Vietnam Time

6/1/2018 11:42:38 PM

Festival highlights wisdom of ethnic cultures in Hanoi

(VNF) - With the theme of Indigenous Knowledge – Spring of Life, the 'I Believe I Can' Festival is taking place on June 1st-2nd in Hanoi. The festival brought members of ethnic minority communities from across the country to Hanoi to showcase their music and dance heritage to build their confidence and promote culture diversity and indigenous values.

At the two-day exhibition ‘I Believe I Can’.

The annual event was initiated in 2015 by various organisations such as the Pioneer To Promote Cultural Diversity and Mutual Respect And Empathy Among Ethnic groups. Since 2016, it has been co-hosted by three networks of ethnic people include the Pioneer, Action for Hmong Development (AHD), and VTIK – a network promoting indigenous knowledge of the Thai people.

The festival this year is supported by Irish Aid, the EU, CARE International, Plan International, and ChildFund, as well as the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), the Centre for Community Empowerment (CECEM), and the Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM).

The cultural performance and exchange event and a open dialogue are put together by local communities themselves to show their pride and agency. The event emphasises on one key message all cultures are equal - different cultures should be respected and integrated into polices for ethnic minorities.

“It celebrates the beauty of knowledge embedded within each cultural practice of more than 20 ethnic communities from many parts of the country. The festival is presenting co-research results and an art performance of 170 community members that will show their wisdom from within,” said Hoang Thi Thu Huong, iSEE Deputy Director of Communication and Gender Program.

“It aims to honour the local indigenuous knowledge of the ethnic groups through exhibitions, workshops and art performances,” she added.

“For these minorities to develop sustainably, simply building new houses, paving news roads and providing financial aids are not enough. They need to participate in social management, figure out the issues, come up with solutions and execute them collectively,” said Huong.

After years working in the Central Highlands, NguyenThi Bich Tam drew the lessons, “We outsiders shouldn’t impose our will on the people. We have to consider them as our companions, listen to and respect their opinions. What we need to do is research and offer instructions and solutions, then leave the local people to make their own decision. Sustainable development can only be achieved when we give them the confidence in themselves.”

She also shared the lessons she has learnt from the local people. “We shouldn’t consider people from a remote region backward. They understand their situations more than anyone.”

Members of ethnic minority communities from across the country share their opinions.

A symphony of the diversified culture of various ethnic groups was performed on Saturday in the walking street by Hoan Kiem Lake. The art performance included the participation of various ethnic peoples from Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Quang Tri, and Soc Trang Provinces.

The event featured the Lullaby Kun A Y (Mother’s miracle) of the Pakoh, the gongs dance of the Mnong, and a love song of the Pa Then.

The performance highlighted the maturity ceremony of the Dao, the Chol Chnam Thmay New Year festival of the Khmer, and a traditional costume show of the Nung.

I Believe I Can begins Friday (June 1st) at the Exhibition House, located at 93 Dinh Tien Hoang Street. On display is research on the Pakoh and Ta Oi’s languages; a collection of Moong fairy tales, a documentary film called “Research on indigenous knowledge of the Tay people in conservation of natural forests”. It also includes results of the photovoice project among the Khmer ethnic group in the southern province of Tra Vinh.

Representatives for the youth of ethnic groups joined a Youth Learning Forum on the same day where they focused on networking and sharing expertise on topics such as ethnic youth and ethnic culture, education, employment, marriage and the environment.

The main event took place at L’Espace, located at 24 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi. The opening ceremony followed by a talk show called “Wisdom from within” with discussions among community members and researchers on indigenous knowledge, reflections on co-research methodology by community members and experts, and sharing by artists partnering with community members in presenting co-research results./.

Minh Chau  
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