Hyolmo people

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The Hyolmo or Yolmo people (aka "Helambu Sherpa", "Yolmopa") are an indigenous group of people that natively reside in the Helambu and Melamchi Valleys of northeastern Nepal, situated over 43.4 kilometres (27 miles) and 44.1 kilometres (27.4 miles) to the north of Kathmandu respectively. The combined population of Hyolmos in these two regions is close to 10,000. They also have sizeable communities in Bhutan and some territories within India, primarily Darjeeling and Sikkim.

The Hyolmo people speak the Hyolmo language which has a high lexical similarity to Tibetan, although the two languages are not completely mutually intelligible. They are traditionally known to wear the chuba,[1] which shares its name and many stylistic cues with indigenous Tibetan attire. However, a large number of Hyolmos native to Nepal, notably from Tarkeghyang, Milimchim Gaon, and some other surrounding villages, prefer to wear the daura-suruwal, the former national garb of Nepal.

History

Hyolmo speakers [2] may have migrated from the Gyirong Valleys of southwestern Tibet between two to three centuries ago.[3] They settled in the valleys of Helambu once they arrived there, and gradually, intermarriages between the male Hyolmo lamas and the Tamang women local to the region became common.[2]

In the 1980s, an increasing number of Hyolmos began identifying themselves as the Helambu Sherpa, even using the appellation as a surname to align themselves with the more prominent Sherpa people of the Solukhumbu District.[4] Although this name is still used to refer to the Hyolmo people and their language in certain instances, including the ISO 639-3 language codes,[5] very few members of the Hyolmo community would be likely to identify themselves as a subsection of the Sherpas in the current date.[6]

Kagate

An ethnic group related to the Hyolmos are the Kagate (or Kagatay) who stem from the original Hyolmo inhabitants of the Helambu and Melamchi valleys. What distinguishes them is that the Kagate began migrating southeast from Helambu, and eventually, into the Ramechhap District over one hundred years ago,[7] and that they practiced the craft of paper-making during their peregrinations in order to make a living — thereby earning themselves the moniker "Kagate" (which is Nepali for "paper-maker"). They have since developed certain characteristics in their speech that are distinct from traditional Hyolmo. The Hyolmo speaking groups in the Lamjung District and Ilam District have also historically been called "Kagate" although both groups claim a clear distinction between themselves and the Kagate of Ramechhap.[7] Oftentimes, people will use "Hyolmo" and "Kagate" as terms for both the ethnic group and the dialect interchangeably.

Characteristics

The Hyolmos are among the 59 indigenous groups officially recognized by the Government of Nepal as having a distinct cultural identity.[8] They refer to themselves as the "Yolmopa" or "Hyolmopa".[8] Their primary religion is Tibetan Buddhism of the Nyingmapa school, intermixed with animism and paganism as incorporated within the general dimensions of Bon.[8]

Essentially, the Hyolmo people are agriculturalists. Potatoes, radishes, and some other crops constitute their primary sustenance, along with milk and flesh from the yak which Hyolmos are known to herd.[9]

The Hyolmo people are organised into several clans, all of which follow the patrilineal system of descent. "Bride Stealing" used to be a staple among their practices but it is no longer encouraged.[10]

The Helambu region has become a popular site for tourism and trekking in the last few decades, and some Hyolmos are now employed in the tourism industry, serving as guides either in their own respective villages or in various other parts of Nepal.

Distribution

Nepal

According to the Nepal National Census of 2011,[11] the population of the Hyolmo people living within Nepal is 10,752, who are distributed over 11 districts of the country, and 99% of this population speak the Hyolmo language. However, the number of monolingual Hyolmo speakers is very low and on a gradual decline, as the number of monolingual Nepali-speaking Hyolmos increases.[8] The largest Hyolmo settlements in Nepal (and also internationally) are in the Helambu and Melamchi Valleys which are home to over 10,000 Hyolmos. A separate group of about 700 reside in the Lamjung district while some have settled closer to Pokhara.[7] There are also a number of villages in the Ilam district where Hyolmo is spoken.

