In the 1950s, many Paiwan people from Pingtung and Taitung came to work in Kaohsiung, where there were more job opportunities. At this time, seven households of the Paiwan timber workers came to live in Kaohsiung City. Among them, Ljavek members Ms. Wang Meijin and Mr. Chen Yingshon are the second generation, who have followed their parents and settled in Kaohsiung. Most of the tribal people worked for Fu Shing MFG. & Lumber Company. In order to live closer to the company, they settled on the side of Zhonghua 5th Road, and built houses next to the canal used for transporting wood. The land belonged to the government at the time.

In Paiwan language, Ljavek means “a tribe living by the river” and it is the only tribe in a metropolitan area of Taiwan that maintains indigenous culture. In 1997, in order to implement Urban Renewal Project, fourteen households of Ljavek residents were resettled by the government, moved to the Naluwan Public Housing in Xiaogang District. The tribes believe that the government’s resettlement plan in Fengshan District and Xiaogang District will cause tribal divisions; the worst part is that the area for resettlement lacks a public space for them to preserve and carry out tribal culture. They could not protect their tribe and ancestral spirits on the land that they have inhabited for 50 years. Furthermore, resettlement also seriously weakened the tribe’s social function of mutual assistance and inheritance.

Over many appeals and coordination, the residents of Ljavek have applied for house numbers from the Kaohsiung City Government. The government issued house numbers and charged some residents with land value tax. Although the residents have had household registration since then, the land issue has not yet been resolved.

During the interview, Ljavek’s elders still vaguely remember the year when it began to “snow” in the tribe. The so-called “snow” is actually powder from the toxic chemical raw material, “PVC”. In 1958, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation was established nearby the tribe, and the vicinity became a petrochemical industrial area, which means the tribe was also surrounded by the toxic chemical powder, making the lives of the Ljavek people miserable. In the past 50 years, the environmental issues caused by factory pollution are beyond imagination.

In 2011, residents of Ljavek were informed by the Kaohsiung City Government of the demolition in February, 2012. Seventeen households presented the receipts of the government housing taxes, land value taxes, and even water and electricity certificates, demanding the land of the Ljavek tribe be legalized.

In 2011, the Kaohsiung City Government approved the “Asian New Bay Area”, and the Ljavek tribe is located right in the heart of the Commerce and Trade Park. In 2013, the government agreed to the request of the Formosa Plastics Group and designated the site as “Wang Yongqing Memorial Park.” In order to carry out the project, the government ordered an immediate demolition to force the residents of the Ljavek tribe to leave.

They are now displaced, even though six families are still staying behind to fight Sixty years ago, the Ljavek came to Kaohsiung to improve their lives. However, they have gone through hardships and become the grassroots labor force for urban development in Kaohsiung, only to face the problem of losing their homes when they are getting old. The Ljavek people hope that the Kaohsiung City Government can respect the traditional family concept of the indigenous people: “We are a family, one big family.”