Sakizaya people

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Sakuzaya
Sakizaya (撒奇萊雅族)
Formosan Distribution en.png
The map shows the locations of each Taiwanese aboriginal tribes on Taiwan. The purple in the eastern site with the title Sakizaya is where this tribe is.
Total population
est. 5,000–10,000.[1]
Regions with significant populations
Hualien, Keelung, Taoyuan, New Taipei
Languages
Mandarin, Sakizaya, Formosan languages
Religion
Ancestor Worship, Animism, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Amis, Kavalan, other Taiwanese aborigines

The Sakizaya (native name: Sakuzaya, literally "real man"; Chinese: 撒奇萊雅族; Hanyu Pinyin: Sāqíláiyǎ; Tongyong Pinyin: Sacíláiyǎ; occasionally Sakiraya or Sakidaya) are Taiwanese Aborigines with a population of approximately 5,000–10,000. They primarily live in the counties of Keelung, Taoyuan, and New Taipei, as well as on Hualien (formerly known as Chilai or Kiray), where their culture is centered.

The Sakizaya are an Austronesian people, mostly related to other Taiwanese Aborigines and have cultural, linguistic, and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as those from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Oceania. Though their language is their most defining feature; it has not been recognized as a "true language" but simply a dialect of Amis, even though the languages are not grammatically similar.

The Sakizaya traditionally practiced ancestor worship, which includes the worship of a pantheon of gods and ancestral spirits. However, most have converted to Christianity. Their society is mostly matrilinear, and women often have the authority. On January 17, 2007, the tribe satisfied the Taiwanese government's requirements for full tribal status. Before this, the tribe was previously classified as Amis, the tribe where they "hid" after they, and their Kavalan allies, fought a devastating battle against Qing invaders during the late 19th century.

History[edit]

Due to their intermingling within other tribes, the original genetic identity of the Sakizaya is uncertain. According to one study, they are intimately related to the Northern and Middle Amis.[2] They also seem to share certain genetic traits with other tribal groups, as well as with the Taiwanese Han,[2] though this may have been a result of intermarriage.[2] The C2 and C3 haplogroups are absent in their population.[2]

Early history[edit]

Much of the history of the Sakizaya is unknown. It is unclear when the Sakizaya, or their ancestors, first arrived in Taiwan. According to some experts, the first human inhabitants of the island arrived 15,000 years ago and were dependent on marine life for survival.[3] Neolithic peoples began arriving 6,000 years ago, which allowed the advent of agriculture, domestic animals, polished stone adzes, and pottery.[3] The presence of these adzes imply a relation with the Penghu islands, where these objects are common.[3]

Taiwanese Aborigines
Taiwanese aboriginese deerhunt1.png
Hunting Deer (捕鹿), 1746
General information
  • Total population
2009: 499,500 (GIO 2009)
2004: 454,600 (CIP 2004)
  • Homelands in Taiwan
    • Mountainous terrain running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island
    • Narrow eastern plains
    • Orchid Island (Lán Yǔ)
  • Languages
14 living Formosan languages. Several of these are endangered or moribund.
Tribes
Gaoshan and Pingpu
  • With rare exceptions, the living languages and recognized tribes are of the Gaoshan (highland) tribes, who reside in the first two of the three regions given above. The extinct languages and unrecognized tribes are generally of the Pingpu (lowland), who formerly resided in the western plains region. The Tao people (or Yami) reside on Orchid Island, are a recognized tribe and speak a living (albeit endangered) language.


Colonial era[edit]

The first contact with the tribe outside of Formosa occurred during the 17th century, when the Dutch and the Spanish arrived.[4] It was during this time when a 1636 Spanish document was written about the name and activities of the people.[5] Since then, there were not any reports of external contact until the 19th century.

