North Thailand People
The Lahu People In North Thailand
- It is generally accepted that the Lahu originated on th Tibetan Plateau and over the centuries migrated to China and later some went further to Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
In Thailand the Lahu people are in the 5 provinces of Khampheng Phet, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.
- The language of the Lahu is one of the Sino- Tibetan group. The Lahu are also different within their ethnic sub groups.
In Thailand there are 6 Lahu sub groups and these are; Lahu Na (or Musar Dam), Lahu Laba, Lahu Phu, Lahu Shi, Lahu Nyi (or Musur Daeng) and Lahu Shehleh (or Musur Na Muey). Again these sub groups can be further subdivided into smaller groups.
The Lahu are monogamous and live in villages structured around the nuclear family.
- The Lahu are animists ruled by the God called ‘’Geusha’’. In addition to those other highlanders they also accept ancestor worship. By ‘’ worship ’’ one should not transpose the strict literal meaning of the word in the Christian view or meaning of the word. Worship means respect and reverence to the view that one owes one's life and existence to one's birth given by your ancestors. Some Lahu are influenced by Buddhism and Christianity.
Lahu People Lifestyles
The Lahu are swidden farmers usually at about 1,000 meters. The villages are constructed high on ridges and water is channeled from its source to the village by bamboo piping.
Swidden agriculture is that whereby mountain forest ic cut and then burnt (slash and burn) and once the soil is exhausted after a few years, the plot is left and the process is repeated elsewhere. Needless to say the practice is highly destructive of the forest and the environment, affecting air and water purity in the mountain valleys.
- The staple crops grown include rice, corn, beans, millet, yams, vegetables, peppers and melons. The animal husbandry includes pigs, fowl, cattle and horses.