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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices on Biodiversity: Ms. Noraeri Thungmuangthong – Thailand

The message from Ms. Noraeri Thungmuangthong, the first woman to head the Huay Ee Khang Village in Northern Thailand.

Hello, my name is Noraeri Thungmuangthong. I am a woman from the Karen Indigenous group in Ban Huai Ekang, T.Mae Win, A.Mae Wang, Chiang Mai.

The role of women and conservation, in the Ban Huay Ee Khang community, we depend on natural resources – Earth, Water, and Forest since we were born.

That is why we feel connected and concerned about the Earth, Water, and Forest. I have to say that the Karen people, the Earth, Water, and Forest, can’t be separated from one another. This is because Karen uses a body of knowledge and belief in conservation, such as using De Paw which is putting the umbilical cord in a bamboo container and ties them on the tree which is called De Paw Tree.

This shows the Karen way of conservation. Women have the role in taking care of food, especially in collecting leaves and young shoots. For example, collecting the bamboo shoots, if there are 4-5 shoots, we will collect only 2 shoots. The remaining 2 shoots are left to grow into bamboo trees. This is the role of women in conservation.

Karen women also go into the forest. The forest is a learning place. It is a place that gives so many things whether it is food, a way to earn income such as producing natural color dye from the tree bark.

When we are sick, we use herbs found in the forest. We use, we preserve and take care. These things have been passed on from generation to generation. In my mother’s generation, there was no hospital. They learned from nature and the forest surrounding them.

We learned from our parents and transmitted the knowledge that we gained from our ancestors. We live with the forest, we protect it. We live with the water, we protect it. This helps us to have balance in everything whether it is food, belief, and conservation.

I want to tell the youths from our community and other indigenous groups. For them to continue the will of the Indigenous Peoples, to come back and take care of things that the ancestors and parents have built and transmitted them so that it will be preserved and continue to be sustained.

Thank you.

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