Indigenous Knowledge Construction and Experiential Learning of Taiwanese Aborigines

  •  Ying Lee    


Indigenous peoples in Taiwan belong to the Austronesian racial group. Confined to their oral language tradition, knowledge about Taiwan aborigines based on written documents reflected the positionality of dominant ethnic groups. This qualitative study employed participatory research approach to explore the process of producing their own knowledge through collective investigation of problems and issues among Taiwan aborigine tribal members in the Nantou region. Nantou is located in the central mountain range of Taiwan. The data were collected through participatory observation and interviewing 6 key research participants about their experiences of participating in this project. Two main findings are revealed from the analysis of these data. The first finding is the participants’ expectation of adult educators’ role as an information provider. They also expect adult educator as a facilitator for promoting the project to move towards a more empowering praxis and as a mediator for attracting external attention on indigenous voices.  The second finding is that minority’s experiences are always a site of struggle and central to this struggle is the reconfiguration of ‘ethnicity’ which is rooted in socio-cultural context. Taking account of context, experience might be distorted while experiential learning can be stigmatizing, in that learners can become un-reflective prisoners of their experience. However, experience certainly has the potential of liberating marginalized learners. The findings implied the importance of the socio-cultural context of situated ‘experience’. This insight suggests that ‘power’ can be renegotiated to challenge and eventually change the structure of the socio-cultural context.

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