Over the last four hundred years, Taiwan has been placed under colonial rule by the Dutch (1623–1662), the Spanish (1626–1642), the Japanese (1895–1945), and the Chinese (1683–1895, 1945–1987). Each regime left their own footprint on this island; but only the Indigenous Peoples of the island experienced them all.
This atypical colonization process brought immense challenges to the island’s inhabitants, who were forced to endure and adapt to the views and agendas of each new colonizing force.
The Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan (more often referred to as Aboriginals or Aborigines) were brought to edge of extinction; but that was then. Today, they are gradually reclaiming their cultures and languages and reasserting their rights as distinct peoples. In The Mountain, we learn about the history of this ‘recertification movement’ through the life of Teymu Teylong, a Truku elder that was born during Japan’s colonial rule.
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