Aug. 1 marks Taiwan''s Indigenous Peoples'' Day. On this day 27 years ago, the legal term for indigenous peoples in the Constitution was rectified from the previous label of "mountain compatriots." On Sunday, the Council of Indigenous Peoples organized a retrospective at the Grand Hotel. President Tsai Ing-wen delivered a prerecorded speech calling for respect for and recognition of Taiwan''s indigenous communities. Many indigenous athletes who competed at the Tokyo Olympics also proudly proclaimed their indigenous names that were long silenced in the past.
On behalf of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Olympic gold medalist Kuo Hsing-chun and silver medalist Yang Yung-wei among others, shared videos, and in them, their indigenous names on Aug. 1. The combined video opened the retrospective event marking the 27th anniversary of indigenous peoples’ official recognition.
Minister, Council of Indigenous Peoples
They not only gave stellar performance in sports. What I’m even more pleased is that they have always emphasized indigenous pride. This is very different from the past when indigenous people would try as hard as possible to conceal their native identities from everyone else. Their confidence, and the way they showcase their pride of their identities, is very different from the situation 20 some years ago.
We have been promoting historical and transitional justice for indigenous peoples. The Council of Indigenous Peoples has published a series of books on the history of Taiwan''s indigenous peoples. The Ministry of Education has added indigenous perspectives to the nation’s primary and secondary school curriculum. And the Ministry of Culture has encouraged museums large and small to curate exhibitions that display the diverse cultural heritage of Taiwan''s indigenous groups.
In 2016, President Tsai issued a national apology to the country’s indigenous population, admitting past violations on indigenous rights. On the same occasion, she also asked that the government “genuinely reflect on this past." Since then, President Tsai has called for the public’s recognition of indigenous rights every year.