I met and interesting Bolivian doctor student, he wrote and article that mentioned ontological obedience which really fits my own description. I have been anticipating in social movement on the street but also working in the tribe at the same time. I have also been having hard time adjusting and having difficulties very recently when I just returned from the system. I am thinking that I am an activist scholar, which is an scholar of activism, but having a rebellious character, which is called ontological obedience, the disobedience of the core value. My own actions not only in the minute details, but at the back of the whole. In fact, these rebellious ideas have been hiding in the munden? daily life, like the “banality of evil” everyone is well versed. As if we are combating a theory master, we are followers most of the time in fact due to the banality and ignorance of use indigenous have so many battles to fight. Then, most of the battles were lost, victory finally arrive, but so what? There are other fights.
For examle, indigenous people have been treated as a reaserch topic, and lingustic is one of the filed. There’s 16 languages, 16 linguestic experts. Now we finally trained our people into linguastic experts, bu they cannot leave their own tribesmen. To linguists, every ethnic group is a raw material for study, their initial interests in research are not salvaging. We look at education, anthropology, sociology, religion, history, and I myself geography, which are all indigenous related. It is all performance of a group of experts regardless of crafts, arts, musics, and dances, and it is essentially a hall of mirror.
Just as researchers are in Lanyu everyday, every of them has to zoom in for a topic due to time frame and budgets. You can realize we have as many resrech topics as many fields there are, and each topic is a mirror of Lanyu island. They leave Taiwan for Lanyu and see what they want to see. I study crafts, so I go to the Tatala, or I am an zoologists, so I study their fish, and these all varies, but they all entered a hall of mirror.
A building with wall full of mirrors, you only see yourself in the middle of it, but not actually seeing anything. Not to mention you brought your own language and self proclaimed expertise into this research. You are prioritized, but not overcoming the differences in languages. They are to the outsideworld, authority of languages, authority of religious, authority of anthropology, and published everywhere.
A Hawaiian doctor told me, the more you research the less you(the researched, indigenous peoples) get. He may not be intentional, in fact, he does not care at all. The reason I have been forced to be an activists is, the battle of dissertation is not like on the street, our opponents are so called masters, may be a professor in a famous school, or a director of a governmental organization.
For example, since more than a decade ago, we started to study the so called indigenous science. However, some mainstream studies still carry stereotypes particularly on indigenous education research, consider you indigenous kids are not good in math, physics, so they are always at the last section of the class. Or, even lowering the average sores of the whole class, the entire school, and this is discrimination. Many had studied cranial capacity and intelligence to tell you how to study math and science.
There assumption is, you must learn the way of Newton from the west, but we have choices, we support our own culture, so we are not smart enough? We must make ways to through other solutions to learn, and to resolve. In all kinds of courses, no matter it is math, physics, or geography, we must teach in our ways, and teach more like us.
The indigenous knowledge is also connected, it’s rich, full-scaled, not just only bowmaking, trap making, crafts, and weaving that we treated as ordinary crafts, it is very deep in cultural context underneath. When they say that learning scientific theory needs high context in response of cultural sensitivity, so they apply familiar elements and materials, even learning all these in the tribes. What is the reason placing western or Taipei ways in Lanyu? Why do not design a way of learning Tatala based on Tao knowledge for everyone?
This kind of rserach cannot be done in six years for researchers. Why? Because they could never enter the tribes, can never realize. I teach in school, have to write report of indigenous people, the sources are often from the library, but what can you find in the library? Regarless of sources from the internet or the books, they are all researches from the previous people. All of those are second handed information whether from Japanese period or post-war. It is beacise they happened to be chinese or Japanese, but the original version of this knowledge, its speakers were Tao people and spoken in Tao, or the person translated it, tranlated by others. Through the process of translation, there are something missing at the same time.
The original version of the knowledge is missed, and you have no idea what the translation process was. On the other hand, we have additional 25% bonus in test is not due to low cranial capacity, but differences in cultures. Learning these differences of our original language culture affects the whole, and due to the differences in languages, we probably cannot even understand the question. Yet, you found out that the theories and principles can be understood, but just cannot be elaborated in this language, so we must build a way to learn this science originated from the indigenous knowledge.
Let us get back to the science education, even if we change the courses into a much suitable model for indigenous people, often this researcher is based on one school, and usually teaches a class for one class, maybe 35 hours a week, and one single course. However, this researcher would be satisfied with this, because this produce papers and studies. It is genreally good, but if it cannot spread and reach other territory, it may not be. It is still incapable of challenging the system and the structure, and still trapped within. This is colonialism and systematic assimilation in education when I viewed as a result.
When you get to the tribe, you would almost kneel and cry if you heard kids speaking indigenous languages. Whether at schools or tribes, I almost did. Now I almost do if the parents speaks indigenous languages, not just kids. Is this not murder caused by education? With a group of supporters, this is banality, they think the education is good. If not so, do our languages still continue to exist? So whenever I said so, it’s not just towards the content of the courses, but a philosophical discourse of the education as a whole.
I think of Maori education philosophy. First of all, there’s only six rules. The first one is self-determination, which essentially is self determined autonomy. Remember why the prime minister of Australia apologized? The lost generation more than a hundred years ago, but why? Because he thought it was right back then, but, looking back after a century….
