Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Kanakanavu and Hla'alua Tribes

During a recent revisit to Wulai Atayal Museum, I was pleased to see they've kept their displays bang up to date and list all 16 Austronesian tribes recognized by Taiwan's government. The two 'newest' tribes are the Kanakanavu and Hla'alua peoples; the former live in Kaohsiung City's Namasia District (那瑪夏區), while the latter are found in the same city's Taoyuan District (桃源區). As you can see from the photo - part of a map in the museum showing the locations and sizes of all 16 tribes - both are tiny minorities within Taiwan's aboriginal population, which itself is little more than 2% of the total population.

The groups' applications for recognition were approved in June 2014. Cheryl Robbins has written about the tribes and their campaigns to have their identities separated from the neighbouring Tsou and Bunun peoples. Visitors interested in exploring Taiwan's indigenous villages are advised to buy her specialized guidebooks

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