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Amis are a large community-based Indigenous ethnic group with a large population. They have magnificent rituals, with the annual harvest being the most representative. Currently, the Amis population is about 213,514 people. Amis people call themselves “Pangcah”, which means “people” and “kinsmen”. Most Amis people in Taitung settled north of the Puyuma who called these Pangcah “Amis”, meaning “northerners” or “people in the north”. After the adoption and dissemination of the academic circle, “Amis” has replaced the term “Pangcah” for this ethnic group. The origin of Amis (Pangcah) includes two mythological systems: the “myth of origin” and the “legend of distribution”. According to northern Amis, the Pangcah came from the descendants of deities; while southern Amis believe that their ancestor was born from stone.
The Paiwan are an Indigenous people of Taiwan. They speak the Paiwan language. In 2014, the Paiwan numbered 96,334. This was approximately 17.8% of Taiwan’s total indigenous population, making them the second-largest Indigenous group.
The majority of Paiwan people live in the southern chain of the Central Mountain Range, from Damumu Mountain and the upper Wuluo River in the north of the southern chain to the Hengchun Peninsula in the south of it, and also in the hills and coastal plains of southeastern Taiwan. There are two subgroups under the Paiwan people: the Raval and the Butsul.
The Saisiat (Saisiyat) are an Indigenous people of Taiwan. In 2000 the Saisiyat numbered 5,311, which was approximately 1.3% of Taiwan’s total indigenous population, making them one of the smallest aboriginal groups in the country. The Saisiat inhabit Western Taiwan, overlapping the border between Hsinchu County and Miaoli County. They are divided into the Northern Branch (Wufong in the mountainous Hsinchu area) and the Southern Branch (Nanzhuang and Shitan in the highlands of Miaoli), each with its own dialect. Their language is also known as Saisiat.
The Yami (Tao) are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the tiny outlying Orchid Island of Taiwan. They have a maritime culture, with great ritual and spiritual significance placed on boat-building and fishing. Their ways of life have been threatened by the continued emigration to the mainland of Taiwan in search of jobs and education. As a result, the continuation of past traditions has been hindered. Despite being linked to both other Taiwanese Indigenous peoples and Filipino populations, the Tao people remain unique in their customs and cultural practices.
The Tao people have been more commonly recorded under the exonym “Yami people” by official documents and academic literature, following Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryuzo’s coining of the name in 1897. However, as a collective, these Orchid Island inhabitants typically prefer “Tao people” as their group identifier. Recently, they have successfully petitioned the Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Taiwanese government to use the name “Tao” in place of “Yami”.