In the matrilineal system of the Jrai ethnic minority people, though children follow their mothers’ surname, village patriarchs are mainly men. Therefore, women village patriarchs must be special spiritual mothers.

Female general in people’s heart in border areas

Female village patriarch Ksor Blam of Krong village, Ia Mo commune, Chu Prong district has iron spirit, determination, love, and responsibility of an Uncle Ho’s soldier.

She used to be a guerrilla, joined the military and fought on the fierce Central Highlands theater. After the South’s liberation, she worked at Chu Prong district’s Military Command. She retired with the rank of Captain.

Village patriarch Ksor Blam is a comrade, a close friend of troops of Ia Mo Border Post under the Gia Lai provincial Border Guard Command.

The life of this slender woman has been attached to fights. In the past, she joined combats against the U.S. imperialists. In peace time, she has actively fought against bad gangs along the border corridor between Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces, and instructed local people to combat poverty and superstitions. She deserves to be a female general in the all people’s border posture.

Over the past nearly three decades, she has closely coordinated with local border guard force to bring new effective plants to Krong, Klah villages, present breeding cows bought by her money to poor households in Ia Mo commune. She has also patiently guided local people on how to grow wet rice, encouraged them to act as eyes and live markers to prevent border-crossings, and maintain peace in border areas.

Her imprints can be seen anywhere in Ia Mo border commune. Local people show trust in this female village patriarch because of her practical and effective activities.

In a conversation, the “spiritual mother” of Krong village said that though she is old and in a not good health condition, she still lends local people helping hands and stays ready to make contribution to the community. She emphasized that with the joint efforts of local authorities, border guard force, and people, the life of local people is sure to be further improved, contributing to a peaceful and developing border area. 

Flexible and warm “soul keeper”

Not far from Krong village, Gong village in Ia Puch border commune, Chu Prong district also has a female village patriarch named Siu Phinh, a spiritual mother enthusiastic in doing social activities and flexible and warm in playing the role as a “soul keeper.”

Over the past ten year, village patriarch Siu Phinh has well managed everything, from big to small, from social work to family work. Her gentleness, kindness, perseverance and understanding in resolving disagreements in the community and family have won absolute trust of local people.

In recent years, she has formed art troupes to preserve the xoang dance to perform in gong festivals, or other cultural programs. Being aware of the oblivion of the traditional brocade weaving, one of the typical cultural features of the forefathers, she has tried her best and tirelessly instructed local women to keep this trade and gradually promote Goong village’s brocade weaving trade name.

Village patriarch Siu Phinh (second from right) instructs local women to weave brocades.

The small house of Goong village patriarch is always full of laughters of local people. The house is also the class on brocade weaving skills. “Dozens of women and girls in the village themselves can now weave brocades and make traditional clothes for their families. I’m happy since the successors could help preserve and promote the values of Jrai ethnic minority group’s brocade weaving,” village patriarch Siu Phinh smiled.

Aged nearly 80, she will keep contributing to the village. Her contribution has created jobs for local people, increasing their income, and helped preserve the “ethnic soul” in border community.

Source: baobienphong

Translated by Mai Huong