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Selected Groups in the Republic of Vietnam

The Cham


[Special Operations Research Office]

Ethnographic Study Series:

This is a PREPUBLICATION WORKING PAPER - an advance copy, subject to change - of a part of a larger study to be published in a single volume. Reproduction in whole or in part is permitted for any purpose of the United States Government .



The Special Operations Research Office (SORO) of The American University, operating under contract with the Department of the Army, conducts research on military problems in support of requirements stated by the Department of the Army. As another service SORO provides through the Counterinsurgency Information Analysis Center (CINFAC) rapid responses to queries from Department of Defense agencies, their contractors, and as directed, other governmental departments and agencies.

The contents of this report, including any conclusions or recommendations, reflect the work of SORO and are not to be construed as an official Department of the Army position, unless so designated by other authorized documents. This particular study was conducted in response to a request from the Directorate of Special Operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. 20310.

Using agencies are encouraged to submit additional questions and/or comments which will lead to clarification or correction of errors of fact and opinion: which fill gaps of information; or which suggest other changes as may be appropriate. Comments should be addressed to:

Directorate of Special Operations
Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations
Department of the Army
Washington, D.C., 20310


Director, Special Operations Research Office
The American University
5010 Wisconsin Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D.C., 20016

Reproduction in whole or in part is permitted for any purpose of the United States Government.

CAUTION: The information in this study should be considered as a point of departure to be checked against the current circumstances or conditions of the particular area in which the user is working.






The American University   5010 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.   Washington, D.C. 20016

SORO/CINFAC/ R-0118-65               October 1965


SORO, in response to a request from the Directorate of Special Operations, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, is developing a CINFAC ethnographic study of selected groups residing in or migrating through the Republic of Vietnam. The complete study will cover 24 groups.

The task of studying selected groups in the Republic of Vietnam is a complicated one. The country is undergoing crises of various types, in the course of which the groups have come into contact with modern civilization. It is difficult to gauge the true depth and nature of social and cultural changes, particularly those occurring because of contact with U.S. military and economic assistance programs. It does appear, however, that the minority groups are deeply involved in these changes. Finally, the available information is fragmentary and often biased or contradictory.

This working paper on the Cham is the third of a pre-publication series on the groups being distributed on a limited basis. It is a descriptive report based on secondary sources dealing with the Vietnamese society. Field research was not undertaken, although the comments of consultants and personnel recently returned from Vietnam have been incorporated. The final report will contain line drawings and illustrations.

It must be recognized, then, that this paper on the Cham is not an exhaustive study. Further, the information contained herein may be dated even before it is published and may be subject to modification in the light of new developments and information. Although it contains the latest information available, the user is cautioned to consider this study as a point of departure to be checked against the current circumstances or conditions of the particular area in which he is working.

Richard H. Moore
Manager, Counterinsurgency
Information Analysis Center


Map: Territories of the Cham
Map: Territories of the Cham



Among the minorities of the Republic of Vietnam, one of the smallest and least known is the Cham group. A people of Malayo-Polynesian stock, the Cham developed under both Hindu and Moslem influence in their early history. The imprint of these two civilizations, although altered by local tradition and superstition, is still evident in the customs, mores, and religious practices of the Cham. Cham adherents of Brahmanism and of Islam call themselves Cham Kaphir and Cham Bani respectively.

For centuries a race of warriors and pirates, the Cham defended their vast and prosperous Kingdom of Champa from numerous invasions. However, in 1471, the empire finally collapsed before Vietnamese invaders.1 Only the grandiose temples and sanctuaries, irrigation systems, sculpture, woven cloth, and jewelry remain as evidence of this once great civilization. The descendants of the once powerful Cham, numbering between 16,000 and 45,000, are scattered along the eastern coast of the Republic of Vietnam and near the Cambodian border. These people now eke out a living as artisans, farmers, and fishermen.

The Cham live in small village settlements, grouped according to matrilineal kinship ties. Their language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian family and is related to the Rhade, Jarai, and Raglai tongues. The Cham are extremely religious and perform daily rituals to appease animistic spirits.

Name of Group

In Sanskrit, Champa is the name of a bush and of a flower. The descendants of the peoples of the Kingdom of Champa are still known as the Cham, though the Vietnamese refer to this group as the Nguoi Champa.2 The Cham have also been called, together with the Montagnard tribes, the "People of Thuan Thanh," a name derived from the second character of Binh Thuan and the second character of Chien Thanh (the capital of the Kingdom of Champa).3 The French and Americans refer to these people as Cham, Tchame, and Tiame. Other spellings of the name are: Kiam, Thiame, Tjame, and Tsiam.4 In the mountainous areas of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan, the Cham are also referred to as the Ha.


1 Etienne Aymonier, "Les Tchames et leur religion" ("The Tchames and their Religion"), Revue de l'Histoire des Religions (Review of the History of Religions) (Paris), XXIII (1891), 187.

2 Frank M. Lebar, Gerald C. Hickey, John K. Musgrave, et al., Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964), p. 245.

3 Tran-Van-Trai, La Famille patriarcale Annamite (The Annamese Patriarchal Family) (Paris: P. Lapagesse, 1942), p. 120.

4 Antoine Cabaton, Nouvelles Recherches sur les Chams (New Studies on the Cham), tr. Basil Guy (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964), p. 245.


Some uncertainty surrounds the present-day clan system of the Cham. One source claims that the Cham are divided into several clans: the Ca-Giong, the Da-Vach, and the true (orthodox) Cham. The Ca-Giong Cham are said to inhabit the northern part of Quang Ngai Province and the area of Dakley in Kontum. The Da-Vach Cham occupy a region farther south near Ba To, Minh Long, and the southern part of the district of Son Ha. The orthodox Cham live in the region between the Da-Vach and the Ca-Giong.

Size of Group

Estimates of the number of Cham in the Republic of Vietnam range from 16,000 to 130,000.5 Recent calculations vary between 16,000 and 45,000.6 In the districts of Phan Rang (Ninh Thuan Province) and Phan Ri (Binh Thuan Province), the Cham population is estimated at 20,000,7 and in the districts of Xuan Loc (Long Khanh Province) and Tanh Linh (Binh Tuy Province), 3,000.8 The Cham are believed to be slowly increasing in number, but under the influence of the Montagnards and the Vietnamese, they are gradually losing their distinct cultural identity.9 Many have been assimilated into the general Vietnamese culture and do not represent a true ethnic minority.


Cham villages are scattered throughout two principal areas in the Republic of Vietnam: along the Cambodian border in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces and in the central lowlands along the eastern slope of the Annamite mountain chain in the provinces extending from Quang Ngai to Binh Tuy. The greatest number seem to be situated around Phan Thiol and Phan Ri in Binh Thuan Province and near Phan Rang in Ninh Thuan Province.

The Cham live in proximity to a number of ethnic groups in addition to the Vietnamese.10 In Quang Ngai Province, the Cham have the Hre tribe to the west, the Cua to the northwest, and the M'nong to the southwest. The Cham in Binh Dinh Province live primarily in the south, adjacent to the Bahnar in the west and the Hroi in the south. In Khanh Hoa Province, the Cham have settled along the northeast border near the Rhade to the west and northwest and the Hroi to the north.11 In Phu Yen Province, the Cham inhabit the southern districts of Son Hoa and Dong Xuan with the Jarai to the southwest and the Rhade to the west.12 The Cham in Ninh Thuan reside in the eastern portion of the province, near Phan Rang, and have the Churu and Raglai as neighbors to the northwest. In Binh Thuan Province, the Cham are located near Phan Ri,


5 André Leroi-Gourhan and Jean Poirier, Ethnology of Indochina, Office of Technical Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, Joint Publications Research Service, 13652 (Washington, D.C.: May 4, 1962), p. 115; A. H. Broderick, Little China, The Annamese Lands (Human Relations Area Files, Viet Nam, Source No. 25; London: Oxford University Press, 1942, p. 263, and Henri Baudesson, Indochina and Its Primitive Peoples, tr. E. Appleby Holt (London: Hutchinson [1919]), p. 226.

6 Frank M. LeBar, et al., op. cit., p. 245, cites this figure from NNCDT (Nhom Nghien Cuu Dan Toc [Cua Uy-Ban Dan Toc]), (Minority Peoples' Study Group [of the Committee of Minority Peoples]), 1959.

Other population estimates found:

40,000 - Gerald C. Hickey, The Major Ethnic Groups of the South Vietnamese Highlands (Rand, Memorandum RM-4041-ARPA, April 1964), p. 1.

35,000 - George L. Harris, et al., U.S. Army Area Handbook for Vietnam (Washington., D.C.: Special Operations Research Office, rev. ed., 1964), p. 61.

30,000 - Bernard B. Fall, The Two Vietnams: A Political and Military Analysis (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963), p. 13.

25,000 - Norman R. Ziemer, "Tribes of South Vietnam," Vietnam Mission of the Christian and Missionary Alliance [Lecture, Ban-Me-Thuot, Republic of Vietnam], August 1964.

20,000 plus 30,000 mixed with the Vietnamese "likely to be assimilated by them shortly," p. 120. Joseph Buttinger, "Ethnic Minorities in the Republic of Vietnam," Conference on Social Development and Welfare in Vietnam Since Independence, ed. Wesley R. Fishel (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961), p. 99.

7 Colonel Walter Frank Choinski, Republic of Vietnam Country Study (The Military Assistance Institute, U.S. Department of Defense, 1964), p. 18.

8 Roger Teulières, "La Maison rurale Vietnamienne" ("The Rural Vietnamese House"), Bulletin de la Société des Études Indochinoises, XXXVI (1961), p. 672.

9 Nguyen-Thieu-Lau, "La Population Cham du Sud-Annam s'accroît-elle?" ("Is the Population of the Cham of South Vietnam Increasing?"), Institut Indochinois pour l'Etude de l'Homme: Bulletins et Travaux pour 1943 (Indochinese Institute for the Study of Man: Bulletins and Works for 1943) (Hanoi), VI (1944), pp. 221-23.

10 Compiled from information provided on several maps including: LeBar, op. cit., map of "Ethnolinguistic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia"; United States Army Special Warfare School, Montagnard Tribal Groups of the Republic of Viet-Nam (Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2nd ed., March 1965), Ethnologic map prepared in 1964 under the direction of Corps Engineer XVII Airborne Corps by the 66th Engineering Company (Topo) (Corps) from Cambodia and South Vietnam with overprint data furnished by U.S. Army, John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare; and Buttinger, op. cit., p. 98.

11 Buttinger, op. cit., p. 98.

12 "...the Cham are still there (in hill country): if they seem to have been completely absorbed in Quang Nam, they still remain in Phu Yen. There are twenty-one Cham hamlets in the huyen (district) of Don Xuyan, and fifteen in the huyen of Son Hoa, both mountain circonscriptions (e. g., administrative divisions)," Pierre Gourou, L'Utilisation du Sol en Indochine Française (Land Utilization in French Indochina) (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Pacific Relations [1945]), pp. 132-33.


Hoa Da, and Phan Thiet with the Koho to the south and the west, the Churu to the northwest, and the Raglai to the north and northwest. The Cham in Long Khanh live in the south central area of the province around Xuan Loc, with the Koho to the north. In Binh Tuy Province, the Cham inhabit the region around the town of Tahn Linh and along the coast above Ham Tan in proximity to the Koho and the Chrau in the west.13 The Cham in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces are located near the provincial capitals and are surrounded by Malays and Khmers.14 See the frontispiece for a clear picture of location and proximity to other groups.

Terrain Analysis

The territory of the Cham can most conveniently be discussed by covering the two major areas - the central coastal area and the delta area - of Cham habitation separately. The Cham inhabit a strip along the coast of the Republic of Vietnam from Quang Ngai Province in the north to Binh Tuy Province in the south. They are also found in the delta provinces of Chau Doc and Tay Ninh on the Cambodian border.

The coastal regions of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Phu Yen are characterized by low sand dunes, alluvial deposits, and lagoons. In general, the relief does not exceed 600 feet, but in some areas the coast almost disappears, where mountain spurs reach shoreward and separate the lowlands. The fertile lowland plains produce two crops of rice annually (in April and September). Several fast-moving rivers - the Thu Bon, the Kim Son, and the Ba - drain eastward into the South China Sea.

The provinces of Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan are characterized by the most jagged and irregular section of the Vietnamese coastline. High wooded mountains rise precipitously from narrow, marshy, and relatively infertile plains lying at the heads of deepwater inlets enclosed by peninsulas bounded by cliffs. The Song Cai River, which enters the Bay of Nhatrang at the town of Nhatrang, carves a broad valley inland through mountains exceeding 1,800 feet in height. A few miles south of Nhatrang, the rugged terrain gives way to low-lying sand dunes surrounding the Lagoon of Thui Trieu. This lagoon, with the marshlands behind it, empties into the Bay of Cam Ranh. The narrow coastal plain of this region is drained by several small streams and is overgrown in some places by mangroves. The coast becomes irregular again just south of Mui Da Vach with mountains rising steeply inland to a height of over 2,500 feet. The Song Kinh Dinh River enters the Bay of Phan Rang 2 miles below the port of Phan Rang on the coastal plain.

From Phan Rang south, the coast follows a northeast-southwest course. Between Phan Rang and Phan Thiet, both the summer and winter monsoons blow parallel to the shore, causing this region to receive the lowest rainfall in the entire country. Cliffs rise abruptly from the


13 Teulières, op. cit., p. 672.

14 Victor Forbin, "Les Civilizations éteintes en Indochine: les Chams" ("Extinct Civilizations in Indochina: The Chams"), La Nature, LIX (October 15, 1931), p. 340.


sea at Mui Dinh limiting the coastal plains to a narrow strip of sand and mud fringing the Bay of Mui Dinh. The Bay of Phan Ri is bounded by a forest on the east and a barren region to the west. The latter is formed by an isolated upland zone separated from the Annamite Mountains by the Song Luy valley bordering the coast. Three inlets backed by woods divide the Bay of Phan Ri from the Bay of Than Thiet. The wooded coastal plain, extending inland for some distance, is marked by thousands of acres of sand dunes which reach a height of 26 to 50 feet. The mountains rise behind the dunes about 20 miles to the west. The sterility of the soil, the irregularity of the rainfall, and the damage from tropical storms limit the rice yields in this area, which is the least populated part of the lowland coastal region.

The Cham in the Long Khanh and Binh Tuy Provinces occupy the lowland plantation, or the southern plantation area in the vicinity of Saigon. The soil of this region is composed of ancient alluvial, or gray, lands and in some regions red basaltic lands. Despite heavy rainfall, the area is well drained.

The delta area inhabited by the Cham - Chau Doc and Tay Ninh Provinces - is to the west of Saigon along the Cambodian border. Extensive drainage projects have converted the marshy ground into intensively cultivated land. During the dry season early maturing or floating varieties of rice are grown. The eastern portions of the area are marked by small farms, whereas the outlying newly drained lands are characterized by larger farms. Several rivers dissect the delta regions settled by the Cham, principally the Hau Giang (Bassac) River, which flows through Chau Doc and the Vam Co Dong River, which traverses Tay Ninh. Canals provide irrigation and transportation for small craft.

The coastal regions inhabited by the Cham are well served by transport facilities. The Trans-Vietnam Railroad follows the coast from the inner side of the sand dunes in Quang Ngai Province down to the Song Luy valley, where it turns inland and continues to Saigon. Branch railway lines connect the cities of Qui Nhon and Phan Thiet to the Trans-Vietnam Railroad. National Route 1 roughly follows the path of the railroad along the coast. Route 1 connects, with secondary links in some cases, Route 14 at Quang Ngai and Tuy Hoa; Route 19, at Binh Dinh; Route 21 at Ninh Hoa; and Route 11 at Phan Rang. Several secondary roads lead inland from Phan Ri, Phan Thiet, and Han Tan.

There are all-weather airfields at Quang Ngai, Qui Nhon, Song Cau, Tuy Hoa, Nhatrang, Cau Ranh, Ninh Thuan, Long Xugen, Bien Hoi, and Phan Thiet. Seasonal fields are located at Duc My, Ninh Hoa, Trai Ca, Phan Rang, Ca Na, Song Mao, Phan Ri, and Song Luy.

