to start, who are the Montagnards?

1 - Origin of the site    2 - Collections    3 - Figures and dates    4 - Image and point of view...

1/6 - Origin of the site
This website is the outcome of three acknowledgements and concerns:

    1. The number of Internet users in Asia is certainly undergoing exponential growth, and in many countries of South-East Asia even simple villages now have houses equipped with a computer connected to the Internet. Yet it is a fact that the only websites dedicated to minority peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are as yet those created by political organizations of the Diaspora or by American veterans of the Second Indochina War 1.
   The motivations of these sites necessarily entail a certain restriction in the field of images presented. It, therefore, seems fit to see that local communities may have access to their own images stored in the West. But, when accessible at all by remote connections (which remains the case for a minority of them only) such archive collections can only be searched by complex or general modes due to their location in broad generalist documentary sets covering the five continents.

    2. We are also motivated by considerations of heritage constraints. We are faced with a process of disappearance of the generations which produced or own the documents concerning these populations before the upheavals of the 1963-75 war years. These documents concern a state of things when their lives remained within a practically unchanged framework, for which it is desirable to establish the context of the images preserved.

    3. More than thirty years after the victory of Communist forces and the reunification of these countries under a single political entity, the time may have come to assemble the documents from all parties once antagonistic and from all periods. The highlander populations of the so called “Indochinese massif” are neither doomed to decline nor prepared to disappear. The proposed collection may enable them to apprehend something of their history, and of the evolution of their modes of living, by a process of self reinterpretation of images once produced with sometimes questionable intentions, laudatory or not. Thus, a feedback move may set in with a positive impact on a world which once pictured these peoples before it attempted sometimes, somehow, to destroy them.
1 - Named "Vietnam war" but also involving Laos and Cambodia, as well known. Indochina – this geopolitical term, initially proposed by a Franco-Danish geographer to describe the land between India and China will be used on this site as a geographic short to speak of the area where selected Montagnard groups are found. When speaking specifically of the French colonial political entity, the name "French Indochina" will be used.
Jean-Pierre Chazal - All rights reserved 2010