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In 2001, the Atayal tribe numbered 91,883, which was 23.1% of Taiwan's total indigenous population, which is the 2nd largest group. The Amis tribe has the greatest percentage at 37.5%
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A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving indigenous communities.

Building bridges for cultural exchange

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ACHIEVEMENTS

The ATAYAL organization was established in Florida, USA on March 26, 2001. Originally created to educate Americans about the culture of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Through the years, the organization's mission and activities have grown in scope. Check the timeline below to view a history of significant achievements and events for the ATAYAL organization.

December 18, 2016

2016 Wulai Christmas Toy Drive

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ATAYAL Director of International Relations, Gary Smoke and Wulai locals organized the 2016 Christmas Event for the indigenous village of Wulai, Taipei, Taiwan. This annual event had an unprecedented number of sponsors and partners, which allowed us to have a raffle to raise money for the programs in Taiwan. The event also featured an indigenous fashion show, organized by Alice Takewatan and De-Wei Lee, and performances by Kang Chiao International School.


August 1, 2016

Mata TV Pilot Episode

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The ATAYAL organization supported the production of the MATA TV pilot episode, bringing Taiwan's indigenous news to the world in English language. With the help of an experienced, professional video production team, led by Tobie Openshaw, and supporters, the pilot episode was produced to help potential distributors and media partners see the possibilities of cooperation. The first episode covered the Taiwanese President's formal apology to Taiwan's indigenous peoples, and covered the reactions of the people. A Facebook Page was also created to share indigenous news ongoingly.


December 3-17, 2013

Taproot Cultural Exchange Program

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The ATAYAL Organization completed its ambitious program, Taproot Cultural Exchange Program, with hopes of organizing this program annually and including more Austronesian countries. The program was designed to bring together members of the media from Austronesian countries to interact with Taiwan's indigenous peoples, with the purpose of them learning from each other, including their similarities and differences. The hope is that this would teach them how to collaborate and inspire them to produce joint TV and film projects, to foster more understanding. The first program brought a Maori delegation from the Auckland University of Technology to tour Taiwan and to participate in various cultural activities. The program cooperated with three Universities, and the National Museum of Prehistory, as well as Taiwan Indigenous Television and the Council for Indigenous Peoples.


September 7, 2013

Tulalip Tribe Exchange

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ATAYAL Director of International Relations, Gary Smoke organized an exchange trip with the Tulalip Tribe of Marysville, Washington. ATAYAL founder Tony Coolidge with other ATAYAL volunteers escorted a delegation of police officers from Hsinchu City, Taiwan to meet with representatives of the Tulalip police department and fire department. During the meeting, they discussed future indigenous cultural exchange with the tribes of Taiwan and possible participation in a Sister Village relationship with Wulai, New Taipei City, Taiwan.


December 24, 2012

2012 Wulai Christmas Toy Drive

ATAYAL Director of International Relations, Gary Smoke and members of the Rangi Association and a few Wulai locals organized the 2012 Christmas Toy Drive for the indigenous village of Wulai, Taipei, Taiwan. As a goodwill gesture for the local Atayal tribal villagers, we worked with other different organizations and schools in Taiwan to collect new and like-new toys for the children of Wulai. The amount of toys far exceeded last year's total. A group of volunteers performed music and sang Christmas carols in front of the Wulai Atayal Museum. Santa Claus even paid a visit to the Atayal Museum. Santa Claus and his helpers also surprised the children of a Presbyterian church of the nearby village of Jhong-si with many gifts. Through a raffle, the group raised over NT30,000 (US $1,500) to help fund an eductional program that brings foreign volunteer teachers to a children's community center in Wulai.


July 18, 2012

Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival

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Voices in the Clouds was selected as the winner of the "Golden Drum" award by the 2012 Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival. The award is given to the top selection by the 3-member international panel of judges at the festival. The film festival, which is in its 6th year, was held in Nepal's capital of Kathmandu from July 12-15, 2012 and had a total of 79 national and international films represented. This high level of participation made the award significant to the filmmakers.


