Following the success of “I believe I can 2015”, the event series “I believe I can 2016: Indigenous knowledge – Spring of life” drew mass attention on 11th and 13th of December. The objectives this year is to honor cultural diversity, indigenous knowledge and to promote the understanding, respect as well as equality among ethnic groups. Especially, ethnic minority representatives from 15 different groups are key members of committee of organizing.

The event opening at the Ho Guom Information & Culture Center attracted great attention of the audience in and outside the country. The lively performances expressed culture, beliefs, traditions and daily life of all ethnic minority groups. They created such a special atmosphere that the number of audiences kept rising despite hash weather.

The “Xi-dam” dance of Khmer people in Soc Trang
The “Xi-dam” dance of Khmer people in Soc Trang

Each performance is a message of all performers about indigenous knowledge, about the long-term values that need to be reserved through generations. Thereby they sent their voice about diverse cultures, equality, understanding and solidarity to the audiences.

Pa Then girls’ smiles when performing their traditional dance
Pa Then girls’ smiles when performing their traditional dance


Everyone – audience and performers - holding hands in the last dance
Everyone – audience and performers - holding hands in the last dance


The main event took place on June 13 at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music. Similar performances were presented but there were more stories and surprises shared so that the audience had the opportunity to enjoy special cultural arts extravaganza and get a deeper understanding about "indigenous knowledge" and the message "There is no better or worse culture, it is all about the diversity harmony".

Sixteen musical performances were performed by artists from eleven ethnic groups across the country. They brought to the audience the color and feel of the cultural diversity in people lives and honored intellectual values of ethnic minorities’ indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge is the knowledge accumulated over time and is the basis for the decision of the community. This knowledge has been carefully refined over many generations which mean it is highly realistic and is a very valuable source of information for ethnic minorities. Such information can help them to use available resources wisely, to reduce the dependence on external supplies.

The daily life of many ethnic groups were recreated on stage through the songs and dance such as “Fragrance of Thai villages” dance, “Dance for the new crops” of Pa Then people. The program also brings the retelling of several important religious rituals like “Xên Khoăn ceremony” of Thai ethnic, M’Nông Ethnic’s “Celebrating a new growing season” dance. 

(“Fragrance of Thai villages” – Dance – Thai Ethnic, Thanh Hoa
(“Fragrance of Thai villages” – Dance – Thai Ethnic, Thanh Hoa

All those dance and performance showed us how ethnic people farm, harvest, protect and live in harmony with the forest and environment. It’s the evidence that indigenous knowledge is no less important than modern technology. 

“Bells dancing” – Dao Ethnic, Yen Bai
“Bells dancing” – Dao Ethnic, Yen Bai

Ban Thi Ban and Thua An An, two Dao brothers coming from Yen Bai province, is very proud of their culture: "We want to promote Dao traditional culture and customs to both domestic and international friends. We usually perform traditions of Dao people in events or festivals, teach local children about the local customs so that they can get in touch with their roots naturally."

Ethnic representatives sharing about their ways of lives and knowledge
Ethnic representatives sharing about their ways of lives and knowledge

Different groups in the harmony of one song
Different groups in the harmony of one song

Harmony of diversity dance – All ethnic communities
Harmony of diversity dance – All ethnic communities

With the purpose to show appreciation and pride in their community, ordinary people - the owner of diverse cultures have proven that local knowledge is an invaluable asset of both ethnic minority and society as a whole. It’s the spring of life that helps people cope better with the challenges of natural context. They have also demonstrated that there is no good or bad but only diversity and differences in cultures and they are all equal with unique value. Together, these differences have created the beauty of Vietnamese culture.