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Tribal Culture View
Although creations in Taiwanese children’s literature have been increasing, aboriginal culture-themed children’s picture books are not many. Most of them were translated from abroad, and their content describes foreign children’s living experiences, which differ considerably from those of aboriginal children. This may have an impact on aboriginal children’s identification with their own ethnic culture. As such, this study aims to explore children’s picture books published over the past 20 years, by focusing on aboriginal culture implications presented and ethnic culture aspects molded in aboriginal culture-themed children’s picture books. This study’s scope of research is as follows: 31 children’s picture books published from 1980 to 2008, with Taiwan’s aboriginal culture the subject. They are called “aboriginal children’s picture books” throughout this research. By adopting textual analysis and reviewing “text” and “pictures” in these picture books, the present work discussed their choice of subject material, analyzed implications of aboriginal culture delivered, and observed ethnic culture perspective molded. The study found the following results: 1. The “aboriginal children’s picture books” could be categorized into “mythologies”, “legends”, and “natural ecology stories”, with most of them depicting stories about “the Amis tribe”, “the Atayal tribe”, “the Paiwan tribe”, and “the Tao tribe”. Subject matter related to “myths and legends”, “rituals and customs”, “characters”, “natural ecology”, “tribal life”, and “spirits and personality”. 2. By observing different subject matters in these texts, aboriginal culture implications to be conveyed were summed up, such as: tribe-specific myths and legends, rituals and customs, achievements of heroes, history and culture; incorporated the Aborigines’ concepts about the cosmos and nature, traditional ecology wisdom, and values that attach importance to the tribe and that co-exist peacefully with nature; utilized tribal language, documentation of oral literature to carry on and promote tribal culture. 3. How the Aborigines identify with their living environment in terms of “geographical environment”, how they identify with their mother language and culture in terms of “language”, how they identify with their tribe in terms of “aboriginal identity”, and how they identify with their ethnic group in terms of “tradition and culture”. From the “aboriginal children’s picture books”, the study concluded 5 points for interpreting “aboriginal culture content” as follows: (1) hinged on myths, legends and story-telling, the books emphasize the tribe’s history and culture; (2) the books deliberately present tribal culture characteristics with “tribal tradition and culture”; (3) pictures in the books feature tribal culture; (4) the books intend to carry on and promote the beauty of tribal culture; (5) the books reflect perspectives recognized by tribal culture.
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