Support for smangus: Dr. Jo An Zimmermann's letter, Melbourne Victoria University,Australia

31 May 2007

I visited the Village of Smangus with my friend, Dr. Chih-Liang Chao in the department of Tourism Management of Providence University, while on a study tour in February 2006. It was a lovely community filled with people of a generous and outgoing nature. I was very impressed by their desire to maintain their culture and their natural environment as well as their willingness to share themselves with “outsiders”.

On the drive into the community I saw numerous places where landslides had occurred and damaged or completely removed sections of the road. From my experience, landslides of that nature are generally caused by a combination of factors – recent logging activities coupled with rain looked to be the culprits in many of the places I noted. In contrast, the trails that I walked around the village seemed well cared for and were built in such a way as to minimize environmental impact.

From talking to the people, their primary concerns are maintaining their culture as well as the natural environment which has been theirs to protect for many generations. I find it very distressing that people of this nature are being harassed and traumatized in the manner shown in the papers.

Taiwan should try and learn from other countries around the world that have destroyed their indigenous culture and now regret the loss. Please stop prosecuting the people of Smangus for their traditional ways of life. Stop now while you still have an indigenous culture to learn from and appreciate.


Dr. Jo An Zimmermann, Research Associate
Institute for Community Engagement & Policy Alternatives
Victoria University
CRICOS Provider No.00124K

Room L208E, Ballarat Rd, Footscray
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Melbourne VIC 8001 Australia
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