TEACH TO TEACH PROJECT FOR HILL TRIBES CHILDREN IN NORTHERN THAILAND 1. Situational analysis 1.1 - Historical background 1.11 How did hill tribe people come about? There remain legends and reports that give varying historical antecedents to the migration and origin of the hill tribe people in Thailand…
As part of the legend leading up to where the hill tribe people came from, it has been said that their migration into Thailand can be traced as far back as 2000 years ago from ancient China (Poovatanikul, 1993). Specifically, reference is commonly made to the interior of Southern China as being the origin of the hill tribe people. The fact that they did not move together or at the same time makes it difficult for anyone to be very certain about a specific origin. The gradual and slow migration was however necessitated for the need for new land to be acquired to make their farming needs sustained. 1.12 Location of these hill tribe villages? The need for the hill tribe people to settle in Thailand was provoked by the need for new farmlands because through a system of farming that involved the burning of farm lands, the people had exhausted their farms back in China (Pan & Chen, 2011). The mission for migration influenced where the people would settle or stay, and thus their present location greatly. When they found their way to Thailand therefore, the place of settlement for these people became the remote highland areas of Thailand (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, 2009). In Thailand, the hill tribe people are generally a minority ethnic group and so they did not need very vast piece of land. All these needed was a place to support their farming effectively. Their location therefore comprises occupancy from highland areas with good rainforest and generally moist to wet climate. Presently, there are calculated to be 3,527 hill tribe villages covering a total of 20 provinces in Thailand (Altbach, 1999). Out of the number, an estimated 751,886 persons exist in some 113,070 households. Of the total, 46.18% are known to be of the Karen tribe as this tribe forms the largest population. 1.13 Issues on national identity Issues of the nationality of the hill tribe people have been a major issue of contention in international and local politics. This is because the hill tribe people have been generally regarded as sidelined and placed in a disadvantaged corner of national development due to a misplaced sense of identity for the hill tribe people. Specific cases of misplaced sense of national identity have been argued with reference to the widespread of lack of infrastructure and limited access to Thai citizenship (FAO, 2002). There is also the problem of delayed land settlement all attributed to the reasons of frequent migration and indigenous traditional practices. In some literature, the hill tribe people have been accused of being the cause of their own identity predicament because the people themselves lack a sense of national identity. It is not surprising that due to this firm sense of lack of national identity, the Thai government has always been reluctant in giving Thai identity to new immigrants from hill tribes. In all of this, what most commentators think is that the most disturbing situation with the Hill Tribe people is that they have not had time to be concerned about the need for their national interests and identity to be protected. This is because they have often been involved in acts such as illegal tracking and immigration abuses, which makes the Thai government distant itself from them and see them as aliens (Bell, 1999). 1.2 - Development background: 1.21 Economic development 1.22 Gender ...
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