Smangus and the tree stump

Cumu leads a tour in the Smangus village, Taiwan

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. 

Church in Smangus village, Taiwan

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.

5 thoughts on “Smangus and the tree stump

  1. David, i read your paper; thank you for making it available. great work! this is a very important case, not just for Taiwan but for the world. you may want to consider it as a blog post, but putting a page break in after the first paragraph so it appears like an excerpt and won’t show in it’s entirety on the front page. that way the search engines can spider it. i think everyone should read it and be able to find it easily.

    i would like to visit Smangus, and it’s actually not so far away from us here in Hukou. would you consider guiding a small group? Craig has also offered to guide a small blogger group to some historical sites in Chunghua. Jeff Miller is also known for being a local guide. these are great ideas! keep up the important work David.

  2. once again david another great post, i have a couple of questions for you first do you have blog on google blogger, and how easy is it to find a cheap but nice hotel or hostel, most of my friends who have been there said it was difficult.

  3. Emmanuel, this blog actually began its life on blogger. I still have a few blogs that I don’t regularly update hosted there.

    Lonely Planet and Rough Guide both have information about cheap accommodation. There are also a couple of pages about it at Taiwanderful. In my limited experience hostel accommodation in Taiwan is pretty basic. It might depend a little on your expectations. Often cheap and nice are not easy to find in combination.

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