President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the 10th meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee on the afternoon of June 18. She said that there are a number of goals we should be working to achieve: restoring the use of indigenous names, initiating more dialogue, helping Taiwanese society better understand indigenous cultures, and gradually making the concepts of indigenous historical justice and transitional justice a part of the DNA of Taiwanese democracy.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
Today is the 10th meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee. Over the past three years, we have established the Committee's dialogue mechanism from the ground up, and have gradually begun discussing and addressing difficult issues.
However, I must also acknowledge that, despite our efforts, we have not yet been able to change the perspectives of every single person in our society.
As we promote our land policies, some citizens still don't understand what we are referring to when we speak of indigenous land rights. And when we promote policies on language, culture, and education, some people ask what right the indigenous peoples have to receive special benefits in these areas.
Three years ago, I said that the first concept we need to change is "to see what was unfair in the past as a matter of course."
Now, three years later, we need to work even harder precisely because we have not yet completely eliminated these misunderstandings and biases. On the one hand, just last month the Legislative Yuan amended the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples. We are going to expand indigenous education to the entire populace to encourage mutual understanding and respect among Taiwan's different ethnic groups.
At the same time, our Committee should be working to reveal historical truths, restore the historical viewpoints of our indigenous peoples, and initiate further meaningful social dialogue.
The Committee's Subcommittee on Reconciliation is going to present a progress report on its work today. Over the past two years, under the leadership of convener Bavaragh Dagalomai (謝若蘭), the Subcommittee on Reconciliation has held 120 lectures around the country and used Facebook to create more possibilities for communication and understanding among different ethnic groups.
Indeed, loudly voicing previously suppressed views is a concrete demonstration of historical justice and transitional justice.
To resurrect long-lost names is another way to make justice a reality. For today's meeting we have also arranged for the Subcommittee on Culture to present a report on "The Justice of Giving Back My Name." The subcommittee's convener Agilasay Pakawyan (林志興) is going to speak to us about how the past policy of assimilation undermined the indigenous peoples' naming customs and kinship systems.
A proposal to resurrect indigenous place names is among the items on the agenda for discussion today. Whether it be the names of individual indigenous persons, or place names that hold the shared memories of an entire people, the government has related legislation and policies in place that can help indigenous peoples restore their traditional names. In just a little while, the Ministry of the Interior and the Council of Indigenous Peoples will go into more detail on this, and I hope Committee members will provide their views on any areas where our policies fall short.
There are a number of goals we should be working to achieve: restoring the use of indigenous names, initiating more dialogue, helping Taiwanese society better understand indigenous cultures, and gradually making the concepts of indigenous historical justice and transitional justice a part of the DNA of Taiwanese democracy. So let's keep working together to achieve these goals.
We will now begin today's meeting. Thank you.
After completing her remarks, the president listened to a special report from the Subcommittee on Culture, received a progress report from the Subcommittee on Reconciliation, and exchanged views with Committee members on the resurrection of indigenous place names and other related proposals.