Title: Aborigines demand
UNKIND WORDS: Over 130
Aborigines who were incensed
at an official who likened them
to mouse excrement went to the
Executive Yuan yesterday and
called on the official to step
By Chuang Chi-ting
Over 130 Aborigines from a
village of 400 yesterday
protested in front of the
Executive Yuan because an
official likened them to mouse
"Chang Ho-ping (±i©M¥) step down!" "Abolish
national parks and return our lands!" the
Bunun (¥¬¹A) protesters shouted.
The protest was triggered by remarks made
by Chang, superintendent of the Yushan
National Park (¥É¤s°ê®a¤½¶é). Tungpu First
Village (ªF®H¤@¾F) in Nantou, where the
protesters live, is located in the park.
To obtain water during the dry season, the
Bunun people planned to connect pipes in the
mountains to draw water to their homes. But
they had to ask permission from the Yushan
National Park Headquarters (¥ÉºÞ³B).
The Aborigines lost their rights to freely use
resources on the land, like their ancestors,
once the national park was set up. Officials
have justified such restrictions as promoting
The Bunun tried to create a waterfall in the
national park to provide a water supply
because the rain they rely on for water is
insufficient in certain seasons. "But we were
fined by the park administrators as having
violated reservation regulations," said
Lanhyaho Ishilidwan, a leader of the
A Public Television Service (PTS, ¤½µø)
reporter interviewed Chang on Feb 3. Chang
said such resources do not belong
exclusively to the indigenous population.
"Tungpu First is just a village of 100 people.
We actually would like to expel them from
the park," Chang said.
"It is just like mouse excrement ruining the
reservation's whole pot of rice gruel ? They
are just 100 people but have created a
negative image of the national park." said Liu
Ching-nan (¼B¼y¨k), deputy director general
of the Construction and Planning
administration, overseeing the park
He said the Bunun seemed to be playing
politics. "One can choose to make a fuss
over this incident or one can take it with
But the Bunun were incensed. "This is our
land. It's us that should expel the national
park authorities away from our territory,"
said Amu Ishilidwan.
"My heart cried when I heard the analogy,"
said Lahyaho Ishilidwan.
Premier Chang Chung-hsiung (±i«T¶¯)
promised the superintendent's dismissal
But the dispute over the Bunun's land rights
remains unsettled, said Abus Ishilidwan and
Lyikng Yuma of Tayal, another tribe that has
suffered restrictions in the Shueipa National
Park (³·ÅQ¤½¶é). Lyikng Yuma said the
ongoing dispute has haunted indigenous
peoples of various tribes.
Native Taiwanese have lived on land that
they view as a communal resource. There is
no legal protection for their claim on the
land, however, he said.
Increasing claims on the land from outside
the community have cost them their land
rights due to the lack of legal recognition of
The establishment of national parks on tribal
land taken by the government is a prime
example, say Aborigines.
The Aborigines have lost land rights that
support their livelihood, land used for hunting
and picking fruits.
"We, with the inherited wisdom of the
ancestors, actually understand reservations
better than the Han people," said Lanyaho
"For example, we don't hunt in spring when
animals nourish their descendants," he said.
"We cannot collect dabagai, a kind of fruit on
the vines, which is of high economic value.
But the park administration allows Han
people rich enough to win the contract to do
so," said Lanyaho Ishilidwan.
"But the Han still need to hire us to climb up
the vines up to five floors in height to pick
the fruit," he said, "but we are always poorly
paid while risking our lives for their benefit."
"The banning of hunting also makes it
impossible to complete the teaching of
traditional rituals vital to our culture," he
"As we have lost land rights to our ancestral
domain, we rely only on a poor, unsteady
income from agriculture harvests," said Buni
"My husband and I have not earned a penny
for our four kids since November because it
is too cold for anything to grow."
She said the poor living standards were due
to the deprivation of land rights, which had
caused many indigenous peoples to go to the
cities for job opportunities. "But my niece,
following the family's removal from the tribe,
cannot even understand the Bunun language
Lanyaho Ishilidwan said that National Taiwan
University, which has taken over from the
government the experimental forest on their
ancestral domain, has also threatened the
"They chop the woods down, including those
belonging to us that were not planted by
them, just because their forest project has
failed," he said.
"But, this has caused mudslides in the area."
"Moreover, they prohibit us from approaching
our ancestor's houses located on the land
taken by them ? We can no longer teach our
kids the history of our people," he said.
The Bunun yesterday also complained about
the privileges of an illegal trout farm in the
neighborhood that has stood in the Yushan
park for over 10 years.
"The owner of the farm is the public
representative of the village, who is the
friend of a policeman in the park," they said.
The farm has constructed works to divert
water from the upper stream of a river to the
farm and dumps polluted water from the farm
into the river.
This has impeded a Bunun plan to recover
the flow of that river to breed fish for sale
and thereby balance the local ecology.
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