THE MANG

The Mang don’t have a written language but ethnologists believe they are indigenous to Vietnam’s northwesternmost corner. For a long time, they lived a nomadic lifestyle – hence their nickname “The Wanderers”. They eventually settled in 1945 at the Chinese border, establishing some of the poorest villages I’ve ever come across. Traditionally, they lived near a source of water for everyday use but have since relocated like other groups. Although this resettlement policy provided them with new housing, it also caused the loss of a lot of their cultural values. Their stilt houses still exist but, little by little are being replaced with concrete buildings. Also, their traditional costume is no longer being made, and today the Mang live in isolation from the rest of the world, in remote mountainous areas, more than one hour walking distance from the nearest river. I found them in July 2017. Most of them had never seen a foreigner before and understandably were a bit shy at first, but they ended being very welcoming. The woman in the portrait was almost blind but moved me with her warmth and kindness. She owned 2 traditional costumes, made out of a vest decorated with silver coins and a thick loin wrapped around the chest. Sadly, the new generation judges it as ugly and too complicated to make.

 

Population

3700 people (Census 2009)

Location

Lai Chau

Arrival

Indigenous to the Northern regions
 
THE SI LA
THE DAO
THE BO Y
THE FLOWER HMONG
THE PA THEN
THE MA
THE BAHNAR
THE M’NÔNG
THE RO MAM
THE EDE