India

The Hyolmos are listed as a Scheduled Tribe in the states of West Bengal and Sikkim in India.[12]

Bhutan and Tibet

The Hyolmo language is also spoken by significant populations in Bhutan and the Gyirong County of southwestern Tibet.[8]

Etymology

The term "Yolmo" or "Hyolmo" consists of two separate words — Hyol, which means "a place or area surrounded by high mountains", and Mo, which means "goddess", indicating a place under the protection of a female deity.[8] For centuries, Tibetan Buddhists have referred to the Helambu region using the term "Hyolmo". In more recent times, most people, Hyolmos and otherwise, seem to prefer the name "Helambu" itself. It is also often claimed that the name "Helambu" is derived from the Hyolmo words for potatoes and radishes ("Hey"means potato and "lahbu"is radish).[13][14] This etymology is disputed and often considered spurious. Some refuters of this explanation argue that "Helambu" is an ambiguation of the word "Yolmo" phonetically contoured by Nepali speakers.[15]

There is an ongoing discussion amongst Hyolmo scholars regarding the spelling of 'Yolmo' in the Latin script. Some favour 'Yolmo' while others prefer 'Hyolmo' or 'Yholmo'. The presence of the letter 'h' in the spelling is to indicate that the first syllable of the word is spoken with a low, breathy tone. It is worth noting that Robert R. Desjarlais and Graham E. Clarke (works cited below) both use 'Yolmo', while the Nepal Aadivasi Janajati Mahasangh (Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities) use 'Hyolmo'.[16]

Language

The Hyolmo language has high lexical similarities to Sherpa and Tibetan. It has been transcribed in both the Tibetan and Devanagari scripts. The Hyolmo language is also very closely related to Kagate, another language of the Kyirong-Kagate language sub-group.

References

  1. John & Naomi Bishop (1997). Himalayan Herders (DVD). color.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Clarke, Graham E. (1980). "Lama and Tamang in Yolmo". Tibetan Studies in honor of Hugh Richardson: 79–86.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Clarke, Graham E. (1980). "A Helambu History". Journal of the Nepal Research Centre (4): 1–38.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Clarke, G. E. (1980). M. Aris and A. S. S. Kyi, ed. Tibetan Studies in honor of Hugh Richardson. Warminster: Aris and Phillips. p. 79.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lewis, M. Paul. "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition". Retrieved 17 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Desjarlais, Robert (2003). Sensory biographies : lives and deaths among Nepal's Hyolmo Buddhists. California: University of California Press. p. 12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gawne, Lauren (2013). "Report on the relationship between Hyolmo and Kagate" (PDF). Himalayan Linguistics. 12 (2): 1–27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "Hyolmo: Who is Yolmopa/Hyolmo?". Indigenous Voice. Retrieved 28 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Bishop, Naomi (1998). Himalayan Herders. Fort Worth; London: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. ISBN 9780534440602.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Sato, Seika (1997). "Crossing 'capture' out: On the marginality of the capture marriage tactics in Hyolmo, Nepal". 帝京社会学第.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Voice, Indigenous. "Indigenous Peoples -Hyolmo". www.indigenousvoice.com. Retrieved 2016-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. List of Notified Scheduled Tribes, Census of India
  13. Clarke, Graham E. (1980). "A Helambu History". Journal of the Nepal Research Centre. 4: 1–38.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Clarke, Graham E. (1980). M. Aris and A. S. S. Kyi, ed. Lama and Tamang in Yolmo. Warminster: Aris and Phillips. pp. 79–86.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Hari, Anne Marie (2010). Yolmo Grammar Sketch. Kathmandu: Ekta Books. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities". Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities. Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities. 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

