Criminalizing Indigenous hunting and settler colonialism in Taiwan: Wei-Chieh Jarita Chen, Land is Life: Settler Colonial Governance of National Parks and Hunting in Taiwan, Honors dissertation, Macalester College, 2022


Abstract: This thesis situates Taiwan as a settler colonial state by examining the discourse around the governance of national parks and the criminalization of Indigenous hunting. Placed in the context of historical patterns of land dispossession and cultural genocide, these two issues represent the ongoing process of settler colonialism and the reproduction of settler colonial relations through environmentalism. I focus on the narratives around three case studies: the controversial and ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Maqaw National Park, the Tumpu Daingaz buluo’s struggle with the Yushan National Park, and the Tama Talum Indigenous hunting constitutional reinterpretation case. I argue that settler colonial framings of Indigenous/environmental issues enable the continued enactment of colonial relations and policies. Settler narratives and environmentalism perpetuate settler colonialism through what Métis scholar Max Liboiron explains as the assumption of access to Indigenous land, cultures, and knowledge. These cases are often framed as a progressive and benevolent government inclusion of Indigenous cultures and ecological knowledge. However, a settler colonial lens of analysis demonstrates that these moves of settler inclusivity serve to preserve settler legitimacy and futures in Taiwan while deeper contentions over Indigenous sovereignty remain unresolved. Indigenous voices within these stories reveal a throughline of ongoing resistance and resurgence, offering alternative understandings that center Indigenous land and life. While settler narratives portray and encourage limiting frameworks that prioritize settler interests, Indigenous narratives and activism expand the ways for Indigenous self-determination, futures, and land relations.

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