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Taiwan is located on the Asia-Pacific Ocean, and on the world map, its landscape, temperature, humanities, art, etc. play an extremely important role. According to anthropologists, Taiwan’s indigenous peoples belong to the Austronesian language family, and have close ties with the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Oceania and other Austronesian peoples. The Austronesian peoples are the most widely distributed ethnic group in the world, with their distribution area extending from Madagascar Island in southeast Africa across the Indian Ocean to Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. Taiwan is located at the northernmost end of the Austronesian distribution, and the southernmost end is New Zealand. In recent years, many Pacific island countries or Austronesian peoples have called Taiwan the mother island, meaning the centripetal force and sense of co-weaving of the Austronesian peoples towards Taiwan. Archaeologist Peter Bellwood and linguist Robert Blust both proposed the “Out of Taiwan” theory of the Austronesian language family. Later, Jared Diamond published a short article in Nature magazine titled “Taiwan’s gift to the world”, describing the importance of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in the Austronesian language family, and pointing to Taiwan as the source (RamiS) of the Austronesian language family.

“RamiS” means “root” in ancient Austronesian languages, and there are many cognates of this word in the Austronesian languages, such as rami in Puyuma language, ramisi in Rukai and Kanakanavu languages, lamis in Bunun language, lamit in Amis and Sakizaya languages, and gamil in Atayal and Taroko languages. Language is a tool for human communication, and similar languages indicate that there must be similar cultural experiences. Based on the long-term analysis and research of linguists, it is proposed that Taiwan may be the origin of the Austronesian language family. Thousands of years ago, Austronesian languages, cultures and species spread from Taiwan to Southeast Asia and Oceania, passing on languages, cultures and stories on each island. The Austronesian peoples inspired each other’s life experiences, established common values of thinking, and reproduced from generation to generation under the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. However, today affected by industrialization, capitalism and colonialism, human life and ecological environment are facing the edge of collapse. How should we live in the future? “Tracing back to the source” may be another way of thinking.

Following the path of dissemination of the Austronesian peoples, we can trace back to the
ancient cosmology. The myths and legends, music and dance, crafts, pantheism and tree-building genes that have been passed down for thousands of years by indigenous peoples are all sources. The language, ocean knowledge, land ethics and ecological philosophy inherited by the Austronesian peoples will also be answers to construct human future life. “RamiS” can bridge the gap between humans and species, science and nature. Under the ancient Austronesian language tracing back thinking, the existence and life wisdom of indigenous peoples are extremely important to be valued and advocated. To create a learning attitude that is spiritual and respectful of nature, we can move towards a future where all things coexist. Following the trace of tracing back to the source of the Austronesian peoples, in autumn 2023 at Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park (TIPCP), we planned for first “Taiwan International Austronesian Art Triennial”, with two sub-themes proposed by two curators: “Becoming a Spiritual Person” and “Why We Are Us”, to present and discuss coexistence root proposition between “human” and “us”.