The Chau Doc and Tay Ninh regions are linked with Saigon by Routes 20 and 22 respectively.



Ethnic and Racial Origin

The precise origin of the Cham is unknown, but the similarity of customs and linguistic affinities indicates that they emigrated from the Malayan Archipelago sometime during the Stone Age. By the time Hindu traders reached the Indochinese Peninsula (Annam) in the beginning of the Christian era, many of the Cham had intermarried with various tribal groups of Indonesian origin already inhabiting the area.1


Cham belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian language family.2 Cham is described as having a Malay base but is distinguished from Malay by numerous grammatical differences.3 Polysyllabic and nontonal, the vocabulary is limited to words for everyday use.

To the unaccustomed ear, Cham sounds very coarse and disagreeable, as no slurring occurs - the harsh sounds succeed each other as though ripped from the throat. The multitude of aspirations and guttural syllables render it difficult for the Occidental to learn.4

Several of the Montagnard tribes are linguistically related to the Cham. The dialects of the Rhade and of the Jarai have been strongly influenced by Cham, but whether they are fundamentally of the same stock is not clear. The Raglai and the Churu, on the other hand, speak a language almost identical with Cham.5

Many of the Cham Bani, or Moslem Cham, centered in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc speak Khmer, Vietnamese, and Malayan, in addition to Cham.6 Most of the Cham Kaphir, or Brahmin Cham, speak only their own tongue.7 A few Cham are able to read the written Vietnamese quoc ngu, or romanized Vietnamese.8 Written Cham, somewhat similar to Sanskrit, has been preserved to a small extent. The Cham cannot read the ancient language; other than sorcerers, few can read modern Cham documents.9 Cham is written from left to right, and the alphabet differs according to region and the influence of the dominant population. In Cambodia and probably Tay Ninh and Chau Doc, the alphabet comprises 4 vowels, 2 diphthongs and 29 consonants. In the rest of the Republic of Vietnam, the Cham alphabet has five short vowels, five long


1 Bernard Philippe Groslier, Indochine: Carrefour des Arts (Indochina: Crossroads of the Arts) (Paris: A. Michel, 1961), pp. 26-27.

2 Ibid., p. 27.

3 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 77-78.

4 Jeanne Leuba, Un Royaume disparu: Les Chams et leur Art (A Lost Kingdom: The Chams and Their Art) (Paris and Bruxelles, 6. Van Oest, 1923), p. 91.

5 Broderick, op. cit., pp. 269-70.

6 M. Ner. "Les Musulmans de l'Indochine Française" ("The Muslims of French Indochina"), Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient (Bulletin of the French School of the Far East), XLVII (1941), p. 156.

7 Harris, op. cit., p. 69.

8 LeBar, op. cit., p. 245.

9 Choinski, op. cit., p. 18, and Leuba, op. cit., p. 93.


vowels, and four diphthongs. In addition to the letters, certain signs are used in conjunction with the vowels to influence their pronunciation. Cham numerals appear to be scarcely altered letters of the alphabet with the exception of 4, which seems to be a vocalic sign, and 0, the Indian o.

Cham is extremely difficult to read as the letters follow uninterruptedly without separation of words. Capital letters are also absent, as are syllabic divisions within words. The similarity of form between different letters and the overlapping of sentences render reading even more laborious.10

Legendary History

The Cham story of the past is confined to the legends of the fabulous adventures ascribed to their kings. Many of these monarchs have been deified over the ages.*

Factual History

The existence of the Cham enclave, known by the Chinese as Lin Yi or "savage forest," was first recorded in the latter part of the second century A. D.** The Chinese annals date the founding of the Cham kingdom in 192 A. D. In the third century the Cham moved north from Binh Thuan Province, pillaging and seizing territory from the Han dynasty.11 They also drove some of the tribal peoples, known now as the Montagnards, into the hills from the coastal areas. In the 12th century, the Cham established hegemony over most of the Darlac Plateau.12 During this period of hegemony, the Cham organized the Jarai, Rhade, and Churu tribes, established administrative divisions where total anarchy had previously prevailed, and taught the tribesmen agricultural techniques.13 The Cham recruited the Montagnard tribesmen as auxiliaries for their armies and collected taxes from them.

From the outset of their expansion, the Hindu Cham clashed with the Chinese and the sinicized Annamese or ethnic Vietnamese.14 Protracted border wars between the Chinese and the Cham continued for several centuries, interrupted periodically by Chinese-Vietnamese disputes.


* See the discussion of deities under "Religion" for the legends associated with these kings, pp. 36-38.

** The kingdom obviously existed long before the Chinese knew of it, but any Cham documents relating to the ancient empire have long since vanished.

10 Leuba, op. cit., p. 91.

11 Georges Coedès, Les États hindouisés d'Indochine et d'lndonesie (The Hinduized States of Indochina and Indonesia) (Paris: E. Broccard, 1948), pp. 79-81.

12 Hickey, op. cit., p. 18.

13 Olav Robert Thure Janse, "The Peoples of French Indochina," Smithsonian War Background Series, No. 19 (Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution, 1944), p. 26; and U.S. Department of the Army, Army Psychological Warfare Country Plan for Vietnam (Washington, D.C.: Human Relations Area Files, 1954), p. 9.

14 These warriors, a mixture of local tribesmen and Hindu immigrants, were described as both highly civilized and extremely prosperous. [Gabrielle M. Vassal, On and Off Duty in Annam (London: William Heinemann, 1910), p. 180.] The Cham, already relatively civilized, had voluntarily espoused the art, customs, and religious practices of the Indian traders and missionaries as early as the first century, A. D. [Groslier, op. cit., pp. 47-51]. By the second century, the Cham practiced Buddhism and at times combined it with Hinduism [Lebar, op. cit., p. 245].


During Chinese-Vietnamese conflicts, the Cham sided first with one, then the other, finally helping the Vietnamese free themselves of Chinese rule in the 10th century. Once liberated, the Vietnamese devoted their attention to fighting the Cham. They clashed so relentlessly that only extermination of one group or the other could solve the conflict. Further weakened by a series of wars with the Chinese and Khmer, the Cham finally succumbed to the Vietnamese in 1471. The conquerors seized the most fertile coastal lands for their settlements, and the Cham survivors of the massacre in 1471 fled into the woods and hill country15 or were absorbed by the Vietnamese army and settled in military colonies.16

In its grandest period, the Champa Kingdom extended from Saigon to Canton and perhaps west to Siam. It was divided into a number of provinces corresponding to the natural configurations of the coastal plains. Pushed southward by the Chinese, the Kingdom maintained itself between 10-20 degrees latitude and 103-107 degrees longitude.

After evacuating Hue, the first Cham capital, and Tra Kieu, the second capital, during the Chinese advance, Cham power apparently stabilized around the fortress of Cha Bon, the last stronghold of the Cham kings.17

Their geographic location has greatly influenced Cham development since the downfall of their Kingdom of Champa. Driven back from the sea and the fertile areas of the coastal plains, the Cham have changed from a prosperous seafaring power to a small agrarian culture.* Principalities related to ancient clan names formed small political units bounded by the mountain spurs that divide the Cham territories.18 Internal rivalries prevented reunification of the Cham which in turn made impossible a united defense against common enemies.**

Equally significant are the social relationships that evolved between the Cham and other ethnic and tribal groups. The proximity of the Cham and the Vietnamese has resulted in some exchange of customs, though the extent of the interchange is unclear. Many authorities contend that the Cham remain socially distant from the Vietnamese.19 Other authorities believe that since the Cham-Vietnamese wars there has been considerable contact between the two groups including some intermarriage and that Vietnamese influence is strong among the Cham.20

The Cham along the Cambodian border live in villages adjacent to the Khmer people. Though the culture of the Khmer is basically Buddhist, they have been influenced by Hindu culture. The Khmer consider the Moslem Cham mercenary, false, and violent, but very brave. The Cham and Khmer seldom intermarry.21


* See "Economic Organization," p. 47.

** See discussion of Clan System under "Social Structure," p. 17.

15 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 189.

16 Joseph Buttinger, The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam (New York: Frederick A. Praeger [1958]), p. 260.

17 Louis Malleret. Ethnic Groups of French Indochina (Saigon: Association for Indochinese Studies. 1937), translated from French (Washington, D.C.: Joint Publications Service, 12359, February 7, 1962), p. 12.

18 Ibid., p. 45.

19 Leuba, op. cit., p. 94; Tran-Van-Trai, op. cit., p. 120; and Wilfred G. Burchett, The Furtive War: The United States in Vietnam and Laos (New York: International Publishers, 1963), p. 118.

20 Lebar, op. cit., p. 246.

21 Ner, op. cit., pp. 192-94.


The Cham Bani live in harmony with the Malays along the Cambodian border. Often sharing villages, these peoples are racially allied, and both are Moslem. In fact, Malay influence is responsible for restoring and strengthening the Moslem practices of these Cham.22

Relations between the Cham and the Montagnard tribes were war-like until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, when the Cham fled to the mountains to seek refuge among the tribal peoples. It is believed that many Montagnards are descendants of these Cham, who inter-married with the tribespeople. Harmonious relations apparently now exist between the Cham and neighboring Montagnard tribes, with the single exception of relations with the Bahnar.23 Commercial exchanges and almost daily contacts between the groups result in the exchange of tools, utensils, customs, superstitions, and religious beliefs. Some Montagnards even attend Cham religious ceremonies.

The Cham consider the tribesmen as their inferiors, but amicable relations exist nonetheless, for the Montagnards realize they are indebted to the Cham.24 According to one source the Cham, despite their own fall from power, maintain supremacy over the tribesmen. The Montagnards accept this arrangement in good faith as logical and natural.25 If the Cham still have such a strong influence upon the tribal peoples, they may be of strategic importance in winning the support of these groups.

Significant Historical Events26

192 A. D.     Probable founding of Champa Kingdom.
220-230     First mention of Champa (Lin-Yi) in Chinese annals.
3d Century     Vietnamese reach Col des Nuages.
248     Cham push northward to Gate of Annam and site of Hue.
4th-5th Century   Series of wars result in Chinese conquest of coastal areas and Tonkin Delta, and eviction of Cham.
8th Century     Period of invasions and pillages by pirates, armies from Java. Center of Champa moved to Panduranga (Phan Rang) and Kauthara (Nhatrang).
10th Century     Cham abandon region of Hue.
982     Vietnamese independence from China.
1040-1044     Vietnamese invasions - land and sea - of Champa.
1150     Beginning of Cham hegemony over plateau of Darlac.
1190     Cambodian invasions of Champa.
1217-1218     Cambodians and Cham unite against Vietnamese.
1220     Withdrawal of Cambodians from Champa.
1242     New Vietnamese invasions.
1282     Mongol occupation of Champa.


22 Ibid., p. 157 ff.

23 U.S. Army Special Warfare School, op. cit., p. 32.

24 Jacques Dournes Dam Bo. "Les Populations Montagnards du Sud Indochinois," ("The Montagnard Populations of South Indochina"), France-Asie, Special Number (Spring 1950), pp. 952-53.

25 Leuba, op. cit., p. 92.

26 Dates and information compiled from: Aymonier, op. cit., p. 205; Broderick, op. cit., p. 151; Buttinger, op. cit., pp. 30-35; Dam Bo, op. cit., p. 952; Hickey, op. cit., p. 18; and Vassal, op. cit., p. 180.


1312     Champa becomes feudal state of Vietnam until 1326.
1371     Cham invasions of Red River valley and pillage of Hanoi.
1350-1400     Frequent clashes between Cham and Vietnamese.
1471     Vietnamese capture of Vijaya, last Champa stronghold. Massacres - 30,000 Cham taken into captivity. Withdrawal of Cham kings to the southern area of Cap Varella.
1509     Massacre of hundreds of Cham by Li-Oai-Muc.
1579-1735     Residence of Cham princes at Panduranga (Phan Rang).
1650     Seizure of Prince Po Rome: Vietnamese conquest of Phu Yen and Nhatrang.
1698     Dong Nai region falls under Vietnamese domination.
1735-1822     Conversion of titled princes to simple mandarins. Vietnamese invasion of Binh Thuan, seizure of coastal Cham territory, Mekong Delta, fisheries, fertile land.
1757     Vietnamese seizure and domination of Chau Doc.
1822     Cham administrative authority limited to chiefs of villages and cantons.

The history of the Cham as a distinct culture ends early in the 19th century. For the past century and a half, the Cham have been trying to retain their own language, customs, and mores in the face of almost continual adversity. In recent years they have been opting between extinction and assimilation by the ethnic Vietnamese.

Tribal Settlements Pattern

There are several types of settlements in the various Cham territories. The Cham along the Cambodian border live clustered in groups on the banks of rivers or canals, often separated by Vietnamese and Khmer villages.27 In this region, they occasionally build whole villages on huge anchored rafts.28 Other settlements comprise low thatched huts scattered about a compound bounded by a palisade. These huts are situated atop sand dunes or cleared areas, for trees and shrubs are believed to exert a harmful or poisonous influence.29

The characteristics of the Cham dwelling, whether on pilings or flat on the ground, depend on the regional climate and terrain. Where flooding is a regular occurrence in the rainy season and invasion of termites, scorpions, ants, and snakes are frequent in the dry season, the house on pilings offers obvious advantages. The Cham in the upper regions of Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh Provinces live in such above-the-


27 Ner, op. cit., p. 155.

28 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 238.

29 Broderick, op. cit., p. 264, and Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 238-39.


ground dwellings, whereas those of Phan Rang, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet Provinces dwell in houses on the ground.

The traditional Cham house, called the thangyo, closely resembles the Rhade house and measures about 20 feet in length, 10 feet in width, and 6 1/2 feet in height (at the center or highest point).30 Placed on large rocks, flat on the ground or on pilings, the house is constructed with straw-covered mud walls and comprises three rooms and a common corridor. One compartment serves as the parents' and boys' room and at times as the funeral chamber for the family dead. The center room is occupied by the girls and future brides. Clothes belonging to the ancestors are placed in a basket and hung from the ceiling in this room. The third cubicle serves as the granary. Rich men's houses are composed of three groups of buildings: the thang yo, the thang mu-yau (secondary house) attached to the first, parallel and in front of it, and the thang gar, to the left and perpendicular to the two preceding houses.

In the more well-to-do houses,31 ceilings are made of plaited fibers lined with a layer of mud to conceal the framework. There is no space between the mud walls. The roofing consists of parallel wooden laths running from the peak to the base of the roof. These are tied together by stems of split bamboo to fix the thatching in place. The floor is made of crushed bamboo. No decoration adorns the house.

A lean-to houses the family's tools, and behind the house is the well. A buffalo stable, or corral, made of pickets sunk into the ground and tied together by interlacing branches, is near the house.


30 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 107-08.

31 Teulières, op. cit., pp. 671-72.



Physical Characteristics

Cham skin coloring varies from a dark brown to a light reddish-brown. In children, the skin appears covered with a light down and seems copper colored in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.1

The head, smaller than that of the Vietnamese, is well proportioned. The profile is even and almost as straight as that of a European. Full in children, the profile becomes bony as the Cham mature.2 Their eyes, usually brown, are large, and the eyelids lack all trace of the Mongolian fold. The eyebrows are thick and slightly arched.

The Cham have fine, brittle hair that varies in color from auburn to black; partial or even complete albinism is not uncommon.3 The hair ranges from straight to wavy, but is never curly. Beards and mustaches are more common among the Cham than among the Vietnamese. Cambodian Cham men, and perhaps those in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces, generally shave and cut their hair. Cham women wear long hair, unlike the Khmer, who wear brush cuts. The Vietnamese Cham, other than those in Chau Doc and Tay Ninh, keep their mustaches and scraggly beards; both sexes wear their hair twisted into a chignon at the back of their heads. Cham women do not consider their hair as an ornament worthy of care. Even during religious ceremonies, when they are adorned in their richest garments and jewels, their hair is in complete disarray.

The hands of the Cham are wider than those of the frail Vietnamese, and Cham feet broaden about the toes.4 The women are generally well proportioned with full breasts and buttocks. A pronounced saddleback results from bearing heavy burdens on their heads.


