THE TAIWAN DECLARATION OF INDIGENOUS ECOLOGICAL FARMERS
We thank our Creator, our Mother Earth, the spirits, our ancestors and our elders for their guidance.
We are indigenous farmers from different communities in Asia and the Pacific.
We have come together to find solutions to the problems our communities are facing as a result of climate change, misguided economic and development policies and the threats posed to our lands by governments, corporations and conservation agencies.
We are farmers and our power is little. However, we are united by our friendship and our identity as indigenous peoples, and we will work in solidarity for the wellbeing of this Earth, and for the health and happiness of our communities.
Our Sharing in Taiwan
The past week we have walked together over the ancestral lands of the Tayal, T’sou, Amis and Kanakanavu.
On the mountain ridge we performed sbalay, the ritual of reconciliation.
On Prayer Mountain in Bnay we spoke about the spiritual bond between our land, our crops and animals, and ourselves.
By the side of the Mrqwang River we shared our experiences in defending our rights to the water and the forests.
Walking from the peach orchard to the forest where mushrooms are grown we spoke about
cash crops and traditional crops, about their place in our changing economies and climate.
We aim to weave an ever stronger network of indigenous communities who stand together to face climatic, economic, cultural or political threats to our ways of living. Our network will be based on the following values:
‐ Land, plants, animals and spirits are not separate, and we are not separate from them. This is the foundation of our cultures.
‐ We do not own the land, we take care of it for our future generations. We will not treat the land as a commodity. We guard it and protect it through sacred rituals and our customary laws and practices.
Without land, we have no livelihoods, we cannot exist.
‐ We will assert our rights to live on and use our ancestral domains. We will stand up to defend them through our customary laws to any party seeking to harm them, preserve them, or take them from us without free, prior, and informed consent.
‐ We will sustain our communities in ways that keep our identity and dignity. Notably, we will:
‐ Cherish and transmit our traditional practices in agriculture, gathering, fishing, hunting, arts and crafts, which are inherent in culture.
Together we sowed sacred millet and exchanged the seeds of knowledge from our home communities.
In the forest classroom we learnt about each other’s ways of teaching.
At the foot of giant cypress trees we understood the meaning of tnunan – everything is integrated, as threads continuously woven together, all shared and co‐existing.
Our walk was beautiful.
‐ Create or adopt, with the help and the experiences of our international brothers and sisters, new practices which are ecologically sustainable.
‐ Our traditional varieties of seeds know how to grow in our lands, and they have the ability to evolve with the land. We will continue to protect our seeds and use them as they form a critical part of our foods and many of our indigenous customs, and of the food safety of the world.
‐ Our knowledge is wide and bears deep down into the earth. We are the farmers of our traditional land and when we plant the seeds of knowledge into the land we do it for our children and grandchildren. The deep knowledge that we draw on connects us to our ancestors. This provides the wisdom our children need.
We welcome on all indigenous and traditional ecological farming communities who subscribe to these values to join us, as well as any organisation willing to support this cause.
We call for all governments and international organisations to respect our values and rights and to stand with us as we look for solutions to the problems our communities are facing.
As a new president prepares to take office, we express our hope that she will implement progressive policies regarding indigenous peoples, including the right to traditional territories, the right to selfdetermination and self‐governance, indigenous traditional education and support for local economies. We stand ready to offer our input to the new government's policies, and we will help make sure that those policies, in being implemented, reflect the values set out above.