The different development paths of indigenous culture/ native culture in the drainage basins of the Red River, Ma River, Ca River, etc converged into the formation of Dong Son Culture. This was the period that the first state in Vietnam was born under the form of a community, primitive tribes developed into a nation therefrom.

I'm writing about Vietnamese culture. I want to convey the meaning the culture of local inhabitants in those areas. But I get confused between the indigenous and native culture as they're a bit similar. Plus, I used the term indigenous culture once and was pointed out that it might cause misleading information. In particular, people might understand it as the culture of people before the colonization by other countries I'm not sure what to use. Please help

  • 1
    It might be safer to write local culture(s) if that conveys the meaning you want.
    – mdewey
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 12:55
  • Indigenous typically refers to the original inhabitants. Native is often used with the same meaning, but is sometimes used e.g. for someone who was born in an area but whose parents moved there. There are some populations who prefer one or other name (although it sounds like the population you are discussing is long gone), and there are some contexts where the words are more or less common (e.g. "native New Yorker" just means someone from New York City). It probably doesn't make much difference but it's hard to tell from the limited information you provide.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 13:40

2 Answers 2


The Dongson were late bronze/early iron age metallurgists, and their cities and villages were located in the deltas of the Hong, Ma and Ca rivers of northern Vietnam: as of 2010, more than 70 sites had been discovered in a variety of environmental contexts.* Article on the Dongson

Indigenous is the most inclusive term, as there are Indigenous peoples on every continent throughout the world – such as the Sami in Sweden, the First Nations in Canada, Mayas in Mexico and Guatemala, and the Ainu in Japan – fighting to remain culturally intact on their land bases. indigenous peoples_from UCLA-Equity


The different development paths of the indigenous culture in the deltas of the Red River, Ma River and Ca River were the foundation of the Dongson Culture.

Note: drainage basis sounds hydrological, not really geographic.


If the culture was made up of entirely, or almost entirely, of people whose ancestors had lived in the area for centuries, 'indigenous' is correct.

If the population was a mix of such people and migrants and/or conquerors, (even if they were, nonetheless settled), then 'native' would be a better option.


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