"i have wandered toward eyes that have long been closed

and bordertowns that would not leave me alone

i am following your footprints out of a memory..."

From "Seventeen Lines" by Lance Henson,

Cheyenne Dog Soldier and poet

Entries in Akha (1)


Footprint Out of a Memory

 Two tribes, two continents... A common history.

As a result of the residential school phenomenon in the U.S., tens of thousands of indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and taken to institutions – where they were expected to discard their languages and traditions in favor of so-called “progressive” modern civilization. 

Tragically, what took place in the U.S. is now repeating itself in northern Thailand:  largely unrecognized as citizens by the Thai government, the Akha people are extremely vulnerable to the foreign-run institutions that “recruit” Akha children, promising their parents that they will have a “better, modern life.” 

Is it too late to reverse this pernicious dynamic among the Akha?  Is there no alternative way for the international community to encourage the socio-economic development of tribal peoples?