May 06, 2004
front and center with special downtown event
heritage displays at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Saturday will
include music and dance
Inspired by a
blossoming sense of identity, Taiwanese Americans in Portland are
kicking off their largest display of Taiwanese culture Saturday to
celebrate the start of Taiwanese American Heritage Week.
calligraphy demonstrations and dance performances by the Portland
Chinese School will bring Taiwanese culture to Pioneer Courthouse
event will be the largest the community has organized in Portland.
Congress designated the second week of May as Taiwanese American
Heritage Week in 1999 and May is Asian Pacific American Heritage
to highlight the Taiwanese American contribution in the United
States by celebrating our heritage and bringing a greater public
awareness of Taiwan," said Shyu-Tu Lee, president of the
Portland/Vancouver Chapter of the Formosan Association for Public
will be Taiwanese American cultural displays at Vancouver's Asian
Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration on Saturday, May 15. A music
group visiting from Taiwan will perform at Benson High School on
Sunday, May 16.
events in the Portland area are part of a national effort to bring
greater visibility to Taiwanese Americans across the country, Lee
about 500,000 nationally and about 400 in the Portland area,
Taiwanese Americans were not identified as an ethnic group separate
from Chinese until the 2000 U.S. Census.
hope that these events will raise awareness of Taiwan's identity and
continuing struggle for international recognition, Lee said.
island lies 100 miles off the coast of China and has historical and
cultural ties to the mainland. Communist forces drove Nationalist
soldiers off the mainland in 1949, and since then Taiwan has
operated under a separate democratic government.
China, however, considers Taiwan a renegade province and has
threatened to use military power if Taiwan declares independence.
States recognizes China but has strong diplomatic and economic ties
years, Taiwanese Americans have grown more active in forging their
own cultural identity, said Jeffery Chang of the Taiwanese American
Association of Portland.
Saturday's event will showcase distinctive Taiwanese delicacies,
such as Taiwanese sausages, sticky rice and bubble tea -- a popular
cold drink with giant tapioca pearls in it.
musical group performing May 16 will sing traditional folk songs in
Hakka, the language of a large indigenous minority in Taiwan.
culture is important to a group's identity, especially in bringing
those issues to the awareness of the general public," Chang