Discovering new narratives from ancient cultures

N estled deep in the lush central mountain range of Alishan Taiwan lies the ancient and vibrant culture of the Cou indigenous people. With a history that spans over 3,000 years, the Cou have crafted a rich and unique identity that captivates and inspires all who encounter it. They are one of the 16 recognized indigenous groups in Taiwan, with a population of around 6,000, sharing a common Austronesian cultural heritage with indigenous people of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Madagascar, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands.

The Cou people, like many other Austronesian-speaking peoples, have a rich oral tradition which includes myths, legends, and songs. They also have unique practices and customs related to agriculture, fishing, and hunting, that reflect their deep connection to the land and their traditional way of life.

From their melodious polyphonic singing and the hauntingly beautiful notes of the nose flute, to their vibrant traditional clothing adorned with intricate patterns and colorful hues, Cou culture is a visual and auditory feast for the senses. But it is not just their artistic talents that make the Cou people truly special. Their spiritual beliefs and connection to nature infuse their every action, as they work to maintain a harmonious relationship with the world around them. The Cou believe that every element of nature has a spirit, and that by respecting and nurturing these spirits, they can achieve balance and live in harmony with the world.

We are captivated by the Cou’s way of life and their unwavering determination to preserve their cultural identity. Through their eyes, we gain a new appreciation for the importance of respecting and protecting the natural world, and the wisdom that can be gained from living in harmony with the land.