An indigenous Taiwanese woman working to save her culture
- 28 September 2011
- From the section World News TV
Paicu Luheacana is a member of the Tsou tribe, one of 14 officially-recognised indigenous tribes in Taiwan.
They lived on the island for thousands of years before the majority Han Chinese arrived, but now make up only two percent of the population.
Because of previous harsh government policies and pressures to modernise, much of their culture has been lost.
Miss Luheacana is trying to change that. She came back from the cities where she worked a few years ago and convinced her father to let her manage her family's ancestral land on Alishan Mountain, where she grows organic tea.
Unlike many Han Chinese who lease indigenous people's land, she doesn't use pesticides. Miss Luheacana says indigenous people feel that their land is their mother and because they love their land, they should not hurt it.
The land is very much tied to their culture. With many young indigenous people moving to the cities to make a living, the language and culture have not been passed on. Many young indigenous people cannot speak their tribal language or understand the culture.
But now an increasing number of them, like Miss Luheacana, are returning to start businesses.
The more young people come back, the more hope there is the Tsou tribe's culture will be passed on, she says.
Their goal now is to stop overdevelopment on Alishan.