TAIPEI–The Cabinet on Thursday approved the official recognition of the Hla’alua (拉阿魯哇) and Kanakanavu (卡那卡那富) as Taiwan’s 15th and 16th aboriginal tribes, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) announced in Taipei.
During a ceremony featuring performances from the two tribes from the southern city of Kaohsiung, Jiang extended his congratulations for their recognition as distinct groups.
The Hla’alua and Kanakanavu were previously grouped into the larger Tsou tribe native to southern and central Taiwan, but have their own languages, social organization, religion and customs.
The two groups, which have about 400 and 550 members, respectively, filed an application to be recognized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples in 2012.
The Cabinet approved the proposals earlier Thursday, citing the spirit of cultural diversity and the principle of respecting each indigenous group’s will to independent identification, Jiang said.
The premier noted that other indigenous groups are seeking recognition, pledging that the Executive Yuan will evaluate their applications based on the same principles.
Taiwan’s indigenous tribes have lived on the island since as long as 15,000 years before Han settlers from China arrived in the 17th Century.
The 14 other indigenous tribes recognized by the central government are the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou and Yami tribes.