College of Indigenous Studies, NDHU Website

Founded in 2001, the College of Indigenous Studies (CIS) at NDHU is the first college in Taiwan devoted to the studies of indigenous issues. It currently offers Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees through three departments, Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, Department of Indigenous Development and Social Work (including the Undergraduate Program of Indigenous Social Work), Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, and Understand Graduate Program of Indigenous Performance and Arts. It also houses six centers each promoting indigenous issues as well as offering resources to students to navigate through campus life and career. CIS is currently focused on the following directions:


  1. Indigenous development issues and theoretical framework,
  2. Indigenous talent education,
  3. Influence over policy-making,
  4. Maintain and development indigenous cultures,
  5. Community-based practices and service delivery,
  6. International Austronesian research.

With the growing number of graduates who are committed to work in various areas with and for indigenous people, CIS has enjoyed a nation-wide reputation in educating a generation of indigenous youth to serve indigenous peoples.


  • null

    Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures

    The Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures is the first department in Taiwan dedicated to the study of ethnic relations and cultures. It offers a complete range of degrees: B.A., M.A., M.A. for Working Professionals, and Ph.D. An interdisciplinary program, faculty members have a wide range of expertise, including, anthropology, sociology, political science, history, and art history.

    The department provides training for academic research in ethnic studies and cultural theory with an emphasis on applied work within an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural framework. The department is particularly concerned with issues of indigenous community development and identity, as well as the shifting nature of cultural traditions.

    We strongly encourage students to form vigorous partnerships with local communities; serving and collaborating with those communities to promote community development and cultural revitalization.

    Our department offers special courses of study in the following areas: Ethnic Development and Cultural Change, Modernity and Postcolonialism, Issues in Ethnicity, Gender, and Class, Community Development, Indigenous Ecotourism, Indigenous History and Culture, and Contemporary Indigenous Issues, etc.

    The department cultivates skills in ethnic studies, multiculturalism, traditional knowledge, and social practice in order to prepare graduates for careers in research, government service, as well as cultural policy development and implementation.

    In addition to pursuing advanced degrees — in Taiwan and abroad — in fields such as ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, and art-related programs, our graduates have a successful record of finding jobs in the public sector as well as the cultural industry. Graduates have found work in museums, private foundations, publishing houses, historical and cultural centers, as well as working on projects related to indigenous community development.

  • Department of Indigenous Affairs and Development

    The Department of Indigenous Affairs and Development aims to cultivate professionals and talents in the areas of indigenous development, administration and indigenous social work with an emphasis of the balance between theories and practices, globalization and tribalization, as well as quality and quantity. It currently offers Bachelor and Master degrees. The department inherits humanistic values and caring traditions of the College of Indigenous Studies, aiming to provide services especially for indigenous peoples in eastern Taiwan, and to train researchers, development professionals and social workers for indigenous peoples.

    The department is committed to the follow missions:

    1. Train professionals in the field of indigenous development and administration,
    2. Train talents in indigenous social work and NGO’s,
    3. Strengthen the basis of research on indigenous issues for policy-making,
    4. Collaborate with communities to provide services in their benefit,
    5. Expand the pathways of education for indigenous people.

    The department currently has nine full-time faculty members specializing in the fields of indigenous development policies, ethnic studies, social work, law, international relations and politics, human geography, social welfare, ethics and human rights.

  • null

    Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication

    Established in 2001, the Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication aims to educate students with the talent of language preservation and the skill of audio-visual communication, in order to revitalize the cultural heritage of indigenous nations in Taiwan.

    According to Robert Blust, the Formosan languages form nine of the ten primary branches of the Austronesia language family; therefore, Taiwan’s indigenous language is the most important part of the Austronesia languages, which are widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Recently, most of the Formosan languages are seriously diminishing due to the process of colonial domination and cultural assimilation. Many linguists urge to preserve Taiwan’s indigenous language and the creation of the department is thus to meet the urgent needs for the revitalization of indigenous language and culture.

    The department is committed to providing quality education that is relevant to indigenous linguistics and communication, for enabling students to participate the language preservation and leading to further opportunities engaging in the future development of indigenous society.

    Compared to other universities, our department has the additional resources:

    1. Provide professional training in four course programs including language, literature, communication, and ethnic development.
    2. Offer indigenous language courses and oral training.
    3. Establish multimedia labs and have two divisions: broadcast and television. To provide students with more opportunities in practicing the use of multimedia and to increase their experiences for future career, broadcasting team collaborates and produces programs with the local broadcasting station in Hualien, and the television team documents the cultural rise and fall, social changes, and the stories of the youth in villages.
    4. Provide students with multifaceted learning opportunities and environment in accordance with the course program system of the college and school.
  • Undergraduate Program of Indigenous Social Work

    Established in 2007, the Undergraduate Program of Indigenous Social Work aims to offer professional services for social work in the eastern Taiwan, especially for indigenous peoples.

    In the field of social work, due to the obvious cultural and economic disadvantages of indigenous society, how to assist indigenous people to improve their own conditions and share the opportunity to pursue the wellbeing have become one of our missions. At present, most of the departments regarding social work in Taiwan mainly focus on the mainstream society, which hardly understand the real needs and the wellbeing of indigenous people. We are also lack of social workers sensitive to indigenous cultures. Therefore, we are committed to the training of indigenous social workers to promote the construction of indigenous knowledge and the expertise in the field of social work. We hope that our graduates can work in the multi-cultural environment and then they can improve the situation of socially disadvantaged members.

