Tribal-decorated TRA train to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day

2019/07/31 21:20:01 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Railways Administration

Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Railways Administration

Taipei, July 31 (CNA) A Taroko Express train decorated with images of the oral history of Taiwan's indigenous peoples will be in service through Oct. 28 as part of celebrations for the Aug. 1 Indigenous Peoples' Day.

The project, a collaboration between the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP), is aimed at both promoting indigenous culture and commemorating Indigenous Peoples' Day, established in 2005, the two agencies said earlier this week.

All eight carriages of the express train, which runs between New Taipei in the north and Taitung in southeastern Taiwan, will be liveried with images of indigenous legends, said TRA head Chang Chen-yuan (張政源).

The first and eighth carriages, meanwhile, will bear images created by indigenous children depicting a legend believed by different tribes of how indigenous archers shot down "extra suns" to stop a drought, Chang said.

There will also be indigenous decorations inside the carriages, with booklets and QR codes allowing passengers to connect to online resources that will provide more information about Indigenous Peoples' Day.

CIP Minister Icyang Parod expressed hope that the project will raise awareness of indigenous culture. Prior to 1994, Taiwan's indigenous population used to be officially referred to as "shan bao," which translates as "mountain-dwelling compatriots."

However, that designation failed to recognize indigenous people as the original inhabitants of Taiwan because it classified them under a naming system that did not reflect their true identity, Icyang said.

Finally on July 28, 1994 after numerous readings by the then- National Assembly, it was accepted that "shan bao" should be replaced with "indigenous people" in the Republic of China Constitution, Icyang said.

The name change officially came into effect Aug. 1 that year, according to the CIP website, adding that when the Constitution was amended again in 1997, the term "indigenous people" was itself replaced with "indigenous peoples," to reflect the recognition of collective rights.

In 2005, the Executive Yuan ruled that Aug. 1 will be the nation's Indigenous Peoples' Day.

According to the CIP website, as of the end of June 2019, there were 16 recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan, with a total population of 568,465.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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