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August 23, 2017

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'Seediq Bale' inspires rejuvenated interest in aborigines at colleges

TAIPEI--The success of Seediq Bale has not been limited to local cinemas, but has spread to college classrooms.

The epic movie "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale," which depicts the tragic Wushe Incident in 1930 when the Seediq tribe revolted against Japanese rule in central Taiwan's Nantou County, has drawn swarms of local residents to the cinemas.

Now interest in aborigine culture has blossomed in Taiwan's higher education institutions.

The Department of Ethnology at National Chengchi University saw a surge in the number of students in its long-standing indigenous language course.

The department had offered the course since 1997, but this year, student registrations increased three fold.

Course lecturer Iwan Nawi, an ethnic Seediq, said the course used to host students in the ethnology department, but this year, it has attracted many students from other departments and universities to sit in on class.

Nawi, wife of Chiu Ruo-lung, the art director of the movie, said many students admitted that they signed up for the class because of the movie. One female student said she came to learn the language for her boyfriend, who is Seediq.

Nawi said she will integrate some phrases and content in the movie, such as the rainbow bridge, in the two-semester course to help students get to know the language and culture of the Seediqs.

Meanwhile, Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan held an "indigenous day" Tuesday to showcase how its students practice what they have learned from aboriginal cultures.

The tourism department in the institute worked out a "Seediq Bale" travel route, enabling participating students to both practice how to draft up travel plans and arrange an authentic Seediq experience.

Students and teachers in the food and beverage management department put on traditional clothing of the Seediqs and demonstrated how to make mochi, a glutinous rice cake, in Seediq style.

Tu Chia ying, a student from a Pingpu tribe, made an experimental dessert. She combined mochi and renowned local pastry — pineapple cake — and made it in millet wine flavor.

Another student, Li Chao-yi, an Atayal member, said she plans to open a restaurant that features indigenous food and will encourage guests to eat with their hands like her grandma does.

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