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AIT Director William Brent Christensen Visits CIP Minister Icyang Parod to Discuss International Exchanges Between Indigenous Communities

  • 更新時間:2021/04/20 11:51:00

March 24, 2021—American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Brent Christensen paid a visit to Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Minister Icyang Parod today. This marked the first CIP visit from an incumbent AIT director and a significant milestone for Indigenous exchanges between Taiwan and the United States.

To welcome Mr. Christensen, the CIP presented him with a gift set comprising Taiwanese Indigenous crafts. The centerpiece was a colorful yet guileless Payuan-style glass bead ornament, which is commonly treated as a family heirloom by the Payuan poeple. According to Mr. Icyang, this valuable gift is a token of the CIP’s eagerness and best wishes for the bilateral relationship between Taiwanese and American Indigenous communities. Mr. Icyang himself helped Mr. Christensen into an ’alofo, an Amis-style hand-crafted ribbon sash, a gesture of friendship in the Amis tradition. Mr. Icyang expressed hopes that the AIT can help propel Indigenous industries onto the international stage through the taking of necessary actions to show support for Indigenous cultural and creative industries.

Mr. Icyang added that since its establishment, the CIP has always put an emphasis on staying in line with international standards in ensuring the development of Indigenous rights. Mr. Icyang pointed to the Austronesian Forum as evidence, whose reactivation in 2018 led by Taiwan garnered the support of Pacific island countries, and also saw non-state members Guam and the state of Hawaii joining in the same year. Last December, a study published by Taiwanese archaeologist Hung Hsiao-chun and her international research team sourced the ancestry of Guam residents to the Amis people in Taiwan. Because Guam is a territory of the United States and a member of the Austronesian Forum, Mr. Icyang, who also serves as chair of the forum’s Executive Council, took this opportunity to formally extend a membership invitation to the United States.

Mr. Icyang concluded the visit by reaffirming the consensus between the AIT and CIP, stating that both the Taiwanese and the American governments attach great importance to the economic development of Indigenous peoples, particularly the cultivation of female entrepreneurs and helping Indigenous women gain financial independence. Mr. Icyang further promised that the CIP will continue to work alongside the AIT to support female entrepreneurship and strengthen the economic and commercial ties between Indigenous peoples of Taiwan and the United States.