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Taiwan Archaeology and Indigenous Peoples: Cross-perspectives on Indigenous Archaeology and Interactions Between Archaeologists and Indigenous Communities in Taiwan

Muyard Frank.

Archaeology, History and Indigenous Peoples: New Perspectives on the Ethnic Relations of Taiwan, Li-wan Hung ed., 2016, pp. 195-262.

Abstract (English) :

The significance of Taiwan for Asia-Pacific prehistory has been well documented, especially in the research about Austronesian origins and dispersal. However few studies have looked into the relationships between the institutions, practices and narratives of archaeology and the indigenous descendants of these Austronesian populations in Taiwan. Meanwhile, in the last thirty years, indigenous peoples’ relationships with archaeological institutions have evolved in many North American and the Pacific countries also marked by settler colonialism, leading to more participation of indigenous peoples in the archaeological study of “their” prehistory which often also happens to be the “national” prehistory, and to agreements or laws regulating the respective rights of indigenous communities and outsider scholars over the remains and artifacts excavated.
This chapter aims to shed some light on the current situation regarding the interactions between Taiwan archaeological science and practice and indigenous peoples and the development of Indigenous archaeology in the country. It presents the results of a series of interviews with archaeologists and local indigenous scholars on their respective perceptions about indigenous peoples’ participation in Taiwan archaeological research. It looks into how public institutions and professionals involved in archaeology integrate and foster the participation of indigenous peoples, and their knowledge and interests, in planning, research, and output of archaeological studies; what kind of general provisions for the respect of indigenous peoples’ rights and perspectives are in place at various political and institutional levels to oversee archaeological and research (excavation; removal, preservation and collecting of remains and artifacts; classification; display etc.); how archaeologists in Taiwan view the concepts and practice of Indigenous archaeology; and conversely how indigenous peoples perceive archaeology and the archaeologists’ work on sites and remains related to some of their direct and indirect cultural ancestors. Beyond practical aspects, a major issue revolves around the question of who symbolically and materially “owns” the prehistoric past, and how to articulate the rights and interests of the state institutions, the archaeological community, and the indigenous peoples regarding its uncovering.

Mots-clés :

Indigenous people, Taiwan, Archaeology, Indigenous archaeology, Asia-Pacific, Colonialism, Museum, Artifacts, Human remains, Education

Texte intégral :