(University of Cincinnati)
Paper Short Abstract:
This study addresses the postcolonial identity politics entangled in the indigenous land rights movement in modern Taiwan. Through discovering majority Han's pathways to allyship, it will discuss more integrated paths forward for future decolonizing collaboration that privileges indigenous voices.
Paper long abstract:
This study addresses the postcolonial identity politics entangled in the indigenous land rights movement in modern democratic Taiwan. While the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law was passed in 2005, Taiwan indigenous peoples still strive for land rights and autonomy in Taiwan's Han-dominated political society; yet, increasingly many young Han are voicing support as allies and collaborators in these movements. Most studies on land rights focus almost exclusively on minority movements and minority involvement in these politics. Few studies have looked at the role of majorities as allies and collaborators in these justice movements. Consequently, this article will discuss why and how majority Han increasingly collaborate as allies in the indigenous land rights movement and explore Han perceptions of indigeneity. Drawing on two months of ethnographic fieldwork in Taitung, Taiwan and interviews with both indigenous and Han activists as well as local residents, this study demonstrates that Han consume and internalize anthropological representations of indigeneity through the higher education system, an outgrowth of Taiwan's colonial past and Han privileged status as majorities. Enabled young Han formulate their identities as allies and collaborators around these representations; however, indigenous people critique Han allyship as a remnant of colonial misrepresentation and domination. In conclusion, this paper will discuss more integrated paths forward for future collaboration that privileges indigenous voices.