Salizan is a young Bunun poet from Jhuosi Township of Hualien County, Taiwan. Having received his education in the dominant Han(Chinese) culture yet fearful of loosing his Bunun roots and language, Salizan turned to writing as a way to seek and pave the way home. In 2015, he returned to his home community Nakahila and launched ‘Bunch of Millet’. The realization of this studio was through collective effort of community members and a research team from National Dong Hwa University supported by the Humanity Innovation and Social Practice Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The community-University collaboration first manifested in a course where professors and students contributed to the inception of a community library with art intervention, space renovation, collecting books, wall paintings, and creative design of cultural products. Since then, the library-turned-studio, filled with various indigenous and literary works, has functioned as a community knowledge database voicing indigenous perspectives.
The renovation of the studio was completed in October 2015 and was celebrated with traditional Bunun ceremony known as ‘sharing pork and feast’. In January 2016, the studio obtain license as a publishing house. Since then, Salizan worked with elders and recorded Bunun myths, historical events, language, and cultural practices. Capturing the findings of extensive fieldwork in writings and publications, Salizan hopes to connect to and preserve the vanishing Bunun culture.
Tastubuqul tu maduq i malas-Bunun tu papatasanan
As the first residents of Taiwan, the indigenous peoples have had various political regimes forced upon us, during which our traditional cultures have been excluded or acculturated. Along with the international trend, countries around the world have begun to value different rights of indigenous peoples. Through the learning and documentation of cultures as well as publishing works in indigenous languages, Bunch of Millet Malas-Bunun Independent Publishing Studio seeks to invoke the meanings and values of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan by demonstrating our cultural rights.