Karewan Incident[edit]

In 1878, the Sakizaya, and their Kavalan allies, fought a devastating battle against Qing invaders.[6] This event ended in disaster for the both tribes causing many of their tribesmen to be slaughtered in an event called the "Takobowan Incident"[4] (also known as the “Galeewan Incident”[7] or “Kalyawan Battle”).[2] Others were displaced by Han settlers.[7] The remaining Sakizaya, meanwhile, were forced to blend with other tribes, such as the Ami, with the intention of protecting their identity.[1]

When the Japanese ruled Taiwan in 1895, anthropologists classified the tribe as a sub-group of the Amis.[8] The tribe, however, discreetly maintained their own culture and language which continued during the next century.[1]

Modern times[edit]

In 2004, the tribe presented a petition for official tribal status to the Council of Indigenous Peoples based on historical, linguistic and cultural data.[9] This was officially filed on October 14, 2005.[10] Eventually, the petition was approved on January 17, 2007, recognizing them as a tribal group.[9][11]

Like other Taiwanese Aborigines, the Sakizaya face contemporary social and economic challenges.[12] These include urbanization of the youth, a phenomenon that may affect their culture.[13]

Language[edit]

The Sakizaya speaks a language classified as a dialect of Nataoran Amis,[14][15] a Formosan language that belongs to the Austronesian language family.[14] However, the National Chengchi University has stated that it remains 60–70 percent different from the Amis language despite the two groups living together.[5] Currently, there are about 2,000 speakers of the language.[5]

The tribe also speaks several other languages. These include languages spoken by the tribes where they have hidden such as Amis,[5] and Mandarin, the official language of the country.[16]

Religion[edit]

The Sakizaya practice a variety of religions. These include traditional beliefs that mixes aspects of ancestor worship and animism.[17] Some may also practice Christianity.[18]

The traditional religious beliefs of the Sakizaya are currently experiencing external pressures since many of the tribesmen may have converted to Christianity.[18] The threat is heightened by the increasing importance of Christianity to the community.[18]

Ancestor worship/animism[edit]

Dito[edit]

The tribe is known to practice ancestor worship.[5] They believe on a pantheon of ancestral spirits and deities known as dito, similar to the kawas of the Amis,[17] as well as the anito of the Filipinos. They are considered to be "fickle as the weather"[17] so priests or mapalaway are necessary to communicate with them.[17] They are invisible to most people though they are known to wear red.[17] Several beliefs are associated with these spirits, such as pregnancy and death.[17] The homeland of the dito is Meilun Mountain in Hualien, which is also the place where the deceased pass through before finally resting in the sea.[17]

Gods and rituals[edit]

The Sakizaya have several gods. A few examples include Malataw‧Otoki, the deity the spirit of the world, Olipong, the god that "drives away illnesses", and Talaman or Takonawan, the god of the poor.[17] An individual's personal dito become the god of death once they have died.[17]

Rituals are practiced to appease the dito[17] and often mimic rituals performed by other Austronesian peoples.[19] The practice of these are dictated according to the seasons: spring or pasavaan, summer or ralod, fall or sadinsing, and winter or kasinawan.[19] An example of these is the Palamal or the "Worship of the Fire God".[4]

According to a Japanese document, several rituals are associated with the main staples, millet or havay and dry rice or tipus.[19] These included the "Millet Sowing Ritual", "Fishing Ritual", "Collecting Ritual", "Harvest Ritual", and "Storing Ritual", which are all based on the growth of the millet.[19]

Christianity[edit]

Another religion practiced by some Sakizaya is Christianity. The religion first arrived in Formosa during the age of European colonization. Its formal arrival occurred in 1627, during the arrival of Georgius Candidius, the first ordained minister to set foot on the island.[20] According to this missionary, the conversion of the natives was effective.[20] The conversion was so successful that native clergymen soon became a necessity.[20] This success, however, was short-lived since Christians faced persecution after the arrival of the Chinese.[20] It was not until late in the 20th century when this religion began to achieve its resurgence.[18]

Currently, almost 70 percent of Taiwanese Aborigines practice Christianity,[18] though the exact number of Sakizaya practicing this religion is uncertain. The religion has become effective in maintaining social unity,[18] which has been held by traditional practices.

