Introduction to the village
Cơ Tu – Nam Giang CBT is located in Nam Giang district, Quang Nam province. It is around 70km far from Danang City and Hoi An Ancient Town. The Cotu ethnic minority – an indigenous group, is living there for a long time ago.
A peaceful people, the Cotu of Vietnam are known as the “People of the Forest” because of their strong affinity with nature. They embrace centuries-old traditions and have preserved their own language, ceremonial worship, knowledge about medicinal herbs and forestry, and unique means of survival. Besides rearing animals and growing crops for consumption, the Cotu are also adept hunters and gatherers, a gift enhanced by their unique insight and experience in the jungle. They also have a keen aptitude for art, which can be seen in their intricated weaving and carving works. Importantly, the community is at the center of all Cotu life, and they have a strong spirit of sharing with each other. One of the 53 ethnic minority groups in Vietnam, the Cotu totaling 62,000 people lives mainly in Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces. In the midst of the Truong Son mountain range, the warm welcome of the Cotu people awaits you.
- Assembly House – Guol
Each Cotu village has a Guol or community house at its center. This is the house where official village meetings are held and are also considered a common space for villagers to come together and mingle. The structure of the Guol is impressive – built on stilts with one main pillager at the center, these squarish–shaped huts are fully made of trees and bamboo yet are incredibly strong, namely because the villagers have poured their hearts into the Guol construction. The rectangular roof shape and stilts are distinctive to the Cotu village style, and the rest of the family houses are built around this communal house in a circular fashion.
- Cotu Traditional Dance
The most commonly performed traditional dance of the Cotu is the “Tung tung ya ya”- a ceremonial dance to express gratitude to the gods in times of community festivals such as new crop time and new year. “Tung Tung” represents the dance of the men, who also wield their shields and spears, while “Ya Ya” is the dance of the women, who wear handwoven dresses.
- Cotu Traditional Weaving
Cotu weaving is traditional backstrap weaving. Cotu women use simplistic wooden instruments to weave clothing, which they position between their legs like a horizontal harp. They place the beads and weave them into the material using a small wooden pluck. The designs that result from this labor-intensive work include nature-inspired motifs such as stars or leaves, Cotu women weave in their spare time and it takes often a few months to finish one piece of clothing, The weaving items are made for family use or given as gifts an weddings. These days Cotu also produces and sells items such as bags and pouches.