Co To People & History

The history of the Co Tu people remains much shrouded in mystery. They are believed to have diverted from the Chinese Dong Son minority group approximately 3000 years ago as they expanded southwards from Yunnan valley. Tradition and culture is handed down in local oral folklore with very little written history in existence. Bronze Age practices from spirit worship, swidden agriculture, tattooing, crossbow hunting with poison arrows and ancient weaving techniques survive to this day. The practice of blood or head hunting was observed as recently as 1950 when the Co Tu started to interact more closely with more modern societies.

The Co Tu inhabit the mountainous regions of Central Vietnam West of Hoi An and Da Nang right up to and over the Lao border. They are now counted amongst the smallest of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups with a total population of just 60,000 people. They live in small villages comprising of mostly wood and rattan huts with a central common, Goul and Moong houses and practice subsistence agriculture and hunting methods.

The people themselves are generally small and extremely hardy due to their restricted diet and arduous lifestyles. They were seen as keen allies of North Vietnamese forces during the French and American wars and were universally respected for their knowledge of mountain survival techniques and their sheer tenacity in battle. A culture imbued with ancient hunting practices made them the ghosts of the forest.

Co Tu & Bho Hoong Facts

Traditional Co Tu tattoos are said to be markers for the soul and enable it to find its way back into the body of a sleeping person.”

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