The Center for International Indigenous Affairs （CIIA） has been serving since its establishment in 2014 to dedicatedly and committedly promote academic cooperation between international and Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. The CIIA, the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures of the National Dong Hwa University and the Hualien Tribal College planned and held jointly the ‘2018 Forum Series on Indigenous Education in Taiwan, Aotearoa and Australia,’ at the end of October. The 2-day forum became a huge success and yielded a fruitful discussion.
Having arrived in Hualien, the scholars invited from New Zealand and Australia were received and arranged by local hosts to visit the ancestral home of Kakita’an at the Tafalong community. The famous dance troop from the College of Indigenous Studies （CIS） kicked off the forum series with ‘Joyful Songs of the Mountain and the Sea’ and followed by Māori traditional singing performed by the scholars from New Zealand. Professor Pasuya Poiconx （浦忠成）, Dean of the CIS, gave a welcome speech on behalf of all the hosts and highlighted that the Austronesian-Taiwan experience had successfully boosted substantial as well as reciprocal effects including academic cooperation and exchange.
The theme of the first day was “Voices of Junior Academics and Ph.D. Students” so the forum was led by Ph.D. students from Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, and the three scholars from New Zealand and Australia were invited to give speeches respectively upon social isolation and loneliness, Māori aspirations in a knowledge-based economy and indigenous urban food. In the afternoon, the Ph.D. students shared their experience of field research, practical knowledge, and academic writing.
The focus of the second day was the practice of indigenous education, and right before the forum started, a traditional Pangcah ritual was performed by Komod Adop （谷穆德．阿督普） to not only acknowledge the value of Pangcah pedagogy, but also pray for all the participants to have fruitful learning. The Pangcah teachers shared their planning and execution as well as challenges faced while practicing ethnic education followed by advice and suggestions for constructing indigenous knowledge systems.
Dr. Doris Kaua from Massey University stressed that this journey had equipped her with more confidence to develop an international comparative research upon indigenous health. Dr. Miriama Posthlethwaite from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi （TWWoA） not only mentioned that there should be mutual support and encouragement established regarding indigenous education, but also rendered a warm welcome to those who were soon leaving for the immersion learning at TWWoA. Dr. Margaret Raven from Macquarie University stated that she would be happy to see more collaborative research between Australia and Taiwan upon food sovereignty, the use of traditional plants, and so on.
Professor Jolan Hsieh （Bavaragh Dagalomai / 謝若蘭）, Director of the CIIA, believed that “consensus could be built and local activities could be initiated through the exchange of experience among indigenous scholars from both Taiwan and the globe.” Director Hsieh also pointed out that the forum this time was not only an accumulation of domestic and overseas experience of indigenous education, but also a joint research for both sides.
News source: National Dong Hwa University