Akha (North Thailand)
Population and Geographical Distribution
The Akha ethnic group originated from Southwest China. While more than 700,000 Akha continue to live in Yunnan province, significant numbers have migrated southward during the last century. Today, nearly 200,000 Akha live in Myanmar and 92,000 in Laos. Another 12,500 live in Vietnam where they are known as Ha Nhi. According to 1995 population figures published by the Tribal Research Institute of Chiang Rai, there are over 80,000 Akha living in 258 villages in North Thailand. Speakers of Tai languages often call the Akha "Ekaw" or simply "Kaw," terms viewed derogatory by the Akha because these terms are akin to words which mean "slave."
ToTAL : 1.084.500 AKHA PEOPLE
Linguistically, the Akha belong to the Loloish branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. The written language has two versions, a Romanized script and a Thai-based script, both of which were developed by Christian missionaries.
Livelihood and Economic Situation
The Akha people were formerly shifting cultivators but now most live in villages on mountainsides. They grow dry rice and a variety of vegetables on mountainsides. In the last century, cotton and opium poppies were the principal cash crops; more recently the cash crops are chilies, soybeans, cabbages, and tomatoes. Pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, and cattle are raised. Some Akha have moved to lowland urban centers.
A strong animistic ideology permeates the world view of the Akha people. In addition, they have the notion of a great world-creating divinity. The Akha have great interest in, and a remarkable knowledge of, their ancestors. Many are able to recite over 60 names of their male ancestors. They keep an ancestral altar in their homes, at which food is offered up at important times in the year such as New Year and after rice harvest. The cultivation of rice is bound up with myths and rituals, and must be done in the "Akha way."
The first Protestant missionaries began to reach the Akha in Thailand in the mid 1950s. By the mid-1970s, there were more than 1,000 Akha Protestant Christians in at least a dozen villages. The New Testament was translated into Akha and adapted for Thailand using a simplified Thai script in 1983. The translation of the Old Testament was completed by an Akha in 1994, and it is now being prepared for publication. A new hymnbook for the Akha was also published in 1994.
Christian Church within the group
In 1984 the Akha Churches in Thailand (A.C.T.) association was formed with Akha people and the Baptists. This association is gradually growing in maturity and ability to administer its own affairs. There are now 49 Akha churches with some 5,850 Christians under A.C.T.. An Akha Center in Maekon, Chiang Rai was founded in 1989. This tribal center is land belonging to the Akha church association and is a site where training is offered in tribal language to church leaders.
More Infarmation Contact
To Mr. Apae Amor The Winner of Thailand Tourist Guide Award 2006 Mobile 089-9975505
Or Contact To (A.C.T.) is Akha Christian Association
In Thailand Chiang Rai province
Mr. Yohan Chermer Mobile 089-5533115