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Yami

1. Bilateral Lineal Relationships

Traditionally, the Yami (Tao) people called their clan a zipus. This clan is a support group that takes care of the children of every family member and help one another in weddings, funerals, building houses, shipbuilding, land cultivation, logging, pollical alliances, and war. Zipus develops parallel relations with each parent’s lineage, with the closest relations maintained among the siblings and sibling-in-laws; and then the children and their spouses of the parents’ siblings.

2. Marriage System and Family

The Yami (Tao) people are patrilineal, and parents live with their unmarried children. They practice monogamy, and the girl will move to the boy’s family after they fall in love. After adapting to each other, they develop a steady relationship. Tao people usually marry within the same tribe. Today, in addition to cross-tribe marriage, the number of cross-ethnicity marriages have increased.

3. Co-working Group

While members help one another and share resources at work, the co-working group is an important group in daily life. In Yami (Tao) society, there are three co-working groups: the Fishing Boat, Millet Farming, and Irrigation. As time has gone by, the traditional Millet Farming Group has been extinguished, and the Fishing and Irrigation Groups have declined, giving rise to the Fishing Net Working Group. The Kakavay (Fishing Group) is formed based on a 10-passenger ship, and includes Fishing Boat Groups of 8-passenger and 6-passenger ships. Members of a Fishing Boat Group are clansmen who build ships and make nets together. At the Flying Fish Festival, they hold the ritual together and share the catch. Although not many Yami (Tao) people catch the flying cod with traditional big ships today, the fishing boat group is still respected and continues to exist. Tsitsipunan, the Millet Farming Group, was formed to grow millet. Each Millet Farming Group included all male adults within the same patrilineal group. Members of the Millet Farming Group grew millet and held rituals together and shared the yield (harvest). Today, millet fields are grown by individual families, and the Millet Farming Group has declined. The Irrigation Group is formed by owners of the irrigation canals. They work together only when they need to dig or repair canals. Today, irrigation canals are built with durable cement or plastic pipes, reducing the frequency of canal building and repairing and the time and opportunity for members to get and work together. In recent years, the Yami (Tao) people have formed the Fishing Net Group to share fishing nets and the catch.

4.The Yami (Tao) people call a tribe an “ili”. The “ili” is formed by people with geographical and lineal relationships. However, they do not have a specific chief or political leader. Public issues are discussed by the elders of all families, and decisions are made through the directorial system. The village head established according to the present system is called the panikudan in the Yami (Tao) language.