June 6, 2012

ATAYAL in New Zealand

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Executive Director Tony Coolidge traveled to Aotearoa (New Zealand) from May 30-June 6, 2012 to conduct cultural exchange activities on behalf of the ATAYAL organization. First, he represented Voices in the Clouds at the 2012 Wairoa Film Festival, where the documentary film won the award for the "Best International Indigenous Film" category. Members of the Maori community were surprised by the similarities between their culture and that of the indigenous people of Taiwan, and they are eager to learn more. Mr. Coolidge also launched the Taproot Cultural Exchange Program and started filming footage for the promotional video.


June 4, 2012

Wairoa Maori Film Festival

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Voices in the Clouds was selected as the winner of the "Best International Indigenous Film" award by the 2012 Wairoa Maori Film Festival. The festival organizer, Leo Koziol, presented the award, which features a Maori design on the trophy, to Tony Coolidge, who attended on behalf of the filmmakers.


March 18, 2012

Taiwan Indigenous Television Channel 16

Voices in the Clouds, the documentary film supported by the ATAYAL organization, makes its television debut on Sunday evening at 9:00 pm on Taiwan Indigenous Television Channel 16.


December 24, 2011

Christmas and Clothing Drive

ATAYAL Director of International Relations, Gary Smoke organized a Christmas Toy and Clothing Drive for the indigenous village of Wulai, Taipei, Taiwan. As a goodwill gesture for the Atayal tribe, we worked with other service organizations in Taiwan, such as The Community Services Center, The Taipei Volunteer Fire Department, The English Library, among others. A group of volunteers performed music and sang Christmas carols in front of the Wulai Atayal Museum. Santa Claus even paid a visit. The group also raised NT14,214 (US $500) to donate to a Hsin Shen Church along with 70 bags of toys and clothing.


December 01, 2011

Dong-Hwa University Hualien Lecture

ATAYAL Executive Director Tony Coolidge was invited to screen Voices in the Clouds and give a lecture to students at Dong-Hwa University. Knowing he would have a chance to speak to young adults from various indigenous communities, he developed a lecture on "How to make your dreams come true, from lessons learned from the making of Voices in the Clouds." Overcoming challenges in making a film with a small budget, and from the philosophies of the indigenous peoples, themselves, Tony shares compelling methods to apply to achieve seemingly difficult goals.


May 08, 2011

Voices in the Clouds Taiwan premier at the Urban Nomad Film Festival

Voices in the Clouds is selected as Closing Film for the Urban Nomad Film Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. ATAYAL founder, Tony Coolidge, plus film subject Alice Takewatan and special guest Philip Diller conduct special Q&A session after screening to an audience of nearly 200.


June 01, 2010

Voices in the Clouds premier at the Aruba International Film Festival

Voices in the Clouds, the documentary film supported by the ATAYAL organization, jumpstarts its festival run with a world premiere at the Aruba International Film Festival. The film also allows ATAYAL founder, Tony Coolidge, to more vividly share the organization's vision and mission to a broader audience. The film was produced by Voices In The Clouds, LLC, a team led by Aaron Hosť, Chris Bremer and John Schaub.


April 25, 2009

Goodbye Screening of Voices in the Clouds

ATAYAL Officers Tony and Shu-min Coolidge and the filmmakers invited their friends, family, and special guests to the first screening of Voices in the Clouds. Although it wasn't the final cut, the film brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience. The event, held in an auditorium at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy in UCF's downtown Orlando campus, included the film screening, photography exhibit, and refreshments, and also served as a farewell party to Tony and Shu-min, who moved their family to Taiwan on May 5, 2009.


May 19, 2008

Exemption Letter

The ATAYAL organization is issued its second Consumer's Certificate of Exemption with the State of Florida, which means no State sales tax is required for purchases or transactions within the State.


February, 1, 2008

Time and Music in a Disappearing World

Before completing the Voices in the Clouds documentary film, the film producers decided to create a short vignette titled "Time and Music in a Disappearing World" as a teaser and promotional piece for the photography exhibit and upcoming documentary.


November 2007

National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic Traveler Magazine contacted Chris Bremer, co-producer of Voices in the Clouds, to use a photo of Bunun children that he shot when filming in Taiwan. It was quite an honor for Chris and an acknowledgment of his talents.


June 20, 2006

501(c)(3) Final Ruling Determination Letter

The ATAYAL organization receives it permanent ruling in a letter from the IRS. It has earned its permanent 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.


