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The Muong people or better known to westerners as the Montagnards inhabit The Central Highlands of Vietnam in Southeast Asia They settled about two thousand years ago and learned to live in harmony with the earth There are many separate tribes These include the Bru Pacoh Rhade Bahnar Jarai Cua Sre Nop Mnong Kayong Lat Monom Halang Hre Sedang Jeh Chru Nop and more are probably unknown Most dwell within a three-hundred kilometer stretch from north to south It is from the Yen Bai Province to the Nghe An Province of Vietnam These mountainous lands make the southern portion of the Annam Cordillera and the area is visible from any location along the central coastal plain of Vietnam Geographically speaking over the years this region has been accepted as the Vietnamese Central Highlands The name Montagnard is actually pronounced mountain-yard It is French for mountain dweller or mountain people Those who live in Vietnam refer to themselves as Dega In their folklore De and Ga were the first Montagnards in Southeast Asia For Americans it is Adam and Eve The Montagnards are hardly similar to the Vietnamese people of the populated lowland area of Vietnam Their language comes from the Mon Khmer linguistic collection and the Malayo Polynesian stock There are no books or scripts to teach future generations because they were all destroyed after the Vietnam War In essence the living Montagnards are the only source of cultural knowledge These people do not resemble the Vietnamese either but physically they resemble Indonesians Malays and Cambodians 1 Everything between the Montagnard people is shared They have a deep respect and relationship with their natural surroundings Nothing is taken for granted and there are appointed officials to be stewards to the environment Agriculture is the primary source of survival with rice as the most important Slash-and-burn agriculture was used early on but has declined greatly over the last fifty years The forests also supply numerous
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