Who are the Ethnic Minorites?
There are 135 officially recognized ethnic groups located in Burma. Each ethnic group has a different culture & language/dialect. However, they are usually listed into 10 major ethnic groups: Kachin, Karenni(Kayah), Karen(Kayin), Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine, Shan, Rohingya & the Burmese Muslim. According to the CIA Factbook, the Burman population is estimated to be 47M which accounts for 68% of the population.
To learn more visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_Burma & oxfordburmaalliance.org/ethnic-groups.html.
For the past 60 years, civil war has left Burma one of the poorest countries in the world. Since 1962, a brutal military junta has been persecuting ethnic minorities, leaving thousands of villages destroyed and countless thousands left homeless and fleeing from their own homes.
These internally displaced persons (IDPs) flee for their lives, often hiding in the mountainous and jungle-forest regions of Burma; living without food, shelter, or water, and in constant fear. Numerous humanitarian organizations have provided documentary evidence of the systematic abuse, torture, rape and murder of ethnic minorities, including the use of IDPs as porters and for mine-clearing. This evidence has been presented before the United Nations.
Many IDPs flee for safety into Thailand where the Thai authorities have established refugee camps such as Mae-La, on the Thai side of the border with Burma. This camp has been in existence for over 30 years and houses over 50,000 ethnic minorities from Burma; most of whom wish for nothing more than to be able to return to their homes and live peaceably. Amidst this great suffering, optimism thrives in the ethnic minorities for the future.
Resettling in the U.S.A.
Some Burmese in refugee camps in Thailand were eligible for resettlement to third countries, including the USA, in a program sponsored by the United Nations. If they were approved for relocation, these families and individuals went through a rapid (weeks-to-months) orientation including immunization clinics and some minimal English language training. Once they arrived, the relocated refugees faced particular challenges in relocating from rural areas of Burma and Thailand to highly industrialized and developed countries like the USA. In the USA, the refugees were required to:
- Learn English
- Find suitable accommodation
- Secure permanent employment
- Learn about public transportation
- Know where and how to buy food, clothing, and other necessities
- Understand all that is expected of law-abiding citizens in the U.S.A.
Refugees from Burma are currently in 40 of the 50 US states, with some states having larger populations than others. The total number of Burmese refugees who entered the USA between 2007 and 2015 is approximately 120,000, although numbers are likely under-estimates. There are an estimated 4,500 refugees from Burmese and Thai refugee camps in Colorado with concentrations in Aurora, Denver and Greeley.
Learn their language
Useful Karen Phrases:
Good morning: go-leu-a-geh
Good afternoon: ni-leu-a-geh
Good evening: ha-leu-a-geh
Good night: noh-leu-a-geh
How are you?: neu oh-soo-ah
I am fine: yeu oh-soo-ooh
Thank you: da-bleu
When did you arrive here?: neuh heh dtoo ah kah peh leh
Do you have everything you need?: neuh loh-tha dtah dteuh mi-mi ah
Learn more at DrumPublications.com
Useful Burmese Phrases:
Hello: min ga la ba
Good morning: mengla ma-net khin ba
Good afternoon: mengla ne’ lare khin ba
Good evening: mengla nya nay khin ba
How are you?: k’amyà ne-kaùn-yéh-là (male) shin ne-kaùn-yéh-là (female)
I’m well: ne-kaùn-ba-deh
Thank you: cè-zù tin-ba-deh
Your Welcome: ya-ba-deh
Learn more at LexiLogos.com
The following links show maps related to the Ethnic Minorities
Burma and its ethnic states
Map of Refugee camps along border
Map of locations in Thailand and Burma
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