Montagnards and the Cham Kings: Labor and Land Administration as seen in the Documentary and Oral Archives

Thank you Mr. Che Sa Bingu for providing this article. 

SHINE Toshihiko
Fellow, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan

Untitled1. Introduction
There are more than one million people belonging to seven ethnic groups with
matrilineal kinship system (Mon-Khmer group: M’Nong and Koho; Western Indonesia group: Giarai, Ede, Churu, Raglai and Cham) in Vietnam’s Central Coastal Regions and the Central Highlands. Among these groups, Chams had established a state system from early in the history. During the time of Thuan Thanh Princely State 順城鎭(1695-1832), for instance, Thuan Than Tran Vuong 順城鎭王(Cham King) ruled over the Chams under the control of Nguyen Lords (1555-1777) and Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). The influence of Cham Kingdom also spread beyond the territory directly occupied by the ethnic Chams. Oral records found in the southern part of Central Highlands all mention Cham king’s authority (Dam Bo 1950; Boulbet 1967; Lam Tuyen Tinh 1985; Nguyen Thuan Triet 1990; Lam Tuyen Tinh 2000). These include the folktales about their resistance against Cham kings, marriage with Cham Princesses, or stories about how they aided Cham kingdom in their conflicts with their enemies. Furthermore, one of the crucial pieces of evidence that link the Montagnards and the Cham Kings is the presence of the treasures of Cham kings in more than a dozen storages located in the villages of Montagnards like Koho, Raglai and Churu in Lam Dong Province, Ninh Thuan Privince, and Binh Thuan Province (Parmentier & Durand 1905; Nghiem Tham 1960; Nguyen Xuan Nghia 1989). However, to this day, the evidence regarding Cham king’s labour and land administration of the Montagnards has been strikingly rare. This report presents several data that allow us to analyze and reconstruct the Cham system of administering the labor and land tenure among the Montagnards.

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The Symbolic Role of Literacy as a Standard to Distinguish the Raglai from the Cham 

Toshihiko SHINE
Assistant Professor, Kyoto University

060203_shine1. Introduction: Writing culture and ethnic categorization (highland and
Coupling of friendly ethnic groups in Vietnam
Vietnam has two types of ethnic groups―highlanders and lowlanders―who have a
tight relationship with each other; the “Kinh and Mường” of the Việt―Mường ethnic group and the “Cham and Raglai” of the Malayo―Polynesian ethnic group. Generally speaking, the Kinh and Cham are paddy peasants who occupy the coastal and delta areas and the Mường and Raglai are slash―and―burn peasants1) who reside in the mountainous areas. The Kinh and Cham are proud of their high―level traditional culture and modernity. However, they believe that the Mường and Raglai who dwell in the mountains retain most of their beautiful and pure traditions. According to the Kinh and Cham, the Mong, Dao, Giarai, and Bana are simply Montagnards. Nevertheless, the Kinh believe that the Mường are not simply barbarians by nature.2) In many cases, the Kinh have been noted to show respect for the traditional culture of the Mường. In addition, the Cham respect the Raglai3) the same way as the Kinh respect the Mường. This respect is perhaps something of which many people might be aware. The Kinh and Mường, and also the Cham and Raglai, believe that they have the same origin. However, few people have made attempts to determine why the Kinh and Muong, and also the Cham and Raglai, believe this to be true.

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