The Statements of Declaration, from The Conference of Pihaban Alliance

Translated by Tony Chu, Taiwanese/American Fellowship Presbyterian church in New Jersey, USA

Time: May 20 - 21, 2007
Place: the village of Smangus

When we Tayal people face intruders and threats, Pinhaban is a traditional cultural ceremony held to make alliance among the villages to protect our own territories. This time we elaborate the meaning the ritual and expand the coverage to make alliance among the people of different ethnicities. Together we stand firm to safeguard our land.

On May 20 evening. The elders of Mrqwang group of the Tayal nation recited chants to describe traditional territories –

Lmuhu (Tayal ancient chant. See note) - is one of the most important elements in Tayal culture. It is sung to describe the nation's historical chronicle, the management over public or private affairs, communication, etc.

The ceremony of Pinhaban was held in Smangus on May 20 and 21. The participants, called Mrhuw, represented their chiefs of communities: Ulay, Tayax, Quri, Smangus, Cinsbu, M'utu, Qara, Pyaway, Pyanan, R'ra, Slaq, Btang, Rahaw, Butasya, and Pnaway. Some were from the original place of Tayal, Mrqwang. The purpose of the gathering was for assuring Tayal traditional territories. In addition, some fellows were of other nations, including Bunun, Paiwan, Amis, and Puyuma.

A few village chiefs / Mrhuw of Tayal Mrqwang group, along with the others, led to sing the chant Lmuhu in describing the history, stories, migration, and many things that happened in the traditional territories. Talking about something happy, the participants laughed together. In terms of something sad, the participants wept. About the other events bringing indignation, the participants swore to stand up as one body to defend our lands.

The chief of the village of Mrqwang said: " We indigenous peoples are knowledgeable of our own traditional territories. We can accurately describe the landscapes of the mountains and the rivers in them. We name those natural objects and connect our own lives so closely with the surroundings. The staff of the Forestry Bureau does not understand our lives. When we heard the staff say that the traditional territory of Smangus is only about 12 acres, we regarded the notion absurd. The territory is absolutely larger than this measure.

In the same evening, we observed the ceremony of Msbalay (reconciliation). This was a ritual when the villages formed alliance; the members took oaths with millet wine and by touching water which represented cleansing and unity. The participants considered that it was the time the indigenous peoples of Taiwan should unite to bravely safeguard our own lands.

On May 21, Pinhaban Alliance Forming ceremony --

Every elder took turn to sing the ancient chant Lmuhu, reviewing the topics which had been discussed and also rekindling the enthusiasm. The elders emphasized that the communities of the indigenous peoples in Taiwan should solidify together. On that day the participants also sign their names on a wood map of Taiwan to show their loyalty to this newly formed alliance. From then on, any unjust issue happening to any indigenous community of the participants became the common concern of all the alliance members.

The statements of the Pinhaban Alliance are as the follows:

1. The indigenous peoples in Taiwan should be treated with the greatest respect. Let's unite to protect and guard our lands.

2. Every indigenous community should summon its own assembly, voicing the right of autonomously governing its own traditional territories.

3. The administration for the windfall beech event should apologize to the people of Smangus in order to remove the stigma the people suffer from. The administration also should pay apology to the land, forest, and the native people who are humiliated.

4. Based on the Tayal code of traditional territory, the Forest Bureau is seen as the one that steals the beech. According to the Tayal traditional law, the thief should pay fine and be punished.

5. We demand the administration to embody the spirit of "new partnership" with the indigenous peoples and to implement the Aboriginal Basic Law without default.

Host: Smangus Community Assembly

Sponsor: Smangus Action Alliance

Contact: Lahwy Icyeh

Note: Lmuhu used to be applied for expressing sentiment, narrating community migrating history, and negotiation.

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