Sedentarizing process and socio-economic changes of Mlabri hunter-gatherers in Thailand
Shinsuke Nakai (National Museum of Ethnology)
Kazunobu Ikeya (National Museum of Ethnology)
Paper short abstract:
This study describes the sedentarizing process and socio-economic changes of the Mlabri hunter–gatherer people under the political influence of the Thai government, although they continued their nomadic life in the forest until the end of the 1990s.
Paper long abstract:
This study examines the sedentarizing process and socio-economic changes of the Mlabri hunter-gatherer people under the political influence of the Thai government, although most continued their nomadic life in mountain forests from the 19th century until the end of 1990s. We started fieldwork in 2003 at four Mlabri settlements in Thailand, conducting fieldwork specifically examining the Huai Yuak settlement in Nan province. During ten years, we repeated short annual visits there. Results of this study underscore the following three points: 1) Mlabri people started settling down at the end of 1990s, but they still show somewhat nomadic characteristics such as the micro-transfer of their homes inside of the settlement and temporary stays in other settlements; 2) Mlabri people exhibited the greatest change in terms of socio-economic lifestyle, induced by several developmental policies and NGO activities after settling down, especially by policies of the Thai royal family project, which started in 2007; and 3) a changing interaction became identifiable among local residents of the four Mlabri settlements.
Development and pastoralists (Commission on Nomadic Peoples/NME panel)