Few people beyond the shores of Taiwan are aware that it is home to a population of indigenous peoples who for more than fifteen thousand years have lived on the island. Over the years, through the Chinese imperial period, the Japanese occupation, and for most of the twentieth century, the indigenous peoples of Taiwan were marginalized and deprived of rights. However, with the lifting of martial law in 1987, new government policies regarding ethnic groups, and growing interest in Taiwan's aboriginal peoples, indigenous writing began to blossom. With its intense and lyrical explorations of a fading culture, indigenous writing has become an important topic of discussion in Taiwanese literary circles.
This collection of indigenous literature is the first such anthology in English. In selecting the stories, essays, and poems for the anthology, the editors provide a representative sampling from each of Taiwan's nine indigenous tribes. The writers explore such themes as the decline of traditional ways of life in Taiwan's aboriginal communities, residual belief in ancestral spirits, assimilation into a society dominated by Han Chinese, and the psychological and economic encroachment of the outside world. Their writings offer previously unheard perspectives on the plight of aboriginal cultures and the experiences of Taiwanese minorities.
John Balcom has included an introduction to provide the reader with background information on Taiwan's indigenous peoples. The introduction addresses the origins of Taiwan's Austronesian peoples and general information on their culture, languages, and history. A discussion of the growth and development of indigenousliterature, its sociolinguistic and cultural significance, and the difficulties faced by such writers is also included.
Acknowledgments Translator's Introduction Stories Topas Tamapima (Bunun): The Last Hunter Kowan Talall (Paiwan): Tears of a Fledgling Badai (Puyuma): Ginger Road Yubas Naogih (Atayal): Out of the Brush Lekal (Ami): Elegy Siyapenjipeaya (Yami): The Last Days of Ikafaduan Liglave A-wu (Paiwan): The Legend of Gubachae Husluma Vava (Bunun): The Hunter It Ta-os (Saisiyat): The Thunder Goddess Auvini Kadresengan (Rukai): Eternal Ka-balhivane (Home to Return To) Essays Pa'labang (Puyuma): The Mother of History Paiz Mukunana (Tsou): WoodenClogs Rimui Aki (Atayal): The Sound of a Flute in the Mountains Adaw Palaf (Ami): Let's Go for a Big Feast Outdoors Syman Rapongan (Yami): A Large Stingray Sakinu (Paiwan): Wind Walker Neqou Sokluman (Bunun): Father and the Land Topas Tamapima (Bunun): Fish Poems Monaneng (Paiwan): Five Poems Walis Norgan (Atayal): Four Poems Tasi-ulauan Pima (Bunun) Adaw Palaf (Ami): Two Poems Lavulas Geren (Paiwan): Six Poems Haisul (Bunun): Five Poems Maishu (Bunun) Guyou Hsilan (Atayal) It Ta-os (Saisiyat) Purdur (Puyuma) Darkanow Ruruang (Rukai) Siepep (Yami) Notes on the Authors
Never has there been a collection of works by Taiwan's indigenous writers in English translation. Indigenous Writers from Taiwan is a rare find! The marvelous pen of the translator conveys the unique quality of this body of writings. Readers will surely find Indigenous Writers of Taiwan a delightful reading experience. -- Lingchei Letty Chen, assistant professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Washington University in St. Louis These writings are valuable in both the ethnographical and the aesthetic sense: holding on to some experiential patterns and expressive modes from the 'old world,' they speak to us in such genuine and distinctive voices that potentially would reorient the very ways we perceive and appreciate literature. -- Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, The University of Texas at Austin, author of Literary Culture in Taiwan: Martial Law to Market Law
John Balcom is an associate professor and head of the Chinese program in the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is the translator of twelve books, including Li Qiao's Wintry Night and Chang Hsi-kuo's City Trilogy. Yingtsih Balcom is an assistant professor at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey. Her translations of Western and Chinese literature have appeared in many journals, including Renditions, the Chinese Pen, and Chung Wai Literary Monthly.
"This book, smartly produced by Columbia University Press, will put Taiwan's indigenous writers on the map for a new class of reader." -- Taipei Times "With this volume... [the editors] have places the literature of the indigenous nations of Taiwan on the map." -- Erika Kaneko, Asian Folklore Studies