Most people may not be very familiar with the Tanka people, also known as ‘boat dwellers’. Yes, they are a community that dwells on boats! They are an indigenous people who lived in coastal communities along the coastline of modern day China. According to one source, they could be categorized into three groups based on the way they survived, whether they were good at getting fish, oysters or wood. Living their entire lives on the sea (with some trips to land), the boat dwellers have a very unique relationship with the environment, which they depend greatly on. For example, they would be adept at noticing even minor changes in the weather. Due to increased pollution and reclamation alongside government policies in housing and education that encouraged the boat dwelling population to ‘move inland’. Today, there are much fewer boat dwelling people who still live on boats, but they may have a ‘double life’, where they would have a place on land, and occasionally return to their boat out of a sense of belonging. What can we learn from the boat dwellers when it comes to this interdependence with nature?
- R. A. Donkin, Beyond Price: Pearls and Pearl-fishing : Origins to the Age of Discoveries, p.200
- 一個水上人家庭的故事 -從水上人空間運用的生活文化尋找被遺忘的歴史,https://www.urbandiarist.com/tc/stories/041/Yue-Kwong-Chuen-Home-of-People-on-the-water-on-land