Committee Convener President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the sixth meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee ("the Committee") on June 28. The meeting ran for about two and a half hours.
This was the second-term Committee's first meeting. The president first issued letters of appointment to the Committee members, followed by a report on the results of the first-term Committee's efforts, and another report on the Veterans Affairs Council's participation in the Committee's work. A Committee-proposed indigenous peoples' peace memorial day or ethnic peoples appreciation day, akin to the 228 Peace Memorial Day, was also discussed.
The report on first-term Committee results included briefings by Executive Secretary Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒), and cultural subcommittee convener Agilasay Pakawyan (林志興). After exchanging views with Committee members, President Tsai commended the Committee staff and five thematic subcommittees for their hard work. She also instructed Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億) to continue to monitor Committee members' proposals, and promptly respond to their questions about progress updates.
Representing the Veterans Affairs Council, Deputy Minister Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) reported on the council's participation in Committee work, including the initial results of its land inventory. He said that the council will act according to law and in line with the fundamental positions set forth in policies to increase the amount of land reserved for indigenous peoples and delineate traditional indigenous territories.
The Veterans Affairs Council also noted that, in response to the wishes of the Dulan tribe of the Amis people, it will recommend that after the Yuen Foong Yu Paper Manufacturing Company's afforestation mandate for about 40 hectares of land in Taitung County's Dulan Forest ends this year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples should submit a special petition to the Executive Yuan to have that land reserved for indigenous peoples. That will set a good example of tribal co-prosperity and development.
The president commended the Veterans Affairs Council for its active participation in Committee work, and said she hopes the Veterans Affairs Council, the Forestry Bureau, and Taiwan Sugar Corporation will continue to cooperate with the Committee's subcommittee on land matters, and work together to restore historical truth about indigenous peoples' land issues.
During the meeting, Committee members made 27 proposals and three extemporaneous motions, including a proposal by Yiyang Sayion (伊央．撒耘), representing the Sakizaya people, about instituting an indigenous peoples' peace memorial day or ethnic peoples appreciation day akin to the 228 Peace Memorial Day.
After discussing the issue with the committee members, the president thanked Committee member Yiyang Sayion (伊央．撒耘) for introducing the history of the Kalyawan Battle of 1878, and issued the following three directives:
First, the February 28th Incident impacted all ethnic groups, including members of the Tsou and Truku peoples, who also suffered. So in the future, commemorative events associated with the current 228 Peace Memorial Day should also include diverse ethnic viewpoints.
Second, August 1st of each year has already been designated Indigenous Peoples' Day, a day originally intended to commemorate the rectification of the official name referring to Taiwan's various indigenous peoples. In the future, commemorative activities can be further expanded to encourage dialogue between groups. That way, more Taiwanese will know about the diverse historical viewpoints of indigenous peoples, so that together, we can recall the historical plight and contributions of our indigenous peoples, and really bring all ethnic groups into Taiwan's mainstream.
Third, this year marks the 140th anniversary of the Kalyawan Battle. Because that battle is so important for the Kavalan and Sakizaya peoples, the government's executive agencies should help ensure that the historical event gets the attention it deserves. In the future, the government will also give equal respect and support to commemorating, discussing, and researching historical events that are important to other ethnic groups.
The president concluded by saying she hopes that after the second-term Committee begins operations, all members and staff will step up the pace and seize the day, and respond to indigenous peoples' expectations for historical justice and transitional justice with more concrete measures.