Let’s Go Back Home: Revisiting Indigenous Knowledge
“Ker Say Choo Ler-a Khoh May, Pgakenyaw Choo Leu-Ah Pho Ahlee”
“A horse draws its strength from its hooves. But humans draw their strength from their children.”
Proverb of Karen Indigenous Peoples
“Many young people have to leave their community to study or to work in the city. As a result, they become alienated from their traditional way of life, and they tend to forget their roots and the value of their own community. Therefore, it is important that we pass on our Indigenous Knowledge, language, culture, and traditions to our offspring”, says Mr. Dilok Trakoolrungamphai, Headman of Mae Yod village.
Mae Yod village is one of the pilot communities that were declared as Special Cultural Zone in line with the 2010 Cabinet Resolution on the restoration of traditional practices and livelihoods of Karen Indigenous Peoples, to provide solutions to land right issues, and to secure their livelihoods.
The comic book “Let’s Go Back Home” is the result of the series of consultations, and above all, the trust and partnership among Karen Indigenous Peoples of Mae Yod village in Northern Thailand, Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD), and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). The series of consultations facilitated rich discussions and eventually the portrayal of the real story of Mae Yod villagers in the comic book.
The comic book is co-produced to create love, respect, and pride among the Indigenous Youth for their origin, language, and cultural identity. The Mae Yod Villagers are going to use the comic book in the local curriculum of the Ban Mae Yod school.
“Most of the steps of the rotational agriculture involve Indigenous Women. For example, selecting seeds, choosing the farm plot, planting, weeding, digging, monitoring the growth of the plants, and storing seeds are all done by women. Therefore, we, the Pgakenyaw people, think that the rotational fields belong to the Indigenous Women.”, says Mrs. Jawa, member of Indigenous Women’s Group in Mae Yod Village.
The publication intends to generate a deeper understanding on the Indigenous Peoples’ lives, worldviews, food systems, and the roles of Indigenous Women and Youth, among the public. Their traditional way of life and culture which are closely intertwined with nature is illustrated by the Pgakenyaw people who have their language, culture, traditions, and rich knowledge to manage their community and natural resources sustainably.
As part of the AIPP celebration of the 2021 International Day for Biodiversity and the upcoming International Decade of the Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), AIPP is launching the comic book in Karen, Thai, and English languages. AIPP acknowledges the generous financial contributions of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) for the development and publication of the comic book.
Special thanks to the representatives of the Inter-Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT), Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF), Indigenous Women’s Network in Thailand (IWNT), Ton-kla Indigenous Children and Youth Network, and Karen Network for Culture and Environment (KNCE) who provided constructive feedback and guidance in the process of the finalization of the comic book.
For more information, please contact the following team members of the Environment Programme:
- Mr. Lakpa Nuri Sherpa, Programme Coordinator at [email protected]
- Ms. Pirawan Wongnithisathaporn, Programme Officer at [email protected]
- Mr. Prem Singh Tharu, Programme Officer at [email protected]