June 12, 2006

Donation to the elders

After tallying the sales from the Scott Laurent Photography Exhibit, and paying the cost of the framed photos, proceeds of US $777 were donated to the four tattooed elders in Taiwan who were the subject of the documentary film. The donation was distributed through Alice Takewatan and her indigenous culture group TICEDA in Taipei, Taiwan. Living off of a government subsidy of US $90 per month, the donation of approximately US$200 per elder was a significant contribution, but it was a small gesture that could not acknowledge them enough for what they endured in their lifetime.


May 6, 2006

Scott Laurent photo exhibit

The ATAYAL organization partners with the award-winning Scott Laurent Gallery in Winter Park, Florida, to exhibit a series of photographs taken by Aaron Hosť and Chris Bremer during the production of the documentary Voices in the Clouds. The exhibit was funded and produced by ATAYAL advisory board member Leticia Rieman. Proceeds from the sale of the photographs were donated to the tattooed elders of Taiwan who were featured in documentary film. This art show was the fourth in a series of exhibitions for the "Time in a Disappearing World" photo collection, with exhibits at OLA Fest and the Downtown Media Arts Center in Orlando, the Hewitt Corporation, and the Asian Gala at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort.


December 2004 - January 2005

Voices in the Clouds

Invited by Alice Takewatan, a Bunun tribal princess and indigenous cultural leader, the directors of the ATAYAL organization and an American film crew led by Aaron Hosť and Chris Bremer, traveled to Taiwan for a monthlong stay to film footage documenting indigenous elders, artists, leaders and tribal locations.


October 17-18, 2004

The Taiwanese indigenous peoples meet the Seminole Tribe of Florida

The ATAYAL organization helped to put together the first organized meeting between the indigenous peoples of Taiwan and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Taiwanese indigenous culture group were guests of the Seminole Tribe, and they performed at the reservation headquarters in Hollywood, Florida, and they also performed at the Hard Rock Hotel, where they stayed. When the tribes from different sides of the planet met and embraced for the first time, they were very emotional, and declared that they felt like long-separated brothers and sisters. This inspired the founders of the ATAYAL organization to prioritize tribal exchange programs in the future.


October 15-16, 2004

2004 Indigenous Heritage Festival

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The ATAYAL organization organized the first Indigenous Heritage Festival at the University of Central Florida. The event brought indigenous tribal groups together from around the world, and showcased peformances, workshops, and a film festival.


May 20, 2004

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The ATAYAL organization founder made an unexpected visit to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, joining an indigenous group from Taiwan and speaking on a panel discussing issues faces by the indigenous youth in Taiwan. During his three-day visit, he met many tribal leaders from around the world and invited them to attend the Indigenous Heritage Festival.


April 20, 2003

International Culture Festival

In the early days of the ATAYAL organization, the founders spent some of their free time attending cultural festivals at schools and organized events to showcase the indigenous culture of Taiwan. It was a labor of love, just to have a chance to meet people and have conversations about culture and Taiwan.


November 22, 2002

Initial Film Group

One of the first projects that the founders of the ATAYAL organization wanted to take on was creating a film to share the indigenous culture of Taiwan with Americans. After filmmakers Derek Bedini and Aaron Hosť met Tony and read his article, Village in the Clouds, they agreed to make a film based in the journey of discovery of indigenous culture in Taiwan. Amei and Joseph Stephens (front row) joined early on as fundraising consultants for the film project. They made up the initial team for the movie project, and were instrumental in the early stages of its development.


November 8, 2002

Initial Exemption Letter

The ATAYAL organization is issued its initial Consumer's Certificate of Exemption with the State of Florida, which means no State sales tax is required for purchases or transactions within the State.


March 26, 2001

501(c)(3) Advanced Ruling Determination Letter

The ATAYAL organization applies for 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS grants an advanced ruling, which is valid from March 26, 2001 - December 31, 2005.


March 26, 2001

Articles of Incorporation

Tony Coolidge registers the ATAYAL organization, which is incorporated in the State of Florida.


September 1, 1995

Village In The Clouds

Tony Coolidge writes and article for ORIENT Magazine titled, Village In The Clouds. The article is about his journey back to Taiwan, where he discovers his deceased mother is from an indigenous tribe known as Atayal. The article generates interest from filmmakers, and the interest expressed by readers inspires Tony to create an organization to share more about the disappearing culture.


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