The longer I reside in Vietnam, the more I realize the less I know about Vietnam. I think that speaks for many people who believe they know something, but upon discovery realize they know nothing at all. I would assume this statement has become some famous quote by a famous artist/writer/leader/et al…
One of the things that I did not know about Vietnam is within this vibrant, beautiful, colorful country, lies a culture that isn’t really spoken about, and that culture comes from the Indigenous community here. It turns out there is approximately 54 Indigenous groups here in Vietnam. I’ve been able to observer about 5 of these indigenous groups here in Kon Tum as they often are seen in the city, carrying their unique basket-weaved back packs and wearing their costumes.
A friend of mine is part J’rai and Bahna, so often I hear him speak in his native tongue, and he goes in between those two languages with Vietnamese and English. It is quite impressive! The indigenous language reminds me a lot like Khmer and their dress attire is similar to Laos. Historically they are connected to Pacific Islanders, Cambodians, Polynesians, Laotians, and Hmong. Their culture is diverse and amazing. What a great addition to Vietnam!
From being here in Vietnam, one of my most exciting experiences is to simply witness the ceremonies and traditions held by the indigenous community of Kon Tum. It is unique, different and captivating!