Indigenous place names and disaster management: an ethno-physiographical study in the Tayal communities, Taiwan
Da-Wei Kuan (National Cheng-Chi University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper presents an ethno-physiographical study in Taiwan that reveals the value of indigenous ecological knowledge for disaster management in contemporary society.
Paper long abstract:
Ethno-physiography is an inter-disciplinary approach studying how different cultures perceive and conceptualize landscape. Such an approach provides a possibility for the dialogue between modern science and indigenous knowledge. Taking the Austronesia language speaking indigenous communities in Taiwan as example, this paper aims to reveal the application of ethno-physiographical information in contemporary disaster management. This paper is based on extensive ethnographic research in the Tayal indigenous communities in the mountain area of northern Taiwan. This paper: 1) retraces local environmental history and reveals the inappropriacy of current disaster management ruled by the government in this region; 2) explores the way Tayal indigenous people identify, categorize, interpret the landscape through the analysis of indigenous place names; 3) reveals the ecological philosophy behind and show how these knowledge can contribute to disaster management. In the end, this paper makes suggestions to the establishment of community-based disaster management regime that integrates indigenous knowledge in it.
Action-oriented ethnological/anthropological studies and the development of contemporary Taiwan indigenous society (TSAE panel)