Co Tu ethnic group
Update11/9/2018 10:54:34 AM
Co Tu ethnic group mainly lived in the West of Phu Loc district and North West of A Luoi district. They are also known as Kha tu, Ka tu, K’ tu, etc. Co Tu (people living near river upstream) is the officially-recognized name.

Like the majority of people living in Truong Son range - Tay Nguyen highland, the Co Tu applies normandic farming; mainly raises (buffalo, pig, goat, chicken, etc.) freely apart from a few families having farm. Of all, hunting, collecting and traditional craft (knitting, pottery, textile, etc) still play an important role in their daily life.

Co Tu villages (vel) are not only a residential but also a self-managing unit in traditional society. Head of the village is appointed by village patriarch council and called as ta ko vel. In addition to village headman, military commander (tako tak cop) is in charge of practising, commanding and organizing "headhunting" practice. Despite rich-poor gap, there is no class division in Co Tu society. Each village has a separated area to live, grow, breed, hunt and collect forestry products. Villages are located in pretty high and flat terrain near water source. Houses are arranged in oval or circular shape as defensive village. Each village has a yard in which stands a pillar in the middle for buffalo sacrifice ceremony, a common house - Guol (stilt house) which is constructed in respectful position and decorated with various wooden plants, etc. It is in Guol house that headman receives important guests, holds meetings and stores precious treasures. Although some villages no longer follow traditional house model, traditional house-related rules are still widely applied. The Co Tu live in round roof stilt houses which are designed pretty short and small. At the middle of the house stands a main pillar.  

Similar to Vietnamese parentage, the Co Tu have capu or to. People in the same capu share the same identification signs and a certain legend or taboo. Ta ko capu (chief of cabu) is in charge of settling conflicts arose in capu or between capu and the village. 

Co Tu men usually wear a loin cloth while women wear short dress. Both male and women have hair bun pinned by pig tooth, hedgehog fur or sharp bamboo sticks. In some areas, the Co Tu have their forehead hair cut short and tattoo drawn on their body or face. In some other areas, youth have teeth sawing practice and buffalo sacrifice ceremony organized when they grows up. Co Tu women love jewely such as bracelet, earings, and necklace, etc.

Regards to marriage, Co Tu follow one wife-one husband marriage. However, primitive marriage still exists. Patriarchy remains pretty strong among Co Tu people. It is male that enjoys house owner status, has power and inherit prosperity.

"All things have their own souls" belief and taboos still strictly applied in daily life and manufacture. The Co Tu have Totemism-related rituals. Besides, Co Tu still worship destiny, healing magic and festivals. Buffalo sacrifice ceremony derived from ancient crop praying ceremony. This ceremony is organized in family, parentage and community. In addition, the Co Tu have a unique folk art treasure including songs, dances, poems, stories passed down from generation to generation; traditional sculpture and decoration art shown through meticulous paintings and carvings in Guol houses, naked statues hung in village gate or human emotion statues around tombs, etc.
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