Experience the unique estuary culture of the Jingpu Community
The indigenous Amis community of Jingpu is located near the border of Hualien and Taitung counties, along the estuary of the Xiuguluan River, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. In the Amis language, the name of this community is Cawi. There are more than 700 people registered as living here, but only about 200 people actually reside here year round. As is the case with many other indigenous communities, the young people have had to leave in search of study and employment opportunities, making it difficult for culture to be passed on. However, understanding their community's unique characteristics, the residents here have been working to develop sustainable tourism to encourage the young people to return and learn their language and culture.
Due to this community's geographical location, it has developed a unique estuary culture and a close relationship with the Xiuguluan River and Pacific Ocean. The source of this river is Xiuguluan Mountain, in the Coastal Mountain Range. It is the longest river in eastern Taiwan, measuring 81 kilometers in length. The entire river system stretches some 104 kilometers. Due to the rich marine resources and diverse estuary ecology, over time the residents of this community have developed unique fishing methods, such as the use of a triangular fishing net. In the very early morning, even before the sun comes up, residents of this community can be seen along the shore, using this type of net to fish in between the wave crests.
For the Amis tribe, the Harvest Festival is the largest annual event. Following a year of hard work in the fields, the crops are harvested and the members of the tribe come together for a celebration and to give thanks to the ancestral spirits and to ask them for favorable weather in the coming year. The Harvest Festival is usually held in July. The Amis people place great emphasis on cooperation, division of labor and ethics. Among males, there is an age organization, with males divided into different groups based on age. Each age group has its own duties and obligations. The males of the community enter this age organization at age 13 and advance to the next age set every four years. This age organization is most obvious during the Amis Harvest Festival due to the differences in clothing and duties of the males of different ages. But, it does not only operate during this time. It is a core part of the Amis culture. The males were traditionally in charge of community administration and affairs, and this age organization was the basis of order in Amis societies. In the past, no matter if working in the rice paddies or building a home, everyone helped each other, sharing both work and resources.
However, modern society is very different from traditional society. Agriculture is no longer the only livelihood. This community's residents work hard to preserve their culture. They invite visitors to the community to experience this culture. Activities include riding a rubber raft in the Xiuguluan River to observe its beauty and diversity up close. There is also archery practice. Visitors can try throwing a net into the river to fish, hunt for crabs along the community's sand beach, or weave a rattan bracelet to take home as a souvenir. Local residents serve as guides leading visitors on a tour of the community on foot or bicycle. Taiwan's east coast has become a popular route for cyclists. This community is just off the picturesque coastal highway, making it a perfect stop for those traveling the highway by bicycle. Visitors can enjoy a diversity of cultural and ecotourism activities, as well as a meal of indigenous cuisine prepared using fish and seafood obtained from the Pacific Ocean and Xiuguluan River. Moreover, this community marks the terminus of white water rafting tours along the Xiuguluan River and a stop at this community can be incorporated into a white water rafting itinerary.
For more information, contact:
Jingpu Community Development Association
140, Jingpu Village, Fengbin Township, Hualien County
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