Conditions of sanitation and personal hygiene among the Cham are poor.5 Except for the prevalence of malaria and cholera (the principal diseases affecting the people), Cham adults are relatively healthy. They suffer from few of the diseases, such as dysentery, anemia, and gangrene,6 which prostrate outsiders in their area.

Illness is treated by Cham herbalists familiar with medicinal properties of certain native vegetable and animal products. Remedies


1 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 76.

2 Ibid., p. 77.

3 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 227.

4 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 76.

5 Leuba, op. cit., p. 122.

6 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 240, and Leuba, op. cit., p. 99.


used to cure diseases and minor ailments include camphor, used as an anesthetic; wax-covered pills containing a mixture of sandalwood; and the bark of mangostan and eaglewood for antidotes to cholera. Human bile, once rubbed on the skin to make a warrior and his elephant invincible, has been replaced by goat bile used as an emetic. The same results are obtained by putting a rag soaked in evil-smelling substances into the patient's mouth.7

A European who personally doctored the Cham early in this century stated that the Cham were good patients; they took all medicines without complaint.8

Suicide seldom occurs among the Cham, as they exhibit few desires which are not easily satisfied. The few Cham who do commit suicide do so with opium mixed with vinegar.9

Manual Dexterity

The manual dexterity of the Cham is relatively good, as is apparent in their cartmaking, weaving, and building construction.* The houses are ingeniously built with great attention to detail; the roofing, for example, is made of round wooden laths carefully matched and meticulously set in place. The thatching consists of individual fibers folded around a bamboo lath and solidly hemmed, making the roof completely watertight.10 The Cham also make all their crude but sturdy tools, domestic utensils, and musical instruments.

Psychological Characteristics

Although descendants of a warlike people, the Cham today are individually extremely timid. As a group, however, the Cham exhibit great courage. In 1950, in the face of Viet Minh aggression, the Cham united solidly to fight the Communists.11

The villages of these pacific and mild-tempered people are described as the embodiment of peace itself, with few brawls or quarrels.12 The Cham have likable dispositions, but lack energy and initiative.13 When unwilling to build their own houses, they hire Vietnamese to construct them.14 Rivalry is not an important factor among the Cham; they make little effort to compete with the Vietnamese to improve their living standards.15

The Cham have an easygoing philosophy, seldom worrying about economic problems, and often abandoning themselves to almost total


*See "Economic Organization," p. 47.

7 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 242.

8 Ibid., p. 242.

9 Ibid., p. 243.

10 Leuba, op. cit., p. 108.

11 The Montagnard Tribes of South Vietnam (Les Traits Charactéristiques dans les Moeurs et Coutumes des Tribus Montagnards au sud du Vietnam), JPRS 13443 (Washington, D.C.: Joint Publications Research Service, April 13, 1962), p. 25.

12 Leuba. op. cit., p. 122.

13 Broderick. op. cit., p. 264.

14 Alexander C. Hanna, "The Chams of French Indochina," Moslem World. XXI (July 1931). p. 270.

15 Broderick, op. cit., p. 264.


unconstraint. If an object appeals to them, they pay any price for it, frequently borrowing and then repaying the debt at great personal expense.16

State and court laws go unheeded, as the Cham obey only those laws conforming to the mores and customs of their own people.17

General Attitude Toward Outsiders

The arrival of an outsider causes the women to run and hide, but the men receive him politely. They will offer him a room or bring him flowers and fruit, but their inestimable pride prevents them from performing any act which might place them in a servile position. In the past their relationships with outsiders with administrative authority were often hypocritical and insincere.18 Since their history abounds with incidents of foreign exploitation, persecution, and oppression, the Cham were suspicious of strangers, especially when their women were concerned. Cham women, with their reputation for chastity, are closely guarded; if an outsider attempted any intimacies, he risked death, even if the woman had invited his advances.19

Extreme honesty in word and deed characterizes Cham dealings with one another: swindling, stealing, and lying are unknown among them. Precious paddy reserves suspended in baskets from trees to avoid danger of fire, insect, or rodent remain unmolested; great respect is given all objects belonging to another Cham.20 Verbal agreements in social and business dealings are likewise respected. The Cham place great importance on oaths, especially when taken next to a wharf; they believe that to break one's word incurs punishment by the gods.21

The Cham tend to be spiteful when they feel they have been unfairly treated. If they appear not to show their hatred, they are only waiting a chance for revenge. Family feuds will, therefore, drag on for generations. If the father does not succeed in avenging himself in his lifetime, his son replaces him in the task until a definitive settlement is reached. Nevertheless, they are just as disposed to forget all if a sworn enemy will come asking forgiveness.22

Conservative, superstitious, and obstinate, the Cham resist progress; every action must be sanctioned by ancestral practice. Imitation is restricted to what happens to please them and does not conflict with superstitions or religious beliefs. These prejudices explain why, despite centuries of contact with civilizing tendencies, the Cham have remained basically unchanged. Contact with city dwellers has effected only minor changes in the Cham way of life, but even these have not been uniform; some, for example, have learned to eat with utensils, but the majority still use their fingers and drink water directly from streams.23 This


16 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 26.

17 Ibid., p. 26.

18 Leuba, op. cit., p. 124.

19 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 264.

20 Leuba, op. cit., p. 122.

21 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 27.

22 Ibid., p. 26.

23 Ibid., p. 20.


resistance to change, together with their sedentary nature and fond attachment to their environment, also keep the Cham from seeking more fertile land at a distance, even though the resources of their own area may have been depleted.

Respect is based on prestige in the Cham society. Village chiefs, elderly men (regardless of social position), religious leaders, and sorcerers are held in the highest esteem.24


24 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 222-23.



General Social Organization

Cham society is matriarchal, the women playing a more important role than the men. Vested with domestic authority, the women choose their husbands, initiate marriage proceedings, distribute property to their daughters (and sometimes sons), determine the religion of their children, and name their daughters. The men, who occupy a distinctly inferior position, name sons and take care of village duties.1 The women do the housework, care for the children, cook, weave, winnow and pound the grain, husk the paddy, carry the heavy burdens, and, at the end of the day, fetch the water for the entire village.2 As priestesses and female deities, they play an important role in religious ceremonies.

Clan and Class Structure

The clan system of the Cham predated the arrival of Hindu influence. Kin groupings were distinguished by clan names and individual totems or symbols. According to legend, two clans struggled for supremacy: the coconut-tree clan, which ruled the state of Panduranga (Phan Rang), and the areca-nut clan, north of Panduranga. These clans were purportedly matrilineal except in the case of the royal family, where according to Hindu tradition, succession was reckoned by the male line.3

The current clan structure of the Cham is unclear. One authority claims there are three clans: the Ca-Giong, the Da-Vach, and the orthodox Cham. Although differences in dialect have been reported, the mores and customs of all these Cham are practically identical.4

No information relating to the present class structure of the Cham is available. In the imperial phase of Cham history, society was divided into four castes: Brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras. A noblewoman could marry a man of low caste provided his name was the same as hers.5 It is not known if this system still prevails.


1 Choinski, op. cit., p. 19.

2 Leuba, op. cit., p. 96.

3 Lebar, op. cit., p. 246.

4 JPRS 13443, op. cit., pp. 18-20. No other sources consulted substantiated this theory on the clan system of the Cham. Olav Janse in "Peoples of French Indochina," states: "The Cham are divided into various clans named after plants, animals or objects" (e.g., clan of the Bamboo, of the Road, of the Rhinoceros, etc.), p. 26.

5 Hickey, op. cit., p. 247.



Cham marriage customs and mores are complex, often differing according to religion (Brahmin or Moslem) or region. A girl is permitted considerable freedom of choice in marriage, for in a mixed marriage the religion of the children is determined by the mother.6 At marriageable age, a girl is free to choose a husband.7 The girl's parents do this by calling on the boy's family and bringing two cakes and some betel. If the boy tastes these, he accepts betrothal, and the couple are engaged.8

Among the Cham Kaphir (Brahmin), marriage takes place without civil or religious ritual. When the date of the marriage is set, the boy simply goes to live with the girl's family. A simple feast is given by both families, and the boy presents the girl with a gold or silver ring as a symbol of the marriage.9

More complicated customs are observed by the Cham Bani (Moslem): the marriage must be consummated several months before the ceremony takes place. The children of these unions are frequently old enough to participate in the official celebration of the nuptials.10 On the appointed evening, the couple, dressed in white unhemmed garments, walk hand in hand along mats extending from their dwelling to the ceremonial hut. (It is important that the couple's feet should not touch the ground.) The priests, surrounded by the families, recite prayers. The girl's parents tell the young man that they give him their daughter; offering his hand, the young man says he accepts. Kneeling before the priests, the young man prostrates himself three times. The young girl also prostrates herself three times and then returns home alone. The priests ask the young man what gifts he brings to his future spouse. He must give a silver ring and may give additional gifts, such as bracelets, buffaloes, and carts. The priests bless the ring which two witnesses then take to the young girl. If the girl accepts the ring, it is placed on her finger and the young man is told of his good fortune. The bride's parents give the groom a gift, as do the groom's parents. The guests offer the couple gifts, and a great feast terminates the ceremony.11

Polygamy, although acceptable among the Cham Bani, is rare, as the expense is prohibitive. The wealthier Cham Bani permit themselves this luxury, but only with the permission of the first wife, who is responsible for requesting a second wife.12 When polyandry exists, the husbands take turns cohabiting with the wife who has chosen them.13

Adultery is rare among the Cham. According to tradition adultery is punishable by death; in practice, the penalty is less severe. Although both the man and woman are physically punished, only the woman must pay a fine for the crime. The guilty woman must pay a fine of two pigs, one for her husband and one for the village. For adultery committed with a relative, the fine is increased to two buffaloes, one for


6 Leuba, op. cit., p. 96.

7 Perhaps as a result of Vietnamese influence, in Parik (Phan Ri) and Karang (Phan Rang) the boy may ask the girl to marry him. Hickey, op. cit., p. 247.

8 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 254.

9 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 185-86.

10 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 254.

11 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 186-88, and Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 254-56. Variations of these customs are reported.

12 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 211.

13 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 248-49.


the village and one for a ceremony, and a pig for the husband. The guilty woman must then kill a white hen next to a stream and swear that she will not again commit adultery. In addition, public punishment is administered by villagers who first beat the guilty persons with canes, then force them to eat like pigs from a trough. Then the punished ones leave by way of the forest and return to normal life.14


Divorce among the Cham is frequent and easily accomplished. Women generally initiate divorce proceedings, as it is their right to discard their husbands at will. Divorced women keep the house and two-thirds of the property.15 When a couple are no longer compatible and mutually agree on divorce, they meet with the spiritual head of the village who publicly questions them on their reasons for divorce. The interrogation is concluded with the order that the couple return their wedding gifts to each other. Then, in the presence of the two families concerned, the couple take an oath to separate. At this point, objects exchanged before the marriage are returned to their rightful owners. The termination of the ceremony is marked by the traditional feast.


Childbirth, called the "accouchement by the fire" by the Cham, involves few preparations. In each village, the midwife assists the mother and lights the traditional bedside fire, which must burn until the 7th day, when the woman is allowed to leave her bed. A candle must also burn continuously to ward off evil spirits. On the 7th day, the midwife extinguishes the fire and plants an iron stake amid the ashes: she then carries the cinders to the nearest crossroads, deposits them with a prayer, and places a betel leaf on the heap. According to Cham superstition, evil spirits, tormented souls, and ghosts frequent crossroads and must be appeased through offerings at particular times. A feast is then offered to the gods and the midwife receives several small gifts.16

Naming the Child

The Cham wait until a child is 6 months old before naming him. They give the child an ugly or unpleasant name, hoping to make the child unattractive to the evil spirits. A sickly child may be given the name of a disease in order to keep away the spirit responsible for that particular


14 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 23.

15 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 210-11. In some cases the wife must pay the husband even when she institutes the divorce [JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 24].

16 Leuba, op. cit., p. 185.


disease. These names apply until the age of 12 when the evil spirits lose their influence.

Child-Rearing Practices

The Cham adore their children and spare no pains to keep them amused and happy. To please the benevolent spirits, the mother smears the child's face with a yellow substance of flour and saffron to simulate the skin coloring traditionally associated with these deities. After a bad dream, the mother tries to conceal her child from the evil spirits by covering him with soot. The Cham exhibit their affection for one another with a snort behind the ear on the back of the neck. The children are particularly fond of this and burst into shouts of laughter whenever their mothers do this.17


The average Cham receives little formal education. Generally the priests are in charge of instruction; they teach the children the alphabet (each letter representing a divinity which inhabits the body) and the basic principles of reading. Most well-to-do Cham attend Vietnamese schools and receive a more extensive education.18 However, many Cham do not make apt pupils.19

The Moslem Cham center their lives around the mosques and the Koranic schools, where many children attend elementary school and then continue to secondary school. A few may study in Kelantan in Malaya or in Mecca. Instruction is confined to religious subjects, and the Koran is read in Arabic, supplemented with Malayan commentaries.20

Vocational techniques, such as those used in fishing, farming, and cartmaking, are undoubtedly passed on from generation to generation. Nonvocational education related to other activities, such as music and chess, is similarly derived.

Puberty Rites

Among the Cham Bani (Moslem), the passage of a girl from infancy to puberty (the marriageable age) is marked by a 2-day ceremony called the Karoh (closure or closing) and is under the supervision of the High Priest or Ong Gru. This symbolic ceremony is usually performed when a girl is 15 and has completed her development. The timing is based on the belief that the moon, a feminine deity, reaches perfection on


17 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 258-59.

18 Choinski, op. cit., p. 19.

19 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 262.

20 Ner, op. cit., pp. 157-58.


the 15th day. A girl is not free to marry until this ceremony has been completed.

Two huts are constructed for Karoh ceremony: one serves as a dormitory for the girls whose initiation is to be recognized; the other hut houses the spectators. At daybreak, the girls, adorned in their finest robes and crowned with a mitre, proceed as a group to the High Priest. He places a grain of salt on the lips of each girl, offers a cup of pure water, and, if she is chaste, cuts a piece of hair from her forehead. If she has been violated, the High Priest takes the lock from the back of her neck. To symbolize withdrawal from the world, the girls return to their hut while the priests participate in a feast. About midday the girls reappear wearing their hair in a chignon to indicate the attainment of marriageable age. The ceremony concludes with gifts for the girls and a feast for all the participants.21

The counterpart of this ceremony among Cham Bani boys is called the "Entry to Religion" and occurs during the boy's 15th year. The purely symbolical act consists of simulated circumcision in which the priest pretends to perform the act with a wooden knife. Then the boy is given a religious surname (Ali, Ibrahim, etc.) which he may use in addition to his secular name.22

Reaching the marriageable age, however, does not justify sexual promiscuity. Premarital sexual relations are strictly prohibited. The Cham keep close watch over their women, for as their saying goes, "You might as well leave an elephant among the sugarcane, as leave a man alone with a girl."

Death and Burial

Cham beliefs concerning life after death are difficult to establish and are far from uniform. Their ceremonies would suggest the Cham believe the souls of the deceased join the ranks of the divine. Early reports claimed that some Cham believed that the souls enter certain animals, such as serpents and crocodiles. Many Cham believed the soul inhabits rodents, while others claimed rodents are the haven only for the souls of the stillborn and very young children. In any case, sacrifices were made to various animals reputedly harboring souls of the dead.23

The Cham Bani (Moslem) have traditionally buried their dead with relatively little pomp. In the center of the family compound, a small hut was erected to accommodate the hammock in which the washed body, wrapped in a white cotton cloth, was placed. The priests recited prayers while friends and relatives paid their respects by offering gifts.

It was considered an honor to keep the cadaver in the hut for a period of several weeks. Then a nocturnal procession of priests, family, friends, and villagers escorted the body to the grave site, where it was


21 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 249-50.

