Post-disaster reconstruction relies on, and is shaped by, the good intentions of states, non-governmental organizations, and donors. These intentions, however, are inescapably framed by historical circumstances and cultural values. Consequently, post-disaster interventions can reinforce patterns of prejudice, injustice, and disadvantage that were entrenched in pre-disaster settings. Focusing on the experiences of Indigenous Rukai communities in southern Taiwan during recovery and reconstruction following Typhoon Morakot in 2009, this article explores the challenges faced in addressing Indigenous-specific concerns in post-disaster reconstruction and community development. We argue that institutional capacity (and capacity deficits) and the procedural vulnerability created in post-disaster responses are components of the risk landscape which require greater attention to diverse cultural values, protocols, and experiences in fostering resilient and inclusive disaster recovery approaches. In Taiwan, the particular complexities of Indigenous geographies, colonial and postcolonial circumstances, and contemporary political dynamics make developing approaches that are respectful of Indigenous cultural values, social aspirations, and political processes not only more difficult but also more important in shaping post-disaster community at multiple scales. Attentiveness to these values, aspirations, and processes generates opportunities for decreasing vulnerability to the extraordinary and the everyday disasters that communities confront.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.