Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Taiwan's original people (原住民) have lived on this island for perhaps 8,000 years and are all Austronesian-speaking people -- some anthropologists even believe all Austronesian people originated in Taiwan. Taiwanese Aboriginals have many ethnic groups, languages and traditions, and have all been assimilated into modern Han Taiwanese society to differing degrees. Taiwan's government divides these indigenous people into (a fairly arbitrary) fourteen 'officially recognized Aboriginal Tribes,' and an even more arbitrary 'High Mountain' and 'Plains' Aboriginals.

Today, recognized Aboriginals comprise about 2% of Taiwan's population -- although recent genetic studies indicate this number could be closer to 60% if it included 'Plains Aboriginals.

The fourteen recognized groups are:
Amis 阿美族, Atayal 泰雅族, Bunun 布農族, Kavalan 噶瑪蘭族, Paiwan 排灣族, Puyuma 卑南族, Rukai 魯凱族, Saisiyat 賽夏族, Sakizaya 撒奇萊雅族, Seediq 賽德克族, Tao 達悟族, Thao 邵族, Tsou 鄒族 and Truku 太魯閣族.

Some unrecognized groups that are actively lobbying for recognition are:
Babuza, Basay, Hoanya, Ketagalan, Luilang, Pazeh/Kaxabu, Papora, Qauqaut, Siraya, Taokas and Trobiawan

Nomenclature can be confusing as names are translated from ancient, sometimes extinct, languages and arbitrary groupings into Chinese (sometimes via Taiwanese) and then into English.

  • pinit preview none Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族
  • pinit preview none Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

The following photographs of all fourteen Taiwan Aboriginal tribes were taken at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park in Sandimen for the ‘Tribal Wedding Customs Across Asia” special in Asian Geographic. (Issue 89, out now) Sadly they went with illustrations for a more congruous look and my photos weren’t needed and they only one paragraph was devoted to each the Amis and Rukai. There are not many sets of nice photographs of Taiwan Aboriginal tribes so I will post them here. They are generally a male female pairing for the wedding theme.

Seediq 賽德克族 Taiwan Aboriginal Tribe

01 Seediq 賽德克族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Seediq 賽德克族, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

The Seediq were recently popularized in the movie ‘Seediq Bale.’

02 Seediq 賽德克族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Seediq_賽德克族—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

03 Seediq 賽德克族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Seediq_賽德克族 Taiwan Aboriginal, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

04 Seediq 賽德克族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Seediq 賽德克族 Taiwan Aboriginal—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe

05 Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

The Rukai male carries the female to the wedding as pictured above.

06 Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Identifying Taiwanese aboriginal clothing is not easy. Different villages of the same tribe may have variations of the traditional costume. The more traditional dress above is very different than the casual one below. Matters are further confused by the arbitrary classification of the tribes (the original nine tribes were Japanese groupings and further refinements have been made over the years) for some tribes consider themselves seperate from the tribe that the government categorizes them as. To see the quite dramatic difference in costume between the Northern Tsou versus the Hla’alua (Salaua) and Kanakanavu — both considered Tsou by the government — see my photographs here: Taiwanese Aboriginal Festival Photos

07 Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

08 Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Amis 阿美族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan

09 Amis 阿美族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Amis 阿美族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiw

10 Amis 阿美族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Amis 阿美族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Tao 達悟族 Aboriginal Tribe

11 Tao 達悟族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Tao 達悟族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Here the woman is throwing her hair as is commonly done in the traditional Tao (or Dawu) dance.

12 Tao 達悟族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Tao 達悟族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Tsou 鄒族 Aboriginal Tribe

13 Tsou 鄒族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Tsou 鄒族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan (Photographed in Mexico)

The above photograph was the only one not shot in Sandimen, it was taken in Mexico at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I added this photo because it is a nice picture of my wife and her twin sister. My wife sewed the clothing herself. She considers herself Bunun from her father’s side but her mother was Northern Tsou from Alishan so she also learned many of their customs in her youth.

14 Tsou 鄒族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Tsou 鄒族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Kavalan 噶瑪蘭族 Aboriginal Tribe

15 Kavalan 噶瑪蘭族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Kavalan 噶瑪蘭族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Bunun 布農族 Aboriginal Tribe

16 Bunun 布農族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Bunun 布農族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

17 Bunun 布農族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Bunun 布農族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Paiwan 排灣族 Aboriginal Tribe

18 Paiwan 排灣族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Paiwan 排灣族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

19 Paiwan 排灣族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Paiwan 排灣族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Saisiyat 賽夏族 Aboriginal Tribe

20 Saisiyat 賽夏族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Saisiyat 賽夏族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Sakizaya 撒奇萊雅族 Aboriginal Tribe

21 Sakizaya 撒奇萊雅族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Sakizaya 撒奇萊雅族 Aboriginal Tribe›…, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe

22 Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Rukai 魯凱族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Atayal 泰雅族 Aboriginal Tribe

23 Atayal 泰雅族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Atayal 泰雅族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Thao 邵族 Aboriginal Tribe

24 Thao 邵族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Thao 邵族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

25 Thao 邵族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Thao 邵族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Truku 太魯閣族 Aboriginal Tribe

26 Truku 太魯閣族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Truku 太魯閣族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

27 Truku 太魯閣族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Truku 太魯閣族 Aboriginal Tribe—, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

Puyuma 卑南族 Aboriginal Tribe

28 Puyuma 卑南族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Puyuma 卑南族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

29 Puyuma 卑南族 Aboriginal Tribe Taiwan Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

Puyuma 卑南族 Aboriginal Tribe, Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park, Sandimen, Pingtung County, Taiwan

A huge thank you to all the people at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park who posed for these photos and an apology they were never used in the magazine.

Fourteen Taiwan Aboriginal Tribes 300x300 Taiwanese Aboriginal Tribes — 臺灣原住民14族

The fourteen officially recognized Taiwan Aboriginal Tribes

 

 

 

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