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  • Bishop, Naomi H. (1993). "Circular migration and families: A Hyolmo Sherpa example." South Asia Bulletin 13(1 & 2): 59-66.
  • Bishop, Naomi H. (1997). Himalayan herders. Watertown, MA: Documentary Educational Resources. with John Melville Bishop (Writers).
  • Bishop, Naomi H. (1998). Himalayan herders. Fort Worth; London: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
  • Clarke, Graham E. (1980). The temple and kinship amongst a Buddhist people of the Himalaya. University of Oxford, Oxford.
  • Clarke, Graham E (1980). "A Helambu History". Journal of the Nepal Research Centre. 4: 1–38.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Clarke, Graham E. (1980). "Lama and Tamang in Yolmo." Tibetan Studies in honor of Hugh Richardson. M. Aris and A. S. S. Kyi (eds). Warminster, Aris and Phillips: 79-86.
  • Clarke, Graham E. (1983). "The great and little traditions in the study of Yolmo, Nepal." Contributions on Tibetan language, history and culture. E. Steinkellner and H. Tauscher (eds). Vienna, Arbeitskreis fuèr Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, University of Vienna: 21-37.
  • Clarke, Graham E (1985). "Hierarchy, status and social history in Nepal." Contexts and Levels: Anthropological essays on hierarchy". JASO Occasional Papers. 4 (1): 193–210.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Clarke, Graham E (1990). "Ideas of merit (Bsod-nams), virtue (Dge-ba), blessing (byin-rlabs) and material prosperity (rten-'brel) in Highland Nepal". Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford. 21 (2): 165–184.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Clarke, Graham E. (1991). "Nara (na-rang) in Yolmo: A social history of hell in Helambu." Festschrift fuer Geza Uray. M. T. Much (ed.). Vienna, Arbeitskreis fuer Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, University of Vienna: 41-62.
  • Clarke, Graham E (1995). "Blood and territory as idioms of national identity in Himalayan states". Kailash. 17 (3–4): 89–131.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Corrias, S. (2004). "Il rito sciamanico Sherpa (Helambu, Nepal)." in G.B. Sychenko et al. (eds) Music and ritual, pp. 228–239. Novosibirsk: NGK. [in Italian]
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Desjarlais, Robert (1989). "Sadness, soul loss and healing among the Yolmo Sherpa." Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies: 9(2): 1-4.
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Desjarlais, Robert (1992). Body and emotion : the aesthetics of illness and healing in the Nepal Himalayas. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Desjarlais, Robert (2003). Sensory biographies: lives and deaths among Nepal's Yolmo Buddhists. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (1997). "A "Hidden Land" in the Tibetan-Nepalese Borderlands." In Alexander W. Macdonald (ed.) Mandala and Landscape, pp. 335-364. New Dehli: D.K. Printworld.
  • Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (1997). "The lands are like a wiped golden basin": The Sixth Zhva-dmar-pa’s Journey to Nepal. In S. Karmay and P. Sagant (eds) Les habitants du Toit du monde, pp. 125–138. Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie.
  • Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (2004). "The Story of How bla-ma Karma Chos-bzang Came to Yol-mo": A Family Document from Nepal. In Shoun Hino and Toshihiro Wada (eds) Three Mountains and Seven Rivers, p. 581-600. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
  • Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (2007). "A Forgotten Incarnation Lineage: The Yol-mo-ba Sprul-skus (16th to 18th Centuries)". In Ramon Prats (ed.) The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in Honour of E. Gene Smith, p. 25-49. Dharamsala: Amnye Machen Institute.
  • Gawne, Lauren (2010). "Lamjung Yolmo: a dialect of Yolmo, also known as Helambu Sherpa". Nepalese Linguistics. 25: 34–41.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gawne, Lauren (2011). Lamjung Yolmo-Nepali-English dictionary. Melbourne, Custom Book Centre; The University of Melbourne.
  • Gawne, Lauren (2011). "Reported speech in Lamjung Yolmo". Nepalese Linguistics. 26: 25–35.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gawne, Lauren (2013). Lamjung Yolmo copulas in use: Evidentiality, reported speech and questions. PhD thesis, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
  • Gawne, Lauren (2013). "Notes on the relationship between Yolmo and Kagate". Himalayan Linguistics. 12 (2): 1–27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gawne, Lauren (2014). "Similar languages, different dictionaries: A discussion of the Lamjung Yolmo and Kagate dictionary projects." In G. Zuckermann, J. Miller & J. Morley (eds.), Endangered Words, Signs of Revival. Adelaide: AustraLex.
  • Gawne, Lauren (2014). "Evidentiality in Lamjung Yolmo". Journal of the South East Asian Linguistics Society. 7: 76–96.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gawne, Lauren (2015). Language documentation and division: Bridging the digital divide. Digital Studies.
