Taiwan indigenous culture featured in largest newspaper in Finland

Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Finland, features Taiwan's indigenous people in an article published on Feb. 27.  (Courtesy of Taipei Representative Office in Finland)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Finland, featured Taiwan’s indigenous people in an insightful article published on Feb. 27.  

The article introduces readers to the ethnic identity, language revival, tribal traditions, ecological wisdom, and gender issues of Taiwan’s indigenous people.  

The story is based on the story of Panay Kumod, whose parents are Amis and Bunun.  

The story begins with her walking all the way to the Bunun family house in the mountains from the parking lot of Yushan National Park in Yuli and walks to the Bunun family house in the mountain.  

Along the way, Panay Kumod, 38, told the story of the Bunun tribe in high mountains and how she decided to return to her homeland to learn from her family about Bunun’s traditional culture and mountains. 

The article vividly portrays the changes in Taiwan society and the history of the indigenous people, while it narrates the hopes of the indigenous people for the future.  

The report mentions that the indigenous people in Taiwan, who have their own culture and history, have experienced different regimes and unfair treatment in the past, even though their situations have gradually improved.  

The Taiwan government has invested a budget to support the cultural revitalization of indigenous peoples, promote ethnic language learning, and establish various guaranteed seats.    

The report said that there are less than 600,000 indigenous people in Taiwan, with a map depicting the geographical distribution of each indigenous tribe.  

Meanwhile, it explains that the indigenous people of Taiwan, which have a very deep historical and cultural relationship with the Maori of New Zealand, are part of the Austronesian people.  

Wasiq Silan, a Finland-based Tayal Ph.D. researcher in political science at the University of Helsinki, said in an interview with the Central News Agency that indigenous issues are not often seen in Finland’s mainstream media.  

According to her observation, this report has attracted Finnish readers’ attention and made more Finns know more about Taiwanese indigenous people and Taiwan.  

She said that the ethnic groups in Finland and Taiwan have experienced colonial rule and shared many similar but not identical dilemmas under the structure of modern and industrial society, which are worth exchanging and learning from each other.