”Green hills, clean water, girls in Ali Mountain are beautiful as water, boys in Ali Mountain are strong as mountains.” The above lyric abstracted from the song “Hill Green” is a vivid portray of Tsou people in Ali Mountain. Staid personality, straight nose, and with a little pride and confidence, that’s the impression from others towards Tsou.
Tsou people rely on agriculture and hunting for traditional living. Due to the regulations on prohibition from hunting, lots of Tsou people decided to move out. On the other hand, as Ali Mountain is the area for growing mountain tea and matsum, many Tsou people started to grow matsum in the reservation. Furthermore, they also learn the techniques of growing tea from Han people. These two high value economic crops made some young Tsou people come back to the tribe. Except for tea and matsums, bamboo shoots, and cabbages are also valuable productions. Recently, some people in the tribe started to study flowers planting, particularly the high price perfume lily.
(1) Sophisticated leather making technique
Using animal’s skin as the materials for clothes is the feature of Tsou people. They use muntjac’s skin to make hats and leather shoes; goat’s skin for clothes.
The first step to process these skins into leather goods is to shave all the fur on the skin, dry the skin, and place it inside the mortar, and beat it with the pestle until it becomes soft by repeating several times. The part of skin in the animal’s hands will no be used to make leather clothes and hats. For Paiwan people, their clothes use the fur of goat.
(2) Strict family system
Tsou people have a strict family system no matter both for marriages and sacrifices. The system is expanded to the whole tribe. This is part of the reasons why Tsou people always cooperate well and work with high efficiency.
(3) Simple design of the costume
Except the clothes made with animal skins, men of Tsou always wear clothes in red and hats with feather ornament. As for women, they wear red corset, headscarves, blue clothes and black skirts.
(1) Social system in general
According to the Tsou, only clans that can hold the tribal-wide rituals can be called ‘Hosa’ and is regarded as a full political entity.
The social organizations can be divided into following sections:
(1) Hosa: Composed of several aemanas.
(2) Aemanas: Composed by several ongo-no-emos. They might have blood relations or not. People within the same aemanas are prohibited from marriage.
(3) Ongo-no-emo: Composed of several single surname families. They share the same cultivated lands, rivers, and millet worship house.
There is no class system in Tsou, but a few important people
(2) Eozomu: commander who takes charge of fighting and hunting
(3) Maotana: obtaining special prize during the war
(2) Property inheritance
In the traditional society of Tsou, land is a shared property. The eldest son of each family can have the first priority for inheriting family’s property. Precious weapons are inherited by the eldest son too. As for the eldest daughter, she has the right to inherit things belong to her mother
Tsou people follow the ceremonials for their marriage, taking patriliny as their principal. Women have to live with husband’s family after marriage. They are not allowed to marry with people have blood relationship.