From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwan Aboriginal Tribe Seeks Rectification of Name

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Tue, 19 Aug 2003 11:38:30 -0700

Taiwan Church News 2681, July 14-20, 2003
Reported by Li Yi-shin, Translated and rewritten by David Alexander

    "Getting the name right is only one step on the way.  Our ultimate goal
that the Sediq people can live out our existence as participants in the
Kingdom of God."  Wadan Chilo, the executive presbyter of the Sediq District
of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), addressed a July meeting of the
Association to restore and recognize the true name of his Aboriginal tribe.
    After 14 years of work to restore the name, tribal elderes formally
submitted a petitioln to the Executive Brnch of Taiwan's national government
last month.  The appeal to the government comes years after the PCT
the distinctiveness of the Sediq and granted their churches a measure of
self-government within the presbyterian system of church organization.	Until
that time the church, like the government today, regarded the Sediq as a
sub-group within the larger Tayal tribe.  Far from being a sub-group, the
Sediq are a distinct tribe with three sub-groups of their own (The Toda,
Tgadaya and Truku).
    Recognition of an official name means more than just adding a word to
everyone's vocabulary.	It signifies a cultural identity and carries an
educational duty.  Wadan Chilo quoted the Greek philosopher, Socrates, on the
need to "know yourself."  A group that lacks its own identity has severe
problems in self-understanding and family education.
    Understanding of a tribal history, culture and identity gives direction.
Wadan Chilo said, "Our name is foundational.  It identifies our position.
Future family, social and cultural education can be developed from this
distinctive self-understanding."
    Church people were not alone in the movement to restore the true name.
Nantou County cultural associations and aboriginal action groups, for their
own reasons, pushed things along.  Clergy  and churches hope that the
recognition of identity can extend to acceptance of nobility as God's
creation, and lead to the entire tribal group's coming to faith in Christ.
They envision their entire people as a nation of evangelists.

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