22 Ibid., pp. 252-53.

23 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 267-69. See Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 57-60 for descriptions of the Throak or Dih Crvak and Dayop ceremonies.


placed in a temporary grave, head turned toward the north. All participants promised to visit him regularly. They prayed that the deceased would not return to haunt them or to complain about his ungrateful relatives. If the deceased was very old, several boards were placed over the body, but to cover a young person's body with boards would have caused the family to suffer. The grave was half filled with soil. Then only the priests remained to recite more prayers and fill the grave.24

The Cham Bani mourned the deceased in seven services, called Padhi, which occurred on the 3rd, 7th, 10th, 30th, 40th, and 50th days after the burial and concluded with the anniversary date. During these services the family had a meal beside the grave, and the grave was sprinkled with holy water. Priests came to pray at the head and feet of the dead at the fifth Padhi; after the ceremony they were given betel, tobacco, cloth, and crockery.

At the final Padhi, the Cham Bani of Binh Thuan often disinterred the bones and transferred them to a sacred place. The Large Dune or Gohoul-Prong, located between the valley of Parik (Phan Ri) and the edge of the sea, served as the final resting place for the bones of Parik Moslems. The people of Phan Rang buried their dead at the foot of a hill called Tchoek-Tadou or Kadou. The exhumation was accompanied by the same rites as those for the original burial. The bones were placed in a small coffin together with gold or silver rings belonging to the deceased. The disinterment usually occurred during the rainy season, but some variations in the timing have occurred.25

Among the Cham Bani of Quang Ngai, according to an early source, all lamenting ceased abruptly after the initial interment.26

Traditionally, Cham Kaphir (Brahmin) funeral observances rested on the notion that the soul must receive a new body after losing its earthly home. The formation of this new body, actually a spirit or soul, was believed to have been accomplished by a ceremony using rice. Rice alone was believed capable of effecting the transformation to a new body or soul. In anticipation of the funeral observance, the family preserved its best stalks of rice from the harvest for this ceremony.

To destroy the flesh and physical and moral corruption, the Cham Kaphir have traditionally cremated all their dead except the very poor and young children. When a family was too poor to afford the expensive ceremonial rites, the deceased was buried without priests, his head turned southward.27 Children who had not been initiated into the full rights of adulthood were also buried in the ground and their souls were believed to have entered the bodies of palm rats.28 This practice stemmed from the belief that young children were still innocent and did not need the purification of fire. Memory of a child was perpetuated in ceremonies conducted by the head of the family, who made offerings of goods, such as rice, coconuts, and bananas; waved his arms to imitate the movements of a bird; and placed a red flower in a bronze vase.29


24 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 289-90.

25 Ibid., pp. 290-91.

26 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 32.

27 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 261.

28 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 64.

29 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 310-11.


The body of the deceased was wrapped in a shroud of 8 or 10 white cotton garments, one over the other. The head was not included in the shroud; it was covered with a thin veil. The cadaver was placed in a special hut erected in the family compound. There, on a bed oriented towards the south and raised on a dais, the cadaver rested with candles placed at the head and feet. Suspended above the bed was a gold cloth canopy from which hung paper birds and animals; the birds were believed to have escorted the soul of the deceased to its future dwelling place.30 The priests placed clumps of mountain hemp around the dais. In addition, rice, cakes, water, and betel surrounded the bed, and martial trophies and flags decorated the hut.

During the period between death and cremation, which varied from a few weeks to a month or more, the body remained in the hut attended at all times by priests and priestesses who recited prayers. Visitors, housed and fed at the family's expense, came to entertain the deceased with their witty conversation. An orchestra of flutes, violins, drums, and cymbals played continually day and night. Day and night, the priestesses prepared meals to offer to the cadaver; each time the veil was removed and afterwards replaced. Children and grandchildren of the deceased abstained from eating meat during this period. Adults and friends did not participate in any festivities unless these were associated with the deceased. In the presence of the deceased, however, they sang, danced, and consumed great quantities of food and drink.

Finally, when the body reached an advanced state of decomposition, plans were made for the cremation. On the appointed day, the priests constructed a catafalque and adorned it with gilt paper animals and flowers.31 The body, resting on the catafalque, was carried by the priests to the fields near the exit of the village. The funeral procession included the orchestra, a group of villagers dressed in white, and mourning women in long hoods. As the body was carried from the village, the priests turned the catafalque round and round to confuse the soul of the departed and to prevent it from returning home. To this same end, the villagers ran back and forth and in all directions while continuing to advance slowly towards the site of the cremation.32 Meanwhile, a priest (Po Damoeum or "Lord of Sorrow" for the occasion) shut himself in the house of the deceased to implore every object, animate and inanimate, to prevent the soul from reentering the house to torment the living.33

At the spot chosen for the cremation, the priest examined the site and with a pickax marked out the four corners of the place destined for the funeral pyre. The assistants removed the sod and prepared the pyre, while the priests unrolled the shroud from the corpse and offered it a last meal - a few grains of rice placed under the tongue. The body was re-covered and placed on the pyre. The priests and relatives made three solemn turns around it; when the fire was lit, they deposited their candles on the pyre. Personal effects of the deceased were then thrown


30 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 261-62.

31 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 61-62.

32 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 263.

33 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 313.


on the fire, and mourners sent gifts to their own dead relatives by placing the names of the deceased in baskets attached to the catafalque. During the cremation, the priests and people offered prayers interspersed with laughter and anecdotes.34 Serious mourning, weeping, and tearing of hair were performed by hired mourners.35

As soon as the flames reached the body, the priest detached the head from the torso, smashed the frontal bone with an ax, and removed nine little pieces, the noble bones, which he placed in a little hole in the ground filled with water. Then he threw the head back into the fire. The ceremony of the purification of the bones followed: The bones were removed from the hole and ceremoniously deposited in a small copper box called a klong; and the priests officiated at a solemn meal for the souls, as well as a feast for the forest.36 This ceremony terminated with the presentation of the klong to the family.37

The bones in the klong were then kept in the family temple for a year. At the final funeral ceremony, called Padhi by the Cham Kaphir, as well as by the Cham Bani, the klong was buried with other ancestors under the kout or family tombstones.38

When the cremation was completed, the priests, relatives, and friends returned to the home of the deceased. To confuse the soul of the deceased, the priests turned their clothes inside out, tied their hair into a knot on their necks, unrolled their turbans, and pretended to be ordinary travelers. A final meal was prepared for the funeral guests, and the host made an offering to the ancestors.

Cult of the Ancestors

The ancestors represented by the bones in the klong were traditionally venerated annually by the wealthy and every 5 or 10 years by the poor, who could not afford annual sacrifices. At the tabat kut or worship-of-the-tombs ceremonies, the ancestors received presents. The Cham Kaphir also prayed to their ancestors periodically for special favors or for cures for illness. The family invited priests and a priestess (called a Paja) to the cemetery to offer sacrifices, and they spoke to the ancestors while the family implored the ancestors to accept the priestess as an intermediary. At a given moment, the Paja began to sway and answered, "We accept the homage of our descendants." The ceremony terminated with a feast, and the family returned home.39

Level of Civilization

Accurate, up-to-date estimates of Cham literacy are unavailable however, in general, the figures appear to be quite low, with the


34 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 264.

35 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 314.

36 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 264.

37 Leuba, op. cit., p. 193.

38 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 265. There are known variations on this procedure (Baudesson, op. cit., p. 314, and Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 63-64).

39 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 267.


highest degree of literacy among the Moslems of Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces.

The Cham calendar is partly lunar and partly solar: A new moon marks the beginning and end of each month. The lunar month has a light half, which terminates in the full moon, and a dark half, which is concluded by the new moon.

Time is measured by the duodenary or 12-month cycle. Each of the 12 months is named for an animal; for example, Rat, Buffalo, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Cock, Dog, Boar. The year begins in the spring (April-May) and is composed of 12 lunar months of 30 and 29 days alternately. The months are numbered from 1 to 10, and the 11th and 12th have special names. Every 3 years an extra month is added. Time measurement among the Moslems differs from that of the Brahmins, and both vary from that of the Vietnamese, the official calculation.40 Most Cham are probably unaware of the calendar and determine the date by the lunar periods.

The names of the days of the week are borrowed from the planets: Adit (sun), Thom (moon), Angar (Mars), But (Mercury), Jip (Jupiter), Shuk (Venus), Tchanchar (Saturn). The day is divided into 12 hours, beginning at the first cockcrow.41


40 Ibid., pp. 214-15; Leuba, op. cit., p. 184.

41 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 215.



Cham customs and taboos vary from village to village depending on the religion (Brahmin or Moslem) of the people and the degree of Vietnamese or Montagnard influence on their culture.


Garments for both men and women consist of a sarong topped by a tunic. The sarong is a band of cotton fabric, usually white or blue and white with a red border, and is generally fastened by a knot on the right side just beneath the armpit. The sarong for Cham men is customarily adorned with an elegant fringe border. Loose-fitting around the legs, the sarong allows considerable freedom of movement. The sarong also serves as a shawl and at times as a turban. Cham women tenaciously maintain that the sarong is traditionally related to their race; they believe that to abandon one's native dress is to throw off "one's past, one's tradition, one's last bit of courage and force."1 Cham men, however, are slowly abandoning the sarong in favor of wide-bottomed trousers.2

The Cham man's tunic, usually black or deep violet silk, resembles that of Vietnamese men. Some men wear a colorful belt at the waist. The tunic for women is of deep green cotton or silk and reaches to the calf of the leg. The tunic fits so snugly that movement is severely limited and for this reason Cham women wear the tunic only in cold weather or for special occasions. The women wear only the sarong while doing household chores or while in their own village.

The headdress for Cham men is a black or green turban or a plain scarf wound around the head. Cham women wear a fabric band wound around the head, with the ends allowed to fall around either side of the face. The least movement of the head causes the headdress to unwind, so that it drapes indifferently around the waist and is tied in place with no concern for aesthetic appearance.

Nearly everyone goes barefoot in Cham villages, even on feast days. Occasionally mandarins and lesser notables wear clogs or babouches.

Both men and women are extremely fond of jewelry and own as much as they can afford. Women's jewelry consists of the following:


1 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 86-87.

2 Ibid.


necklaces of strings of glass beads which hang to the waist;3 earrings of precious metals in the shape of nails, braids of black thread, or disks of black wood 2 centimeters wide encrusted with pieces of metal;4 anklets, plain or carved, in precious metals, copper, or shell: rings of gold, alternating with thin bands of red cornelian, worn on the thumbs as well as on the other fingers.5 All Cham men like rings; those who live near cities have, in addition, plaited watch chains from which they hang their trinkets, betel-cutting scissors, or elephant hairs mounted on silver, and amulets. Both men and women use silver needles of every size suitable for every purpose from holding the hair and cleaning the teeth to piercing coconuts.

Children wear few garments; when they are not nude, they wear snug little jackets which reach their navels and leave the rest of the body uncovered. Children are, however, covered with innumerable bracelets, necklaces, anklets, earrings, and amulets.

Folk Beliefs

The Cham belief in animistic spirits has traditionally affected virtually every aspect of their existence. These spirits, both good and evil, had to be treated with respect, and at specified times offerings were required to appease them. In addition, the Cham observed certain traditional prohibitions in the hope that the spirits would be prevented from causing misfortune.* These folk beliefs varied according to region and religion and some may have disappeared entirely in some Cham areas.

Trees, and the shadows cast by them, were traditionally thought to hide evil spirits and bear ill omens.6 Banana trees were especially feared. During pregnancy, Cham women had to avoid a certain Javanese banana which was thought to cause a monster to be born who would torment the family.7 A banana tree was planted above the grave of a woman who died during pregnancy in the belief that the soul of the deceased would stay among the branches and would not haunt the family.8

Cham houses are constructed according to an established ritual** with specified materials. Even wealthy Cham avoid building stone or brick houses which might remotely resemble the sacred towers of the Cham deity Po Rome.9 All wood for construction of a house must be cut from trees in the same area. A tree which falls on branches already on the ground presages evil.10

A number of folk beliefs govern activities within the Cham household. In general, a guest must not enter the bedrooms in a Cham house; exceptions are made for intimate friends and people highly respected


*See "Religion," pp. 35-46.

**See discussion of rituals, pp. 31-34.

3 Ibid., p. 89.

4 The wealthy women of Phan Rang wear silver or gold buttons in their ears. Baudesson, op. cit., p. 230.

5 Bracelets are worn by some girls as an ornament to remind them of the temporary vow of chastity taken to ward off danger or cure an illness. Baudesson, op. cit., p. 230.

6 Broderick, op. cit., p. 264.

7 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 257.

8 Teulières, op. cit., p. 672.

9 Choinski, op. cit., p. 18.

10 Teulières, op. cit., p. 672.


within the village. A guest, even an old friend, must never place a kettle on the kitchen tripod - a sacred object.11 Altars must not be erected to honor the ancestors or the gods that protect the household.12 Esteem must be shown inanimate as well as animate objects; for example, kitchen utensils broken through ordinary use must not be thrown away but must be kept in a pile near the house until a flood washes it away.13 Both Brahmin and Moslem Cham abstain from sexual relations on Mondays, as Allah was born on that day.14

Since the Cham are primarily farmers, they arc extremely careful not to arouse the spirits connected with agriculture. Seed is not bought in another village for fear that the rice spirit will be offended and will seek revenge. Villagers do not speak on the first day of harvest in order to avoid frightening the spirits. During the flax harvest, the Cham pretend to be drunk to insure the preservation of the inebriating properties of the flax. The Cham, especially the Brahmins, fear oxen and do not use them to work the fields: from ancient Brahminism they have retained the belief that a mythical ox (Kapila) transports the dead to the next world.

Traditionally, a village had to move if one of the villagers died an accidental death. The night before the move, all domestic animals in the village were killed.15

Concept of Etiquette

The Cham attach great importance to the teaching and observance of rules of etiquette. Especially rigid are rules affecting the relations between people of different age and rank. A young man shows respect for an older man by addressing him as Uncle or Grandfather; an inferior addresses his superior as Elder Brother.

In greeting a person of superior rank, a young man shows deference by arranging his girdle or crossing the cloth which serves as the equivalent of trousers. If the young man is carrying an umbrella, he will hold it forward toward the person he wishes to honor; then conversation can take place. Throughout the conversation, the young man must avoid swinging his arms, a sign of disrespect; to prevent this, the well-bred Cham clasps his hands together.

The education of a Cham woman is considered complete when she has learned the rudiments of etiquette. For example, she will know that she must never show pleasure in public by laughing. She may, on the other hand, yawn when bored, a sign of good breeding. A woman seeking a favor of a notable must follow a complex procedure requiring great forethought and preparation. She removes the turban from her hair, wraps it about her like a shawl, falls to her knees, and prostrates her self three times at full length on the ground before the notable.16


11 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 30.

12 Teulières, op. cit., p. 672.

13 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 263.

14 Ibid., p. 257.

15 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 30.

16 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 232-33; 262-63.


Customs Relating to Outsiders

In the past, an outsider was greeted with immediate hostility, at least by the women, who fled from sight and remained hidden until the visitor proved harmless. Occasionally, months passed before the women resumed their activities in sight of the stranger. The men would receive a stranger politely, offer him a room, and bring him flowers and fruit; however, their pride prevented them from performing any act which might have placed them in a servile position. The Cham would not, for example, pick up an object dropped by the visitor.

Murder by poison was not uncommon in Cham areas. Outsiders passing through Cham regions were warned against this danger. If an outsider violated any local customs, particularly any regarding women, he risked poisoning. As some of the poisons worked very slowly, the person frequently thought he had contracted some disease. The Cham are experts in concocting stupefying drugs and narcotics and can poison the air of a room by blowing noxious vapors through hollow tubes inserted in the walls.

Eating and Drinking Customs

At mealtime, the Cham women spread a mat on the ground and on it place trays containing small bowls of food. The family gathers around the mat, either squatting on their heels or sitting on round pieces of wood. The meals are prepared on a green wood fire, smell strongly of smoke, and consist of rice base with grilled or boiled corn, herb soups, eggplant, squash, cucumber, tree or shrub leaves, fruit flowers, and dried fish. The Cham eat with their fingers or with wooden sticks and Chinese porcelain spoons. They approach the meal with great respect; etiquette forbids an individual to leave the meal before everyone has finished eating. A breach of this rule is called "the removal of the queen," and is considered extremely serious; this violation not only incurs a fine, but is believed to bring ill fortune to the wrongdoer and his companions.17

The Cham have a multiplicity of food taboos, which they observe with varying degrees of rigidity. The Cham Bani, as Moslems, are technically forbidden to eat pork and drink alcohol, but, in practice, the restrictions on the latter have been relaxed. The Cham Kaphir do not eat beef. The caste-associated taboos of the Brahmins are particularly complex as they relate to the religious practitioners. Failure of the priests to observe these taboos is believed to shorten their lives.

