Monday, September 09, 2013

Austronesian Connections

On September 9th, the Chamorro Studies program will be hosting a meeting with representatives from the Hualien Tribal College in Eastern Taiwan. While I was in Taiwan in July I got to visit Hualien and spend some time in the Taroko Valley there. One thing I noticed about Hualien as opposed to Taipei was that there was a visible presence to the aboriginal Taiwanese there. Native figures were used in advertisements, there were signs at certain places indicating that this area was a native preserve and it was not open to the public. Aborigines in brightly colored clothes were even available for picture taking for a small fee.

I don't know much about the Hualien Tribal College, but my communications with them have gone well and others have told me that they are doing good work in Taiwan. I am excited for the presentation tomorrow. If anyone reading this is available it will take place at UOG, in the HSS Building, Room 304 at 2 pm.

My excitement doesn't only extend to the presentation tomorrow, but to a larger project that I am working on with Professor Jimmy Huang, who is a Native Taiwanese, Siraya to be exact. He is relatively new faculty at UOG, but has shown a great interest in Chamorro language revitalization projects and Chamorro Studies. Siraya is a sleeping language as he likes to say, meaning that it became dormant many years ago, but him and others are working to wake it up.

We are hoping to create an Austronesian student exchange program where native students from Guam and Taiwan will be able to travel and experience the culture and islands of other Austronesians. We are hoping by the end of the year to have this network in place, we've already had preliminary conversations in Taiwan and will be working on the UOG side this semester.

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