From: Matthew McDaniel [SMTP:akha@...
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2000 1:07 AM
Subject: Forced moving of an Akha Hill tribe village in Thailand
For anyone interested in the Akha Hill Tribe of North Thailand and the
preservation to their right to live, land and their own traditions:
Forced Move of An Akha Village of 78 Years!
This is an urgent message and update about the forced move of an Akha
This move is to occur January, end January, this year, NOW in a few weeks.
Myself and one other visited the Akha village Huuh Mah Akha (thai
pronunciation Huai Maak) in Ampour Mae Faluang District of Chiangrai
The Thai personell at the village at the time said that the village was
being forced to move because they were cutting down trees and poluting the
The move was being ordered by the Thai Forestry Department and an office
dealing with Watershed.
As I have monitered this area often, I can see no proof of cutting of trees
that could not be controlled, especially since non native pine is planted up
all the way to the village on most sides of the valley, the valley, small
valley walls being used for food and highly developed terraces, the terraces
supplying most of the rice, making slash and burn not desired or much
necessary. This village happens to have one of the most environmentaly
friendly situations in the area, as they have put great effort into these
terraces and to use a minimum of the land. Certainly forestry and water
issues could be addressed without taking all that these people have invested
in and owned all their life?
What is very badly needed now is that anyone who can alert a
to this situation should contact me, so that some arrangement could be
made to come here and look at the situation. We contacted the Ampour
office for Mae Faluang district in Chiangrai Province and were told
the order came from Bangkok basically and that it was being backed up
the Thai army. True to their word we found Thai army in the village today,
with a truck and putting on a party before "the chicken's head is cut". The
Thai civilians in the village said that no body was being forced to move
that all the Akha present wanted to move to the tiny houses being built by
generous Taiwanese people down the mountain on a steep hillside of a "new
village" that will have little to no land for them to farm or place their
animals and all investment will be lost. The Akha all present immediately
sung out that this was not true at all and that none of them, not one,
wanted to leave. Can you imagine being 55, having lived somewhere all your
life, and your mom, and being told, hey, sorry, you are a non person, want
identity cards in Thailand, well then you have to move. This is a move into
poverty. Probability that these families will see their daughters go into
prostitution is high. Having little resource once the land is gone. The
boys as well may very likely enter into the drug trade to make up the
difference. The cost in social welfare to the Akha and the Thai government
will also be high. In addition if trees and watershed are going to be the
set method of determining if a village gets moved then the real goal must be
that all the Akha villages get moved out of the mountains into the flat
lands, into ghettos if you will, landless, labor class for the Thais, as is
the case in many places already.
Many have asked what they can do.
Well, we are really in need of some reporters to come here and look at this,
and any other people that can be observers. I know that few can come, that
it is not easily possible to drop all and go, but at the same time it is not
going to be easy to stop the move without there actually being people here
to look at the situation, report back to their own countries governments,
and make a presence to the village.
The Akha involved, except for the land, have not much of anything, they are
poor, are lucky to have temporary id cards issued the hill tribe and have no
legal rights or recourse.
All the Thais I spoke to said "sorry, it must happen" not to them of course.
It is also recommended that you contact the nearest Thai embassy and equire
politely what is going on. Do not be confrontive, but persistent and
The name of the village is Huai Maak. It is a few kilometers on your map
from a town called Haen Taek north of Doi Maesalong in Chiangrai Province,
It is not the issue strictly of legality, but of humanity. If this is the
cost of trees and water, we need it not.
Huai Maak village latitude and longitude coordinates are:
20degrees 13.31 N
099degrees 34.49 E
The Akha Heritage Foundation
386/3 Sailom Joi Rd
Maesai, Chiangrai, 57130
Mobile Phone Number: Sometimes hard to reach while in Mountains.
Donations by check or money order may be sent to:
The Akha Heritage Foundation
PO BOX 6073
Salem OR 97304
By Visa Card Secure Site:
Donations by direct banking can be transferred to:
Wells Fargo Bank
Akha Heritage Foundation
Acc. # 0081-889693
Keizer Branch # 1842 04
4990 N. River Road.
Keizer, Oregon, 97303 USA
ABA # 121000248
Or In Thailand:
Matthew Duncan McDaniel
Acc. # 3980240778
Bangkok Bank Ltd.
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