The Aboriginal Traditional Culture and Arts Enhancement Project in Hualien County’s Guangfu Township (光復) is to serve as a culture and history research base for indigenous people in the area, Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.
The project, proposed in 2012, went through 14 rounds of bidding until it secured a contractor last year.
The council is to allocate NT$179.75 million (US$6.1 million) for the project, making it the biggest council-funded project to date.
Photo: Hua Meng-ching, Taipei Times
The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Village council chairperson Tsai Yi-chang (蔡義昌) said that the land on which the center is being built originally belonged to the Amis community of Fataan, but a dispute over its ownership arose after it was turned into a camping park.
Tsai thanked the council and Hualien County Commissioner Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚) for their assistance in regaining the land over the past decade.
Icyang said he was honored to represent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at the ceremony, and that the amount of funding for the project symbolized the government’s recognition of Amis and other indigneous cultures.
The project would not only be an important place for residents to pass down their culture to young people in the village and to host the Ilisin (harvest) ceremony, but also a palce for local and foreign tourists to better understand the Amis people and their culture, Icyang said.
Initial funding for the project in 2017 was insufficient as the prices of materials have increased over the years, Icyang said, adding that the project would be separated into two phases.
He urged the Yilan County Government to finalize its proposal for the project’s second phase as soon as possible, adding that the Executive Yuan would provide whatever assistance it can.
Fataan elder Tsai Chih-hui (蔡智輝) said the village was excited that the project was finally proceeding after 10 years, adding that the village has been in discussion with Academia Sinica over the past two years for the return of the village’s cultural and historical relics.
Researchers from Academia Sinica in the 1950s visited Fataan many times, cataloging and taking more than 533 relics for preservation, as well as compiling texts on village culture, Hualien County Councilor Tsai Yi-ching (蔡依靜) said.
The recordings Academia Sinica made with the last sapalengaw chief Unak Tafong in 1959 were a critical piece of the village’s culture and history preserved, Tsai Yi-ching added.
Sapalengaw means a chief and priest who is recognized by the ancestral spirits.
The council said it supported the move to bring cultural relics back to the village, adding that this was a representation of transitional justice and respecting the culture of indigenous people.
The council said that as long as the village and local governments arrive at a consensus, the council would fully support any applications made.
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