Skip to comments.In Honor Of The Little Black People
Posted on 10/25/2007 8:05:21 PM PDT by blam
In honor of the Little Black People
The Saisiyat tribe of Hsinchu and Miaoli will perform a solemn rite this weekend to commemorate a race of people that they exterminated
By Jules Quartly
Saturday, Nov 27, 2004.
Xiangtian Lake is one of two places to see the ritual. PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES
Drinking, singing and dancing are expected to take place deep in the mountains of Miaoli and Hsinchu when the "Ritual of the Little Black People" (¸GÆF²½) is performed by the Saisiyat tribe once again this weekend.
For the past 100 years or so, the Saisiyat tribe (ÁÉ®L±Ú) has performed the songs and rites of the festival to bring good harvests, ward off bad luck and keep alive the spirit of a race of people who are said to have preceded all others in Taiwan.
In fact, the short, black men the festival celebrates are one of the most ancient types of modern humans on this planet and their kin still survive in Asia today. They are said to be diminutive Africoids and are variously called Pygmies, Negritos and Aeta. They are found in the Philippines, northern Malaysia, Thailand, Sumatra in Indonesia and other places.
Chinese historians called them "black dwarfs" in the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220 to AD 280) and they were still to be found in China during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911). In Taiwan they were called the "Little Black People" and, apart from being diminutive, they were also said to be broad-nosed and dark-skinned with curly hair.
PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES
After the Little Black People -- and well before waves of Han migrations after 1600 -- came the Aboriginal tribes, who are part of the Austronesian race. They are thought to have come from the Malay Archipelago 6,000 years ago at the earliest and around 1,000 years ago at the latest, though theories on Aborigine migration to Taiwan are still hotly debated. Gradually the Little Black People became scarcer, until a point about 100 years ago, when there was just a small group living near the Saisiyat tribe.
Saisiyat tribe members perform the Ritual of the Little Black People in Wufeng. PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES
The story goes that the Little Black People taught the Saisiyat to farm by providing seeds and they used to party together. But one day, the Little Black People sexually harassed some Aboriginal women. So, the Saisiyat took revenge and killed them off by cutting a bridge over which they were all crossing. Just two Little Black People survived. Before departing eastward, they taught the Saisiyat about their culture and passed down some of their songs, saying if they did not remember their people they would be cursed and their crops would fail.
The Saisiyat kept their promise and have held the Ritual of the Little Black People every year, though they scaled down the ceremonies during the Japanese colonial period (1895 to 1945). Now the ritual is held every two years on the 10th full moon of the lunar calendar, with a big festival once every 10 years. At this time, the Saisiyat are not supposed to fight and they congregate in their ancestral areas of Miaoli and Hsinchu, in the mountains.
"I've seen it written of as a celebration, but to me it seemed quite a mournful affair, especially in the way the music came across, which was trancelike, a haunting kind of chant with a series of 10 to 15 songs," said long-term Taiwan resident Lynn Miles, who has been to the ritual three times and will be going again this year.
"There's nothing else quite like it in its tone and in its mood. I've been to other festivals but this is non-stop."
Miles said the dances were not set pieces but usually involved holding hands and moving around in a circle, chanting, with those who know the songs doing most of the singing and a shaman figure keeping order.
A spokeswoman at the Council of Indigenous Peoples (under the Executive Yuan) said that those who have "unclean thoughts" have their souls snatched by the spirits of the Little Black People and will pass out until the shaman revives them.
Miles said the shaman seemed to serve a public-order function by chasing off those who were too drunk or out of order.
The ceremonies are held in two places. The ritual began yesterday in Nanchuang Township, Miaoli County, and will carry on there until Monday. Rituals start today in Wufeng Township, Hsinchu County, and will last through tomorrow.
Some of the oldest DNA in the world is in Malaysia among the Orang Asli people. (Negritos)
My understanding is that linguistic studies have pretty well proved that the Austronesians spread southward from Taiwan, not the reverse.
The “Hokey Pokey?”
The name "Orang Asli" means "original people" or "first people". They all live on the Peninsular of Malaysia. Nowadays there about 60.000 Orang Asli people, of which 60% still live in the rain forest. About 40% Orang Asli live along or near the coast. Each has its own language and culture, and perceives itself as different from the others. Linguistically, some of the northern Orang Asli groups speak languages, that suggest a historical link with the indigenous peoples in Burma, Thailand and Indo-China.
They are classified into three groups:
- Orang Malayu Asli
(Go to site for more)
That’s what it’s all about, Yogi.
I thought the Andaman Islanders were the last of the negrito people.
Whew, educational... thank goodness.
I read the title and thought of this guy:
I really hope that the little people also taught them the mysteries of “Red Rover, Red Rover” and “Duck, Duck, GOOSE!”
Sorry, I thought this was the title of Hillary’s next speech to the NAACP.
Being among the least-known of all living human groups, the origins of the Negrito people is a much debated topic. The Malay term for them is orang asli, or original people. They are likely descendants of the indigenous populations of the Sunda landmass and New Guinea, predating the Mongoloid and Australoid peoples who later entered Southeast Asia.  Alternatively, some scientists claim they are merely a group of Australo-Melanesians who have undergone island dwarfing over thousands of years, reducing their food intake in order to cope with limited resources and adapt to a tropical rainforest environment.
A number of features would seem to suggest a common origin for the Negritos and African pygmies, especially in the Andamanese Islanders who have been isolated from incoming waves of Asiatic peoples. These features include short stature, very dark skin, woolly hair, scant body hair and occasional steatopygia. Some claim that Andamanese pygmoids closly resemble Africans in their cranial morphology adds significant weight to this theory. Others, have shown a close cranian affinity between the various Negrito populations and other Asians/Pacific Islanders. Furthermore, recent genetic studies have confirmed this common ancestry and early split in "Genetic Affinities of the Andaman Islanders, Thangaraj et al.
Genetic testing allies Negritos with Asians and Polynesians. Some claim that there are a few studies that ally them to African Negroids. Cranial tests of pygmoids from Southeast Asia to New Guinea place them in the Australo-Melanesian branch of humanity.  A study on blood groups and proteins in the 1950s suggested that the Andamanese were more closely related to Oceanic peoples than Africans. Genetic studies on Phillipine Negritos, based on polymorphic blood enzymes and antigens, showed they were similar to surrounding Asian popultaions.  Some claim these findings can, however, be largely attributed to a level of interbreeding between the Negritos and later waves of people arriving from the Asian mainland, and are not necessarily an indication of ancestry. Others have stated that there is evidence of common ancestry even in populations that do not show admixture and that theres is evidence of a common Asian ancestry in such craniometric markers such as sundadonty in the various negrito populations.
Genetic testing places all the Onge and all but two of the Great Andamanese in the mtDNA Haplogroup M, found in East and South Asia, suggesting that the Negritos are at least partly descended from a migration of Proto-Australoids originating in eastern Africa as much as 60,000 years ago. This migration followed a coastal route through India and into Southeast Asia, eventually giving rise to the Australian Aborigines. Analysis of mtDNA coding sites indicated that these Andamanese fall into a subgroup of M not previously identified in human populations in Africa and Asia; these findings suggest an early split from these populations.  The Negrito peoples have one of the purest genetic pools of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) among anyone in humankind so their mtDNA serves as a baseline in studying Genetic Drift.
Yeah, I thought this was something by either Hillary or the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Very touching that they hold this ceremony to commemorate a group of people they wiped out.
Yup. Most cultures/people would try to bury the knowledge of the deed.
The fun never stops here...;)
Thanks Blam. Instead of "Out of Africa", in the future we'll have to refer to "Out of Taiwan". ;')
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Wouldn’t the “Little Black People” be the aboriginals??
They had negritos in the Phillipines when I lived there 1950-60
I think so.
I think it's interesting that they mention the Sundadont teeth of the Negrito's because the 'Asian' Sinodont teeth developed from them.
I havea friend who was stationed in Taiwan while in the Air Force in the Seventies.
He told me stories about some of the indigenous Taiwanese woman who would put on Afro wigs,hang out in the bars frequented by black servicemen and call themselves”soul sisters”
My buddy said they looked just like any woman from Watts or South Side Chicago.
How about us tall light people?
What, this thread isn’t going to get pulled too?
Please don't try to bring the GGG threads into an argument on another thread.
I have no idea what you mean. It just seemed like every thread I clicked on got pulled and if they deserved it so did that one.