中文

The Saisiyat

Mythological Background

Since there are no written records, we have to rely on what has been passed down orally about the Saisiat tribe’s early migration history. According to the oral tradition, in their early days the Saisiat occupied a much larger territory than today, which included the extensive mountain areas and coastal plains around the border of today’s Miaoli and Taichung Counties. Later, about 200 years ago, increasing demographic pressure from the Atayal and Han Chinese settlers gradually forced the Saisiat to retreat into the area that they still occupy today. According to their geographical distribution, they are divided into a northern and a southern group.

Geographical Distribution of Southern Group:

  1. Nanchuang Township: Tungho Community, Okungchi Shan, Tachu Yuan, Sanchiao Hu, Chiala Wan, Chungchiala Wan, Hsiangtien Hu;
  2. Nanchuang Township, Penglai Village: Penglai, Pakuali, Tanan, Taping, Erhping;
  3. Shihtan Township: Paishou Community, Malin, Zuntou, Pengshanhsia.

Geographical Distribution of Northern Group:

  1. Ta-ai Village: Wufeng, Shangta-ai, Kaofeng, Maopu;
  2. Huayuan Village: Pilai area.

It is not just their different geographical and administrative situation that distinguishes the northern and the southern Saisiat from each other, but also their consequent exposure to different cultural and environmental influences. The southern Saisiat, having lived for generations in close proximity to Hakka settlements, were clearly influenced by Hakka customs and culture, while the northern Saisiat absorbed much Atayal culture through intermarriage and living in mixed communities. Census statistics from 2006 put the total number of the Saisiat population at 5,402.