The area of Amis distribution stretches along plains around Mount Chilai in northern Hualien, south through to the long and narrow coastal plains and the hilly areas of Taitung and the Hengchun Peninsula of Pingtung. They have a total population of about 177,000, which is the largest among Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. The traditional social organization is based mainly on the matrilineal system. When marrying into the wife’s family, the male must move into the wife’s household residence. Family affairs including finance and property holdings are decided by the female head of household.Important affairs of the marriage or the allocation of wealth should be decided in a meeting with the uncles of the female household.The public affairs involving the community about tribal politics, laws, warfare, and religion are dealt with by an institution consisting of male leadership group of different of age ranks. The most important traditional ceremony is the Harvest Festival, which has rituals for celebrating the males entering the manhood and into a new age ranking group.
By Shieh Li-Jong
© All Rights Reserved