For the first time in Taiwan, the Amis Tribe’s self-governance committee collectively issued the hunting permit and officiated the traditional territory declaration ceremony.
Hualien Forest District Office, Forest Bureau, has implemented the “Wildlife Management Demonstration Project in Fengnan Community, Indigenous People Area of Hualien County” since 2017, and has appointed the project host of “Li-Shan-Ren Corporation”, Ramuru, who is also a young leader in the local tribe to promote the self-governance of tribal hunting. After two years of consensus discussion and training program in the tribe, and based on the “Self-Governance and Self-Discipline Convention of Tribal Hunting”, the Cilamitay Tribe has issued the hunting permit and officiated the traditional territory declaration ceremony at Cilamitay Festival Square on July 29, displaying the spirit of autonomy and independence.
The declaration ceremony was started by a ritual hosted by Cilamitay elder Chen Lien-fu, at which he addressed ancestral spirits and gave blessing to the inheritance of hunting tradition. Then, the former chieftain, Chen Jen-kwang, who is also the president of tribal meeting, declare that the hunting convention shall be complied after receiving the hunting permit, which is also a symbol of inheritance. Current chieftain Chen Chin-fu, head of Fengnan village Chen Cheng-hsiung, and executive of Cultural Association Mo Yen have indicated that, in the future, the hunters should report back if any problem or prey are encountered, in order to implement the sustainability of resource management.
Cilamitay Tribal Committee has received hunting permit applications from 41 hunters. Presently there are 25 qualified applicants including 6 females. At 9:30 am on the 29th, under the witness of Yang Rui-fen, the Director of the Hualien Forest District Office and Pei Jai-chyi, the former Dean of the NDHU College of Environmental Studies, 16 hunting permits were issued by chieftain Chen Chin-fu. The rest of the hunters who were at the Farming Season Association at the moment will be issued with the permit on the other day. The hunting permit of serial number 1 was issued to chieftain Chen Chin-fu by elder Chen Lien-fu, showing a symbolic meaning of the inheritance of hunting culture. The president of tribal meeting, Chen Jen-kwang, also said that, in the future, the application of hunting permit will require the compliance to the convention, and the permit will only be issued after review.
Professor Pei Jai-chyi mentioned the difficulties of promoting the self-governance of tribal resources over a decade ago. Coming to today's rapid advancement, people can sit down and gather to discuss the matter. Apart from recognizing the progressive advancement of tribal self-governance, he also hoped that the Amis Tribe of the Cilamitay Tribe should steady their pace in the future. With the hunting permit, the hunters must take responsibility for the tribe, using traditional concept and knowledge as the core, and taking scientific assistance to make great strides forward. After the completion of the ceremony of hunting permit, president Chen Jen-kwang and chieftain Chen Chin-fu announced the area of the self-governance demonstration project. Cilamitay is not divided by the county boundaries, but by the border of the past villages and traditional houses, and the current area of the traditional territory is larger than that of the village. The chieftain thinks that within the scope of the traditional territory governance, the regions are independent, the ridgelines and watersheds are clear, and there is no problem of overlapping with other tribes. Hence after the declaration and the document will be submitted to the Council of Indigenous Peoples according to the announcement.
Director Yang Rui-fen said that she was very moved to witness the moment of history. In order to make the present Wildlife Conservation Act closer to the traditional customary ritual hunting culture of the indigenous people, the eight forest district offices of the country have simultaneously performed the hunting demonstration project before the revision of the law, and Hualien Forest District Office has taken the Amis Tribe of the Cilamitay Tribe as its model. After nearly two years of training, the issue of hunting permit and declaration is not only to highlight the Cilamitay Tribe’s determination to inherit hunting culture, carry out ecological conservation, and coexist with nature; meanwhile, it is an important milestone for the Hualien Forest District Office and the tribe to jointly promote the self-governance of forest natural resources.
- “Cilamitay Tribal Hunting Self-Governance Program”
In order to implement the self-governance mechanism of hunting based on the idea of “tribe as subject”, the Forestry Bureau has promoted the Hunting Management Demonstration Zone Project in the eight forest district offices of Taiwan. Hualien Forest District Office has chosen the Amis Tribe from the Cilamitay Tribe as the hunting demonstration zone based on the evaluation on its abilities in organizing, carrying out scientific research, and establishing effective self-management forest resource. The “Li-Shan-Ren Corporation” was appointed to host the hunting demonstration project. The project relies on the local wisdom of the tribes, the local organizations, and the ethnic groups. It also combines with the scientific research carried out by former Dean of the NDHU College of Environmental Studies Pei Jai-chyi, to investigate the number of hunting species and the condition of hunting fields. It is hoped that it can actively promote the tribe's consensus on collective management of natural resources and give counseling on application of legal hunting and tribal training works that meet the needs of traditional culture, in order to achieve the cooperation between the tribe, the government and academic institution to protect the traditional hunting culture, so that the natural resources of the forest can have a sustainable development and utilization.
- The Self-Governance and Self-Discipline Convention of Tribal Hunting of the Cilamitay Tribe regards the Amis Tribe’s traditional leader organization and the age-class system as the competent unit in charge of the self-governance of hunting. It is jointly reviewed and supervised by the village heads and various local associations to establish a sustainable governance mechanism complying with local culture, contemporary operation of organizations and laws. The hunter who is in charge of issuing the hunting permit must pass the tribal organization's examination and meet the requirements of hunting traditional culture, hunting techniques, and ecological protection. The hunting permit allows a hunter to conduct non-profit hunting in the legal area requested by the tribe.