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COMPASS MAGAZINE, May 2007.

Visiting the Rukai on the east coast

By Lishea Chen Translated by Sho Huang

When thinking of Rukai Aborigines (also called Taromak), one can't help but call to mind the better known WuTai Siang in Pingtung. However, this year, Rukai located on the east coast of Taiwan have been able to grab some of the attention. These tribe members have decided to move back and re-settle in Kapaliwa, their homeland. The migration included an ancestor-worshipping ceremony in 1996, land consolidation in 2000, and the construction of a Youth Hostel in 2002. More recently, in October 2006, the tribe's chief moved into a house that was specially built for him. World renowned primatologist Jene Goodall attended the grand moving-in ceremony, and promoted the conservation of primate habitats. She has also promised to come back when the Ancestor Worshipping House and other traditional structures are completed this year.
Kapaliwa is situated in a beautiful location, which faces impressive mountains in the front and a lovely lake in the back. In this Shangri-La-like paradise, one can savor delicious Aborigine food such as: wild vegetables cooked up with millet, Abey (a long sticky rice cake wrapped with bamboo leaf), bean soup, barbeeue mountain pigs, and Aborigine Green Grass Tea. The food here is so fresh that one can even get addicted to simple yams.

Beside the Youth Hostel and the chief's house, old ruins can still be seen scattered around the area. The variety of flora is so abundant that Kapaliwa Ecology Tours are planned to an April launch. The tours will combine sampling of tribal foods and entertainment, as well as experiencing cultural activities. The length of tours varies according to trip itineraries.
If you're interested in visiting Kapaliwa or simply experiencing Aborigine food and cultural events, you can either call NanDao (South Island) Collection Hall at (08) 923-7175 or visit the website, www.nature-an.com.tw. If you have a tight schedule, you can also try out the yummy Aborigine dishes at NanDao Collection Hall (286, BingLan Road, BeiNan Siang, Taitung County).

 

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