Name: Tsewang Chodon
Interview Age: 75
Date of Birth: 1942
Birthplace: Gakorma, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 3U
Location: Lingtsang Tibetan Settlement, Manduwala, Uttarakhand, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, customs/traditions, death/burial customs, environment/wildlife, Kham, nomadic life
Tsewang Chodon was born in Gakorma, Lingtsang in Kham Province in 1942. Her father died of an illness when she was at the age of 4 and her maternal uncle helped care for her and her mother. Tsewang Chodon's family were nomads from the middle class, owning hundreds of yaks, dri 'female yaks,' sheep and horses. The family had four servants who cared for the animals. They did not grow any crops so the family traded milk and cheese with farmers for wheat and barley.
Tsewang Chodon rode horses as a young child strapped to the saddle until age 8 when she was able to ride alone. She describes the various kinds of saddles and how the children were given foals from their parents' horses to raise. She lived in a ba 'tent made from yak hair' and moved twice each year. She describes the tent's shape, size, religious alter and the flooring used to keep warm during the winter. She recalls the surrounding scenery, which was filled with beautiful flowers, rivers and mountains.
Tsewang Chodon names some of the flowers that abounded in the region, some of which were used as medicines by the lamas. The women protected their skin from the cold weather with homemade remedies made from butter, honey and sugar. Families in her region practiced the tradition of sky-burial, feeding the dead bodies to vultures.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Tenzin Choenyi (Videographer)