WINHEC was hosted by Taiwan from 28th July to 2nd August, 2019
World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium （WINHEC）, which consists of eight nations, was presided by Dr. Bavaragh Dagalomai （Jolan Hsieh, 謝若蘭）, the director of Center of International Indigenous Affairs, College of Indigenous Studies, in Taiwan this year from 28th July to 2nd August, 2019. The duration of WINHEC 2019, including pre-meeting day, were six days in total. Over a hundred of participants who came as scholars, educators, and many local and foreign youths and elders who have been dedicated and interested in the area of indigenous education came from different nations worldwide and gathered together to discuss issues of indigenous education. This year, the election of new co-chair which is a three-year term position also took place in WINHEC 2019 in Taiwan. Dr. Jolan Hsieh was recommended by the representatives of member nation as the new co-chair. With the current chair, Dr. Elmer Guy from Navajo Technical University, they will lead WINHEC together in the succeeding years.
WINHEC 2019 consisted of Annual General Meeting, community-visiting activities, and Indigenous Youth Camp. Each member nation started the day with their country/nation’s blessing every morning. On opening day of the consortium of 29th July, the local team of Taiwan opened the day with blessing from Cikasuan community. With the companies of Deputy Minister of Council of Indigenous Peoples, Calivat‧Gadu （鍾興華）, Vice President of National Dong Hwa University, Dr. Chin-peng, Chu （朱景鵬）, Dean of College of Indigenous Studies, Dr. Pasuya Poiconx （浦忠成）, Chief Executive Director of Hualien Indigenous Community College, Sir Sifo Lakaw （鍾文觀）, and Director of Research Center for Indigenous Education, National Academy for Education Research, Dr. Awi Mona （蔡志偉）, Dr. Elmer Guy, as the co-chair of WINHEC, accepted the blessing of traditional ceremony from Cikasuan tribal community. They later shared in a brief speech with everyone about the current situation and policies of indigenous education in Taiwan and the future prospects with executive goal-setting.
During the consortium, the host country arranged Youth Camp to visit Kiwit tribal-community to experience cultural rafting and traditional ceremony, and went to Cawi’ tribal-community for learning from local’s knowledges and applications of the materials from the local environment along the coastline. With the arranged schedule of the Youth Camp, youths from different countries/nations had the in-depth opportunities to go into the local communities and get to know how they keep their communities running and developing with passing on their traditional knowledges. With lots of exchanges and sharing between local youths and our foreign guests, the participants of the Youth Camp had had an in-depth international exchange and self-reflection on different issues. Back to the consortium, tight schedule of meetings including discussions of themes in education, construction of academic professions, transgenerational communication, and cultural exchanges took place at the same time in the venue of consortium.
The host country arranged a trip to Taroko National Park with the local Truku peoples’ guide, experiencing natural landscape, getting to know the cultural context behind the migration of locals, and having conversation of current issues with Truku peoples. Because the consortium also ran into Taiwan’s National Indigenous Day on 1st August, in order to make the participants of the consortium be more familiar with the indigenous Taiwanese indigenous communities’ development and current situations and expand the opportunities for local peoples to have in-depth international exchanges, the host country also arranged tours of six communities for the international and national participants to choose from. The schedules of the tours ranged from introducing the history of indigenous peoples’ battles, movements of indigenous peoples’ sovereignty, and revitalization of local youths, experiencing cultural crafts, local ceremonies, and introducing how peoples restore their local education. Besides the mentioned above, there were delicately designed activities such as cultural art bazaar, Amis / Pangcah pottery-making and hand-made weaving card workshops, and so on, taking place in National Dong Hwa University.
The Annual General meeting of the consortium started with each country/nation’s review of current situation of the promotion and implementation of indigenous higher education and its plans in their country. The meetings of which goal is to maintain and improve indigenous academic knowledge and educational system were held in four different groups in separate rooms which were Board of Accreditation, World Indigenous Research Journal Alliance, World Indigenous Nations University, and Global Indigenous Elders Alliance. It’s also worth mentioning that Namoh Rata, as a long-dedicated teacher in Amis / Pangcah language and culture preservation, received the honorary doctorate from WINU in 2019 WINHEC. There were also three indigenous Taiwanese elders who received the award of “Elders of Indigenous Wisdom” from circle of honors: Obing Nawi from Alang tongan Community of Seediq Peoples, Teymu Losi from Toda Community of Seediq Peoples, and Alawyan Pakawyan from Sakuban Community of Puyuma Peoples. Committee members from The Seediq National Assembly’s Education Committee also attended the whole process of award ceremony in order to show the people’s devoted mind in self-determination of indigenous education.
In the closing ceremony, words of thanks and views on prospects of indigenous education and struggles were conveyed by participants who had also been deeply touched by the local volunteers and host’s passionate and warm welcoming and the interaction between so many communities. Director of New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office, Hon. Ms. Moira Turley, Deputy Representative Australian Office in Taipei, Hon. Ms. Susan Moore, Director of General Relations of CTOT, Hon. Mr. Michael McCulloch, and President of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy Dr. Fort Liao （廖福特） also attended the closing ceremony and had brief speeches of reiterating the importance of sharing meaning and values of indigenous issues between international indigenous bonds. Director of Education and Culture Department from Council of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. Wei-Jer Liou （劉維哲）was on the behalf of the host country to convey the gratitude to all the member nations attending, the development of current indigenous Taiwanese education, and the supports from both the government and the global.
WINHEC will co-host with World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education （WIPCE） next year in Australia. The chair of WIPCE 2020 will be the famous indigenous educator in Australia, Dr. Peter Buckskin who had also invited many indigenous Taiwanese educators when attending WINHEC this year. WINHEC co-chair Dr. Jolan Hsieh especially thanked all the participants and distinguished guests from all over the world who have been dedicated and supporting in indigenous education Pasuya Poiconx, on behalf of local host team also thanked all the partner-sponsor and who had ever made efforts to WINHEC 2019 to make this consortium run smoothly. Also, without the supports from Council of Indigenous Peoples and Hualien Indigenous Tribal College, Taiwan’s values and strength wouldn’t have been shown and seen through WINHEC 2019. The participants of WINHEC this year were hoping to be seen next year in WIPCE / WINHEC, Australia！
After finishing editing charter of executive board, the new and old members from the board took a picture together. The man in the middle is Elmer J. Guy, the co-chair of WINHEC, and on both his sides are the new deputy co-chair Leanne Holt and co-chair Jolan Hsieh. The man standing on the left side of Dr. Hsieh is the chairman of WIPCE 2020
Full Context：National Dong Hwa University