The Cham do not drink while eating but only after the termination of the meal. Daily beverages consist of water or very hot, weak tea. During ceremonies, the precious jars of rice alcohol are opened, but even then the Cham remain sober and rarely become raucous. Rice alcohol


17 Leuba, op. cit., p. 111.


is made by placing a handful of steamed, dried rice, together with a vegetable leaven, into an earthen jar, which the owner then secretly buries in the ground. The longer the jars remain closed, the greater the fermentation of the alcohol; later water is added to the mixture as it is imbibed. A bent bamboo straw is used to suck the liquor from the jars. The person being honored drinks first, then the villagers, and finally the women and children.

Although freely available, opium is generally prohibitively expensive for the Cham. Tobacco is extremely popular and is both chewed and smoked. The tobacco is rolled into a very thin cigarette and smoked in an engraved copper pipe with a tiny bowl and a long stem, or in a short pipe of hand-carved wood or bamboo.18 The Cham also chew betel quids made by lightly coating a leaf of pepper betel with lye and rolling it around a piece of areca nut.19

Customs Relating to Animals

The Cham breed buffaloes, chickens, ducks, goats, dogs, and, occasionally, horses. In deference to one another's religious scruples, the Brahmins raise few pigs, and the Moslems raise no cattle. Chickens, goats, and buffaloes are raised for sacrificial purposes. Buffaloes are also essential to the Cham economy, serving as work animals to plow the fields and draw carts.

Animals are kept in small corrals within the family compound or beneath the house if it is built on pilings.

Customs Relating to Warfare

Pacific by nature, the Cham are unlikely to attack an enemy. Experience has shown, however, that confronted with an aggressor, the Cham will unite and fight in self-defense.*

Entertainment and Celebrations

Music provides the major source of Cham entertainment and is the art form most readily embodying Cham impressions and reveries. Individually, the Cham, old and young, lie on their backs for hours staring into space and humming to themselves. As children, they learn to sing with a group and to play musical instruments.20 Music plays an important role in Cham festivals and rituals.


*See "Psychological Characteristics," pp. 14-15.

18 Ibid., p. 112.

19 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 274.

20 Leuba, op. cit., p. 125.


In addition to music, chess is very popular among the Cham. Cham children are initiated into its complexities at a tender age. The board, with 64 squares, is identical to the occidental version. Similarly, the point of the game is to check the opposing king; however, generals replace the castles; canoes, the bishops; and fish, the pawns. Children of a less serious nature enjoy games, races, and competitions.21

Some festivals provide entertainment in the form of feasting and music. The Tet festival, a new year celebration observed throughout the Republic of Vietnam, begins the 15th day of the 1st lunar month and continues for 1 month.

Just before the Tet celebration, the head of the family wraps a gift and blesses it. The family is then permitted to follow his example. On the 1st day of the festival, everyone proceeds to the forest to make a small spoon of leaves, which are cut into pieces, mixed with alcohol, and poured on the heads of buffaloes, who are then caned several times. Pigs and poultry are slaughtered for the feast and all guests must eat until they drop from exhaustion. Singing and music begin and continue until noon.22

A special ceremony, called the Vo La, is performed if there have been no deaths during the year. A rich elder leads the ceremony, offering a leaf containing glutinous rice to the spirits. The gifts to the spirits are cooked over firewood collected during the 10th month from the paddy rays. Failure to gather the firewood at the prescribed time is punishable by fine and cancellation of the Tet festival.


Cham rituals are extremely complex and are introduced into all phases of existence. Even the most trivial task requires specific rites. Offerings of food and prayers are made to the spirits and are followed by a feast for the participants.23 In addition to religious ceremonies and rituals for every phase of an individual's life, important agrarian, construction, and dedicatory rites exist.

The Cham lead other groups in Southeast Asia in the variety and individuality of their agrarian rituals.24 Both Cham Kaphir and Cham Bani recognize three types of sacred ricefields: Hamu Tabung or Tabun, Hamu Klaik Lava, and Hamu Canrov. A ricefield is declared Hamu Tabung (taboo) when a man or animal working the field falls ill and first symptoms are experienced while in the field itself. Nothing can save a Hamu Tabung field - it must be sold, even at a great loss, to Vietnamese Christians in the area. (Vietnamese Buddhists also fear the cursed field and will have nothing to do with it. )25 The concept for this practice is uncertain: Some say the field must be sold because the sickness indicates the field was an ancient burial ground;26 others, that Cham princes


21 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 265.

22 JPRS 13443. op. cit., pp. 28-30.

23 These offerings may cost anything from a chicken to a buffalo, and for a collective sacrifice, even four or five buffaloes, which explains why the Cham, who spend two-thirds of their income on ritual, are forever in debt. Ibid., p. 28.

24 Baudesson. op. cit., p. 297.

25 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 61.

26 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 297-98.


once cultivated the field according to rites which the present-day Cham do not know. Therefore, to avoid offending with the wrong ritual the Cham do not cultivate these fields at all.27

Every wealthy landowner has a Hamu Klaik Lava, "Field of Furtive Labor," which is first cultivated under cover of darkness, for plowing and sowing are associated with the crime of sexual violation. In June, the 2d Cham month, early in the morning husband and wife proceed to their field where they silently plow three furrows and return home. At dawn, as though by accident, the man wanders past the field and expresses surprise at seeing the plowed furrows: "Who labored furtively in my field during the night?" He hurries home to prepare offerings and carries them to the field, for a field that cultivates itself must indeed be consecrated. After a few prayers, the sowing of the field may continue openly.

At the flowering season and at harvesttime, sacrifices are offered when the stalks in the field are tall enough to "hide the doves." The deities are invited to taste the offerings, while the man cuts three stalks of rice and wraps them in cloth. The stalks are passed through a fire of burning eaglewood, offered to the goddess of agriculture (Po-Nagar), then hung in the house until the next year's planting, when they will be sown in the three furrows mysteriously plowed during the night. The remainder of the rice in the Hamu Klaik Lava is then harvested.

The third type of sacred ricefield, the Hamu Canrov, is chosen by the villagers. Usually each village has no more than two or three Hamu Canrov. These fields apparently have no significance beyond the traditional habit of setting aside two or three Hamu Canrov to be sown before all the other fields can be worked. The sacred fields are cultivated either at midmorning or at dusk, after a priest has offered a sacrifice to the gods. The owner of a Hamu Canrov and the priest pray to Po-Olvah Ta-Ala, "God of the Underworld," to bless the buffaloes, permit cultivation of the fields, and grant a good harvest. The owner then plows three furrows around the field, anoints the ground with oil, sows a handful of rice, and drives his buffaloes home. The following day he returns to complete the cultivation and the sowing.28 No special ritual seems to attend the harvesting of this field.

Another Cham agrarian rite consists of tossing a handful of paddy on a portion of the ricefield before sowing the whole field. A chicken is killed and its blood sprinkled on the plants as they begin to appear. These sacred stalks arc then transplanted to a corner of the field, and they must not be touched. A similar offering accompanies the harvest; in addition, a shrub, the dong-dinh, is symbolically planted to encourage the gathering of a healthy crop.29

Annual rituals attend the rebuilding of dams (banoek) and the cleaning and repairing of irrigation canals (rabong). Both Po-Klong-Garai, the deified king reputed to have invented irrigation, and Po-Nagar,


27 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 272.

28 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 60-61 and Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 274-75.

29 JPRS 13443, op. cit., pp. 30-31.


the goddess of agriculture, are invoked during these rituals. During the first Cham month, when the canals are being cleared and repaired, the Ong-Banoek, "Chief of the Dams," presents offerings to these gods.

Then for several days, the Ong-Banoek lives in a hut at the point where the water enters his own field. With offerings and prayers to the gods to render the dam unbreakable, the Ong-Banoek takes three stakes and plants them in the river bed. Against these he leans three pieces of wood, three stones, three bundles of liana, three mounds of sod, and some leaves. Once more he prays to the gods, informing them that construction and repair have begun. Armed with building equipment, the people continue to work while the Ong-Banoek remains in his hut. When the dam is completed, the Ong-Banoek returns home and prepares a feast to which he invites the priests. When the rice is in flower at harvesttime the Ong-Banoek makes further offering to the protective deities.

If drought occurs after a planting, the Cham gather various offerings for a collective sacrifice to the gods. Led by an orchestra, the priests and all the villagers go to the dams to ask the gods for rain. Periodic sacrifices are also made to assure regular rainfall. Varying with the village, these sacrifices may include a white buffalo, black chickens, or black goats. Formerly, a child, preferably from a wealthy family, was kidnapped by the Ong-Banoek and drowned in the river as an offering to the rain gods.30

Construction of a house requires a multitude of rituals. First the designated spot is enclosed within a palisade of dead wood - any foliage creating shade would be an ill omen. Openings in this enclosure allow the gods to enter and assist the builders. Before the first (northeast) column can be erected, a hole must be dug for the foundation. Then an amulet - a sheet of lead engraved with mystical characters - is thrown into this hole by the owner. Each column is consecrated in this manner. Usually only one column per day is consecrated and fixed in position. When the framework of the roof is completed, an amulet must be introduced at every point where the roof touches. Special materials are used to thatch the roof; bulrushes are taboo, as they are endowed with evil powers. The completed house is taboo until the threshold has been crossed by a cat, followed by the owner. The latter prostrates himself on the ground where his bed will rest. Then, rising, he begins to recite all the locations to be avoided when choosing a spot for a new house.

I will flee far from the haunts of the White Ant. I will turn aside from the dwelling-places of demons and evil spirits. Sloping places I will shun.... In short I will never be found where evil is to be expected.31


30 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 269-72.

31 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 234-37.


The building of Cham carts also requires rituals. Completion of a cart calls for a dedication ceremony. The wheelwright, often attended by one or two priests, lights candles, makes an offering to the gods, sprinkles the cart with holy water, and purifies it with a thorough scouring in the river. Then, while making a few light gashes here and there on the cart, he says, "Cart, woe betide you if ever the fancy take you not to roll your best." The ceremony terminates in a feast.32


32 Ibid., p. 237 and Aymonier, op. cit., p. 212.



For centuries two religions, Brahmanism and Islam, have dominated the Cham of the Republic of Vietnam. The influence of the former was evident in the country as early as the second century when the three Indian gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva (and the Sakti, or wives of the last two, Uma and Laksmi) were venerated.1 Although Islam was introduced at a later, undetermined date, inscriptions indicate the existence of a Moslem community in Champa in the 10th century.2 Reportedly, kings spent vast sums on temples, each one a domain in itself, containing large numbers of priests, slave dancers, servants, musicians, and quarters for the women and their slaves.3 Ruins of these vast temple complexes reveal the important position held by religion during the imperial phase of Champa history.

Approximately three-quarters of the Cham population now practice a corrupt form of Brahmanism altered by local superstition. This group calls itself Cham Kaphir from the Arabic for infidel, or Cham Jat, meaning Cham by race. The remaining Cham - about 6,000 according to one source4 - who adhere to a corrupt version of Mohammedanism, call themselves Cham Bani from the Arabic for Sons of the Prophet. Excellent relations exist between the Brahmin and Moslem Cham, and the priests of one faith attend, on invitation, the ceremonies of the other. Several gods are mutually venerated by people of both faiths.

Brahmin Cham

The Cham cult is linked with orthodox Brahmanism through certain sacred rites which include: The worship of the phallic symbol (linga) and the white bull of Siva (Nandi); the bath of purification; the rinsing of the mouth after the sacrifice; religious initiation or rebirth; the custom of placing a gold leaf on the mouth of the deceased to insure immortality; the ceremonial use of kuca grass, strings of beads, and the holy shell offerings to the fire; the fear of ritualistic mistakes; inviting the gods to participate in sacrificial ceremonies; considering the northeast direction as sacred; and reciting the prayers that accompany the rites.5

The religious practices of the Brahmin Cham today are so mixed with native and Moslem elements that the people and priests have lost all


1 Vassal, op. cit., p. 182

2 Lebar, op. cit., p. 245.

3 Ibid., p. 246.

4 Buttinger, op. cit., p. 58.

5 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 20-21.


memory of the civilization of India, the significance of the Hindu gods or the monuments representing them, and the meaning of the prayers which they recite. Originally, worship of the Indian god Siva formed the basis of the Brahmin Cham religion. Over the centuries, however, reality and myth were blended - the historical works and deeds of some early kings and princes who encouraged the practice of the Sivaist cult fused with the legends developed around the primitive gods. Consequently, some of these monarchs became deified and replaced the orthodox Brahmin gods in the cult's religious pantheon. Among the numerous deities, three are especially venerated: Po-Nagar, Po Rome, and Po-Klong-Garai. The last two are Cham royalty, deified through legend.

Principal Brahmin Deities

Po-Nagar, or more completely Po-Yang-Ineou-Nagar, "Goddess Mother of the Kingdom," is the wife of Siva and the most powerful of the deities. She is honored as the goddess of ricefields and abundance; she reputedly taught the Cham agricultural methods, with the exception of irrigation. She is also called Muk Juk, the "Black Lady" and Pata Kumei, the "Queen of Women."6 Many daughters were born of this goddess, some good and some evil. Several of the former are still revered: Po-Nagar-Dara, Po-Bja-Tikuh, and Tara-Nai-Anaih. The evil daughters, believed to have the power to afflict man with disease, are offered sacrifices of appeasement.7

The Vietnamese have adopted the goddess Po-Nagar under the name of Ba-Chua-Ngoc, honoring her with feasts, music, and dancing twice a year, in the 2d and 8th months of the Vietnamese lunar year.8 Her statue is located in a temple at Nhatrang, where the Vietnamese present their offerings to her.9

Po Rome, a princeling who governed the Cham between 1627 and 1651, revolted against the Vietnamese, who captured and kept him in prison where he died. Legend may have confused this minor prince with the great warrior King Binasuor, who ruled between 1328 and 1373 and was the last defender of Cham freedom.

In any case, legend concerning Po Rome as a deity states that he was born of a virgin mother and was appointed guardian of the king's buffaloes. One day a dragon appeared to prophesy Po Rome's promising future. When the royal astrologer warned the king of the young man's future strength, the king abdicated his throne to Po Rome and gave him his daughter in marriage, as well as two other wives. No sooner had Po Rome ascended to the throne than he lost his crown through the connivances of his second wife. At that time, the guardian deity of the Cham was shut up in a tree, which they called the Kraik;


6 Ibid., p. 31.

7 Ibid., pp. 31-32.

8 Vassal, op. cit., p. 186.

9 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 31.


as long as the tree lived no evil could befall their group. The second wife, incited by her father, the King of Annam (Vietnam), who coveted the Cham land, pretended to be afflicted with a grave disease curable only by the destruction of the Kraik. So great was Po Rome's love for this wife, he felled the tree on which hung the destiny of his people. The Vietnamese invaded the kingdom, captured Po Rome, and killed him.10

Po-Klong-Garai, also conceived by a virgin mother, was a leper at birth. He worked as a buffalo keeper until he, too, was visited by a dragon, who cured his disease. From that moment the boy's supernatural powers began to manifest themselves: He caused the neck of the squash to be crooked and the vein of the banana leaf to be prominent. Aware of the boy's powers, the royal astrologer gave Po-Klong-Garai his daughter in marriage. After ruling for 6 years at Shri-Banoeuy, Po-Klong-Garai founded Bal-Hangov where he ruled for 10 years, building palaces, digging canals, erecting dams, and teaching the Cham the technique of irrigation. After a 54-year reign (1151-1205), he ascended to heaven at the request of the gods.11

In addition to these three principal deities, there is a series of minor or secondary deities. Two of the most important are Paja Yan, Goddess of Heaven, and Po-Yan-Dari, Goddess of Illness.

