a description of the ‘amis music festival in terms of sovereignty might be a bit optimistic on my part

apart from a sense that one cannot describe any activity in the ‘Atolan ‘Amis Nation as simple, we should also consider the amount of knowledge and work necessary for an event like the music festival to take place

there’s lots of work involved in putting on a music festival, from chauffeuring visiting artists from hotels to stage, feeding workers and visitors, and festival promotions to public safety–not to mention enough toilets. One of Suming’s production crew, Nunung, tells me that the first thing to tell anyone who might think about holding a music festival is that it’s more work than you would ever imagine. this year, as the ‘amis music festival has scaled up, this work has multiplied

if you thought that this festival, which this year will bring to Pacifalan more visitors than the population of the ‘Atolan ‘Amis Nation, requires technical and other personnel beyond the confines of the ‘Amis community, you are correct. although in my last post i talked about the festival as increasing community capacity, the festival could not happen without a professional production company and a large group of outside volunteers. Music festivals require specialized logistics and skills, an entire brigade of professional stage, lighting, and sound technicians. Because the leadership of the community commits to the festival, he entire age set system mobilizes; but most of the work of writing press releases, creating signage, and renting porta-potties falls to the Mita Productions work team

moreover, many people around ‘Atolan call the event “Suming’s big concert” or “Suming’s music festial, even as they avidly participate by performing, setting up concession stands, or just having a good time. ‘Atolan ‘Amis have a sense of ownership but one that is partial or mediated, mostly through Suming as the festival organizer and a widely recognized public figure. Thus, a possible criticism of the event is that the music festival has an awkward or even parasitic relationship to the community

such an argument misses, I think, the mediated quality of community capacity and representational sovereignty–and not just in ‘Atolan. For example, no one balks at Taipei City (or the City of Boston, for that matter) contracting out New Year’s or National Day fireworks displays to technicians and professional production companies. Why then, do we require an Indigenous community not to rely on such “outside” groups in order to have capacity or sovereignty?

the North American definition of Native Nations as “domestic dependent nations” seems to resonate here

We might also ask, what would be more parasitic: to rely on external volunteers and professional technicians to realize a large-scale event, or to exhaust the community with the logistics and labor for staging the music festival? Having control over hosting the event might mean deciding subcontracting out the porta-potties

If the relationship of the music festival to the community is complicated, it’s because the work of asserting sovereignty is not simple, either