» 08/02/2012, 00.00
Taiwanese Church celebrates "Day for Aborigines"
Bishops ask the roughly 500 thousand natives, the original inhabitants of the island, to custody their traditional culture and language; safeguard marriage, encourage religious vocations. After centuries of marginalization, Taiwan is seeing a revival of the value of indigenous cultures. A film starring a Presbyterian minister.
Taipei (AsiaNews) - Yesterday,
August 1, the Catholic Church in Taiwan celebrated the annual "Day for
Aborigines", the original inhabitants of the island. In
a letter by the bishops published this week, the focus is on the people who
historically were the first inhabitants of Formosa island.
aboriginal peoples, divided into dozens of tribes, had a difficult
life in the past, suffering attempts at colonization and assimilation. According
to 2009 figures there are now about 500 thousand Taiwanese aborigines, who live
mostly in the mountains of the island. Language
barriers, poor education and unemployment often result in their
letter published by the bishops in Taiwan offers some indications relevant to their situation.
key points in particular should be emphasized:
the need "to consolidate the transmission of traditional Aboriginal
culture" to current and future generations. This
can be done while preserving the language of the different tribes so that
children from an early age can learn it and speak it with their families or fellow
mother tongue marks the identity of people and recalls the bond with the culture,
history and values that are handed down from generation to generation. Students
use the Aboriginal language outside of school hours and it recalls family ties,
the tangible sign of the history of this beautiful island.
attention to marriage and the family, as part of the journey of faith and life
John Paul II said: "Marriage and the family constitute one of the most
precious of human values" to carefully be protected, because "the
modern family like and perhaps more than other institutions, is beset by the
and rapid changes in society and culture "(Familiaris Consortio, 1). Rediscovering
the original meaning of Aboriginal culture, can help foster a profound
reflection on the sacrament of marriage and family values for the younger
Finally, alongside the vocation to marriage, the third point that is emphasized
is the horizon of cooperation between parishes and dioceses that the aborigines
belong to. In
this context, the need to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious
as called by Jesus to help in his mission.
Those who live in contact with
the natives of Taiwan, can not help but be affected by the love of life and joy
that children, youth and adults show in their aboriginal songs and dances
passed down from the collective memory of older generations. According
to many Catholics "this joy and passion for life is a great sign of God's
smile in the world."
are many attempts to restore value and pride in aboriginal culture in Taiwan. Last
winter, an epic film was released about the life of a local hero at the
beginning of the twentieth century who sought to defend the inhabitants of the
island from foreign conquest. The
hero of the film is an aboriginal, masterfully played by a Presbyterian
minister of the Atayal tribes', who is also a professional actor. The
film lasts more than four hours and is the most lavish film in Taiwan's cinema
was first screened in theaters and then repeated on television just last week. It
is now on sale on DVD, titled "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq bale".
testifies that the aboriginal tribes are "now back to the fore" in
Taiwanese society, because they represent an essential part of the island's
history and identity.
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