The Goddess of Heaven, Paja Yan or "Heavenly Paja," although not represented by any specific image, is invited to all sacrificial ceremonies. She distributes happiness, cures diseases, and encourages the afflicted. Offerings of fruit or vegetables are usually made to her on the first day of the waning moon. Paja Yan inhabited the earth at one time and resuscitated the dead until Po Jata, God of the Heaven, wearied of her violation of heavenly laws and had her placed on the moon. Divested of her power to bring the dead back to life, she nevertheless gives them happiness and good health. Her face appears in the moon when it is full. Whenever she prostrates herself before her superior Po Aditjak, the Sun God, an eclipse of the moon occurs and the Cham celebrate by offering sacrifices to her. The souls of the righteous join Paja Yan after death. This legend is accepted by some Cham and strongly contested by others.

Po-Yan-Dari, Goddess of Illness, lives in caves, thickets, and especially in artificial cairns. The symbol of this goddess is an upright stone upon which is drawn a white horizontal line representing her mouth. In a dream the goddess reveals herself to an individual - usually an old man - indicating the stone to represent her, and where it must be placed for offering of sacrifices. Under the direction of the dreamer, a tanoh yan or sacred enclosure is made. The stone is placed under a tree, a circular area around it is cleared, and stones are placed around the edge of the clearing with an opening on one side. Thereafter, a sacrifice of rice, chickens, betel, and alcohol must be made to Po-Yan-Dari upon entering the forest. Subsequently, for someone leaving the


10 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 216-17 and Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 319-22.

11 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 215-18. Some sources exclude Po Rome and Po-Klong-Garai from the list entirely replacing them with the Po-Yan-Moh, creator of all things and the censor of the gods. He shares the powers with Allah to assume any form he wishes so as to avoid recognition. This god's name when reconstructed becomes Mahadeva, another name for Siva. [Cabaton, pp. 28-29] Aymonier claims that no cult venerates this god and that his name occurs only in local literature. One text attributes to him the creation of the marine conch, and the souls of animals. [Aymonier, p. 219]


forest, a sufficient offering consists of placing a stone on the enclosure, but always to the outer side.12

Combined with these Indian practices and beliefs, the Brahmin Cham have retained a number of pre-Hindu beliefs common to neighboring areas: agrarian rites, traces of which persist among the Malays; the sacrifice of buffaloes, practiced by the tribes of Indochina; and the employment of priestesses, found also among the Bahnar and Sedang tribes.13 These are examples of the more important religious customs which have survived from the ancient Cham civilization and are still practiced in conjunction with the Brahmin beliefs.

Moslem influence is evident in the traditions and worship of the Brahmin cult. Allah, the Prophet, and the saints of Islam are included in the Brahmin pantheon. The acceptance of Allah as a Brahmin god is so complete that the Cham Kaphir believe the Moslems acquired Ovloh (or Allah, meaning god) from them.

Brahmin Priests

Cham Kaphir priests form the Basaih or Basheh caste, the last remnants of the Brahmin kingdom of Champa. They elect three high priests who serve for life under the title of Po Adhia and become the priests of the three great deities: Po-Nagar, Po Rome, and Po-Klong-Garai.

The Basaih priests do not devote their entire attention toward the priesthood. In addition to their priestly functions, they are allowed to cultivate the fields or to engage in any other occupation of their choosing. The ability to become a Basaih priest is inherited and transmitted through the male lineage. Those not wishing to become priests choose other professions and are released from practicing any of the religious abstinences of the caste.14

From the age 10, the sons of Basaih priests learn to read the rituals which they, as priests, will be required to know from memory. As soon as they begin their studies, the Basaih wear a white gown: a piece of cotton rolled around the waist and reaching the feet, held up by a belt with brown and red trimmings, a long white tunic fastened by strings, and a white turban made from a band of linen with red fringe tied in a knot on the head. During ceremonies, this costume is supplemented by a white miter with red and blue embroidery and a copper or gold ring inset with a large stone. As soon as facial hair begins to appear, the growth of a mustache and goatee is usually encouraged. Consecration into the priesthood is effected during their 25th year, obligating the young men to marry.15

In their role as priests, the Basaih are responsible for various functions and observances. Invited to many Brahmin ceremonies, the


12 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 32-36.

13 Ibid., pp. 21-23.

14 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 223.

15 Ibid., p. 224. The Spirit of God is said to live in the brain of the Basaih. To prevent its escape the turban is wound very tightly about the head.


Basaih perform numerous rituals, especially during cremations (which require the permission of the priests). They also teach the children to read and write, and are responsible for the observance of certain caste-associated food taboos.* The Basaih maintain good relations with the Moslem imams (priests), sometimes offering them gifts during Ramadan, the month of fasting; however, the Basaih will not enter mosques.16

The Tchamenei (Camenei or Samenei) form a priestly class below the Basaih. Acting as deacons to the Basaih, they serve as guardians of the cult utensils and keepers of the temple. Before making offerings to the deities, they adorn the temple statues and arrange the utensils in the traditional manner. Like the Basaih, the Tchamenei dress in all-white garments and observe the same abstinences; they have merged with the Kathar or Kadhar, singers and musicians who perform during many rituals, also dress in white, and observe the same abstinences.

The Paja or "Princesses," apparently at the same level as the Tchamenei and Kathar, are priestesses or prophetesses who foretell the future and serve as intermediaries at many religious ceremonies.17 Their religion combines animism, Brahmanism, and Islam. They invoke the deities by dancing and chanting in a state of ecstasy until they believe the gods possess them; then they transmit messages from the divinities to the people.18

The Paja are subject to the same abstinences as the Basaih, as well as food restrictions which apply only to them.* Sworn to celibacy, the Paja must abstain from sexual relations with men; punishment for breach of this rule is immediate death of the couple. If a married woman declares herself Paja, her husband divorces her.19

Selection of a Paja involves several ceremonies. A girl is designated by a Paja to serve as her assistant, Monvis-Asit-Anok-Soh, or "Child Who is the Joy of Humankind." At a feast, the Yan-Trun-Pvoc or "Praying the Deity to Reveal Itself," offered by the retiring Paja, the priestess and her assistant perform a ritualistic dance, the Tamja. The investiture is completed at a temple ceremony dedicated to Paja Yan, "the Goddess of Heaven," one year after the feast. All the guests who participated in the feast are expected to come after taking a purifying bath. Sacrifices are offered and candles lit to invoke the goddess.

The Paja, Paja-Designate, and all the guests prostrate themselves. While burning candles flicker, the assistant goes into a trance - a sign that the goddess is present and approves of the choice. If the candlelight goes out, this signifies the Paja Yan is not in accord, and a new assistant must be selected. The Paja-Designate then returns to her home and former way of life.


* See "Eating and Drinking Customs," pp. 29-30.

16 Ibid., pp. 223-24.

17 Broderick, op. cit., p. 265.

18 Ibid., p. 265.

19 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 224-25.


The Modvon belongs to no caste but serves as an officiating minister who accompanies the Paja in the performance of household and family ceremonial rituals. He offers sacrifices to the gods to cure the sick or foretell the future. He chants while playing his one-headed drum, the baranon, observes the same abstinences as the Basaih, and dresses in an all-white tunic. After he has learned to play the drum and memorized the ritual chants, the Modvon is admitted to priesthood in an elaborate ceremony.20

Although the Paja is the most powerful of the priestesses, the Kain-Yan, "She Who is Near the Gods," often substitutes for her superior. Aided by a Modvon, she dances and offers presents to the gods. Family priestesses common to the Moslems as well as Brahmins, the Crvak Rija, are chosen at the age of 20 by consensus of the family whose members all bear the same name. On days of sacrifice they must dress in white.21 These women belonging to no caste are permitted to marry but are expected to abstain from eating pork and sand lizard.

The lowest caste of priests, the Ong-Banoek, serve as masters of the dams and irrigation canals, officiating at the annual ceremonies for the repair of the waterways.22 They dress in white, abstain from eating the hakan fish, and abstain from sexual relations during the period of these ceremonies.

Brahmin Religious Ceremonies

The goddess Po-San-Anaih (believed to be Po-Nagar's daughter or Po-Nagar herself) is honored at the first feast of the Cham year, beginning on the 10th day of the 2d month and lasting for 5 days. To prepare for this fete, the Cham of the plain of Phan Rang erect four rectangular huts of bamboo and palm leaves at the edge of the sea. The Brahmin Cham perform their ceremonial rituals in three of the leaf huts; the Moslem Cham conduct their ceremonies in the fourth hut.

Four Brahmin priests gather in the first hut; one officiates, the rest assist. Before the celebrant is placed the sacrificial tray containing the cult accoutrements: a banana leaf on which rest figures of rice paste and a layer of sand on a wattle tray. Using rice flour, the Basaih priest forms the shape of a tortoise in the sand. From time to time, he places a piece of eaglewood on the brazier, sprinkles holy water, snaps his fingers, waves his arms like a bird, and clasps his hands. Throughout the ceremony he reads and chants the ritual accompanied by an assistant who plays on the san or seashell.

In the second hut, the offerings consist of fabric to be fashioned into garments for the Brahmin priests and containers of food. Participants in this hut include: a Modvon playing his baranon (drum), a


20 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 38-41.

2l Ibid., p. 39, 51.

22 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 225-26.


Kathar strumming the kanik (violin), a Kain Yan dancing to the music, and various other priests playing instruments or preparing offerings. The Kain Yan, the celebrant, in a white costume and red turban, dances holding a handkerchief in one hand, waving a fan with the other. Near the east entry the flesh of a sacrificed goat is prepared for the offering. The music stops, the Kain Yan places offerings of rice paste on trays and turns to face the sea. The music begins anew and the Kain Yan presents a tray to each of the gods, who are believed to be near the rolls of fabric.

A Modvon and Paja occupy the third hut. Here the offerings are the traditional food and betel quids, and beside the doorway is placed a tray filled with paste replicas of men and sacrificial buffaloes offered during the year. Nearby, women prepare goat hash. Lum gat, or rolls of linen, are placed around the west wall.

In the fourth hut, the Cham Bani, who practice the Moslem faith, celebrate. Three imams in white garments and turbans squat on a platform at the rear of the hut; behind them stretches a cotton banner decorated with soldiers, people bearing offerings, buffaloes hitched to a plow, and other sketches depicting Cham way of life. The imams rinse their mouths with water and purify themselves by touching their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and navel with water; next they recite prayers from the Koran while the women prepare food for them.

After prayers by both Kaphirs and Banis have been completed, the priests partake of a feast inside their respective huts, while the people consume their feast outside. The ceremony terminates with the paste replicas of the buffaloes and the men being cast into the sea.23

Bon Kate (or Kate) and Bon Cabur (pronounced Tiabour), the most solemn of the Cham feasts, are celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th Cham month (September-October)24 and the 1st of the 9th Cham month (January-February) respectively.25 These fetes honor ancestors and the three principal deities. For 5 days, everyone - priests, old and young people - gathers to pray and offer sacrifices to the gods. The Bon Kate feasts are offered in the kalan (Cham towers) and the bumon (leaf huts); Bon Cabur sacrifices are made in the towers and in private homes.26

Masculine deities dominate the Bon Kate feasts and feminine deities the Bon Cabur. The noon sacrifices are preceded by a purifying bath; then prayers are offered to the spirits of the deceased. For both feasts the main celebrants include: A Po Adhia (high priest), a Kathar (musician), a Ba Bon (master of ceremonies), and a Tchamenei (deacon). The offerings, the same for both feasts, consist of a goat, cooked rice, a large tray of rice cakes, rice alcohol, lemon water, areca, and betel. The statue of the god or goddess to be honored is washed in lemon water before the sacrifice. Eaglewood is kindled and a largo candle lit in front of the statue, while small burning candles


23 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 53-57.

24 According to Aymonier, this ceremony occurs in the 7th month, op. cit., p. 230.

25 Cabaton, op. cit., p. 51.

26 Aymonier claims these fetes are celebrated in the temple of the three divinities and especially in that of Po Rome, op. cit., p. 230.


may flank the sides. When sacrifices are offered in private homes, a Tchamenei, a Kathar, and a Paja priestess and her assistant, a Modvon, officiate.27

Moslem Cham

The Islamism professed by the Cham Bani of the coastal provinces of the Republic of Vietnam, corrupted by pre-Moslem pagan practices and local superstitions, bears little resemblance to the religion of Mecca. Few imams read Arabic in this region - they merely memorize and recite the suras (sections of the Koran), only vaguely recalling the meaning of the passages. Ramadan, the month of fasting, is observed in its entirety by the priests, but observance for laymen is only 3 days. The five daily prayers are rarely recited, except on Fridays and during Ramadan. The study of the Koran has fallen into disuse; in fact, few copies of the text can be found in this region. Even the book's proper name, "Koran," is scarcely known; instead it is called the Tapuk Acalam, "Book of the Prophet Mohammed," or Kitah Elhamdu, "Book of Praise." In place of the Koran, these Cham possess a much respected sacred book called Nourshavan, which may be copied only during Ramadan for the price of a buffalo paid to the transcriber.28 The prescribed Moslem ablutions are often neglected, but when performed, consist of digging a hole in the sand and pantomiming the act of extracting water. Circumcision, no longer customary, is only simulated by an imam who performs the ritual using a wooden knife.

Under the influence of the Malays, the Moslem Cham inhabiting the Tay Ninh and Chau Doc areas have remained more orthodox in their beliefs and practices than have the Cham of the coastal provinces. Many of the Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Cham have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Fervently attached to their religion, these Cham center their lives around the mosque and village Koranic school, where the children learn the Koran in Arabic aided by Malayan commentaries. A few Cham continue their education in Kelantan or Mecca.

The Cham Bani or Tay Ninh and Chau Doc, appalled by the religious liberties taken by the Cham Bani of the coastal provinces, have occasionally tried to urge their brethren to return to the orthodox beliefs and practices. For the most part, however, such efforts have had little effect. The coastal people, influenced by ancient animistic beliefs and by the penetration of religious elements from neighboring areas, have persisted in strict adherence to only a few of the Islamic practices; for example, some food taboos - especially prohibitions on pork - and the orientation of buildings toward Mecca.29

Although the significance ascribed to the Islamic orthodox religion and the degree to which the religion is practiced differ widely


27 Cabaton, op. cit., pp. 52-53.

28 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 283.

29 Ner, op. cit., pp. 154-55.


between the Cham Bani in the coastal provinces and the Cham Bani in the Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces, the principal deities, priestly hierarchy, mosque characteristics, and religious ceremonies are basically the same.

Principal Moslem Deities

The Moslem deity Allah, also recognized by the Brahmin Cham, is venerated by the Cham Bani as Ovloh, the indeterminate, bodiless god. Mohammed, the Prophet of God, is revered by the Cham Bani as Mahamat and personified as Po Rathulak - a derivation of the Arabic name Rasul Allah, meaning Prophet. Other deities in the Moslem Cham pantheon include: Djiburaellak or Gabriel, created by Mahamat; Po Hoava or Eve, equated with the Brahmin Cham deity Po-Nagar, "Goddess Mother of the Kingdom"; and Po-Yan-Amo or Adam, "Father of Men," the latter two created by Ovloh.30

Moslem Priests

The head of the Moslem Cham priestly hierarchy, the Po Gru or Ong Gru, "Leader of the Faithful," is chosen from among the imams or officiating ministers who are scattered throughout most of the Moslem Cham villages. The Po Gru is invested with the authority to appoint additional imams, to preside at many religious ceremonies, and to head the mosques.

Ranking below the imams and named by the Po Gru to act as deacons are the Katips who read and recite in the mosques. In a still lower rank are the Modins or Moduons, corresponding to the Brahmin Modvon. Men entering the priesthood shave their heads and faces. In addition to the priests, Raja priestesses, like those of the Brahmins, play prominent roles in certain Moslem ceremonies. Raja are permitted to marry, but are expected to abstain from eating sand lizard.

