On the campus of the National Chung Cheng University (CCU) located at the foot of Alishan, a group of Chiayi youths with the Tsou ethnic background has formed three innovative entrepreneurial teams, in order to promote their indigenous culture. On the 4th of September this year, the three CCU teams have signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) and the authorized cooperation agreement to help protect Taiwan Indigenous Traditional Intellectual Creations (TITIC), with the Tsou Tfuya Kuba Cultural Development Association. In the future, with the permission from the indigenous authority, the three entrepreneurial teams plan to make new uses of the existed tribal stories, myths, costume patterns and other traditional intellectual creations, and turn them into varies innovative services and products that will be rich in cultural connotations. This not only can ensure that the tribal traditional wisdom is treated appropriately, but also can preserve and promote Tsou culture through the creativities from the youths.
The traditional wisdom of the indigenous people was often misused in the past. Therefore, the Startup Land at CCU and the Tsou Kuba Cultural Development Association jointly hosted a press conference for the Indigenous Traditional Intellectual Creations Authorization signing ceremony, in order to support young people to use the traditional indigenous wisdom rightfully through official authorization granting process to promote tribal culture in a more appropriate way. Since the Taiwan Indigenous Traditional Intellectual Creations Protection Act has been implemented five years ago, numerous works of indigenous music, dance, weaving, totem designs etc., are properly protected. CCU Startup Land stated that through the authorization signing ceremony, not only would traditional wisdom be used legitimately, but also probably let the importance of the traditional wisdom known by more people.
The members of the three youth teams cultivated by CCU Startup Land, the Curly Beard Studio, Fuengu Cultural and Creative Studio, and Shuitiya Creative Studio, are either the current students or the alumni of CCU, and all of them are connected to Tsou. Both Curly Beard Studio and Fuengu Cultural and Creative Studio, recently, have each received a NT$500,000 grant from the 2020 U-Start Plan for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Ministry of Education.
Originated from the life principle and life style of Tsou that from material items to spiritual aspects, everything is nourished by their nearby mountains and forests, Fuengu Cultural and Creative Studio branded itself with Tsou word \\\"fuengu\\\" which means “the mountain” as its name. This entrepreneurial team aims to create finer travel itineraries through the U-Start Plan. The names of those tours are all derived from traditional Tsou wisdom, such as \\\"Taking Fire from the God\\\", \\\"Learning from bai tonu\\\", and \\\"The Legend of Leather Tanning\\\". The Tsou culture will also be highlighted in its tour descriptions allowing visitors to better understand the Tsou peoples.
As to the Curly Beard Studio which specializes in visual design, it integrates tribal stories, myths, totem patterns on clothing and related accessories, etc. into product concepts development. It combines the small farming business and the coffee industry around the Alishan tribal community, designs and makes models of a series of related products for aprons, packaging, and implements manufacturing. Another team, the Shuitiya Creative Studio, promotes indigenous culture with its comic creations. The Startup Land revealed that so far the Shuitiya Creative Studio has been granted the right from the tribal organization. The other two teams have applied for the license and are on its way to obtain the right to turn the traditional wisdom for their own creativities. In the future, according to the cooperation agreement, part of the revenue from the teams’ business will be used as the feedback fund contributing back to tribal development and cultural inheritance.
There are only about 6,000 Tsou people in Taiwan, so the tribe is very positive to see Tsou youths making a good use of traditional wisdom in a respectful and legitimate way, and at the same time letting more people out of domestic and overseas markets to learn more about Tsou culture. At the signing ceremony, Mr. Ying Jie Wen, aka Mo\\\'o E\\\'ucna, Chairman of the Indigenous Language Research and Development Center, Mr. Yifu Wang, Chief of the Tsou Tfuya Community, Mr. Ming Li Chen, Chairman of the Tsou Kuba Tfuya Culture Development Association, Mr. Chi Der Wang, Director of the Alishan Tsou Dabang Kuba Cultural Development Association and its Chief Executive Zhi Gung Yang, and the Chief secretary of the Alishan Township Office, Mr. Rue Fang Gao were all present at the site to witness the LOI signing. In the press conference, Chairman Wen of the Indigenous Language Research and Development Center delivered a speech in Tsou language entirely, expecting these young entrepreneurs of Tsou descendants to give full play to tribal traditions in their cultural creativities.
Dr. Shin-Yuan Hung, Director of CCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, pointed out that the three youth teams, under the guidance of the center and mentors from the industry, have acquired the business operation skills; in their creativities, they integrate the tribal aesthetics into products that carry the culture inheriting function and the characteristics of innovative market values. The chairman of the Dabang Kuba Cultural Development Association, Mr. Chi Der Wang, in the gathering also gave out his best wishes that while on their way to celebrate the innovation success, the youth teams can still manage to properly preserve the original Tsou culture without losing any essence of those traditional intellectual creations.