Welcome to the Mondulkiri Resource and Documentation Centre (MRDC) and our website. We are the Indigenous People of this province in North-east Cambodia. There are in all just over 32,000 of us. Most are “Bunong”. Others include Kreng 126; Jaray 119; Krorl 727; Steang 642; Khmon 242; Kouy 13, and Tumpoun 343. We have lived for generations in this upland area that extends in to Vietnam where we have related groups with similar origins culturally and linguistically. This is true too for our ancient neighbours in other provinces, especially Rattanakiri also bordering Mondulkiri.
We hope that you enjoy learning about our culture – the MRDC and website are giving us our first chance to record and share information far beyond our borders. For every generation up to now, such things have only been passed on orally. Most of our grandparents seldom went far from their villages. They only ever heard our own spoken-only languages. More of our parents learned to read and write Khmer, but as most villages are remote without electricity, ancient traditional lives and livelihoods continued unchanged for generations. Suddenly though all this began changing from the 1950s onwards, gathering pace since the new millennium. Our generation is learning English and Computer Skills. We need to do this for many reasons, as these pages explain. One reason is to be able to record for posterity, using modern technology, the knowledge and wisdom of our elders and ancestors. In today’s modern world, when children may no longer grow up and stay close to their families, there is the danger of this knowledge and wisdom being lost for ever.
We thank especially UNESCO and MDG-F for their kind support to open and operate MRDC and this website. Also, we acknowledge Nomad RSI for making it possible.
We wish to draw attention to our own civil society organisation - the first of its kind especially and only for Mondulkiri's Indigenous Peoples "MIPAD" , and our global partnership with "First Peoples Worldwide" who are kindly supporting MIPAD. Their website can be accessed here. This is a great way to find out about indigenous peoples all around the world.
Our Logo and our Banner:
Designed by Ray Walker, the "M" represents the mountainous features of Mondulkiri Province. The Banner shows traditional grass Bunong houses that are now being replaced by the more permanent Khmer stilted ones. This is because Bunong People have to live in more settled communities. The traditional shifting pattern of living and agriculture has had to change as access to land is lost - whichever way Bunong face, it is towards "Khmerisation".
Next page: Our Origins