The Tao People's Anti-Nuclear Movement: Indigenous Religion, Presbyterian Christianity, and Environmental Protest on Orchid Island, Taiwan
Weatherdon, Meaghan Sarah
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In 1982 Taiwan Power Company, a government-owned utility, began to ship nuclear waste to Orchid Island, the homeland of an indigenous minority people known as the Tao. Currently there are over 100,000 barrels of nuclear waste on site. Since 1988, the Tao people have been mobilizing resistance to rid Orchid Island of the waste and reclaim the island as their ancestral land. This paper focuses on the influence of the hybrid religious situation of the Tao on the nature and form of their resistance to this environmental and cultural colonialism. Drawing on their indigenous worldview and customs, the Tao people articulate a view of the environment in which nature and culture are integrated. At the same time, many of the Tao people identify with Presbyterian Christianity, and so the Tao Anti-Nuclear Movement (TANM) has been influenced by Christian concepts of social justice and a growing awareness of environmental issues among Christian churches worldwide. Ultimately, TANM presents a view of the environment in which humans are embedded within the natural world and offers an environmentalism that seeks to connect social justice issues to environmental degradation.