Akha

Introduction

The Akha are a hill tribe of subsistence farmers known for their artistry. Most of the remaining Akha people are now distributed in small villages among the mountains of China (where they are considered part of the Hani by the government, though this is a subject of some dispute among the Akha themselves), Laos (where they are considered Lao Sung), Burma, and northern Thailand, where they are one of the six main hill tribes.

The Akha have faced many controversies related to human rights and justice, particularly in the countries of Thailand and China. Their land is built upon hillsides considered valuable for both timber production and farming, and as such has been the target of seizure by government forces from both countries.

The Akha, like the other hill tribes, are viewed negatively by mainstream Thai people, generally referred to as “Egaw,” a derogatory racial slur they find highly offensive. The use of the word is extremely commonplace and it is found on many tour websites and even in academic writings.

Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Akha Peoples

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