Our oral history team conducted 304 interviews in North America and 17 Tibetan refugee settlements in Nepal and India. The participants ranged in age from 58 to 95 (with a few younger exceptions) and originated from the three regions of Tibet: Amdo (Dhomay), Kham (Dhotoe) and Utsang.
It was not possible to record oral histories in Tibet without endangering the elders or the interview team because of Chinese government restrictions. Consequently, interviewees were sought out in large Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal as well as refugees living in the United States.
California, United States 2006
Founder, Marcella Adamski, gained experience in videotaping, using interpreters, and testing interview questions by initially interviewing three Tibetan elders living in California during June of 2006. These first three oral histories were so compelling, rich in detail, and historically informative that the TOHP team knew the project could make a significant contribution by videotaping a greater number of elderly Tibetans.
Bylakuppe, India 2007
The largest Tibetan settlements in India located in Bylakuppe in the state of Karnataka were selected for the first large set of interviews. A group of interviewers, videographers, and interpreters residing in the U.S. and India was assembled to conduct the interviews. Three teams completed 64 oral histories in Lugsung Samdupling and Dickey Larsoe Tibetan Settlements over a two-week period from June 25 to July 7, 2007.
Mundgod, India 2010
In 2010, TOHP completed the next series of interviews in another large Tibetan settlement – the Doeguling Settlement in Mundgod, Karnataka, India. Two teams completed 53 oral histories over a two-week period from April 4 to April 14, 2010.
Dharamsala/Bir/Tashi Jong, India 2012
In 2012 TOHP coordinated new interviews in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India, home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Two teams consisting of an interviewer, videographer, and interpreter were assembled to conduct these interviews. In addition to interviews in the Mcleod Ganj region of Dharamsala, the teams also conducted a limited number of interviews in the small Tibetan settlements of Bir and Tashi Jong. TOHP completed 49 oral histories over a two-week period from May 14 to May 24, 2012.
United States/Canada 2012-2016
From 2012 to 2016 an additional 32 interviews were videotaped in private homes, Buddhist centers, and Tibetan community centers in California, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico, United States and British Columbia, Canada.
Bylakuppe/Hunsur, India 2013-14
In late 2013 TOHP returned to Bylakuppe, India. Another series of interviews were videotaped in Lugsung Samdupling Tibetan Settlement, Bylakuppe and Rabgayling Tibetan Settlement, Hunsur, in Karnataka, India. One team completed 25 oral histories over a two-week period from December 23, 2013 to January 6, 2014. The focus of this endeavor was to interview revered teachers, lamas and rinpoches, who were attending the teachings given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. To this end, 18 of the 25 interviewees were individuals with a religious or monastic background.
Kathmandu/Pokhara/Tanahun, Nepal 2015
In 2015 a team of interviewers, videographers and interpreters from the U.S., India and Nepal conducted a series of interviews in Nepal. This team was able to complete 52 oral histories over a two-week period from April 6 to April 21, 2015. The interviews were conducted in Jampaling (Tanahun), Paljorling, Tashi Palkhiel, and Tashiling (Pokhara), and Tibetan communities in Kathmandu.
Dehradun/Puruwala, India 2017
In 2017 one team from the U.S., India and Nepal videotaped 25 interviews in the Dehradun region of India. This team worked from March 30 to April 7, 2017 and travelled to Tibetan settlements in Clement Town, Manduwala, Rajpur, and Sahastradhara (Uttarakhand) and Puruwala (Himachal Pradesh), India. This mission focused on members of the Tibetan exile community who had been previously under-represented in this oral history collection: women, people from Amdo, and Sakya practitioners. To fulfill this goal TOHP recorded the oral histories of 16 women and four men from Amdo.
Videos and Transcripts
Interview Videos and Transcripts
TOHP’s team translated and published all 304 interviews videotaped between 2006-2017. These oral histories were delivered to the U.S. Library of Congress (Washington, D.C., United States), Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala, India), and Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Dharamsala, India). They were also distributed to over 40 Tibetan communities, universities and libraries worldwide.
A 6-minute film, Tibet Oral History Project: Tibet Remembered, was produced to provide a glimpse into the history and memories of the last generation to have lived in a free Tibet. A 30-minute film, With My Own Eyes: Eyewitness Accounts of Tibet's Elders, was produced to highlight the elders' stories. A follow-up video with additional elders’ stories was released in 2013. A series of 61 short excerpts from the interviews were created with English subtitles to share various cultural and historical aspects of life in Tibet during the early to mid-1900s. All of these videos are available on the project’s YouTube channel.