The rank of the priest is signified by the length of the scarlet and gold tassels on his turban. Aside from this distinction, an all-white costume - sarong, tunic, scarf draped over the shoulders, and a large turban with a red border - is common to priests of all ranks. For ceremonies, the turban is more elaborately arranged; first the priest places a conical cap on his head, then a cardboard disc which allows the tip of the cone to pass through; finally, the turban is wrapped around the disc.31 A staff made from a long rattan stalk is carried by the priest. The Po Gru's staff has a basket attached to the base, formed by braiding together the roots of the rattan stalk.32


30 Lebar, op. cit., p. 247 and Cabaton, op. cit., p. 31.

31 Leuba, op. cit., p. 139.

32 Baudesson, op. cit., p. 267.


Mosque Characteristics

The mosques of the Cham Bani consist of long, narrow huts built to face west toward Mecca and enclosed by high palisades. At the threshold are seven flat rocks where the officiating priests wash their feet before entering. Inside the mosque two rows of posts support the thatch roof. The interior is furnished with mats spread on the floor, a drum to summon the faithful to worship, a pulpit (mimbar), and a sack suspended from the roof to hold the prayer books.33 Ordinarily, in central Vietnam, one mosque serves several villages; however, in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc Provinces, each Moslem village has its own mosque.

Moslem Religious Ceremonies

On Fridays, the Moslem Cham gather in the mosque to venerate Ovloh and Po-Debata-Thor, "Father of Heavens" - who perhaps may have been confused with Ovloh. The general prayer services, continuing for an hour or more, require the participation of one Po Gru, two imams, two Katips, and a Modin. Although the Koran requires a quorum of 40, few laymen attend these services, except in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc. At the beginning of the service, the priests spread a white cloth over the pulpit: then, facing the pulpit, they worship Ovloh, prostrating themselves one after the other. The Modin prays and beats the drum three times while two imams pray face to face, holding each other's ears; then the imams move beside the Po Gru, who is kneeling before the pulpit. The Po Gru and the imams, joined by the two Katips, prostrate themselves eight times before the pulpit. Mounting the pulpit, the Po Gru reads Koranic verses written on a cloth scroll. The worshipers respond by invoking Ovloh, asking for riches and happiness. The service ends with a feast including wine which is consumed by the priests and the laymen.

The Moslem Cham perform a ceremony called the Tubah to cleanse the aged of their sins. The family invites the Po Gru, imams, and Katips to preside at the ritual which takes place in a hut erected for the occasion. Inside the hut the ritual articles are arranged: a length of white fabric, two candles, a tray with bowls of areca, betel, and water. The Po Gru leads the assembly in prayer, then the elder person who is to be cleansed recites alone. The Tubah concludes with a least and general prayer session.34

The observance of Ramadan, the month of fasting, is celebrated by the Moslem priests. During this solemn month they are expected to remain in the mosque and abstain from eating certain foods. On the eve of the fast, each priest takes to the mosque the few necessities he


33 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 140-41.

34 Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 283-84.


will need: a mat for his bed, a lacquered wooden cube for a pillow, cigarettes, and facilities for preparing tea and betel. He unrolls the palm leaves engraved with sacred verses and suspends his string of amber beads on the wall. Throughout the fast he performs the necessary daily rites: nine ablutions, five prayers, and a nightly salaam, which will absolve him of all past, present, and future sins.35

An elaborate 3-day festival called the Raja, celebrated in the 9th month of the Cham year (December-January), is primarily a Moslem fete, but some Brahmin Cham observe it as well.36 This festival may be compared to the Bon Kate and Bon Cabur feasts of the Brahmin Cham.37

For the occasion a special hut is erected in the family compound; additional huts accommodate the guests invited to the festival. Inside the principal hut, sheets of white cotton have been spread. On the altar, shaped like a rude trough, trays of betel and flowers are arranged to represent the gods; before the altar, trays of food are arranged as offerings. Paper figures of animals, junks, and cartwheels hang from the ceiling. In the center of the room is a brightly colored swing to accommodate the officiating Raja priestess for whom the festival is named. At least three imams also participate in this ceremony. An orchestra comprising a flute, violin, gongs, cymbals, tambourines, and several drums is conducted by the Modin, the principal male participant. Under his direction the orchestra plays during intervals when the Raja rests in her swing.

Throughout the first 1 1/2 days, the Raja dances, sings, gnashes her teeth, invokes the spirits and gods, and eventually reaches a state of ecstasy in an effort to appease the souls of the ancestors. Meanwhile the imams recite prayers, and the people respond by crying "Hurrah!" At the appropriate moment the Raja lights a torch of mountain hemp and waves it before the people; feigning great fear, they run screaming from the hut.

In the middle of the 2d night, the Raja throws a veil over her face, and everyone prostrates himself. Lying on the ground wrapped in a shroud, she trembles and moves about while the Modin appeals to the souls of the departed. Eventually, the Raja rises and dances with great frenzy. Intermittently, feasts are served and the deities invited to partake.

At dawn of the 2d day, a toy boat, roughly carved from a block of wood, is moved through the air by one of the participants to simulate a ship crossing the ocean. This represents the vessel once regularly sent from China to collect the tribute exacted from the vassal state, Champa. A rag monkey, representing the tax collector, is presented offerings of cakes, eggs, and fruit. The people dance and argue over the food, finally consuming it. They all fall on the hut, tearing it to pieces, while the Raja rests in her swing.


35 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 267-68.

36 Ibid., p. 325.

37 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 291.


At noon of the 3d day, the priests and orchestra conduct the Raja to the river, where she entrusts the symbolical boat to the water, concluding the ceremony. Other ceremonies are performed by the Raja during the year in case of illness or to fulfill a wish.38

Effect of Religion on Cham Development

Rituals and superstitious beliefs keep the majority of the Cham in bondage to their past. Since every task must be accompanied by its particular rite, economic and social advancements are considerably impeded. Indeed, reform is virtually impossible as long as fear of retribution by the evil spirits limits activities to those sanctioned by ancestral practice. However, in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc, where the tenets of Islam have been strengthened, a small degree of cultural, social, and economic development has been achieved.


38 Baudesson, op. cit., pp. 305-08 and Aymonier, op. cit., pp. 291-94.



Type of Economy

The Cham economy is primarily agricultural. The chief activity is the cultivation of rice either in irrigated fields or in dry upland fields called rays. The irrigated fields are generally restricted to rice cultivation, while secondary crops of corn, tobacco, castor beans, cassava, peanuts, and vegetables - in addition to upland rice - are grown in the rays.1

The Cham usually employ a gravity irrigation system. The water flows along canals leading from the local streams to the individual ricefields and is directed by dams of stones, mud, and leaves. Where the ricefields are elevated above the stream, a system called norias is employed, whereby the water is raised in buckets attached to a continuous chain turned by the water current.2

The upland rays, or dry fields, are cultivated by the slash-and-burn method. This primitive, destructive type of cultivation consists of cutting all brush and trees and then setting fire to the area in order to clear it for planting. These fields are neither harrowed nor irrigated. The rich humus topped with the layer of ashes produces fine crops for a few years. When the soil nutrients are depleted in a given ray, the Cham abandon it and move to another area where the destructive slash-and-burn process is repeated.3

Cham agricultural methods are exceedingly primitive. Sowing, transplanting, and harvesting are done by hand, and cultivation is carried out with buffaloes attached to a simple wooden plow. Threshing is achieved by forcing a pair of yoked buffaloes to walk around and around on the stalks to separate the grain from the chaff. After the grain is winnowed by the old women of the village, it is placed in a mortar or a hollow tree trunk and is beaten by two women wielding heavy batons.

The crops are continually menaced by droughts, floods, and hungry wild beasts. To guard against the latter, a watchman sits in a hut erected on pilings in the midst of the ricefields and scares the animals away by beating a drum, blowing on a conch shell, or simply shouting.4

The Cham women bear the major responsibility for agricultural activities. The men cut down the trees for the rays and harrow the ground for the irrigated field, but the women remove the brush, attend


1 Leroi-Gourhan and Poirier, op. cit., p. 116.

2 Robequain, op. cit., pp. 80-81.

3 Leuba, op. cit., p. 118.

Ibid., pp. 116-17.


to the sowing, transplanting, harvesting, and the shelling and crushing of the grain.

Hunting and fishing play minor roles in the Cham economy. The Cham trap game with nets and by using beaters and dogs, rather than by hunting with guns, lances, and crossbows, as do some of their neighbors. During the dry season, they burn whole hillsides to find the turtles and certain types of rats which are considered delicacies. Once bold navigators, the Cham today rarely own fishing boats. They fish by placing nets behind leafy dams, and the meager catch resulting from this inefficient method must be supplemented by dry fish bought from the Vietnamese.5

The suspicious nature of the Cham people generally prevents them from taking jobs with fixed salaries, as they fear they will be cheated. They will not work as household servants, coolies in factories, carters, gardeners, rickshaw pullers, interpreters, postal employees, orderlies, or accountants. They generally prefer to earn their living by farming and hunting or in occupations where they have little contact with other people, such as wood cutting and collecting.6

Special Arts

The few Cham handcrafts are primarily related to weaving and cartmaking. Formerly weavers of fine brocades, decorative silks, and rice cloth, Cham women now make a sturdy, warm, lightweight cloth for turbans, sarongs, and scarfs. Europeans are particularly fond of this cloth and buy it frequently.7

Cartmaking is the one artisan industry in which the Cham excel. Cham carts have a forked-beam framework held in place by two transverse bars. The enormous wheels enclosed within the framework are each attached to a separate axle, all of which meet beneath the cart in a rattan binding; this arrangement frees the wheels from turning parallel to one another. The originality of the cart is in the independence of the wheels and the framework, which prevents the load from tipping over. When a rut is too deep, the wheel off the ground ceases to turn, the framework drags along the edges of the road and the vehicle is transformed into a sled. The carts are the only reliable means of transport in areas where only buffaloes can pass through the mud during the rainy season.8

The Cham also engage in a number of small industries. Beekeeping produces wax for medicinal capsules and for the candles essential to most ceremonies. Resin torches are manufactured and sold to the Vietnamese. Medicines, whose formulas are jealously guarded and transmitted from generation to generation, are made from animal and vegetable products and are sold to neighboring groups as well as among the Cham. Poisons and narcotics are concocted from toxic vegetable substances readily available in the region and are sold in the open market.


5 Ibid., pp. 118-19.

6 Ner, op. cit., p. 158.

7 Leuba, op. cit., p. 119.

8 Ibid., pp. 120-21.



The Cham trade regularly with their neighbors. They exchange salt, copper wire, tobacco, and dried fish for the spices, cereal, chickens, and fruits of the Montagnard tribes. At one time, the Cham served as intermediary merchants between the Montagnards and the Vietnamese, but it is uncertain if this trade relationship still prevails. The Cham and Vietnamese also engage in trade; the Cham exchange resin torches and carts for the dried fish and betel of the Vietnamese.9

The Cham in Chau Doc Province supplement their agricultural earnings with profits from small commerce. They buy paddy from their neighbors and transport it to Saigon by boat along with corn, tobacco, and handwoven cloth. They also peddle their wares from village to village two or three times a month.

Property System

In the Cham family, women own the property - the house and most of the animals - and pass it on to their daughters or to their sons when there are no daughters. The Cham of Chau Doc and Tay Ninh Provinces own the land on which their houses are situated. Under the French, rich Cham bought up the land and allotted it to their people, and some even invested in neighboring village land.10 In other Cham areas, communal property, owned by the village, is divided and distributed to the villagers, who pay rent for the right to cultivate it.


9 Ibid., p. 94.

10 Ner, op. cit., p. 159.



Political Organization and Leadership

Since the Vietnamese conquest in 1471, the sociopolitical organization of the Cham has lost all semblance of national character and is but a reflection of the organization of their conquerors. Each village or noc, comprising several hamlets, is governed by a Gia-lang or "village patriarch," and a corps of notables elected by the people.

The patriarch bears the major responsibility for the enforcement of customs and mores, the judging of offenders, and the celebration of rituals. He alone is exempt from taxes. The position of Gia-lang is hereditary if the village survives; that is, if it remains in the same place. When a child succeeds his father as patriarch and is too young to judge matters properly, the village notables may assist him, but his decision is final. During ritual ceremonies the patriarch holds the incense burner before the altar, a sign assuring his power. Abdication of the patriarch may be impelled when the village moves to another location due to famine, accidental death, or change of ray. If the change proves beneficial, he who suggested the move becomes the new village patriarch.1

The number of village notables varies from 5 to 15, depending on the wealth of the population. They are personally responsible for insuring the public safety, watching over the management of the communal land, and assuring the collection of taxes. The notables enjoy no special privileges, but are subject to the same obligations as other villagers.

A number of villages (8 to 12) are organized into a canton, administered by a chief elected from among the notables. The chief of the canton serves as intermediary between the village notables and the Quan or district administration, the largest local administrative unit.

Under French protection, the Cham enjoyed relative autonomy. In areas where Cham and Vietnamese lived close together, the Cham were permitted to elect their own representatives to serve in equal capacity with those of the Vietnamese at the district level. The Cham lacked sufficient education to fill positions above this level. It is uncertain whether this political organization still exists in the Cham areas.2


1 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 25.

2 Leuba, op. cit., pp. 196-98.


Legal System

Among the Cham, justice is rendered at a level relative to the gravity of the crime. Minor disagreements are settled by the parties involved. Petty offenses are traditionally judged by the village notables. Plaintiffs may choose appeal to the district or Quan level if they are dissatisfied with judgment of the village notables. In theory, more serious crimes must be submitted by the village and canton authorities to the Quan notables, who hand down judgment in accordance with the Vietnamese legal code. The district chief, in turn, is supposed to transmit all judgments he has rendered to the provincial authorities for review.3 In practice, however, the village chiefs and notables may still settle these graver crimes as they once did. Formerly, they would place the guilty person in a sort of pillory, order him caned an appropriate number of times, humiliate him by having a cross shaved on his head, and expel him from the local region.4

Relations with the Central Government

With the Geneva Agreement of 1954 and the creation of the Republic of Vietnam, the problems of establishing a rapprochement between the Cham and the Vietnamese became acute. The Government of the Republic of Vietnam has taken measures to incorporate the Cham into the political organization of the nation. The Vietnamese, however, have historically considered the Cham culturally inferior, backward, and lazy. The Cham themselves prefer to remain separate from the Vietnamese; they strongly believe that only through isolation can they retain their cultural identity.

Third Country Influence

Little information is available on the activities of third countries among the Cham. One source mentions that in 1963 the leaders of the Cham community in Cambodia complained about the Vietnamese Government's "genocidal policy" toward the Moslem Cham and petitioned leading outside powers to intervene.5


3 Ibid., pp. 198-99.

4 Aymonier, op. cit., p. 211.

5 Burchett, op. cit., p. 117.




As far as could be determined, there have been no reports of either the presence or absence of subversive elements and activities among the Cham. Being a passive group, the Cham are probably cooperative with both the Viet Cong and the Vietnamese Government - depending upon force is present in the area at a given time.

No doubt Communist agents are present in Cham villages, and their appeals are probably similar to those used with other unassimilated groups in the country. The promise of autonomy for minority groups would probably be one of their major propaganda themes, since the Cham desire above all to be left alone.

Likewise, there seem to be no reports about Cham opposition to subversion, either with or without the assistance of the Vietnamese Government.



Word-of-mouth communication is the principal means of dissemination of information in Cham areas. The literacy level of the Cham is quite low, although information on the exact number of literates is unavailable.

Music provides the major source of entertainment among the Cham; they enjoy playing instruments and singing in unison.1 Thus, music would be a possible means of gathering the Cham for a propaganda session.

It is also reported that the Cham are greatly intrigued by magic. One source claims that feats of magic have been known to gain more prestige for an outsider in a Cham village than the imposition of his will by authority or force.2 Simple magic shows may be a means of gaining the respect of the Cham as well as being a way to attract them to meetings.


1 Leuba, op. cit., p. 125.

2 JPRS 13443, op. cit., p. 26.



Vietnamese and U.S. military personnel assigned to Cham areas possess resources of technical knowledge, materiel, organization, communications, and innovative ability that can substantially assist the social, political, and economic progress and development of the Cham. Tangible proof of willingness to assist the Cham can contribute to cooperative, efficient working relationships with them.

Any civic action undertaken should include, in the planning stage, particular consideration of Cham religious and social beliefs and superstitions. In addition to specific social and cultural factors that must be considered in the development of civic action programs, it is important that the Cham be psychologically prepared to accept the proposed changes. At least initially, this will require detailed consultation with village leaders, careful assurance of results, and a relatively slow pace in implementing programs.

