รายละเอียด
Stateless Hill People and Identity: A Case Study of Akha Ethnic Group in Baan Phaya Phrai Loa Ma Village, Chiang Rai Province


Artit Wong-a-thitikul

International College of Mekong Region

                                                Chiang Rai  Rajabhat  University, Thailand

 

Abstract

           This objective of this article aims to study ethnic identity, process of receiving nationality, and the adaptation of the stateless Akha hill people in Baan Phaya Phrai Lao Ma village, Chiang rai province. The ethnic identity-related findings showed that the Akha who live in the village are Lo Mi Akha and identified themselves to have two ethnic identities: 1) Primordial identities consisting being Akha descendent, speaking Akha language, animistic belief, and being a member of Akha community, 2) Instrumental identities including local political system with four leaders, the uniqueness of their village physical location, and the Akha women’s traditional costume. Akha’s statelessness was due to the fact that they were not included in the Civil Registration of the Thai Registration System. They were later granted Thai citizenship through the process of registration according to the Regulation of Central Registration Bureau related to the Considering Personal Status Lists in Civil Registration for Highlander People in B.E. 2543. Once they become Thai nationality, they gain three types of rights, namely, citizenship rights, political rights and social rights. Identity transformation among the Akha after becoming Thai citizens can be observed through the claim that they were born or live in Thailand, that they are under the legislation of the Thai nation state, access to Thai school, Thai language speaking, having Thai name, obtaining their citizenship and Thai identification card.

Key words: Ethnic identity, Statelessness, Process of Receiving Nationality, Identity transformation, Baan Phaya Phrai Lao Ma Village, Lo Mi Akha

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