Activism, Art & Culture, Indigenous Taiwan, Podcast, Politics, Taiwan, Taiwan History, Taiwan Life, Taiwan Organizations

Tony Coolidge Talks About his Work with Indigenous Bridges Ep 113

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:


This is part two of my interview with Tony Coolidge. Tony is the Founder of the Atayal organization, which is named after his mother’s indigenous tribe. In this interview Tony talks about his work with Indigenous Bridges through his nonprofit, the Atayal organization, and shares his perspectives on some of indigenous people he’s interacted with from around the world.


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • The work of Indigenous Bridges
  • Why Tony moved back to Taiwan in 2009
  • How Indigenous Bridges serves to connect indigenous people from all over the world
  • How the mission of the Atayal organization shifted from sharing the culture of indigenous people to connecting indigenous people with each other
  • How Indigenous Bridges is about building trusted relationships based on shared cultures and cultural exchange
  • The sister city relationship between Orlando, Florida and Tainan, Taiwan
  • Sister tribe programs that are being developed
  • The indigenous youth ambassador program of Indigenous Bridges
  • Virtual cultural exchanges and conferences that are now being developed due to the onset of COVID-19
  • The common experiences and challenges of indigenous people
  • Possible solutions to the economic hardship that is often experienced by indigenous people around the world
  • How the rights of indigenous people in the U.S. compares to Taiwan and other parts of the world
  • The connection between the Maori indigenous people of New Zealand and the indigenous people of Taiwan
  • The migration of Austronesian people and how they originated from Taiwan
  • What Tony learned from the Maori indigenous people of New Zealand
  • How the Maori are a source of pride for New Zealand
  • The government’s role in preserving indigenous culture
  • How indigenous rights are protected by the United Nations and indigenous people can create treaties with each other
  • The struggles in trying to return property to the indigenous people of Taiwan
  • How the recognition of tribes gives them access to resources
  • The fight over resources between the different indigenous people of Taiwan
  • How Tony hopes that his work reveals that Taiwan is a far more diverse and interesting place than people have originally thought
  • How former President Lee Teng-hui’s role in changing the perception of indigenous people in Taiwan
  • Tony’s experience representing indigenous people at the UN headquarters in New York



Related Links:


Indigenous Bridges programs of the Atayal organization:


Voices in the Clouds, the documentary based on Tony’s 2004 trip to Taiwan:


A link to the “Village in the Clouds” article about Tony’s trip to Taiwan in 1996 that led him to discover his indigenous roots:


Video footage from indigenous language competitions:


General information about Taiwan’s indigenous people:


A video produced about Tony’s work creating the Taproot Cultural Exchange program with New Zealand Maori:


A blog page about the Taproot Cultural Exchange program with New Zealand Maori:


About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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