Taiwan Church News
27 March – 2 April, 2017
YTCS Students Care For New Regulations Of Delineating Traditional Aboriginal Territory
Reported by Umav
Orgnaized by the Association of Shepherd – the student union of Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary (YTCS), a seminar concerning the newly released bill of Regulations Governing Delineation of the Land Area of Indigenous Peoples or Tribal Communities(abbreviated below as RGDLAIPTC) was held at YTCS in the afternoon on March 23.
Rev Omi Wilang, a member of The Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee and a secretary of PCT Indigenous Mission Committee, was invited to address to the students and faculty of YTCS. The audience were about 50 persons, including Walis Ukan(YTCS academic chief) and Namoh Ising(faculty from social work department).
Rev Omi Wilang criticized many shortcomings of the proposed bill of RGDLAIPTC, especially the most notorious article of excluding the private lands from indigenous traditional area. Because the implication of this exclusion will not only drain out the real meaning of traditional area, but devastatingly damage a Sbalay(reconciliation) goodwill proclaimed by president Tsai Ing-wen to all the aborigines on this islands, bombarded Rev Omin Wilang, adding that this is absolutely a disgraced kowtow to financial groups and an injustice to all the aborigines!
“Within the land of traditional territories, there should not be any delineation between the public land and the private one, as the integrity of traditional territory is inseparable”, stressed Rev Omi Wilang. He also expressed that the seeming conflicts between the aborigines’ ownership of traditional territory and the people’s constitutional right of owning the private land within traditional territory is basically a psudo-issue fabricated by some politicians and the media. “What really matters is about the sovreignty of the aborigines, ie. ‘the rights of consultation and consent’ specified in article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law”, Rv Omi Wilang said.
To protest the serious mistake of RGDLAIPTC, many aboriginal rights groups, a united assembly of 8 aboriginal peoples conference and PCT delivered a joint statement asking the Legislative Yuan(Taiwan’s congress) to repeal this bull draft on March 14.
According to Rev Omi Wilang, the united assembly of 8 aboriginal peoples conference are now visiting each party caucus in the congress, opening seminar to explain the public what the traditional territory mean for the aborigines and why the government’s new bill is untenable. In the meantime, both Society and Church Committee and Indigenous Mission Committee of PCT will play their roles as a platform to collect and communicate the public cocerns on this important issue.
Namoh, YTCS teacher, expected each aboriginal church could play her role as a hub to support, communicate and integrate local ideas and resources in order to affect the government’s aboriginal policy, because there were still many different thoughts about traditional territory in between aboriginal tribes. To encourage YTCS students to care
for the aboriginal society and practice their faith in real cultural contexts, Walis advised the audience: “If you had never cared for the public affairs concerning the aboriginal peoples, you can never get the picture of what the old testament is talking about!”.
Yangui’e Yasiyungu, a graduate student of Taiwan History at NCCU and a youth of Leh-yeh Presbyterian Church of Tso district assembly, affirmed the seminar held by YTCS’s student union because “[This seminar] is doing a theologically hermeneutic reflection about the contexts of Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples. It is quite different from many populace
gathering on the Katagaland Boulevard before the Presidential Office”.
Baru Tabiyulan, president of the Association of the Shepherd, remarked that the task of YTCS’s student union were trying to accomplish was to associate more youth in Hualien and Taitung area in order to raise the consciousness and consensus about the government’s new regulation about traditional territory within tribes and communities.
Translated by Peter Wolfe