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Amis people

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The Amis Chinese: 阿美族; pinyin: āměi-zú; also Ami or Pangcah are an indigenous people of Taiwan They speak Amis, an Austronesian language, and are one of the sixteen officially recognized peoples of Taiwanese aborigines The traditional territory of the Amis includes the long, narrow valley between the Central Mountains and the Coastal Mountains Huatung Valley, the Pacific coastal plain eastern to the Coastal Mountains and the Hengchun Peninsula

In 2014, the Amis numbered 200,6041 This was approximately 371% of Taiwan's total indigenous population, making them the largest indigenous group2 The Amis are primarily fishermen due to their coastal location They are traditionally matrilineal3 Traditional Amis villages were relatively large for indigenous groups, typically between 500 and 1,000 In today's Taiwan, the Amis also comprise the majority of "urban aboriginals" and have developed many urban communities all around the island In recent decades, Amis have also married exogamously to Han as well as other indigenous people4


  • 1 Identity and classification
  • 2 Other information
  • 3 Notable Amis people
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Identity and classificationedit

The Amis people generally identify themselves as Pangcah, which means "human" or "people of our kind" Nonetheless, in today's Taiwan, Amis is much more frequently used This name comes from the word amis, meaning "north" There is still no consensus in the academic circle how "Amis" came to be used to address the Pangcah One supposition is that it was originally used by the Puyuma to call the Pangcah, as the Pangcah lived to the north of them Another supposition holds that those who lived in the Taitung Plain called themselves "Amis" because their ancestors had come from the north The later explanation is recorded in the Banzoku Chōsa Hōkokusho,5 indicating this might originate from what is classified by anthropologists as Falangaw Amis, the Amis group located from today's Chenggong to the Taitung Plain Their closest genetic relative appears to be the Filipinos67

According to Taiwanese Aboriginal History: Amis, the Amis are classified into five groups:

  • Northern group located on the Chihlai/Hualien Plain
  • Middle group located west to the Coastal Mountains
  • Coastal group located east to the Coastal Mountains
  • Falangaw group located Chenggong and the Taitung Plain
  • Hengchun group located on the Hengchun Peninsula

Note that such classification, however widely accepted, is merely based on the geographical distribution and ethnic migration It does not match the observed differences in culture, language, and physiques

Other informationedit

Amis Folk Center

Family affairs including finance of the family are decided by the female householder, in the Ami tradition Not many people may have seen the Ami, but many people may have heard the Ami The musical project Enigma used an Ami chant in their song "Return to Innocence" in their second album, The Cross of Changes This song was the theme song of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics The main chorus of it was sung by Difang Chinese name Kuo Ying-nan and his wife, Igay Chinese name Kuo Hsiu-chu, part of a Taiwanese aboriginal cultural performance group Maison des Cultures du Monde recorded their singing while they were on tour and released a CD, which was subsequently used by Enigma without mentioning the ethnic origin of the song and the singers The case was later settled out of court Ami singing is known for its complex contrapuntal polyphony

The most important traditional ceremony is the Harvest Festival The Ami's Harvest festival is to show the people's thanks and appreciations to the gods and to pray for harvest in the next coming year It takes place every July to September8

Notable Amis peopleedit

  • Icyang Parod, Minister of Council of Indigenous Peoples
  • Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, member of Legislative Yuan
  • Sufin Siluko, member of Legislative Yuan
  • Mayaw Dongi, Minister of Council of Indigenous Peoples 2013-2016
  • Chang Chen-yue, singer
  • Difang and Igay Duana, husband-and-wife folk music duo
  • Van Fan, singer, actor
  • Jam Hsiao, singer
  • Ehlo Huang, actor and member of pop group 183 Club
  • Li Tai-hsiang, composer and folk songwriter9
  • Lin Chih-chieh, basketball player
  • Show Luo, singer and actor
  • Tank, singer
  • Tseng Li-cheng, 2012 Olympics Taekwondo bronze medalist
  • Chin-hui Tsao, baseball player
  • Chen Chih-yuan, baseball player
  • Yang Chuan-kwang, Olympic decathlete
  • Teruo Nakamura, Taiwan-born soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army and the last Japanese holdout soldier of World War II
  • A-Lin, singer, songwriter
  • Suming, actor, singer, songwriter His music features elements from traditional Amis culture
  • Ilid Kaolo, singer and songwriter
  • Kuo Dai-chi, baseball player
  • Dai-Kang Yang, baseball player

See alsoedit

  • Demographics of Taiwan
  • Taiwanese aborigines
  • Amis Folk Center


Taiwanese Aborigines

Hunting Deer 捕鹿, 1746
General information
  • Total population
2014: 533,60010
  • Homelands in Taiwan
    • Mountainous terrain running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island
    • Narrow eastern plains
    • Orchid Island Lán Yǔ
  • Languages
14 living Formosan languages Several of these are endangered or moribund Tribes Gaoshan and Pingpu
  • With rare exceptions, the living languages and recognized tribes are of the Gaoshan highland tribes, who reside in the first two of the three regions given above The extinct languages and unrecognized tribes are generally of the Pingpu lowland, who formerly resided in the western plains region The Tao people or Yami reside on Orchid Island, are a recognized tribe and speak a living albeit endangered language
  1. ^ Chia-chen, Hsieh; Wu, Jeffrey 15 February 2015 "Amis remains Taiwan's biggest aboriginal tribe at 371% of total" FocusTaiwantw The Central News Agency Retrieved 30 April 2015 
  2. ^ "Table 28: Indigenous population distribution in Taiwan-Fukien Area", National Statistics, Republic of China, Taiwan: Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan DGBAS, archived from the original on 2007-03-12, retrieved 2006-08-30 
  3. ^ "Ami", Ethnologue 
  4. ^ Olson, James Stuart, An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China, Google 
  5. ^ "Survey Reports on the Savages", Banzoku Chōsa Hōkokusho 蕃族調査報告書, 8, Taihoku Taipei, 1913–1918, p 4 
  6. ^ plbi-03-08-05 111 PDF, PLOS journals permanent dead link
  7. ^ HPGL PDF, 64, Stanford, 2001, p 432, archived from the original PDF on 2010-02-14 
  8. ^ Amis Harvest Festival held in East Taiwan, The China Post July 28, 2005, retrieved in April 8, 2011
  9. ^ "Li Tai-hsiang, composer of Olive Tree and other hits, dies at age 72" Strait Times 2014-01-03 Retrieved 2014-02-03 
  10. ^ Exec Yuan 2014, p 49
  • Hsu et al, Taiwanese Aboriginal History: Amis, Taipei: 2001 ISBN 957-02-8013-1 and ISBN 957-02-8003-4 Chinese language

External linksedit

  • Taiwanese government page on the Amis
  • Amis Festivals
  • Website dedicated to a documentary shot in the Amis village of Tafalong Taiwan East Coast
  • Shamanic Healing among the Amis and Contemporary Christian Healing in the Spirit

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