Who are the Ethnic Minorites?

KarenniKachinChinWaRohingyaShanKarenMonRakhine

Map showing Burma ethnic diversity
Map and info taken from bbc.co.uk

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.

Their Story

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:

Hello: Ha-lo
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

Learn More From Our Friends

Many organizations are helping the ethnic minorities in their plight all over the world.
Free Burma Rangers
The Border Consortium (TBC)
Partners Relief and Development
US Campaign for Burma
Karen Human Rights Group

Maps

The following links show maps related to the Ethnic Minorities

Burma and its ethnic states

www.foodjustice.net/burma/1996-2000tribunal/report/map1.htm

Topographical Burma/Thailand

www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/burma_rel_96.jpg

Map of Refugee camps along border

www.tbbc.org/camps/camps.htm

Map of locations in Thailand and Burma

www.tbbc.org/idps/maproom.htm

Books

Displaced Reflections

by Oddny Gumaer

In this book of photos and reflections, Oddny Gumaer and Brent Madison, photographer, open a door for us to live in the shoes of people who define what it means to demonstrate grace under pressure. You will be moved and inspired by this 125 page masterpiece.

A Land Without Evil

by Ben Rogers

This compassionate but unflinching account is an important step to galvanising Western opinion about this ongoing act of genocide. The gentle Karen, a tribe in Burma’s eastern regions, call their country “a land without evil”. They number between four and five million, and have fought for half a century to keep their land and identity. Many – at least 40% – are Christians, and have suffered particularly harsh treatment.

To The Golden Shore, the Life of Adoniram Judson

by Courtney Anderson

An exciting adventure of how God brought the “Lost Book” to the Karen Tribe in Burma.

God! If You Are Really God…Ask and Receive

by L. Allan Eubank

Written to share the experiences of the author: missionary in Thailand for over 42 years and father of David Eubank, founder of Free Burma Rangers and Christians Concerned for Burma, this book will increase your faith that there really is a God above all gods and a Holy Spirit who loves and cares for all of us personally through Jesus Christ. Order at TCFpublications@Gmail.com

Where God Leads..Never Give Up

by L. Allan Eubank

Real life adventure stories of Allan & Joan Eubank and their four children as they do their best to follow God’s leading and scatter the “seeds” of God’s Kingdom in Thailand. In God’s hands the seeds grow and develop into a surprising and eternal harvest. Order at TCFpublications@Gmail.com

Eternity In Their Hearts

by Don Richardson

In chapter 2 of this book Don Richardson tells how God prepared many Karen for the Gospel in the early 1800’s.