fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Tag: indigeneity

For What Can We Hope? Concrete Houses and Hopeful Indigeneity in ‘Amis Country

Where is This Stairway Going?        Nearby my residence in ‘Atolan, a Taiwanese Indigenous Communityon Taiwan’s East Coast, there is a simple, flat-roofed house. The house, constructed of steel bar reinforced concrete, resembles nearly any other solafo, or concrete slab, house you might see around this town, which perches on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean. Sand for mixing the concrete likely came from a stream mouth not too far north of here, and the house required no outside contractors: men who had worked construction abroad–some in Japan, others in Singapore or even the Arabian Peninsula–gathered to assist the house’s owners as they made their bold step into modernity. The family had previously lived in a bamboo and thatch house, as had their ancestors for generations. Most passersby do not give this flat-roofed house a second glance. But when you walk into the house, it is hard not to notice a staircase between the living room and kitchen.        As for the staircase? It waits for a future second floor.        In 1978, after three precarious years in Taiwan’s far ocean fishing fleet, the husband of the house’s owner finally returned home. Like most

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal