President Tsai says ‘sorry’ to aborigines
PRESIDENT Tsai Ing-wen formally apologised to Taiwan’s indigenous people for their centuries of suffering yesterday, the country’s first ever leader to do so.
Ms Tsai, the island’s only leader with aboriginal blood, will personally head a committee to investigate past injustices as part of government efforts to ease tensions with the native community.
“I apologise to the indigenous people on behalf of the government, to give our deepest apology over the suffering and injustice you endured over the past 400 years,” she said in her speech.
“We need to look at history seriously and speak out the truth,” she said, adding that apologising was “another step forward”.
Hundreds of aboriginals staged protests outside the presidential office here over the weekend, calling for protection of their hunting rights and demanding concrete actions from the government.
The indigenous community – which makes up about 2 percent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people – have seen their traditional culture eroded since immigrants started arriving from China centuries ago.
Much of their land is now designated national park, leading to clashes over hunting, fishing and foraging in areas where permits are needed.
Today, they are still a marginalised group, with wages about 40pc less than the national average. –
Tama Talum (centre) and fellow aboriginal hunters carrying shotguns in the mountains in Taitung, eastern Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the first ever apology to the island’s indigenous people yesterday for injustices over the centuries.