VIDEO: Taiwan Indigenous Women Making Cultural Handicrafts: Connecting with Roots

VIDEO: Taiwan Indigenous Women Making Cultural Handicrafts: Connecting with Roots
Photo Credit: Jeffery Warner

What you need to know

Beadwork handicrafts are more than just indigenous jewelry.

On March 27, 2018, an indigenous women's group gathered for a beading workshop near Miaoli, western Taiwan ...

What you see here isn't just about making beadwork handicrafts. This is indigenous knowledge, sewn into millennia of cultural history and related traditions.

Traditionally, this is a rite of passage into cultural adulthood, among other cultural activities such as cooking and weaving. This making handicrafts activity is also a time for the women to take a moment’s pause, while connecting and sharing with each other about their lives.

The elder teacher is questioned about how (and why) they are nowadays using non-natural materials (such as plastics and resins).

She explains that culture shifts with the times. Moreover, the seed-beads traditionally used are "very special." They are likewise difficult to grow nowadays, largely due to environmental shifts (i.e. climate change), she says. The traditional knowledge necessary for cultivation practices have also become diluted due to the long-term impacts of "development".

Yes; these are sacred traditions packaged within sacred space. ...

For further information on this and other media and educational projects related to Taiwan and the wider Asia region's indigenous peoples, please visit: https://www.jeffsjournalism.com/themomentspauseproject

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Editor: David Green