Taiwan Atayal children’s goal pursuit between the many faces of oppression: A reflection using anti-oppressive practice framework

Pei-Jung Yang, Nga-Ping Ong


Taiwan Atayal tribe is the 3rd largest of the 16 Indigenous tribes in Taiwan. For the past three centuries, Taiwan’s Indigenous people were under colonial rule. Their languages, rituals, way of living, even their identities, disappeared over the years amid colonial oppression and the force of global economy, neoliberalism reforms, and industrial transformation. Using the framework of anti-oppressive practice, this paper addresses Indigenous youth in the early to middle adolescent years, beginning with personal stories illustrating the Atayal youth experience of an emerging cognitive ability in adolescence, called intentional self-regulation, that is pertinent to the process of goal management and attainment. The second part of this paper draws attention to the socio-historical, educational, and geographical disparities manifested in the everyday lives of Taiwan’s Indigenous youth. At the end, this paper discusses the intersecting sphere linking personal stories with the disparity the person experienced in broader structures. To foster positive development for Taiwan’s Indigenous youth, or any underprivileged youth, this paper stresses that the practice of reflexivity is needed in any sphere of interaction, including teacher-student, mentor-mentee, and coach-trainee relationships. Reflexivity allows social workers, teachers, mentors, or trainers to align as closely as possible with the adolescents, starting where the adolescent ‘is’ rather than where he or she ‘should be’.

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Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

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