Ping­tung abo­rig­ines set to es­tab­lish in­dige­nous mil­let

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Abo­rig­ines in Dawu Vil­lage in Ping­tung County will es­tab­lish a story house to help peo­ple learn about the cul­ti­va­tion of fox­tail mil­let, a grain con­sid­ered by many ar­chae­ol­o­gists to be deeply em­bed­ded in Tai­wan’s in­dige­nous cul­ture.

The story house is in­tended to give peo­ple a glimpse of their mil­let cul­ture through ex­hibits that show in de­tail the plant­ing, har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing of the cul­tur­ally im­por­tant mil­let, the vil­lagers said.

The husked seeds of fox­tail mil­let and mil­let cakes are sym­bols of pros­per­ity and com­monly given as gifts in var­i­ous cer­e­monies, Dawu res­i­dents said, and grain mo­tifs are also found on many uten­sils.

Be­yond see­ing the story house as a cen­ter for pre­serv­ing im­por­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of Tai­wan’s in­dige­nous cul­ture, the com­mu­nity also hopes it will emerge as a tourist at­trac­tion to boost the lo­cal econ­omy, which is still strug­gling since Typhoon Mo­rakot dev­as­tated the area in Au­gust 2009. Dawu is one of only two abo­rig­i­nal vil­lages in Wu­tai Town­ship in Ping­tung County where res­i­dents were not re­lo­cated af­ter land­slides and floods trig­gered by the typhoon buried or de­stroyed many vil­lages in the moun­tain­ous area. In ad­di­tion to an ex­hi­bi­tion area, the story house will also fea­ture restau­rants serv­ing mil­let dishes and sou­venir shops.

The area is also try­ing to re­vive fox­tail mil­let as an eco­nomic crop.

With the help of Na­tional Ping­tung Univer­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, the 100 or so abo­rig­ines liv­ing in Dawu have started plant­ing fox­tail mil­let and the med­i­cal herb Chi­nese An­gel­ica Root (An­gel­ica sinen­sis).

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