Dega and Hmong: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recognize Montagnards

Came across this article. Very interesting! The description of the Dega is dang near the same as the Hmong people. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recognize the Montagnards as the newest tribe in Native American Warrior Culture. Take a look at it and what are your thoughts.

PARTNERS — The flags of both the U.S. and Montagnards are carried away after completion of official ceremonies at a Montagnard gathering near Asheboro in 2005. This year’s Montagnard Memorial Event, ‘Dega Days,’ kicks off at noon on Saturday with festivities that include a dinner, tribal dances beginning around 1:45 p.m., a market with handmade crafts, a museum of artifacts and visits through a longhouse. The event is free and open to the public. (Paul Church / The Courier-Tribune)

Dega Days: Celebrating Montagnard friendship, culture

By Greta Lint

greta@gretalint.com

ASHEBORO — Montagnard children have been practicing their native dances all summer in preparation for the 2012 Dega Days Celebration which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the New Central Highlands, 3802 Highlands Lane, Asheboro.

This year’s Montagnard Memorial Event, “Dega Days,” kicks off at noon with an opening flag ceremony presented by the American Legion Steve Youngdeer Post 143 Color Guard representing the oldest Native American post in the United States. The organization is based in Asheville.

Festivities — which are free and open to the public — will include a dinner, tribal dances beginning around 1:45 p.m., a market with handmade crafts, a museum of artifacts and visits through a longhouse. The structure is 158 feet long and was built by the Rhade tribe of Montagnards.

Warren Dupree, post service officer explained that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has recognized the Montagnards as the newest warrior tribe, or culture, in association with the American Indians.

“American Indians have been on this land the past 8,000 years and have been a warrior society, protecting our people against aggression. The Montagnard tribesmen in Vietnam were also a primitive culture mirroring our culture. They are our newly adopted brothers and sisters,” explained Dupree.

In effect, the Montagnards were a primitive culture virtually living in the Stone Age when they engaged in their partnership with the U.S. Army Special Forces in the war against communist aggression in Vietnam in the early 1960s.

During the draw-down of the Vietnam War effort, the U.S. Special Forces were ordered to abandon their partnership and sever their ties with the Montagnards to expedite the war’s end. Due to the Montagnard’s loyalty to the American Special Forces, the new government of Vietnam forced them out of the Central Highlands and into “Re-education Camps” on the Cambodian and Laotian borders for the purpose of extermination and genocide.

A handful of retired, former and active duty special forces men then set out to rescue the Montagnards and help them relocate in the United States.

The Montagnards re-established their culture in their newly adopted homeland — what they call the “New Central Highlands of North Carolina.”

Since the Montagnards have gained U.S. citizenship and have established their homeland in North Carolina, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who also served in Vietnam, have decided to welcome and recognize the Montagnards as the newest tribe in Native American Warrior Culture.

Another event will be held Oct. 4-8 in conjunction with the presentation of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in a “Chiefs Meet Chiefs” celebration at the Annual Cherokee Tribal Council Gathering at the Acquoni Expo Center in Cherokee. Montagnards will participate in the Oct. 4 Elders Day, part of the 100th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair.

Vietnam vet and event organizer George Clark said there are around 10,000 Montagnards living in the United States. Around 9,000 live in North Carolina, 300 in Texas, 300 in the state of Washington and 30 in Arizona. “North Carolinians have made them feel very welcome,” he said.

For more information, contact Clark at (336) 953-4409 or visit www.montagnards.org.

http://courier-tribune.com/sections/news/local/dega-days-celebrating-montagnard-friendship-culture.html

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