The speech starts with a brief introduction to Taiwan’s Indigenous people, sketching their demographics and geographical locations as well as their tribal distinctions. This is followed by a brief history of Taiwan’s Indigenous people, which is deeply embedded with western and Japanese colonialism. It also discusses Indigenous policy development, highlighting the importance of the establishment of the Council of Indigenous Peoples in 1996, the sole government agency in the central government responsible for handling Indigenous affairs.
Indigenous struggles for self-government and land rights have become two dominant issues in Taiwan through the past two decades. Therefore, the speech will focus on the following two major debates:
- One is about the struggle for Indigenous self-government of autonomous regions and the government’s reluctance to this appeal.
- The other concerns the problem of land rights.
The discussion of the latter will focus on the conflicts between Indigenous claims for native title and the government’s insistence on owning public land. Other problems and challenges confronting Indigenous peoples are also briefly discussed, including the effects of climate change on the Indigenous peoples and the inefficiency of administrative works.
Despite all the challenges and problems, there is still a silver lining, which lies in the concerted efforts of Indigenous peoples in Taiwan as well as the efficient coordination and cooperation between the government and the legislative body.
For Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples, native title as promised by the Mabo Case for the Indigenous people of Australia may not be fulfilled, but remains an ideal goal worthy of their hard and continuous struggles now and for a long time to come.