【Smangus & Smangus Action Alliance News】

Pinhaban530 : Alliance of Defense and Offence:

Defend the Right to the Land of Smangus !

Who actually protects the forest? And who lives in harmony with her?
It is Smangus, not the Forestry Bureau!!
Why are we called “thieves” on our very own land?
We want to claim our innocence and ask for our dignity and rights!
Pinhaban530 is a inter-village, inter-tribe alliance of Taiwan indigenous peoples.
Let us ask the premier of the Executive Yuan to come out
to examine the present status of the Aboriginal Basic Law.
Let’s stand up for the rights of indigenous traditional territory and autonomy!

Time: 9:00 a.m., May 30, 2007
Place: (Meet at) the Control Yuan

The beech event of Smangus shows that our indigenous peoples have no dignity at all in the land of their very own. In the year of 1999, Mr. Shui-Bian Chen, as a candidate for presidential election, signed the contract of the New Partnership with the indigenous people in Lanyu Islet. He reaffirmed the New Partnership on behalf of the Office of the President in 2002. For the indigenous peoples, it was the year of great harvest in 2005, when the Aboriginal Basic Law was passed in Legislative Yuan. However, the act didn’t imply any the reorganization of indigenous peoples’ rights by the signed papers and passed laws. They are still conceived as thieves on account of taking the wind-fall beech in our own land. This is not a special legal case, but is that which takes place in the indigenous villages everywhere in Taiwan all the time. If they hunt, they are accused of violating Wildlife Conservation Act; if they take any of the rocks or wind-fall woods, they are judged of larceny of national forest woods and byproducts. Why are they called thieves when they take anything that may sustain their lives in our own land, while the enterprises can unscrupulously take all the forest resources? How come the state apparatus can sell the forests and the coastlines to them under the name of tourism and economic developments? In doing so, they have invaded the indigenous’ traditional territory. The government allied with industries, academic institutes and business to line their pockets with public funds, which resulted in the revenge of Nature. The mudslides and landslides have taken away so many lives and possessions. However, they are aloof from and indifferent to the catastrophes which cost them even more social resources for compensation. Worse than that, the government officials stigmatized the indigenous peoples of ecological collapse. The accused became the accuser! Cases of injustice take place all the time and everyone in indigenous villages is accused of larceny.

It is the time! Now is the time! No matter you are one of the indigenous peoples or not, please walk with us to the Executive Yuan on May 30. It is neither a protest nor a demonstration, for that wouldn’t be a right style of the lord of Taiwan land. We are going to the Executive Yuan to ask for the respect from the government to our indigenous rights and the dignity that we deserve.

Our Petitions

The Beech Event in Smangus was interpreted as a crime of larceny, which not only brought humiliation and grievance to Smangus and other indigenous tribes, but also the bewilderment to non-indigenous friends. Why is it so that the act of taking the wind-fall woods on the very land of one’s own is interpreted as the crime of larceny? For this reason, Smangus Action Alliance presents our petitions to the highest executive institution in the spirit of Aboriginal Basic Law, the Forestry Act and traditional Tayal Gaga.

1. Paid apology in public and returned the beech trunk: we demand a public apology from the Forestry Bureau that should return the beech trunk back to Smangus.

2. The indigenous peoples' traditional territories should not be trespassed on: we demand the Executive Yuan to diligently supervise the administrative bodies that in practice should observe the Aboriginal Basic Law. The indigenous people's right of keeping traditional territories should not be violated.

3. Substantiate the Aboriginal Basic Law: We demand the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan to soon write and pass the children bills of the Law. Moreover, we demand the law to be actually implemented. By doing so, indigenous peoples' right of autonomy can be upheld.

4. Open negotiating channels on an equal status: We demand premier to act as the coordinator of the Aboriginal Basic Law implementation committee and to coordinate the relevant departments for initiating the negotiation with the community assembly of Smangus in one month.

Convener: Batu Icyeh 886-911-257093

Head Executive: Omi Wilang 886-910-024675

Public Relations: Lahuy Icyeh 886-912-238070

Sponsor: Smangus and Smangus Action Alliance

Blog: Taiwan’s Indigenous Community –Samngus Battles for the Unfair Trail http://smangus.blogspot.com/

History of “Wind-fall Beech Event”

October, 2005
Terry the typhoon caused the damage to the only road that communicated the neighboring areas. Smangus people cleaned the road alone and put the windfall beech on the side. One month later, the staff of the Forestry Bureau chopped the wood into pieces and took them away secretly. Three of the Smangus youth transported the remains on behalf of the Tribal Committee for the purpose of community design. Consequently they were reported of stealing national woods. The accused became the accuser!

August, 2006
Summary Court said, “If you admit your crime and be fined NT$10,000 dollars, we can close the end like that.” They wanted to do away with it by money, but Smangus people were not going to let it go.

February 24, 2007
The judge of the first instance ignored the Article 15 of the Forestry Act and the Aboriginal Basic Law which protect the indigenous rights, but instead, he convicted them by Articlee 52 of the Forestry Act. The penalty was 6 months of imprisonment, the fine of NT$160, 000 for each person, and suspension of punishment for two years. Smangus people cried, “Why don’t you put all of us in jail?” Therefore, the whole village went on the road to Not Guilty Plea.

April 24, 2007
The stigmatization was unacceptable to Smangus people, so they went to headquarter of the Bureau to show their dissatisfaction and wrath and to ask for a public apology from them. We didn’t get any positive responses from them on that day. After that, the Bureau received pressure from all sides and thus wanted to talk with Smangus for negotiation. However, they are not welcomed in Smangus anymore.

May 7, 2007
Smangus held P’surux Btunux (set up a stone marker to make covenant) to declare the autonomy of the traditional territory. They built barriers at the entrance of the village to reject any police officers or Bureau staff who don’t observe the domestic laws. By doing this, they showed the determination to exercise autonomy.

May 20-21, 2007
Smangus held the Conference of Taiwan Indigenous Tribal Pinhaban (alliance of defense and offence), which was the united powere of villages and tribes who covenanted in the spirit of Pinhaban. Chiefs of Mrqwang communities from Tayal tribe chanted about the traditional territory by Lmuhu. They all thought that according to the present law (the Aboriginal Basic Law; ABL) and traditional law Gaga, the Bureau was the thief, who not only should be punished by the R.O.C. law but also by Gaga.

May 30, 2007
The premier of the Executive Yuan shall be the convener apparent of the Aboriginal Basic Law. It’s been three years since the law was enacted. Yet we do not see any progress in here. Apart from that, they connives their subordinate institutions, such as the Forestry Bureau, to turn a blind eye to the essential meaning and spirit of ABL. Not to mention that Council of Indigenous Peoples, of which the director-commissioner should be the natural executive secretary of the ABL promotion team, has been slothful and made the law ineffective as if it existed in name only. Worse than that, the law thus caused confusions to investigatory apparatus and judiciary system, who don’t have a clear idea about the principles of ABL. In other words, the indigenous rights are not factually protected, which incurs the frequent occurrence of unjust cases, in which the honest villagers are considered thieves. May 30 is a sacred and glorious day, when we will all walk to the Executive Yuan and declare the sacredness of our traditional territory and autonomy in the spirit of Pinhaban, the Alliance of Defense and Offence. By doing so we will demonstrate the determination of indigenous autonomy.

Translated by Yi-Ling Huang, Eco

No comments: