The First Conversation between Smangus and the Police (before P’surux Btunux)

Time: May 06 2007 (The day before P’surux Btunux, the Tayal traditional ceremony which declares territorial sovereignty. P’surux Btunux involves setting up a stone marker to make covenant)

Place: Smangus Visitor Center

Smangus villager: Batu (the Directro-Convener of Smangus Action Alliance)

Police officers: Officer Feng from Tai-Gang Police Station, and the Chief Officer of Public Order Unit, Hengshan branch, Hsin-Chu County Police Bureau

On May 6th, Smangus and the Alliance issued a press release, announcing that an ancient and sacred ceremony P’surux Btunux will be held on May 7th. . Through this ceremony, Smangus declares its rejection to improper management of the state and its determination to manage its Qyunam (traditional territory). The press release also states that Smangus will set up a registration station in its entrance. After the press release was issued, police officers phoned in and physically visited the village several times on the 6th, the day before the ceremony, to express that they were concerned the barrier installation may be inappropriate, and that they wish Smangus villagers would consider the legality of such action.
1. The Conversation in the Smangus Visitor Center
At one pm, the Alliance convener Batu and Officer Feng from Tai-Gang Police Station had a conversation. Here are the main issues Officer Feng raised:

Officer Feng: 1. If there is going to be such an activity, the Police Station would expect to be notified. 2. The Police Station is concerned about Smangus’s actions. 3. From the press release regarding the P’surux Btunux ceremony, the supervising body (the Public Order Unit of the Heng-Shang branch) considers that it is “likely” a violation of the Assembly and Parade Act.
Batu: “La? (How come?) Please explain to your supervisors, the P’surux Btunux tomorrow is a very sacred Tayal ceremony.

Officer Feng: If you insist that this activity be held, we will send many officers to express our concern should our supervisors so order.

Batu: baha la, mha mwah simu lga, nanu pkita ta qalang myan suxan! (How come? If you really think this is the way it has to be, we’ll see you tomorrow in the village.)
2. Heng-Shan branch phoned in to express their concern that the P’surux Btunux on May 7th violates the Assembly and Parade Law.

Around 9 pm on May 6th, the convener of the Alliance Batu received a phone call from the Chief Officer of the Public Order Unit in Heng-Shan branch.

Chief Officer: “I’ve looked up related statutes. Religious ceremonies and activities are not subject matters of the Assembly and Parade Law. So for the activities tomorrow, let’s say that I ‘have given you permissions’.
“But do you have banners for tomorrow’s ceremony?”
Batu: “Yeah. How could this kind of ceremony violate the Assembly and Parade Law? If Chief Officer has time tomorrow, we welcome your participation. It is a very ancient and sacred Tayal ceremony.”
Translated by Shun-Ling Chen, SJD candidate, Harvard Law School &TIPA(Taiwan Indigenous Peoples' (NGO) Alliance)

I will stand up for you, Smangus. Lokah!

Original Post: http://blog.roodo.com/duams_d/archives/3255709.html#comment-10483095

Translated by Shun-Ling Chen, SJD candidate, Harvard Law School /
TIPA(Taiwan Indigenous Peoples' (NGO) Alliance )


I, as a youth of Tayal nation, give my due respect to my fellowmen in Smangus.

After learning about the Smangus wind-fall beech event from the Internet, I inevitably felt angry. Nevertheless, because I left my village since a young age, there also rose some mixed feelings. I’ve tried to avoid recognizing it as a predicament, and I have always thought that I could overcome. My village is nothing comparable to the remote Shangri-la, the village in the deep mountains in Hsin-chu. There is a convenient highway cutting through the village, tourist sites with much prospect of money, and many inhabitants who moved in from the plain area. I’d like to say this is more developed, but I don’t know what exactly it has brought to us. The convenience which I once thought it to be turns out to be tremendous harm.

On weekends, I used to visit my village if I don’t have other obligations. The previous time I was there, I stayed in the front yard with my family after dinner. I found more firebugs in the bushes than before. That was an evening, filled with beautiful scenes. I recalled that a year ago, the firebugs I could see in the front yard were less than one-third of the number I saw in that very evening. I thought this was the magnificence of Nature, but only to find out later that the several acres of woods behind my house were completely cut off. I was told that someone from outside of the village is conducting a development something there. But that area was the habitat for firebugs.

This is my village, and it is full of contradictories, like every other villages. One day, even grass and trees will turn away from you, and you gave these all up only to grab a bunch of money bills in hand. I wonder, even if we were only standing outside to watch it happen, aren’t we also indirectly facilitating this process? I left the village where I grew up when I was in the 4th grade to study in the urban area. I went there to learn from you (Han people) the way to step upward. I had to accept what you tried to teach me. Because you made these rules, gave us preferential treatments, but at the same time made us forget who we are. Perhaps everyone will try to trace back to find who they are in their growing up, but what about those who are unable to for being blind? Blindness, as eagles that forgot how to fly, and as fish that forgot how to swim, if we still remember our pride, how could we ever forget the village where we grew up.

I am not very proficient in my own language. What’s more, whenever I enter a village of indigenous people, I feel inferior for I have left my own for long. But I do feel proud of being an indigenous.

I will stand up for you. Smangus. Lokah!!

Some people say that my village will disappear in 50 years as a result of landslide. I say I don’t want to see my village lost and disappear because of being blind.

* Lokah is a Tayal expression which is used to invigorate and inspirit.