Scroll to the bottom to see some photos of the proposed land.
TAI VILLAGE (Des Moines, Iowa)
recognition of their immigration and successful resettlement in the United States, the Tai Dam believe in the idea of creating
something special such as an image of a Tai Dam Village and lifestyle that they would contribute to the American society as
a token of their appreciation.
as newer generations of the Tai Dam people have grown up and integrated into the new society, more than ever the Tai Dam people
should preserve and promote their beautiful culture for the benefit of their younger generations and American friends.
2001, a non-profit organization named Tai Village Inc. was formed to pursue their everlasting dream of having a place
for a Tai Dam
Village. After two long
years of inquiring about a piece of land north of Des Moines, Tai Village Inc. purchased that land in October, 2003.
The 100-acre parcel of land is located north of M. L. King Jr. Parkway in Des
Moines. It was formerly
a brick yard, and most of the property is considered a wasteland because of its trees, rifts, hills, old brick kilns, Indian
burial mounds, a giant pond, the Des Moines River, etc… However, those trees, hills and waters will be "ideal"
for a Tai Dam
Village created by the Tai Dam people who formerly lived in a mountainous
the Tai Village dream as an ideal and attractive project, the landowners decided to donate the rest of the land, about 30 acres of
good flat land, to Tai Village Inc. As an expression of our eternal appreciation,
a replica of a brick kiln will be erected as a memorial monument for the brick factory.
a Tai Dam village and its culture, many projects have been put forth as a concept plan. Some projects may need sizeable
funds and others will need only volunteerism and labor. Some can be realized
in the near future, and others may be shelved indefinitely. The accomplishment of each project will be totally dependent
on funds and the efforts of the Tai Dam community and supporting friends. They consider the following dreams to be not
just their dream:
1) Village Entrance: In their ancient times, each village or city would have a solid entrance gate that could be opened to welcome
visitors, or closed to keep out intruders. Such a gate at this village would
have cultural significance as well as practical value. The gate will be built
right North of M.L. King Pkwy.
boundary borders will be fenced or blocked by chain-links or hedges of shrubs and trees.
An Activity Building: It will be a 15,000 square feet building, suitable for Tai Dam cultural and social events
on weekends (New Year celebrations, weddings, traditional parties, etc.).
weekdays, Tai Dam organizations and offices will have access to this building for their business and activities, such as a
museum, a gift shop, a library, and classes in Tai Dam literature, dancing, cooking, etc.
3) Sacred Forest: The tree line above the pond, where the Indian burial
mounds are located, will be cleaned up and preserved as their "Dong Kam" or "Sacred Forest". According to their traditions, each village or city
should have a sacred forest where their founding ancestors' shrine is located. Everybody should respect the forest and avoid
Residential Houses: To represent the Tai Dam culture, a dozen of Tai Dam families, may want to build residential
houses and reside in Southern part of the property. Their houses may be built in modern styles, but the gates or the
surrounding porches should be in Tai Dam typical characters. These residents will also be needed for overseeing and
taking care of the Village and its facilities.
Other Tai Dam Showcases: Ancient tea houses and Tai Dam water mills around the pond, a rice paddy with real water-buffalo,
traditional gardens with Asian vegetables and flowers, flocks of Asian livestock roaming here and there, Asian palm trees,
ponds of water lilies, and other Tai Dam features will add accents of an Asian village to the Village. Visitors and tourists will be welcomed and can enjoy the exhibitions and a leisurely walk through the Village
when it is completed as dreamed.
The Tai Dam people in Iowa are now considered the
focal group of Tai Dam people from all over the world. The Des Moines area should be expected
to benefit from the availability of the Tai Village and these cultural and educational programs. People from all over the United States will come to Des Moines to study, research, and participate in the Tai Dam cultural activities. It should
be a rewarding investment for the community of Des
Moines to support the development of the
1. Sai Ounlokham, SOTAF, 515-491-6340
2. Thomas (Theum) Baccam, Kadsan Thaidam Society, 515-471-2360
3. Siang Bacthi, Tai Studies Center, 515-274-6123
4. Bao Lo Cam, Tai-Vietnamese Society, 515-246-9805
5. Chris Lo, Tai United Foundation, 515-440-1808