Are not us doing this right now? They sent all the kids to the school, but totally disconnected to the tribes and surrounding cultures inside of the walls. It’s not untill one to two decades ago, there was one class of mother languages, but all the professors are teaching in mainstream westernaized ways. What is our challenge here? It is our entire pedagogy, we have to build an indigenous pedagogy. Cou pedagogy for example, is Cou’s philosophy and imagination towards human beings.
I thought of Seediq Bale, what does it mean to be a real seediq? One cannot only be just speaking Chinese, but are not able to speak Seediq? When one is both Truku ethnic and a civilian, does the connotation of both educations become the main body? The unique mode of methodology in education no longer limit just within classroom. In fact, there are many living insects, birds, and wild animals nearby, also plants. But you want them to study by the book, which traditional indigenous people douno? which plant is which? One knows every single plants, but we do want them to learn like that. Instead, we lock one in a class room, and do a test at the end with only a passing mark.
I remember when I was in junior high, I was in the mountain aborigine class. Our score had a twenty percent bonus, which means pass at forty. For music, we shared with normal classes together. At the end, they had scored ninety, and we didn’t pass because we did not understand music theory. In addition, we are the singing choir of the school, champion of the county, even seven counties. What’s the purpose of music education? Definitely to like music, singing, how could it be for test? I have the first hand experience in the past. When you meet a Tao ethnic, how would you teach? When you met a Turuku person killing wild animals and eat the organs, how would you teach? No teachers have this kind of training,
Altogether to make you teach them other else, like them you can be happy, soon you can reach your life goal. This difficult circumstances requires never ending battles, to fight the banal followers constantly, so we can be ourselves. Just say it, just do it.
We start to speak our languages, whether you can or not, just speak it to make it alive. Or else this many works you have wrote, granduates or doctors dissertations, they are still dead. Those are museum stuff, unless you speak it every where else, this is what we need to do.
At last we need to decide for our future, we need to obtain autonomy, in research and education. However it is not to go against it, which I previously did intentionally. In fact many of the mian stream society agree so, and this in response like the Maori. Their first principle is that we have to be independent and to self dictate.
If indigenous people do not gather up, we will be incapable to negotiate with experts and scholars of all fields and realms. Indigenous around the world start having a dialogue in between indigenous knowledge and western science, is in fact a strategic division.
But basically, our past clonial history consider themselves advantageous and superior, and us who were colonized are underprivileged and disadvantaged, which is negative. So, that is a long and historical stereotype, especially the latest economically prospered and capitalized west which centralized itself to view this world, or in other word, to oppress this world.
On the contrary, there is a reverse trend of globalization, which is a niche and unconventional life style.
This developmentism? is in fact a scourge for every nativity, local culture, and diversities globally. There are people begin to think from indigenous perspective, but it seems that indigenous people have been colonized for so long that cannot change, and still seeking resources within the system, in which I think still cannot rid of the system, so that why we have to gather up.
This full body of knowledge, seperated into a piece for education, a piece for politics, a piece of religious, a piece for geography, and a piece for history to resreach individually, and not to care its relation with other disciplene. It is just a part of a full scale ethnic knowledge which is striped away form its course as its reconcilliation, and it is not intergration. In between mainstream and indigenous knowledge, it must be certain that indigenous existence and subjectivity are there, because especially for indigenous people, one has rights to ensure the precious value.
This is not purely footed in the knowledge level, but has to mean something to someone. In short, reconciliation is between knowledge and people. Currently, the Cou school are prodominantly non-cou people, with a principle who is not cou, most teachers are not Cou, including one Bunun principle. They runs this experimental Cou school without a concpet, and it is hard to imagine. This is foundamentally not Cou. However, his attitude tells me they are deeply interested, and enthusiastic in passing down traditional Cou culture. Through this experimental school, they are able to extend the single mother language class into a ten to fourteen cultural courses.
Indigenous languages and cultures? in the 108 curriculum is only limited in civil, historical, and geological fields, which is far from satisfactory. Its addition is sparse. In fact, you will not be able to see a full culture in this curriculum. It is pieced together, and not capable of piecing a living tribe’s men recognition, which is very limited. All in all, it is for the main stream society, what we want is a curriculum for each and every ethnic.
Presiednt Tsai mentioned that indigenous people can have their own curriculum, so our Cou people’s education system must have Cou curriculum as well as civil knowledge. These two knowledge systems are organic and synergetic. Both educations originated from high context culture, not only lecturing indigenous language, but also Chinese, and English with a singular style. Its effect is not just as one plus one, but also able to exert unimaginable creativity and life forces, and that is what we need.
Who can teach this fabulous course? No one, we need a new program for new teachers, our current one is old and out dated. One set for middle school, another for primary school, and another for kindegraten. When you look into the forty credits of kindergarten, there is none for indigenous course, same as primary and secondary school, there is none, we need to change it.
The problem with tecahers is that they only participate in three-day span, two-hour long workshop. It is not helpful with this little nourishment. The twelve-year compulsory education need a continuous program for teachers. Most indigenous should not get rid of this responsibility?, but who else? So we also need to welcome non-indigenous personnel to participate in.
We must recognize our own existence, thus the possibility of diversified existence can take place in indigenous language culture. If we do not concern our own language and culture and stil advocating for diversity, that would be hypocritical. With pre existing condition, the society it located within can be diversed. We focus on the existence of the multi-culture, and what we do is essentially the root.