As the only deputy from the ethnic Monpa group at the fourth session of the 12th National People’s Congress(NPC) meeting, Pema Chodron put forth a proposal this year to protect and inherit the Monpa language. She proposed a coordinated effort with education departments in ethnic minority regions, establishing special institutions at the county level to protect and develop ethnic minority languages, helping to establish minority language protection associations.
The Monpa ethnic group lives in Medog County of Nyingchi Prefecture located in the southeastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region, with a population of about 10,000. The Monpa people have their own language but no script. The opening of the Medog highway in 2013 made this ethnic group gradually more connected with the outside world. However, the number of people moving out of Medog County is also increasing to get a more comfortable living environment, which means the number of Menba in the next generation who will use their native language will decrease.
The education model that Pema Chodron designed unites with the culture departments to compile and distribute the ethnic language teaching materials, then coordinates with the education departments to incorporate the teaching materials into pre-school and primary school curriculums, and launchlanguage and dialogue curriculums.
Pema Chodron said that in recent years the state has emphasized cultural protection in ethnic minority regions. Medog County has collected Monpa folk customs and cultural relics, interviewed folk artisans, and formed folk art writing materials. Moreover, it has also established the Medog County Monpa intangible cultural heritage electronic Archive, and published relevant books.