Newspaper article China Post

New Indigenous Affairs Head Pledges to Promote Well-Being

Newspaper article China Post

New Indigenous Affairs Head Pledges to Promote Well-Being

Article excerpt

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's new indigenous affairs chief vowed to push policies to promote the well-being of Taiwanese aboriginals and a better understanding among young aboriginals of their heritage and culture.

Mayaw Dongi ([...]), minister of the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP, [...]), told The China Post during a recent interview that for decades, aboriginal people have faced a wide range of disadvantages in Taiwan.

Most of the indigenous people live in remote mountainous and rural areas, and therefore they have less working opportunities as people who live in the cities, the CIP minister said. Because of this, most of them choose to leave their tribes to seek jobs in cities.

Statistics show that there are currently 530,000 indigenous people in Taiwan and nearly half of them are living in cities instead of their hometowns in rural areas, he noted.

Mayaw Dongi, who was sworn in as the new CIP chief this August, said the CIP has for years pushed a series of measures to promote the well-being of these native Taiwanese.

Education and Jobs Top Priority

These measures and policies are mainly aimed at providing indigenous children in rural areas with high-quality education, offering job opportunities for indigenous people as well as fostering industries with competitive edges and potentials.

The 64-year-old Mayaw Dongi, who was born and raised in an eastern Taitung County Amis tribe, said he understands deeply how important education is to indigenous children.

"Only with proper education can children in the tribes learn the skills and gain the knowledge they need to excel in our highly competitive society," he noted.

Another main task for the CIP is to help Taiwanese aboriginals find jobs. The average unemployment rate for Taiwanese indigenous people is around 4.9 percent, which is slightly higher than the average rate which stands at 4.1 percent.

"We are hoping that with our latest policy, we can boost employment and lower the unemployment rate of our people," he said.

As a concrete move to increase job opportunities, the CIP has decided to launch measures fostering industries with competitive edges and potentials in indigenous tribes so that people don't have to leave their homes and seek jobs in the cities. …

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