The Atayal people are Taiwan’s second-largest indigenous group. Their culture is under threat, but Chen Peng-ling is keeping it alive with tourism-related projects.
The Atayal and other indigenous peoples in Taiwan were first persecuted by European colonizers, then by Chinese settlers, then by Japanese occupiers and after 1949 by the Kuomintang government. Three years ago, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen apologized to the indigenous peoples for the discrimination they had faced for centuries. Today, most young Atayal live in big cities and are unaware of their people’s traditional culture and language. This was the same for Chen Peng-ling too, but studying geography in Taipei she found out more about her roots. She decided to go back to the ancestral home where she has been campaigning to revive the traditions and culture of the Atayal ever since. A report by Uwe Schwering.