Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and development in Taiwan

Yi-shiuan (Yayut) Chen

ANU Taiwan Studies Lecture 2021
Traditional territory, Indigenous reserved land and spatial planning: Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and development in Taiwan

This lecture tackles some key challenges of Indigenous Peoples’ land rights in contemporary Taiwan. Drawing on geographical and ethnological fieldwork with Indigenous peoples, it engages with Indigenous experiences of and responses to a settler-sanctioned logic of possession and development. The lecture will be in three parts. First, it will outline Indigenous Peoples’ ontological understanding of possession and customary environmental governance. Secondly, it will introduce some colonialist land policies that undermine Indigenous Peoples’ land rights as well as how those policies have sparked controversies. Finally, it will make suggestions on how institutional land policy might be amended and how we might rethink our theories of Indigenous development.

Emeritus Professor Richie Howitt of Macquarie University will provide a response on the Indigenous Australian experience in land rights and development.

Yi-shiuan (Yayut) Chen is Assistant Professor in the Master's Program of Land Policy and Environmental Planning for Indigenous Peoples at National Chengchi University, Taiwan. She obtained her doctorate in Cultural Geography at Macquarie University. She has been working with the Tayal People, an Indigenous group in northern Taiwan, since 2009. Her work primarily concerns Indigenous Peoples’ land rights, customary law, environmental governance, and cultural heritage preservation.

Richie Howitt is Emeritus Professor of Geography at Macquarie University. After first visiting Taiwan in 2007, he recognised parallels between colonising narratives in Australia and Taiwan. His research on scale, social and environmental justice and Indigenous rights and well-being in local communities of diversity, conceptualises historical colonisation and contemporary deep colonising as significant unnatural disasters. He advocates philosophical, methodological and ethical engagement with Indigenous experience. He has supervised two cotutelle PhD projects with Taiwanese colleagues and was lead supervisor of Dr Chen’s doctoral program.

Suliljaw Lusausatj, an Indigenous Taiwanese (Paiwan) man and a PhD Candidate at the ANU School of Culture, History, and Language, will deliver a vote of thanks.

This lecture will be held online. Please register on Eventbrite to receive Zoom details, which will be sent out 24 hours prior to event.

The ANU Taiwan Studies Lecture is an initiative under the ANU Taiwan Studies Program, which is a collaboration between the ANU and the Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan).


Assistant Professor Yi-shiuan (Yayut) Chen

Dates & times

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

5.30pm - 7.00pm


Updated:  6 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team