Society and culture[edit]

Only a few aspects of the Sakizaya's society and culture have been revealed. It is known that they have a matrilinear society. Women often have the authority in the household.[13]

In terms of survival, fishing and hunting are important.[13] Rice cultivation also forms a significant aspect of their food production. This practice is thought to have been acquired through the Kavalan.[13] Millet is important as a food source and as a way in determining the occasions of festivals.[13]

Golden robes are usually worn by important tribal leaders during special celebrations.[4] Headhunting was once prevalent[21] but has fallen out of practice.[22]

The culture of the Sakizaya is under threat due to the small but steady urbanization of Sakizaya youth.[13] Efforts to preserve their culture have been initiated by the government,[23] which believes this could be beneficial to ecotourism.[23]

Age-class systems[edit]

According to Japanese researchers, Sakizaya men are divided into age-class systems, known as sral, where they stay for about five years.[13] Between infancy and 15 years of age, boys are classed into the child class or wawa.[13] They soon participate in a ritual known as Masatrot and are trained in a youth-house or talaon, where they learn to obey orders as well as certain commands.[13] Once they accomplished this, they would move to the preparatory youth class or kapah and stay there until they are 23 years of age, when they finally reach the superior class.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Taiwan recognises 'lost' people. BBC News. Retrieved on January 19, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e A comparative study of Sakizaya and Amis in Hualien by mitochondrial DNA sequences analysis (abstract). Li-huang Tsai. Retrieved on March 2, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Rolett, Barry V., Jiao, Tianlong & Lin, Gongwu (2002). "Early seafaring in the Taiwan Strait and the search for Austronesian origins." Journal of Early Modern History. 4.1:307–319.
  4. ^ a b c d Sakizaya becomes the 13th indigenous group. Taiwan Journal. Published on January 26, 2007. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e The Secret's Out. Taiwan Review. Published on April 4, 2007. Retrieved on May 5, 2007
  6. ^ Faure, David. 2003. 'Mountain Tribes Before Japanese Occupation', in ed. David Faure, In Search of The Hunters and Their Tribes, SMC Publishing Inc. Taipei. May 4, 2007. pp. 19–21
  7. ^ a b Sakizaya Geographic Distribution. Taiwanese Council of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved on February 28, 2008
  8. ^ Taiwan officially recognizes the Sakizaya as a tribe. Pinyin News. Retrieved on January 19, 2007
  9. ^ a b Sakizaya ratified as thirteenth indigenous tribe. The China Post Vol. XLI, No.18,5484. p.19. Retrieved on January 17, 2007
  10. ^ Tribe wants official recognition. Taiwan Times. Retrieved on June 1, 2007
  11. ^ Taiwan officially recognizes the Sakizaya as a tribe. Pinyin News. Retrieved on May 1, 2008
  12. ^ Hsu, Mutsu (1991). "Culture, Self and Adaptation: The Psychological Anthropology of Two Malayo-Polynesian Groups in Taiwan". Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. ISBN 957-9046-78-6.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sakizaya Cultural Feature. Taiwanese Council of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved on February 28, 2008
  14. ^ a b Amis, Nataoran: A language of Taiwan. Ethnologue. Published in 2005. Retrieved on June 1, 2007
  15. ^ Tokyo University Linguistic Papers Vol. 13 : Abstracts. Tokyo University. Retrieved on June 1, 2007
  16. ^ Taiwan People. CIA Factbook. Retrieved on June 11, 2007
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sakizaya Religion and Belief. Taiwanese Council of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved on February 28, 2008
  18. ^ a b c d e f Stainton, Michael (2006). "Hou Shan/Qian Shan Mugan: Categories of Self and Other in a Tayal Village" in Yeh Chuen-Rong (ed.) History, Culture and Ethnicity: Selected Papers from the International Conference on the Formosan Indigenous Peoples. Taipei: SMC Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-957-30287-4-1
  19. ^ a b c d Sakizaya Rituals and Legend. Taiwanese Council of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved on February 28, 2008
  20. ^ a b c d Formosa under the Dutch, Described From Contemporary Records, 2nd Edition
  21. ^ Hsu, Mutsu (1991). "Culture, Self and Adaptation: The Psychological Anthropology of Two Malayo-Polynesian Groups in Taiwan." Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. ISBN 957-9046-78-6. pp.29–36
  22. ^ Montgomery-McGovern, Janet B. (1922). Among the Head-Hunters of Formosa. Boston: Small Maynard and Co. Reprinted 1997, Taipei: SMC Publishing. ISBN 957-638-421-4
  23. ^ a b Anderson, Christian (2000). "New Austronesian Voyaging: Cultivating Amic Folk Songs for the International Stage" in David Blundell (ed.), Austronesian Taiwan: Linguistics, History, Ethnology, Prehistory. Taipei: SMC Publishing