Southwest China Institute of Yelang Culture was founded in August 2004 according to the approval by Guizhou Province Staffing Commission (107). It consists of 3 research components in charge of ancient ethnic documents, the development of ethnic cultures (once known as “Institute of Documents and Information”) and Yi people’s studies (once known as “Institute of Development and Use”) respectively, and 1 office. The institute has opened 4 branches in Xinhuang County of Hunan Province and Changshun County, Hezhang County and Shiqian County of Guizhou Province, and has set up practice bases for research there. It has a full-time staff of 5 people at present, including 2 full professors, 2 associate professors and 1 lecturer. It has a part-time staff of 8 researchers on campus and 12 researchers off campus.
The institute aims at advocating excellent ethnic cultures and promoting social harmony; it serves Guizhou and targets at Southwest China and other areas in China. The research mainly focuses on three aspects.
(1) Research on Yelang culture. The institute organizes relevant powers for studying ancient Yelang history and culture, promoting the Yelang cultural brand, integrating local manpower and resources for better achievements, opening branches of research at the county or city level, setting up practice bases for research on Yelang culture if conditions permit, and leading local agencies in participating in research on the Yelang culture brand and its development and use.
(2) Research on and development of Yi science. The institute attempts to develop the academic discipline of Yi science with great efforts, realize the objectives of setting up MA and Ph. D programs in Yi science, compile ancient Yi classics, Yi people’s history and culture, and textbooks of Yi science, and make full preparations for the Yi science discipline based on the advantages of relevant experts on campus (including 8 full professors, 8 associate professors, 4 doctorate degree holders and 6 master’s degree recipients). (In 2011 Ministry of Education designed Yi science as a master program under ethnology, and specified the disciplinary code for Yi science in MA and Ph. D programs—0304Z2.)
(3) Development of ethnic cultures and social services. The institute bases its research on ethnic cultures, integrates the university’s forces, particularly its powers in ethnic culture research, explores new means of ethnic culture research in combination with Guizhou Province’s “Five 100” Project, and strives to materialize its research achievements for the benefits of ethnic cultural prosperity and development.
The main research achievements of the institute include four types—monographs, papers, projects and awards. There are nearly 60 monographs involving ancient Yi classics, folk literature, ethnic language, and ethnic textbooks, for instance, over 10 ancient ethnic classics—“Translated Ancient Yi Classic of Beile Dazong”, “Nuosumiguze” (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), “Secret Manuscripts of Yelang History in Yi and Chinese Languages”, “Selection of Ancient Yi Essays”, “Selection of Yi Poetry”, and “Tale of Yelang”, over 20 folk literature products—“Wedding of Louwolu Valley”, “Selection of Essays of China’s Minority People”, “Records of Deluge”, “Ancient Songs of Yi People”, “Red and White Azalea”, “Revenge of Dasimei”, and “Epics of Yi People”, 3 ethnic language achievements—“Yi Language—Panxian County’s Sub-dialect”, “Concise Yi and Chinese Dictionary”, and “Dictionary of Standardized Yi Characters” (Guizhou Volume), and over 30 ethnic textbooks including mainly “Chinese-Yi Textbooks” (Books 1-4), “Selection of Yi People’s Legends and Epics” for the 12th“Five-Year Period”, “When I Grow Up”, “Little Bear and Big World”, “Tails of Stars”, and “Little Penguins Learn to Swim”.
The researchers have published more than 40 papers, such as “Historic Value of ‘Nengsuhengshuo’—An Ancient Yi Classic”, “On the Cultural Origins of Ancient Yelang Kingdom”, “On the Costume Culture and Entertainment Wear of Ancient and Present Yi People”, “On the Metaphysic Features of Bumo and Su’e Cultures of Southwest China’s Yi People”, “On the Legal History of Ancient Yelang Kingdom”, “Inheritance and Protection Models of Traditional Yi Culture: A Case Study of the Yi Village of Axilixi in Northwest Guizhou”, and “On the Cultural Images of Luhong Ali’s Poetry”.
The institute has hosted over 40 research projects, including nearly 10 nation-level projects—“Guizhou’s Yi People’s Legends: Classification and Research”, and “Guizhou’s Yi People’s Funeral Culture: Classification and Research”, “Volume 19 of ‘Chinese Bank of Characters’” (key research projects for journalism and publication in the 11thFive-Year Period), “Translated Version of Ancient Yelang Culture History in Yi Language”, “Literary Theories of China’s Minority People’s Literatures: Compilation and Research”, and “The Yi People’s Manuscripts on the Verge of Extinction: Classification and Research” (12JZD010), as well as over 10 province-level projects—“Rituals of Yi People’s ‘Sending Demon Bridegroom’ and Love Poetry: Surveys and Research”, “On the ‘Headdress’ of Guizhou’s Yi People”, “Development of Standardized Yi Terms in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi: Surveys and Research”, “Yi Language Coordination of Four Provinces and China’s ‘Three Aspects’ of Yi Language”, “Concise Textbook of Daily Phrases for Guizhou’s Minority People”, and “Standardization of China’s Yi Terms: Guizhou Volume”.
The researchers have won 9 awards. The translated version of “History of Yelang” won the 3rdPrize of Guizhou Province Government; the paper “On the Ancient Traces of Red Rocks in Guizhou” won the 3rdPrize of Guizhou Province Government; the translated monograph “Red and White Azalea” won the 3rdPrize of Guizhou Province Government; the translated collection “Ancient Yi People’s Literary and Artistic Theories” won the 2ndPrize of Ministry of Education; the paper “Development and Use of Yi People’s Science Classics” won the prize of remarkable research achievement granted by Guizhou Province Ethnic Research Association; the translated monograph “Selected Translation of Ancient Yi Essays” won the 2ndPrize of Guizhou Province Government; the paper “Further Promotion of Development in Bilingual Yi-Chinese Textbooks of Guizhou Province” won the 1stPrize of Guizhou Province Minority Languages Association; the paper “On the Inheritance and Protection Models of Traditional Yi Culture: A Case Study of the Yi Village of Axilixi in Northwest Guizhou” won the 3rdPrize of the 8thPhilosophy and Social Sciences Awards in Bijie in 2014.