Sadyaq Balae! State and Indigeneity on Formosa


 Academia Sinica, Taipei

Book release presentation

Scott Simon, University of Ottawa

6 May (Mon) 2013

 Like indigenous peoples around the globe, the Austronesian peoples of Formosa (Taiwan) have lost their sovereignty because of a colonial history. The Sadyaq people, with a population of some 35,000 people, traditionally formed a “society against the state.” Following the sacred law of Gaya, which forbid any accumulation of power or wealth, they were formerly democrats without equal. They were submitted after 1895 to the Empire of Japan, and integrated into the Republic of China since 1945. The Sadyaq have henceforth been inserted into many new state institutions: tribal classifications, indigenous reserves, development projects, elections, and even a new legal regime of indigenous rights. But, the spirit of Gaya still continues to inspire resistance against the state and all forms of compromise with it. This book is one of the first ethnographies of Formosan indigeneity to be written in a European language.


Scott Simon is Associate Professor University of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ottawa University, Chairholder of the Research Chair in Taiwan Studies. He has specialized in the political anthropology of the Austronesian communities of Taiwan. He has published extensively on Taiwan: visit his webpage. His last opus Sadyaq balae! L’autochtonie formosane dans tous ses états is published by the Laval University Press (Nov. 2012).