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Mayor Presides over 2020 Taipei Naruwan Cultural Festival Opening Event

Mayor pounding on millet mochi with other participantsOn November 7, Mayor Ko Wen-je presided the opening ceremony for the 2020 Naruwan Cultural Festival and Indigenous People’s Sports Meet in Taipei.
At the exhibition activity, the mayor joined several indigenous city council members in an endurance challenge consisting of carrying bamboo baskets, pounding with wooden mallet to make millet mochi, and racing 30 meters for a firsthand experience with competition categories.
During his address, the mayor noted that Taiwan boasts an open and diverse society. In the past, the common understanding is that the island’s population consist of 4 major ethnic groups – indigenous people, Southern Min, Hakka, and mainlanders. Now the theory adds a fifth group comprising a rapid-growing community of new immigrants. Regardless which theory people advocate, it is a fact that indigenous people are the native inhabitants of Taiwan, and he has always regarded the rich indigenous culture as an asset of Taiwan’s cultural heritage. Citing fashion design as an example, if Taiwan’s clothing design can integrate indigenous elements, he believes it will boost the international profile of Taiwan’s designs.
The mayor noted that in the interest of promoting indigenous culture, the city government established the Indigenous People’s Commission in 1996 and organized the Naruwan Cultural Festival in 2010. This year’s spotlight falls upon the tribes of Say-siyat, Thao, Kavalan, Sakizaya, Saaroa, and Kanakanavu. Throughout November, there will be indigenous culture-related activities every Saturday, starting with the family sport meet on the opening day. A concert featuring indigenous music is slated for November 14, as well as a major indigenous ritual on November 21 and a concert by the Taipei City Indigenous Peoples Choir on November 28.
Emphasizing that promoting indigenous culture has always been an important objective for city hall, Ko hopes to boost indigenous languages knowledge by increasing the cash incentives for intermediate-level certification in indigenous languages from NT$5,000 to NT$10,000, as well as advanced-level certification to NT$20,000 and master-level certification to NT$30,000. Language is an important foundation of culture, and the city government hopes to encourage more people to learn the tribal tongues to continue the legacy of indigenous culture.