Who We Are
The Tai Studies Center (TSC) was founded in January of 1984 by a group of Tai Dam refugees and some of our American friends. Our elders recognized that because our numbers are small, we must work hard to preserve our culture. No one would do this for us.
The purpose of the TSC is to research and publish Tai history and literature, to preserve and promote Tai culture, to support students in higher education, to promote the common welfare and well being of Tai people, and to promote intercultural understanding and cooperation in the community at large.
Rice Harvesting at TSC – October 2014
Here are some pictures of our rice harvesting and banana plants, including the “Golden Rice Grains” from Mt. Pleasant, IA, and the “Tall Banana Trees” from Johnston, IA.
As stated in the Tai Village Inc. PUD and brochure, the TVI founders planned in 2003 to create a replica of a Tai Dam village on the land they purchased for the Tai community as well as for Iowa and America. That village would include tropical trees, flowers, gardens, and especially a rice paddy.
For the last few years, we at Tai Studies Center have tried to plant rice, banana trees, and other Asian plants, but without much success. Finally and fortunately for this year, with various ways of experimenting, bringing the 3-month kind of rice seeds from Laos, and with some help from our former rice growers, our rice plants grew tall and produced “real” rice grains. With decisive efforts & future help from agronomic experts, this new crop may be added to the Iowa products.
Our history is recorded in the memories of our senior citizens living in various parts of the world, but our young people growing up in America need a written record if they are to study their roots. The TSC gathers written and oral versions of Tai Dam history for publication in the Tai Dam language and later translation into English.
By this means, we are able to transmit our culture and history to future generations of Tai Dam, to create worldwide awareness of our people, and to provide resources for further research.
In addition to cultural and historical projects, the TSC is supporting Tai Dam students for higher education, and engaged in economic and humanitarian projects directed towards the Tai people living in Northwest Vietnam.