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Taiwanese aborigines : ウィキペディア英語版
Taiwanese aborigines

Taiwanese aborigines () is the term commonly applied to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, who number more than 530,000 and constitute nearly 2.3% of the island's population. Recent research suggests their ancestors may have been living on Taiwan for approximately 8,000 years before a major Han immigration began in the 17th century. Taiwanese aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, which includes those of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar and Oceania. The issue of an ethnic identity unconnected to the Asian mainland has become one thread in the discourse regarding the political status of Taiwan.
For centuries, Taiwan's aboriginal inhabitants experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of colonizing newcomers. Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage and other dispassionate intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity. For example, of the approximately 26 known languages of the Taiwanese aborigines (collectively referred to as the Formosan languages), at least ten are now extinct, five are moribund, and several are to some degree endangered. These languages are of unique historical significance, since most historical linguists consider Taiwan to be the original homeland of the Austronesian language family.
Taiwan's Austronesian speakers were formerly distributed over much of the island's rugged central mountain range and were concentrated in villages along the alluvial plains. The bulk of contemporary Taiwanese aborigines now live in the mountains and in cities.
The indigenous peoples of Taiwan face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. Since the early 1980s, many aboriginal groups have been actively seeking a higher degree of political self-determination and economic development. The revival of ethnic pride is expressed in many ways by aborigines, including incorporating elements of their culture into commercially successful pop music. Efforts are under way in indigenous communities to revive traditional cultural practices and preserve their traditional languages. Several aboriginal tribes are becoming extensively involved in the tourism and ecotourism industries to achieve increased economic self-reliance from the state. The Austronesian Cultural Festival in Taitung City is another means to promote aboriginal culture.
==History and tribal definitions==
For most of their recorded history, Taiwanese aborigines have been defined by the agents of different Confucian, Christian, and Nationalist "civilizing" projects, with a variety of aims. Each "civilizing" project defined the aborigines based on the "civilizer"'s cultural understandings of difference and similarity, behavior, location, appearance and prior contact with other groups of people . Taxonomies imposed by colonizing forces divided the aborigines into named subgroups, referred to as "tribes". These divisions did not always correspond to distinctions drawn by the aborigines themselves. However, the categories have become so firmly established in government and popular discourse over time that they have become de facto distinctions, serving to shape in part today's political discourse within the Republic of China (ROC), and affecting Taiwan's policies regarding indigenous peoples.
The Han sailor, Chen Di, in his ''Record of the Eastern Seas'' (1603), identifies the indigenous people of Taiwan as simply "Eastern Savages" (東番; ''Dongfan''), while the Dutch referred to Taiwan's original inhabitants as "Indians" or "blacks", based on their prior colonial experience in what is currently Indonesia .
Beginning nearly a century later, as the rule of the Qing Empire expanded over wider groups of people, writers and gazetteers recast their descriptions away from reflecting degree of acculturation, and toward a system that defined the aborigines relative to their submission or hostility to Qing rule. Qing literati used the term "raw/wild" ("生番") to define those people who had not submitted to Qing rule, and "cooked; tamed or subjugated" ("熟番") for those who had pledged their allegiance through their payment of a head tax.〔In the case of travel writings, the Qing literati use of "raw" and "cooked" are closer in meaning to "unfamiliar" and "familiar", on the basis of culture/language and interaction with Han settlers .〕 According to the standards of the Qianlong Emperor and successive regimes, the epithet "cooked" was synonymous with having assimilated to Han cultural norms, and living as a subject of the Empire, but it retained a pejorative designation to signify the perceived cultural lacking of the non-Han people (), (). This designation reflected the prevailing idea that anyone could be civilized/tamed by adopting Confucian social norms (; ).

As the Qing consolidated their power over the plains and struggled to enter the mountains in the late 19th century, the terms ''Pingpu'' (; Píngpǔzú; "Plains tribes") and ''Gaoshan'' (; Gāoshānzú; "High Mountain tribes") were used interchangeably with the epithets "cooked" and "raw" . During the 50 years of Japanese colonial rule (1895–1945), anthropologists from Japan maintained the binary classification. In 1900 they incorporated it into their own colonial project by employing the term ''Peipo'' (平埔) for the "cooked tribes", and creating a category of "recognized tribes" for the aborigines who had formerly been called "raw". The Wushe Incident of 1930 led to many changes in aboriginal policy, and the Japanese government began referring to them as ''Takasago-zoku'' () . The latter group included the Atayal, Bunun, Tsou, Saisiat, Paiwan, Puyuma, and Ami peoples. The Yami (Tao) and Rukai were added later, for a total of nine recognized tribes . During the early period of Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) rule the terms ''Shandi Tongbao'' () "mountain compatriots" and ''Pingdi Tongbao'' () "plains compatriots" were invented, to remove the presumed taint of Japanese influence and reflect the place of Taiwan's indigenous people in the Chinese Nationalist state . The KMT later adopted the use of all the earlier Japanese groupings except ''Peipo''.
Despite recent changes in the field of anthropology and a shift in government objectives, the ''Pingpu'' and ''Gaoshan'' labels in use today maintain the form given by the Qing to reflect aborigines' acculturation to Han culture. The current recognized aborigines are all regarded as ''Gaoshan'', though the divisions are not and have never been based strictly on geographical location. The Amis, Saisiat, Tao and Kavalan are all traditionally Eastern Plains cultures . The distinction between ''Pingpu'' and ''Gaoshan'' people continues to affect Taiwan's policies regarding indigenous peoples, and their ability to participate effectively in government (Saisiyat people 2006).
Although the ROC's Government Information Office officially lists 14 major groupings as "tribes" the consensus among scholars maintains that these 14 groupings do not reflect any social entities, political collectives, or self-identified alliances dating from pre-modern Taiwan . The earliest detailed records, dating from the Dutch arrival in 1624, describe the aborigines as living in independent villages of varying size. Between these villages there was frequent trade, intermarriage, warfare and alliances against common enemies. Using contemporary ethnographic and linguistic criteria, these villages have been classed by anthropologists into more than 20 broad (and widely debated) ethnic groupings (; ), which were never united under a common polity, kingdom or "tribe" .

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