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day. Attendees included Icyang Parod, minister of the Cabinetlevel Council of Indigenous Peoples, as well as representatives from Taiwan's 16 officially recognized tribes.
Since taking office in May 2016, Tsai said, she has prioritized government measures aimed at establishing a clearcut aboriginal historical perspective while advancing autonomous governance and preserving tribal culture and language.
According to Tsai, a highprofile example in this regard is the establishment of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee in 2017 to address related issues.
The enactment in 2017 of the Indigenous Languages Development Act giving national status to the dialects of the officially recognized tribes, and recent revisions to the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples and Slopeland Conservation and Utilization Act are equally important, Tsai said.
Going forward, Tsai said, the invaluable contributions of academics, lawmakers and members of civic groups must continue so aboriginals have every opportunity to fulfil their potential and make even greater contributions to enriching the fabric of Taiwan society.
Indigenous peoples have lived in Taiwan for millenniums. The latest statistics from the Cabinetlevel Council of Indigenous Peoples reveal that the population of Taiwan's tribal members stands at around 567,000, or 2.4 percent of the total 23.58 million.
Source: Taiwan Today