The Yami tribe is located in the offshore Orchid Island of Taitung. It is the only tribe of oceanic culture in Taiwan. They have a population of about 3,500, spread over six villages on the island. Due to their isolated living environment, their culture is still kept relatively intact. Yami tribe has no leadership system. When disputes occur, the clan families and relatives are called upon to negotiate a settlement. The social affairs are administered by the male heads of the household, and by the community’s fishing groups. The creations of art and culture are abundant, such as the wood carving boats, silvery utensils, pottery, and mud dolls. Traditional houses are built underground to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Tribal ceremonies are held according to the activities relating to capturing the flying fish. The flying fish is regarded as sacred. Hair dancing by Yami women is a special tribal performance, unique among Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. Men’s warrior dance is used to display the strength and beauty of the body.
By Juang An-Hwa
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