August 9, 2020

Repatriation of indigenous remains to Bunun peoples.

Legislator Kolas Yotaka expressed that she received an invitation to attend Bunun Peoples’ (布農族人) “Repatriation of My Ancestors’ Remains Press Conference” but chose to leave the remarks for the people of the Kunuan Community (馬遠部落)to voice.

Kolas used her Facebook account to share the conditions and comments of the press conference live. She stated, “This is a solemn and melancholy occasion. Indigenous Peoples from other communities have no rights to make remarks.

It should be reserved for the Peoples of the Bunan Kunuan Community. At the same time, Kolas also strongly stated, “We are people, not animals.”

Taiwan National University (NTU) has more indigenous remains that have not been repatriated yet. This needs to be done immediately.

Kolas stated that the academic world should reflect on its practices, oftentimes blindly insisting on its purity and inability to ever violate academic freedom.

However, the controversy of Indigenous Peoples being the subjects of anthropology studies remains. After reading academic journals and relevant reports, Kolas found that other than the sixty-some sets of remains belong to the Kunuan Community, NTU still has over one hundred sets of remains belonging to Hualien and Taidong’s five different indigenous groups.

The willingness of NTU to face its dark history and repatriate the remains of Bunun ancestors so they can receive a proper reburial is a step in the right direction.

However, if there are even more indigenous remains locked up at NTU, the university must bravely confront its past practices.


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