Dawushan Nature Reserve — The Culture (English)


Publish:Taiwan Forestry Bureau

Dawushan Nature Reserve is located in Taitung county, and is the largest nature reserve in Taiwan, with an area of 47,000 hectares. The aboriginal people settled here 400 years ago and established many settlers’ villages. In the mountain area of Dawushan, the histaorical sites of Rukai and Paiwan Tribes can be seen everywhere, revealing the tribal lifestyles of hundreds of years ago.

The aboriginal people embrace nature and have developed simple yet vivid art styles inspired by nature, such as stone houses decorated by stone sculptures, colorful clothing with embroidery, which is the only skill the villages’ elders possess to make a living, and the sculptures carved from woods in the mountain. In addition to arts, they have developed a strict social hierarchy to survive the harsh mountains. Youngsters have to be trained in strict disciplines in the meeting center of the tribe. The traditional celebration ceremonies unite everybody in the tribe together and depict the profound relationship between these people and mother nature.

Dawushan is the eternal home to these two clans, providing everything needed for them.
Aboriginal people have been leading a simple yet content life relying on animals and plants in the mountains. Hunting and slash and burn agriculture were their traditional lifestyles; gathering is still practiced in the reserve as way of life. The tourism emphasizing wild vegetable cuisine brings hopes to sustain the culture of aboriginal people. The valleys in Dawushan area and the plentiful rainfall also help them stay self-contained by fishing.