Declaration of Indigenous Land Rights

Original Text written by Neqo SoqlumanLahuy Icyeh (graduate students of Providence University, Taiwan)

Translated by Class of Contemporary Taiwanese Society

Department of Humanities and Social Science

National Chiao Tung University

People define the land, and the land defines the people. The Tayal inherent territory and natural sovereignty are the very foundation of Tayal culture. Therefore, the Tayal people declare that we have the full sovereignty, control and management over our ancestral lands.

To this day, the Tayal people—individuals and the village—have never by any means given up our ownership and use of our ancestral lands! That is to say we have never lost the rights to our traditional territory. This land has always been ours. For this reason, the Tayal people have the inherent rights to enjoy and manage our territory such as through agricultural cultivation, wild craft gathering, hunting, and current tourism development. This is our territorial heritage.

The state intervention is in fact an intrusion and offense to the Tayal subjectivity and sovereignty, which is an extreme example of the State’s brutality and oppression. How can the court prosecute the landowners as “thievery” when we simply use things from our own land? Therefore, in the premise of asserting our traditional territory and natural sovereignty, we demand that every form of state intervention be withdrawn from our land.

If the state claims that we do not have the land rights, please give concrete evidence to support such accusation. Or, please explain how the state acquired this land in the first place? And when did the Tayal people publicly announced that we give up our inherent traditional territory and natural rights?