Young Atayal woman’s quest to revive indigenous culture and traditions of her people in Taiwan

Taiwan’s Atayal people are the second-largest indigenous group on the East Asian island.

The Atayal and other indigenous peoples in Taiwan were first persecuted by European colonisers, then by Chinese settlers. Japan, during its 50-year colonial rule of the island up to 1945, pushed through Japanese-language education and promoted “Japanisation”. And after 1949, the Atayal were then persecuted by the Kuomintang government.

Indigenous people account for around 2% of Taiwan’s estimated population of 23.6 million. The Atayal, who originally lived by hunting in the mountains and were known as fierce fighters, are now scattered across many parts of Taiwan.

Today, most young Atayal live in big cities and are unaware of their people’s traditional culture and language.

In the above documentary, DW News meets young Atayal Chen Peng-ling, who after studying geography in Taipei decided to find out more about her roots.

Chen Peng-ling decided to go back to the ancestral home where she has been campaigning to revive the traditions and culture of the Atayal ever since.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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