{taiwan} indigenous peoples

January 20, 2016


Our extended family has some relatives, by marriage, who belong to the Taiwan indigenous population. On a recent trip to Taiwan, we found out more about these minority peoples. There are now 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes. They are Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Cou (Tsou), Hla’alua, Kanakanavu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku (Toroko), and Yami. Now, these names don’t sound Chinese. You may even think Hla’alua is very Hawaiian.

You would be correct. It turns out Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are not ethnic Chinese at all. They are branches of the Austronesians or Malayopolynesians, distributed widely in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, and Indian Ocean regions. They range as far south as New Zealand, west to Madagascar off the African coast, east to the Hawaiian Islands. Taiwan is the northern most of their reaches. There are about 1,000 known Austronesian languages, with a total population of 300 million.


In Taiwan, the total indigenous population is about 540,000. Some tribes have only a few thousand strong, while others are larger. They are distributed mainly in the central mountain region and in eastern Taiwan.


Our relatives are from the Seediq group.


3 Responses to “{taiwan} indigenous peoples”

  1. annalice said

    does this mean we are partially indigenous by marriage?! how cool.

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