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Interaction Between St. Jago Tribe and Chinese in Northern Taiwan and Social Change in Littoral Society (1683-1920)

Yingyi ZHENG (Soochow University)
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This study explains how " seaside environments and livelihood models" enabled the St. Jago tribe to maintain a tribe-based livelihood and community as well as shape multi-faceted ethnic interactive relationships since the 18th century in the face of upheavals arising from external environments and ethnic powers. The seaside environment enabled the internal aspect of the indigenous settlements to enter into farming contracts with the Han Chinese to present through the terms of such contracts varied livelihood models dependent on "harbors and flat grounds amid mountain forests" under the premise of complying with official regulations.

With the rising power of the Han Chinese in the early 19th century, the St. Jago tribe opted to move from their old settlement site to Xinshe where they utilized geographic advantages to access water transportation when facing the challenges of sustaining a living on the mountainside and transporting mountain produce. Specifically, they drew from their original livelihood techniques by accessing and utilizing harbor resources to compete against the spread of Han Chinese and to prevent population dispersal of the tribe due to poverty. As such, the St. Jago tribe in the 19th century became particularly adept at trading, and thus gradually shifted to a localized livelihood mixing farming and fishing while also taking part in the transportation and operation of mountain forest resources, a livelihood model that was different from that of the 17th century, as shaped by the oceanic environment and trading routes.

By the end of the 19th century when the power of the Han Chinese reached the Xinshe settlements, the St. Jago tribe utilized the strategy of moving and re-building the Sanxi Ancestral Temple to promote a sense of tribal community. Furthermore, in response to regulations of national lands and rental policies in the early 20th century, an ancestor worship guild was established for the tribe. The establishment of the guild exhibits the St. Jago's flexibility to adjust to new situations. In the meantime, it contributed to the shaping of the ethnic boundaries of the St. Jago tribe in the mid-20th century during a time of mixed identity between the indigenous and Han Chinese.

Journal of History and Anthropology