  • Undergraduate Program of Indigenous Performance and Arts

    The Undergraduate Program in Indigenous Cultural Heritage and Industry is currently undergoing approval by NDHU. This program aims to respond to current social needs in Taiwan to realize indigenous autonomy through training talents to enable economic growth in indigenous communities through highlighting indigenous cultures and art. CIS emphasizes engaging cultural, social and historical indigenous issues through critical thinking and contexualization and encourages them to pursuit careers that would have practical benefits to indigenous peoples and communities. This program will work closely with the College of Fine Arts as well as indigenous craftsman and artists.


    The program will include the following fields:

    1. indigenous art (visual art, craft, contemporary art and curation),
    2. indigenous music and dance (performance art, traditional and creative music and dance),
    3. indigenous museum (with new conceptions of museums integrating community and self-determination development),
    4. indigenous cultural heritage (rituals, traditional craft, and oral histories),
    5. indigenous literatures and images (myths, author literature, image creation and etc).
  • College of Indigenous Studies Dance Troup

    The Troup was established in 2005 and is composed of students at NDHU interested in indigenous culture of music and dance. Students from different places in Taiwan spend their spare time with elders to learn the music and dance cultures of different Indigenous Peoples or groups. The Troupe hopes to pass down the beauty of Taiwan indigenous people’s cultures through rigorous fieldwork and revive the cultures of indigenous peoples. By doing so, the Troup also hopes to inspire great enthusiasm for traditional culture among young generation of indigenous peoples.

    Recent international performances:

    • 2016 The 12th Festival of Pacific Art (Guam)
    • 2015 The tour in San Francisco and Los Angeles, USA
    • 2015 The tour in 15 cities of North America, the Taiwan Traditional Week held by Overseas Community Affairs Council, Taiwan

    Photo credit: College of Indigenous Studies Dance Troup.

    Photo credit: College of Indigenous Studies Dance Troup.

  • College of Indigenous Studies Radio Station

    Founded in 2013, the radio station ‘Voices of Dong Hwa’ is a hub for students in communications to put their learnings into practice. The station is characterized by the strong connection between the university and the geo-social, environmental, and cultural landscapes of eastern Taiwan. The station’s programs include campus news, news in indigenous languages and programs with ethnic features.

    Photo credit: Voices of Dong Hwa

  • Indigenous Students Resource Center

    To heighten the competitiveness of indigenous students at NDHU and train future talents in various indigenous issues, the College of Indigenous Studies established the Indigenous Students Resource Center in 2014. Targeting the well-being of indigenous student body, the center offers counseling in multiple capacities to strengthen self-confidence in learning and enhance abilities in students.


    Missions of the indigenous students resource center:

    1. Build network for indigenous students to connect with indigenous faculty members,
    2. integrate school counseling unit resources, strengthen the basic database of students,
    3. foster a learning environment at the NDHU on indigenous cultural and social education as well as ethnic affairs,
    4. provide counselling services to indigenous students on issues of campus-life adaptation and career seeking.
    5. Promote exchange opportunities between indigenous students.
  • Center of Indigenous Development

    The Center of Indigenous Development connects government and private resources to promote non-tertiary indigenous adult education, talent training and policy think tank.

    Missions of the Center of Indigenous Development:

    1. To promote the Center to become the cradle of lifelong learning and training for indigenous people with professional skills and the think tank for indigenous policies,
    2. To strengthen the functions in policy consultation, publication and the construction of data base related to indigenous cultures,
    3. Combined with government and non-government resources, to jointly promote the educational activities, build indigenous education network and facilitate the use of resources,
    4. To promote indigenous exchange and cooperation at the international level, build the network with global indigenous society and promote the link and partnership.
  • null

    Center for International Indigenous Affairs

    The Center for International Indigenous Affairs at National Dong Hwa University was founded in August 2014 with a vision to promote international indigenous research collaboration, raise student awareness on indigenous issues across the world, and engender vibrant exchanges of indigenous academic, education and cultural affairs. In the last few years, the center has build up connections with various higher education programs and institutes around the world, such as Tenri University (Japan), University of Guam (USA), University of Ottawa (Canada), and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (New Zealand). The Center also welcomes individual scholars for research partnership, and has been host Fulbright Scholars from the USA.


    Missions of the Center for International Indigenous Affairs are:

    1. Examine and establish appropriate measures for international exchanges of indigenous academic, educational and cultural affairs.
    2. Plan and implement strategies, tasks and evaluation for international dialogue and collaboration for the College of Indigenous Studies.
    3. Establish program and evaluation for international student recruitment, guidance and scholarship for the College of Indigenous Studies.
    4. Facilitate and assist the University’s international exchange programs on policy and goal implementation.
  • Indigenous Culture and Communication Center

    The Indigenous Culture and Communication Center is a base for the training for talents in indigenous culture and communication. Connecting formal communication education training with actual hand-on practices, the center aims to advance current indigenous media in Taiwan.


    Missions of Indigenous Culture and Communication Center:

    1. Combined with government and non-government resources, to jointly promote indigenous cultural and communication education activities.
    2. To build indigenous cultural and communication database by collecting and publishing indigenous cultural knowledge and communication practices.
    3. To build the relationship with local and global indigenous media by facilitating national and international cooperation in indigenous culture and communication.