Selected Projects > Nurturing Lives in the Forest
Nurturing Lives in the Forest
by Ittipun Pomkaew, Nontawat Numbenchapol
The changing way of life of the highlanders in Northern Thailand was the impact of the government’s environmental agendas. Affect the pieces in their lives yet reflect the social construct.
In Baan Sob-Lan village, Karen people still hold to their way of life, worshipping spirits and sticking to their traditional way of living. As a result of the government’s unfair policies, their communal practices are being challenged, and, thus, they are forced to adapt the hard way. Compared to Baan Mae Yang Ha, highlanders can better adjust and negotiate as their routines and traditional practices have been detached by degrees since the early arrival of Christian missionaries and the government’s recent agendas on economic development.
Baan Mae Sa Mai and Nhong Hoi Kao are where Hmong highlanders inhabit. The two villages are in the same area, but their ways of life are not identical. In Baan Mae Sa Mai, traditional Hmong practices still exist, and they still worship spirits. However, being nearer to the city, the fusion between spiritual culture and modern conceptions makes it easier for them to negotiate with the state. On the other hand, the Nhong Hoi Kao area was transformed into a popular tourist attraction with resorts. Thus, the highlanders in this area are relatively better off, and there are notable exceptions there concerning forest zones and national parks.