Wa Chinese / Native American Cultural Exchange Project
Organized by Jin Fei Bao of Kunming, China and Gregg Millett of Schenectady, New York

Immediate Goal from the USA side: to find two Native American performers of Native American music and dance who would like to visit and perform in the southwest province of Yunnan, China.

Immediate Goal from the China side: to find two Wa Chinese performers of Wa music and dance who would like to visit and perform in the northeast United States (dates to be determined). This will involve visits to Boston, New York City, and the Capital Region of New York as well as visits to Native American communities.

Long-Range Goals: An ongoing multi-layered cultural exchange between the Wa People of China and Native American Nations.

Background of the Wa People: The Wa people are one of the 55 ethnic minorities of China. They number about 360 thousand and live mainly in the west of Yunnan Province in southwestern China. Wa clothing is generally black and red and has cultural and historical significance. The men and women keep their hair long which is celebrated in their traditional "hair-swinging dance." The Wa people are fond of singing and dancing. The drum has great cultural significance and every village has a drum house. Every village also has a totem of an ox skull and horns placed prominently in the village square. The Wa people believe that everything in the world has a spirit and they have traditions which help them connect with these spirits.
Click here to view photographs of some of China's ethnic minorities, including the Wa People.

Background of Jin Fei Bao: In May 2006 Jin Fei Bao and his brother successfully climbed Mt. Everest. Two months before this climb he was selected as one of the top ten business strategists in China and was so honored at Beijing University. For twenty years Jin has been treking into the backcountry of Yunnan learning about the many ethnic minorities that inhabit these remote regions. He founded school and community projects in many of the villages he visited. He has long nurtured the idea that the Wa People have a particular spiritual/cultural connection with Native Americans. This cultural exchange project is intended to explore these possible connections and to foster a special US/China friendship link. Jin Fei Bao runs the Yunnan Adventure Travel Service and has been appointed as an organizer of the Xi Shan District 50-year celebration.
You can contact Jin at manager@toptrip.cc.

Background of Gregg Millett: Gregg made his connection with China and Jin Fei Bao through the colored photographs that his father, Dr. Clinton Millett, took in China while a doctor in the U.S. Army in World War II. These photographs were returned to China in May 2004 and have been seen throughout China through exhibitions, books and television documentaries. In November 2005 curators at the National Museum of China declared that Dr. Millett's photographs were the oldest known color photographs of China. Subsequently, Dr. Millett's four children gave the original Kodachrome slides to the National Museum of China. Since the first China exhbition, Gregg has been supporting Jin Fei Bao in his various cultural exchange and friendship building projects.
You can contact Gregg at gmillett@nycap.rr.com.

Please send an e-mail if you have interests or contacts related to this Wa Chinese / Native American cultural exchange project.