Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Rhade are one of the Chamic-speaking ethnic minority peoples living in the Darlac plateau of Vietnam. Their traditional economy relied on the cultivation of rice on rain-fed upland swidden plots. The basic building block of society was the longhouse group, consisting of matrilineally-related women and their in-marrying spouses, as well as children born of the marriage. A cluster of longhouses formed largely self-governing villages. Following Vietnam’s independence from French colonial rule, villages were increasingly absorbed into the national political and administrative system.


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Asia --Southeast Asia




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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

Much of information in this collection was drawn from a Rhadé village, locally called Buôn Kô Sir (Ko-Sier), located in the Đắk Lắk (Darlac) of southern Vietnam. The time focus spans three widely contrasting periods. One is the years from 1930s to Vietnam’s independence from French colonial rule in 1953. Another is the time from the formation of the Republic of South Vietnam in 1956 to early 1970s, which coincided with escalation of the insurgency to a full-scale war involving the United States and other countries. The last period covers the ensuing ten or so years after the withdrawal of American forces and the eventual communist take over the region.

The main ethnographers are Gerald Hickey (1964: no.1 and 1993: no. 4) and John Donoghue (1963: no. 2 and 1962:no.3) who lived in Vietnam from 1956-1973 on a contract to assist the American government by collecting actionable cultural information about the Rhadé and neighboring ethnic minorities living in the highlands. Coverage of Hickey’s works range from overview of Rhadé culture and society (Hickey, 1964: no.1) to the local effects of the protracted Vietnam War (Hickey, 1993: no.4). Donoghue and colleagues discuss the implications of salient features of traditional Rhadé culture and economy for government policy of assimilating ethnic minorities to the dominant lowland culture (Donoghue, 1962:no.3; Donoghue et al., 1963: no. 2).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

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