Words are easy, words are cheap
Much cheaper than our priceless land
But promises can disappear
Just like writing in the sand
"Treaty" by Yothu Yindi
Last night in the Culture and Ethnic Structure of Taiwan class at NCCU Ben Goren and I presented a video we made about the Smangus case. The video Stumped: Smangus and the Spirit of Self Determination is about our trip to Smangus and the interviews we did in our research on the case.
I have also written a personal account of my interest in the case and the making of the video. It is a bit too long for a blog post but you can download it as a pdf file. I also wrote another paper titled, "Indigenous people and the law in Taiwan." It examines the indigenous rights movement from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present day. In particular it looks how the ideals of the 2005 Indigenous Peoples Basic Law have failed to be realised. The Smangus case shows how the Basic Law has failed to meet the high standards it sets.
My teacher, Dr David Blundell, describes Smangus as "a vibrant community in the ethos of indigenous renaissance". Another important observation about Smangus is the way they have skillfully combined their traditions with living in the modern world. Their use of GIS and blogs is an excellent example of this. I know the people of Smangus feel deeply offended by the result of this case, but they still have so much to be proud of.