SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Indigenous Traditional Territory and Decolonization in the Settler Country: A Reflection of Taiwan Experience

CTS - IMG - Da-Wei Kuan
Dr Da-Wei Kuan (Daya Dakasi)

Date: 3 October 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 3 October 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Lecture

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Indigenous Traditional Territory & Decolonization in Taiwan


The Austronesian language speaking peoples have been autonomously lived in Taiwan for thousands of years before the coming of colonizers in 17th century. Even though the colonizers changed overtime, indigenous peoples continually faced the pressure of land grabbing from state power and increasing settler population. The enactment of Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in 2005 and the apology to indigenous peoples made by President Tsai Ing-Wen in 2016 seems remarked the success of Taiwan indigenous movement in past two decades, however the following backlash to the delineation and declaration of indigenous traditional territory frustrated the indigenous society again. Aiming to reveal the de-colonial struggle, and seek for a real reconciliation, this speech sets out to: 1) retrace the indigenous land policies in different colonial periods, and point out the injustice in the political/economic process; 2) describe the transition of indigenous land movement that appeared in 1980s, and the gradual institutionalization of “indigenous traditional territory” in the legal system after 2000s; 3) analyze recent debates over the Regulations for the Delineation of Indigenous Traditional Territory, and the conflicts after the announcement of Thao people’s traditional territory was made ; 4) argue that the fundamental reason of the conflicts is the unsolved ideological and institutional legacies of settler colonialism. In the end, the speaker will make suggestions for the de-colonial land discourse/practice, with which a better institutional arrangement can be made, and the mutual benefit between indigenous/non-indigenous can be achieved. 

Keywords: Indigenous Traditional Territory, Settler Colonialism, land Policy, Decolonization 

Speaker Bio

Daya (Da-Wei Kuan), comes from the Tayal indigenous group in Taiwan, received his PhD degree in geography from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnology at NCCU. His research interests include: indigenous geography, indigenous land policy, indigenous community mapping, and community-based resources management. In addition to the fieldworks in Taiwan, Daya also commits himself to the comparative studies and collaborations within the Austronesian language-speaking family in the Pacific, including Fiji, Palau, Guam, Philippines, Hawaii, and Aotearoa. Devoting to integrate his works of academic research, teaching and community service for the claim of indigenous land rights, he collaborates with different indigenous communities in many traditional territory mapping, land-use planning and community development projects.  Daya is a member in the Committee for the Promotion of Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in the Executive Yuan chaired by the premier in Taiwan government. He also serves as the consultant in the Subcommittee on Land Claims of the Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee in the Presidential Office.

* All these events are free to attend and open to members of the public without prior registration.

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Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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Sponsor: Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines