In November 1975, under the leadership of former Governor Robert D. Ray, the people of Iowa opened their state, their
cities and their hearts to a group of refugees from SE Asia known as the Taidam.
The Taidam belong to the Tai group
who lived in Laos, Thailand, Burma, North Vietnam, and the valley of the Himalayan Mountains and Southern China.
1250 BC many of the Tai people had to move south of what is today the Chinese border because the Mongols under Kubilai Khan
invaded and destroyed their kingdom known as Nan Chao. The Tai divided themselves into groups. One group went to Laos. Another
group followed the Menam River to Thailand. And the Taidam followed the Black River to North Vietnam and built their town
The Taidam lived peacefully with their neighbors, the Vietnamese and the Laotians. But in the 1900's the
French colonized Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. In the early 1950's, the French started to lose their colonies. In North Vietnam
under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the French were defeated at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu (a major Taidam city called
Muong Theng or the city of the God). Many Taidam who had been French soldiers, government employees, and top government officials,
along with their families, started to move out of their homeland and became political refugees in 1954.
families moved to Laos because of the similarities in language and culture. Others move to South Vietnam.
In the meantime
the Americans replaced the French after their pull out from Indochina. America wanted to stop communism from spreading South.
America sent troops and war materials to South Vietnam. However, in 1973 America signed a peace treaty with the communist
government of Ho Chi Minh in Paris. America decided to pull out of Vietnam.
Once again, for the Taidam, after building
their homes, businesses and their life in Laos for 20 years, they sought refuge in the Refugee camps in Thailand and then
resettlement in Iowa, in the United States of America.
Today 90 percent of the Taidam that came to the United State
live and work in Iowa. Iowa is called the free democracy capital of the Taidam in the world.
Taidam believe in benevolent and malevolent spirits. They believe that there are supernatural forces that decide their lives
and destiny. The creator of heaven and earth is the "Then Luong." On earth the "Phi" who are the henchman of the "Then" control
every affair of man's deeds.
Taidam hold man to be a part of nature. Man is superior over nature, but man is happiest
when is at one with nature. He does not try to rise above it, and he accepts what life holds for him. However, Taidam are
very tolerant of other's beliefs.
The influence of Confucianism can also be felt in the Taidam society. The Taidam
believe in a strong sense of cultural-historical continuity and stability. The perfect individual is to improve himself, his
family and to make his country prosperous and the word peaceful.
Collective active strategies of resource pooling
and general support networks based on tightly knit extended family organizations are well developed in the Taidam society.
In Iowa, most Taidam are somewhat related to each other. Child rearing is generally more conservative, stricter and
less permissive than America. The parents, brothers, sisters, other members of the family and elders have the responsibility
to help raise a child. The younger people show respect to parents, grandparents, and deceased ancestors; disrespect is not
tolerated. For the Taidam, the aged are society's most respected people.
The Taidam are peace-loving people. They
enjoy jokes and humor. They are friendly and easy to be friends with. They have a reputation of honesty, loyalty and industriousness.
Their hospitality to their guest is "unlimited." Their house is your house if you visit them. They love to eat and to discuss
community affairs and responsibilities.
Famous Taidam song(Taidam Lum Pun)
Taidam song by Dara Rasavanh.(YouTube)
Tai Deow Hak Kun.
Ngum Hod Meuang Tai.
Kup Tai(Tai traditional song and music)
Christian and Southeast Asian (Dinh Vanlo)
Iowa Roots- Houng Baccam
Iowa Roots- Somphong Baccam
Tribute to Anh Eung Lo Van
More on Tai Dam alphabet
Download Tai fonts.
Learn how to Read and Write in Tai: