Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seediq People(賽德克族), Taiwan

Taiwan People

Taiwan's population was estimated in 2011 at 23.2 million, most of whom are on the island of Taiwan. About 98% of the population is of Han Chinese ethnicity. Of these, 86% are descendants of early Han Chinese immigrants known as the "benshengren" (本省人;literally "home-province person") in Chinese. This group is often referred to "native Taiwanese" in English while the Taiwanese aborigines are also considered as "native Taiwanese" frequently. The benshengren group contains two subgroups: the Hoklo people (70% of the total population), whose ancestors migrated from the coastal Southern Fujian (Min-nan) region in the southeast of mainland China starting in the 17th century; and the Hakka (15% of the total population), whose ancestors originally migrated south to Guangdong, its surrounding areas and Taiwan. Some of the benshengren do not often speak Mandarin, but instead use their mother tongues such as Taiwanese or Hakka.

12% of population are known as waishengren (外省人; literally "out-of-province person"), composed of people who (or whose ancestors) emigrated from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War with the KMT government. Most Waishengren speak primarily Mandarin.

The other 2% of Taiwan's population, numbering about 458,000, are listed as the Taiwanese aborigines, divided into 13 major groups: Ami, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Rukai, Puyuma, Tsou, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), Thao, Kavalan, Truku and Sakizaya.

The ROC government officially recognizes fourteen aborigine tribes (原住民; literally "original inhabitants"). These are: Ami, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Seediq, and Sakizaya. The Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakiazya, and Seediq tribes were recognized much later in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2008 respectively by the ROC government. There are at least another dozen tribes that are not recognized by the government.

Seediq People(賽德克族)

The Seediq (sometimes Sediq, Seejiq, or Seediq, 賽德克族) are a Taiwanese aboriginal people who live primarily in Nantou County and Hualien County. Their language is also known as Seediq. They were officially recognised as Taiwan's 14th indigenous group on 23 April 2008. Previously, Seediq, along with the closely-related Truku people, were classified as Atayal(泰雅族).

During the 50 years of Japanese colonial rule (1895–1945), The Seedig were called takasago-zoku(高砂族), originally living at Nantou area. The Japanese classification region included three dialects groups;

1. Seejiq Truku(德路固)
2. Seediq Tkedaya or Tgdaya(德固達雅)
3. Sediq Teuda or Toda(都達)

Some of the Seediq people later moved to Hualian area, and slowly developed their own distinctive culture and language. They are now recognized as an independent separate tribal group called Taroko or Truku(太魯閣族, 德魯固).

Today, it was reported that 6,606 Seedig people still around in Taiwan. Truku people however has 25,857 people, higher than the Seediq people.

"Wùshè Incident"(霧社事件)

The "Wùshè Incident" (霧社事件) was the biggest and the last rebellion against Japanese colonial forces in Taiwan, resulting in a massacre of both Japanese people and Seediq tribespeople in 1930.

The cause of the rebellion is attributed to Japanese policy toward Taiwanese natives. In Japanese policy, Taiwanese tribal natives were classified as "aboriginal", and a separate lower class in comparison to the Komin (imperial citizens). Forced resettlement, oppression of tribal practices as well as forced labour and exploitation by Japanese police forces caused a large amount of hostility towards the Japanese, particularly their police forces, from the native tribes.

A prelude to the incident began on October 7, 1930. A police officer named Katsuhiko Yoshimura was on patrol, and came to oversee the tribal wedding ceremony of the Seediq Chief Rudao Bai's grandson. The groom of the ceremony offered a traditional glass of wine to the officer, who refused, citing that he would not take it from "hands soiled with the blood of animals". The groom pulled him aside, and insisted that he take part, lest insulting him. According to the testimony of the officer, "in an attempt to free myself from those unhygienic hands", he "accidentally" hit the groom twice with a stick. A fight quickly broke out, resulting in the wounding of the officer.

The groom attempted to make amends the next morning, but the officer refused a gift of wine. Very quickly, relations between the Seediq and the Japanese broke down.

Before the dawn of October 27, 1930, the Seediq Chief Rudao Bai had assembled a group of 1200 tribal members, and assaulted an athletic festival held in Wushe (Musyaji) Primary School near Puli, Nantou and attended by many Japanese. 134 Japanese men, women, and children, and two Taiwanese were killed. 215 Japanese nationals were injured. Further raids were conducted on police outposts, postal stations and other colonial offices to acquire firearms and ammunition for a revolution.

Japanese retaliation was swift. Police, as well as military forces, deployed a modern military arsenal and used rival Seediq tribes to root out rebel Seediq. Tear gas was extensively used and in mid November the Japanese started using poison gas canisters dropped from aircraft on the lightly armed Seediq. On December 1, 1930, Chief Rudao Bai committed suicide. The uprising continued for another three weeks, lasting a total of 50 days.

According to Japanese record, 700 Seediq were killed or committed suicide, and 500 surrendered. A further massacre occurred, as surrendered Seediq were killed by rival tribes who fought on the Japanese side, despite the surrendered forces widely considered to be under the protection of the Japanese police force. About 200 were said to be killed. The remaining rebel survivors were relocated to small reservations and forced to live under strict supervision by the police.

(source: wikipedia)

Mona Rudao(莫那魯道)(b 1882 -d 1930)

Mona Rudao, or Rudao Bai (1882 – 1930) was the son of a chief of the Seediq tribe of Taiwanese aborigines. In 1911, he made a visit to Japan. He succeeded his father as a chief of the village of Mahebo and became one of the most influential chiefs of the area of Wushe(霧社).

He became famous for having carried out the revolt of Wushe in what is now Nantou County(南投縣) in 1930 against the Japanese colonial authorities. He ended up committing suicide by shooting himself with a pistol during the revolt to prevent the Japanese from capturing him alive. His remains were found at forest in 1933, and were taken to the Department of Archaeology of the Taihoku Imperial University or Taihoku Teikoku Daigaku (台北帝國大學) where they were exhibited as a warning to future rebels. (Note: Taihoku Imperial University is today known as National Taiwan University or NTU (國立臺灣大學). The bones were "identified" by his daughter and not positively confirmed by DNA. After the arrival of the Kuomintang the bones were placed in a warehouse until 1974 when they were reburied near Kawanakajima (川中島, current Qingquan (清泉) tribe). However, the Taiwanese viewed him as a hero for carrying out a revolt and he is now one of the figures on the NT coins.

霧社事件主角花崗二郎的妻子高彩雲,於二十幾年前接受攝影家林藝斌專訪,用母語及國語詳細敘述霧社事件發生當時她在場的情況,說到驚恐、緊張、傷心落淚,這是一位非常有歷­史記錄價值的見證人,他接受訪問第二年去逝,假如還在的話已經一百多歲了。此畫面可能是唯一僅有的錄影帶,而且從未曝光,它對霧社事件有絕對性的直接證據. 更多資訊

Suggested websites/books/articles:

1. David on Formosa, In the land of the Seediq;
2. Taiwanese aborigines,

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