The following civic action guidelines may be useful in the planning and implementation of projects or programs.

  1. Projects originating in the local village are more desirable than suggestions imposed by a remote central government or foreigners.
  2. Projects should be designed to be challenging but should not be on such a scale as to intimidate the villagers by size or strangeness.
  3. Projects should have fairly short completion dates or should have phases that provide frequent opportunities to evaluate effectiveness.
  4. Results should, as far as possible, be observable, measurable, or tangible.
  5. Ideally, projects should lend themselves to emulation by other villages or groups.
  6. Credit for success should be attributed to the Republic of Vietnam's civil and military authorities, as appropriate.


Civic Action Projects

The civic action possibilities for working with the Cham encompass everything from suggestions to lessen the difficulties of day-to-day routine to sophisticated assistance for economic development or the provision of modern political and administrative institutions. Usually, however, civic action programs will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Examples of possible projects are listed below. They should be considered representative but not all-inclusive, and they are not listed in order of priority.

  1. Agriculture and natural resources.
    1. Increase or improve production of livestock, rice, and vegetables.
    2. Insect and rodent control.
    3. Improvement of marketing system.
    4. Construction of simple irrigation and drainage systems.
    5. Clearing areas for increased cultivation.
  2. Industry and communication.
    1. Roadbuilding.
    2. Installation, operation, and maintenance of telephone, telegraph, and radio systems.
    3. Construction of housing facilities and buildings.
    4. Installation, operation, and maintenance of electric power generators and village electric light systems.
  3. Health and sanitation.
    1. Improve sanitary standards.
    2. Organize dispensary facilities for outpatient treatment or for first aid.
    3. Provide safe water supply systems.
    4. Eradicate malaria and other insect-borne diseases.
    5. Teach sanitation, personal hygiene, and first aid.
  4. Education.
    1. Organize basic schools for reading and writing.
    2. Organize vocational training programs.
    3. Provide language instruction in Vietnamese and English.
  5. Public administration.
    1. Provide guidance to local administrators and officials.
    2. Aid in the organization of public services, such as agricultural extension services and medical and educational programs, operated by the Vietnamese Government.


  1. Mass communication.
    1. Provide information on the outside world that may be of interest to the Cham.
    2. Present propaganda-supporting objectives, policies, and programs that the Republic of Vietnam and the United States have in common.



There is very little information pertinent to the paramilitary capabilities of the Cham. During the French Indochina War, the Cham did fight with the French against the Viet Minh. Experience during that war indicated that only a few Cham officials, guided by French and Vietnamese administrative authorities, were necessary to rally the rest of the Cham population to fight the Viet Minh.1 It is not known at this writing whether the Cham would actually respond in this way in the current struggle with the Viet Cong.


1 Major A. M. Savani, Images et Visages du Sud Vietnam (Images and Aspects of Viet-Nam) (Saigon: Imprimerie Française d'Outre-Mer, 1955), p. 154.



The family ties and religious beliefs influence every action the Cham take. A person from a culture where actions have few religious and cultural implications must be careful not to be misled into thinking the Cham will react as the outsider does.

A few suggestions for personnel dealing with the Cham are listed below.

Official Activities

  1. Initial contact with a Cham village should be formal. A visitor should speak first to the village chief, who will then introduce the visitor to other principal village figures.
  2. Personnel living and working with the Cham and Vietnamese together should remain strictly impartial. Establishing a degree of mutual Vietnamese-Cham respect and cooperation is necessary for the attainment of any joint Vietnamese-Cham-United States objective.
  3. Frankness, honesty, and truthfulness are essential in dealing with the Cham. In this respect, promises and predictions should not be made unless the result is assured. The Cham usually consider new groups of U.S. personnel obligated to fulfill the promises of the previous group.
  4. The confidence of the Cham is not gained quickly. Developing a sense of trust is a slow process requiring great understanding, tact, patience, and personal integrity.
  5. An attitude of good-natured willingness and limitless patience should be maintained, even when confronted with resentment or apathy.
  6. Projects or operations which give the Cham the impression they are being forced to change their ways should be avoided whenever possible.


  1. Personnel should not be surprised if the Cham use unexpected means to achieve a given goal. It is the end result that counts.
  2. Projects and operations should be kept simple. The attention of supervisory personnel should be focused on a few manageable projects at a time.
  3. U.S. personnel should be sure that both the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States receive credit for all assistance.
  4. Every effort should be made to elevate the local leaders in the eyes of the Cham. The local chief and his assistants should receive major credit for projects and for improved administration. Efforts should never undermine or discredit the position or influence of the local leaders.

Social Relationships

  1. The Cham should be treated with respect and courtesy at all times.
  2. A gift or an invitation to a ceremony or to enter a Cham house may be refused by an outsider, as long as consistency and impartiality are shown.
  3. Outsiders wishing to attend a Cham ceremony, festival, or meeting should request permission from the village chief or other persons responsible for organizing the affair.
  4. An outsider should never enter a Cham house unless accompanied by a member of that house. As in other cultures, this is a question of good taste and cautious behavior. If anything is later missing from the house, unpleasant and unnecessary complications may arise.
  5. Outsiders should not get involved with Cham women. This could create jealousy and hate, and negate attempts to create trust and good will.


Health and Welfare

  1. The Cham are becoming aware of the benefits of medical care and will request medical assistance. Outside groups in Cham areas should try to provide medical assistance whenever possible. Care should be taken not to degrade the efforts of Vietnamese medical personnel.
  2. Medical teams should be prepared to handle and should have adequate supplies for extensive treatment of malaria, dysentery, venereal diseases, intestinal parasites, and various skin diseases.


[Footnotes have been added to each individual page.]

--61 thru 72--


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Baudesson, Henri. Indochina and Its Primitive Peoples. Tr. E. Appleby Holt. London: Hutchinson (1919).

Benedict, Paul K. "Languages and Literatures of Indochina," Far Eastern Quarterly, VI (August 1947), 379-89.

________. "Thai, Kadai, and Indonesia: A New Alignment in Southeastern Asia," American Anthropologist, No. 4, Part 1 (October-December 1942), 576-601.

Biasutti, Renato. Le Razze e i Popoli della Terra (The Races and Peoples of the Earth): Europa-Asia, Vol. II. Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1959.

Broderick, Alan Houghton. Little China, The Annamese Lands. (Human Relations Area Files, Viet Nam, Source No. 25.) London: Oxford University Press, 1942.

Burchett, Wilfred G. The Furtive War: The United States in Vietnam and Laos. New York: International Publishers. 1963.

Buttinger, Joseph. The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam. New York: Frederick A. Praeger (1958).

Cabaton, Antoine. Nouvelles Recherches sur les Chams (New Studies on the Cham). Tr. Basil Guy (Human Relations Area Files, New Haven, 1955). Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1901.

Cadière, L., et al. Vietnamese Ethnographic Papers. Behavior Science Translations. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files, Inc., 1953.

Canada. Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, Geographical Branch, Institute of Pacific Relations. Indochina: A Geographical Appreciation. Foreign Geography Information Series. No. 6. Ottawa: 1953.


Carver, George A., Jr. "The Real Revolution in South Viet Nam," Foreign Affairs, XLIII (April 1965), 387-408.

Choinski, Colonel Walter Frank. Country Study: Republic of Vietnam. The Military Assistance Institute, U.S. Department of Defense. Washington, D.C.: American Institute for Research, 1964.

Coedès, Georges. Les États hindouisés d'Indochine et d'Indonesie (The Hinduized States of Indochina and Indonesia). Ed. E. de Boccard. Paris: 1948.

Cortambert, E., and Leon de Rosmy. Tableau de la Cochin Chine (Portrait of Cochin China) Ed. Armand Le Chevalier. Paris: 1862.

Dam Bo, Jacques Dournes. "Les Populations Montagnards du Sud Indochinois" ("The Montagnard Population of South Indochina"). France-Asie, Special Number (Spring 1950).

Fall, Bernard B. "Recent Publications on Indochina," Pacific Affairs. XXIX (March 1956).

___________ The Two Viet-Nams: A Political and Military Analysis. New York and London: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963.

___________"Viet-Nam: Mosaic of Minorities," The Washington Post, May 16, 1965, p. E-4.

Farinaud, M. E. "Nouvelles Recherches sur la Distribution des Groupes sanguins parmi les Populations de l'Indochine Méridionale: Les 'Mois' du Darlac et les Chams" ("New Research on the Distribution of Blood Groups Among the Populations of South Indochina: the 'Mois' of Darlac and the Chams"), Mémoires de la Société de Biologie (Memoirs of the Biological Society), II (July 8, 1939), 1238-40.

Fishel, Wesley R. (ed.). Conference on Social Development and Welfare in Vietnam Since Independence. New York: Free Press of Glencoe; East Lansing: Bureau of Social and Political Research, Michigan State University, 1961.

Forbin, Victor. "Les Civilisations éteintes en Indochine: les Chams" ("Extinct Civilizations in Indochina: the Chams"), La Nature, LIX, No. 2867 (1931), 337-41.


Garrigues, E. "Rapport sur le Fonctionnement de la Justice en Cochin Chine" ("Report on the Functioning of Justice in Cochin China"), Bulletin de la Société des Études Indochinoises (Bulletin of the Society of Indochinese Studies), V (1930), 217-57.

Gourou, Pierre. L'Utilisation du Sol en Indochine Française (Land Utilization in French Indochina). Washington, D.C.: Institute of Pacific Relations (1945).

Great Britain. Indo-China. Geographical Handbook Series BR 510. Great Britain: Naval Intelligence Division, 1943.

Groslier, Bernard Philippe. "Histoire et Ethnologie en Indochine" ("History and Ethnology in Indochina"), Bulletin de la Société des Études Indochinoises (Bulletin of the Society of Indochinese Studies), XXVII, New Series (1952), 332-42.

____________. Indochine: Carrefour des Arts (Indochina: Crossroads of the Arts). Paris: A. Michel, 1961.

Hanna, Alexander C. "The Chams of French Indochina," Moslem World, XXI (1931), 263-81.

Harris, George L., et al. U.S. Army Area Handbook for Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: Special Operations Research Office, 1962.

Hickey, Gerald C. The Major Ethnic Groups of the South Vietnamese Highlands. (Memorandum RM-4041-ARPA) [Washington, D.C.]: RAND, April 1964.

Janse, Olav Robert Thure. "The Peoples of French Indochina" Smithsonian War Background Series, No. 19, Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution, 1944.

Langrand, Gustave. Vie sociale et religieuse en Annam: Monographie d'un Village de la Côte Sud-Annam (Social and Religious Life in Annam: The Study of a Village on the Coast of Southern Annam). Lille: editions Univers, 1945.

Lasker, Bruno. Books on Southeast Asia: A Select Bibliography. New York: American Institute of Pacific Relations, 1956.

_____________. Peoples of Southeast Asia. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945.


LeBar, Frank M., Hickey, Gerald C., and Musgrave, John K., et al. Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964.

Leroi-Gourhan, André, and Jean Poirier. Ethnology of Indochina. U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Technical Services, Joint Publications Research Service, 13652.

Leuba, Jeanne. Un Royaume disparu: Les Chams et leur Art (A Lost Kingdom: The Chams and Their Art). Paris: G. Van Oest, 1923.

Lewis, Norman. A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Indochina. London: Jonathan Cape, 1951.

Malleret, Louis. Ethnic Groups of French Indochina (Les Groupes Ethniques de l'Indochine Française). Saigon: Association for Indochinese Studies; Washington, D.C.: Joint Publications Research Service, 12359, February 7, 1962.

____________. "La Minorité Cambodgienne de Cochinchine" ("The Cambodian Minority of Cochinchina"), Bulletin de la Société des Études Indochinoises (Bulletin of the Society of Indochinese Studies). Saigon: (1946), 19-34.

Maspéro, M. Georges. Un Empire Colonial Français L'Indochine (A French Colonial Empire Indochina). Paris et Bruxelles: Les Éditions G. Van Oest, 1929.

_______________. Le Royaume de Champa (The Kingdom of Champa). Paris et Bruxelles: G. Van Oest, 1928.

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Ner, M. "Les Musulmans de l'Indochine Française" ("The Muslims of French Indochina"), Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême Orient (Bulletin of the French School of the Far East), XLI (1941), 151-200.


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Vassal, Gabrielle M. On and Off Duty in Annam. London: William Heinemann, 1910.

Ziemer, Norman R. "Tribes of South Vietnam," Vietnam Mission of the Christian and Missionary Alliance [Lecture, Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam], August 1964.



    French, 50
    Local, village, 50
Adultery, customs relating to, 18-19
    Ceremonies relating to, 28
    Division of labor, 47-48
    Major crops and activities, 47-48
Airfields, 4
Ancestors, cult of, 24
Animals, 30
Arts, special, 48
Bahnar, Frontispiece
Birth, customs relating to, 19
Brahmin Cham, 35-42 >
Burial customs, 21-24
Calendar, 25
Cartmaking, 18
    Agricultural, 31-32
    Brahmin, 40-42
    Cart construction, 35
    Child naming, 19
    Dam construction, 32-33
    Death and burial, 21-24
    House construction, 33
    Marriage, 18-19
    Moslem, 44-46
    Puberty rite, 20-21
    Related to birth, 19
Cham Bani, see Bani (Cham)
Cham Kaphir, see Kaphir (Cham)
Chief, village, see Patriarch, village
    Education of, 20
    Naming of, 19
    Puberty rite, 20-21
    Treatment of, 20
Civic action
    Guidelines, 54
    Projects, 55-56
Clan structure, 17
Communists, see Viet Cong
Cua, Frontispiece
Customs and taboos, 26-34
Death and burial customs, 21-24
    Brahmin, 36-38
    Moslem, 43
Disease, see Health
Divorce, 19
Dress, 26-27
Eating and drinking customs, 29-30
Education, 20
Entertainment and celebrations, 30-31


Etiquette, concept of, 28
Family, 17
Folk beliefs, 27-28; see also Taboos
    Cham treatment of, 13-14
    Civic action projects, 60
    Diseases, 13
    Factual, recorded, 8-11
    Legendary, 8
    List of significant historical events, 10-11
    Folk beliefs about, 33
    Location, 11
    Structure, 11-12
Hre, Frontispiece
Jarai, Frontispiece
Jewelry, 26-27
Kaphir (Cham), Frontispiece
Khmer, Frontispiece
Kinship system, 17
Koho, Frontispiece
Labor, division of by sex, 17, 47-48
    Kinship to other languages, 7-8
    Written, 7-8
Legal system, 51
Level of civilization, 24-25
    Neighboring tribes, 4
    Of tribal subgroups, Frontispiece
    Terrain analysis, 5-6
Manual dexterity, 14
Marriage, 18-19
M'nong, Frontispiece
Moslem Cham, 42-46
Origin of tribe, 1
Outsiders in tribal area
    Customs relating to, 29
    General attitude toward, 15
    Suggestions for official activities of, 58-59
    Suggestions for social relationships of, 59-60
Paramilitary possibilities, 57
Patriarch, village, 50
Physical characteristics, 13
Political organization, 50
Political relations with Government of Republic of Vietnam, 51
Population, 4
    Brahmin, 38-40
    Moslem, 43
Property system, 49
Psychological characteristics, 14


Psychological operations, 53
Puberty rite, 20-21
Raglai (North), Frontispiece
Raglai (South), Frontispiece
    Brahmin, 35-42
    Effect on development, 46
    Moslem, 44-46
    Rituals of, 31-34
See also Deities
Rhade, Frontispiece
Rivers, 4
Roads, 4
Sacrifices, see Ceremonies Sanitation, 13
Settlement, tribal patterns of, 11-12
Social structure
    Clan, 17
    General, 17
Spirits, religious, see Religion
Stieng, Frontispiece
Subversion, 52
Suicide, 14
    Animals, 30
    Eating and drinking, 29-30
    House construction, 27-28
    Outsiders, 29
    Warfare, 30
Trade, 49
Terrain analysis, 5-6
Third country influence, 51
Viet Cong, 52
Villages, tribal, 4, 50
Warfare, customs relating to, 30



Published: Mon Jul 24 15:21:11 EDT 2017