Before the 1990s, a long-standing neglect of indigenous peoples’ ethnic status meant that Taiwan had never seen a clear government policy on indigenous rights. Indigenous peoples took to the streets to dismantle barriers brought by state and mainstream society. They claimed the rights that were their due, and established their status and collective rights.
Without the previous generation’s courage to move forward, indigenous peoples’ plight would not have gained public recognition and their position of disadvantage would be difficult to reverse. Now they’re working behind the scenes, launching community movements in another form. The elders are shouldering the responsibility of cultural inheritance, passing on lifetimes of accumulated knowledge and experience to the next generation.
Note: iakuan: anshaishin iamin a kmalawa means "It's our turn to stand up and do something" in the Thao language.