Taiwan apologises to indigenous people for first time

2016-08-01 09:27
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (R) greeting representatives, dressed in traditional clothing, from each of the island's 16 recognised tribes. (Presidential Office, AFP)

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (R) greeting representatives, dressed in traditional clothing, from each of the island's 16 recognised tribes. (Presidential Office, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Taipei – President Tsai Ing-wen formally apologised to Taiwan's indigenous people for their centuries of suffering on Monday, the country's first ever leader to do so.

Tsai, the island's only leader with aboriginal blood, will personally head a committee to investigate past injustices as part of government efforts to ease tensions with the native community.

"I apologise to the indigenous people on behalf of the government, to give our deepest apology over the suffering and injustice you endured over the past 400 years," she said in speech.

"We need to look at history seriously and speak out the truth," she said, adding that apologising was "another step forward".

Hundreds of aboriginals staged protests outside the presidential office in Taipei over the weekend, calling for protection of their hunting rights and demanding concrete actions from the government.

The indigenous community – which makes up about two percent of Taiwan's 23.5 million people – have seen their traditional culture eroded since immigrants started arriving from China centuries ago.

Much of their land is now designated national park, leading to clashes over hunting, fishing and foraging in areas where permits are needed.

Today, they are still a marginalised group, with wages about 40% less than the national average, as well as a higher rate of unemployment.

Tsai pledged to increase autonomy and rights for indigenous people during her election campaign, which saw her Democratic Progressive Party win a landslide victory in January.

Earlier on Monday, tribe members invited to witness Tsai's speech burned millet stalks in front of the presidential office as part of a ceremony calling out to ancestral spirits to join them.

She then greeted the representatives from each of the 16 recognised tribes, who wore their traditional tribal clothing.

Read more on:    taiwan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.