  • Gawne, Lauren (forthcoming). A sketch grammar of Lamjung Yolmo. Canberra: Asia Pacific Linguistics.
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C (1975). "Preliminary notes on marriage and kinship among the Sherpas of Helambu". Contributions to Nepalese studies. 2 (1): 57–69.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. (1980). "Growing old in Helambu: Aging, migration and family structure among Sherpas." Contributions to Nepalese studies 8(1): 41-56. with Cynthia M. Beall.
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. (1983). "High altitude hypoxia, culture, and human fecundity/fertility: A comparative study." American Anthropologist 85(1): 28-49. with Paljor Tsarong & Cynthia M. Beall.
  • Grierson, George Abraham. (1909/1966). Linguistic survey of India (2d ed.). Delhi: M. Banarsidass. [for mention of Kagate only]
  • Hári, Anna Mária (2000). Good news, the New Testament in Helambu Sherpa. Kathmandu: Samdan Publishers.
  • Hári, Anna Mária (2004). Dictionary Yolhmo-Nepali-English. Kathmandu: Central Department of Linguistics, Tribhuvan University. with Chhegu Lama.
  • Hári, Anna Mária (2010). Yohlmo Sketch Grammar. Kathmandu: Ekta books.
  • Hedlin, Matthew (2011). An Investigation of the relationship between the Kyirong, Yòlmo, and Standard Spoken Tibetan speech varieties. Masters thesis, Payap University, Chiang Mai.
  • Mitchell, Jessica R. and Stephanie R. Eichentopf (2013). Sociolinguistic survey of Kagate: Language vitality and community desires. Kathmandu: Central Department of Linguistics Tribhuvan University, Nepal and SIL International.
  • Parkhomenko, N.A. and G.B. Sychenko (2004). "Shyab-ru: Round dance-Songs of the Sherpa-Yolmo of Nepal." in G.B. Sychenko et al. (eds) Music and ritual, pp. 269–285. Novosibirsk: NGK. [in Russian]
  • Pokharel, Binod (2005). "Adaptation and identity of Yolmo". Occasional Papers in Sociology and Anthropology. 9: 91–119.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sato, Seika (2006). "Discourse and practice of Janajt-building: Creative (dis)junctions with local communities among the people from Yolmo". Studies in Nepali History and Society. 11 (2): 355–388.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sato, Seika (2007). "I Don't Mind Being Born a Woman the status and agency of women in Yolmo Nepal."Social Dynamics in Northern South Asia, Vol. 1: Nepalis Inside and Outside Nepal. H. Ishii, D. N. Gellner & K. Nawa (eds). New Delhi: Manohar, 191-222
  • Sato, Seika (2007). "「私は行かないといった」ネパール・ヨルモ女性の結婚をめぐる語りにみる主体性 ['I said I wouldn’t go’: Exploring agency in the narratives of marriage by women from Yolmo, Nepal]" 東洋文化研究所紀要 152: 472-424(137-185). [In Japanese]
  • Sato, Seika (2007). "Crossing 'capture' out: On the marginality of the capture marriage tactics in Yolmo, Nepal". 帝京社会学第. 20: 71–100.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sato, Seika (2008). "'We women have to get married off': Obedience, accommodation, and resistance in the narrative of a Yolmo woman from Nepal". Studies in Nepali History and Society. 13 (2): 265–296.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sato, Seika (2009). "彼女との長い会話 あるネパール女性のライフ・ストーリー (pt. 1)[A long conversation with Ngima: the life story of a woman from Yolmo, Nepal (pt. 1)]." 帝京社会学第 22: 69-104. [In Japanese]
  • Sato, Seika (2010). "彼女との長い会話 あるネパール女性のライフ・ストーリー" (pt. 2)[A long conversation with Ngima: the life story of a woman from Yolmo, Nepal (pt. 2)]. 帝京社会学第 23: 171-240. [In Japanese]
  • Sychenko, G.B. (2009). "In the place, where angels live (Musical ethnographic expedition in Nepal, 2007, part 1)." in Siberian ethnological expedition: Comparative research of the process of transformation of intonational cultures of Siberia and Nepal, pp. 104–125. Novosibirsk: NGK. [in Russian]
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  • Torri, Davide (2008). "Il sacro diffuso. Religione e pratica sciamanica presso l'etnia himalayana degli Yolmo." Scritture di Storia 5: 7-32. [in Italian]
  • Torri, Davide (2011). "Shamanic Traditions and Music among the Yolmos of Nepal." Musikè International Journal of Ethnomusicological Studies 5, III(1): 81-93.
  • Torri, Davide (2013). "Between a rock and a hard place: Himalayanencounters with human and other-than-human opponents." Shamanism and violence: Power, repression and suffering in indigenous religious conflict. D. Riboli & D. Torri (eds.). Abingdon: Ashgate.
  • Torri, Davide (forthcoming). Il Lama e il Bombo. Sciamanismo e Buddhismo tra gli Hyolmo del Nepal. Rome: Sapienza. [In Italian]
  • Zolotukhina, A.V. (2011). "Rural ritual and secular traditions in the urban context: Music of Hyolmo (Kathmandu, Nepal)." in Musical urban culture as an artistic and social problem: Proceedings of the Scientific Conference (April, 2011), pp. 67–74. Novosibirsk: NGK. With G.B. Sychenko. [in Russian]
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