Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mizo people and maori

Indigenous peoples all have their challenges. Maori have had their land taken and a very small percentage given back. This country is an island, and we have pasifica cousins.

But what about other indigenous peoples. What about indigenous peoples who live and have lived across artifical borders and boundaries. How difficult is life for them when they not only have one country or state to deal with but multiple countries and states. Examples are numerous - in fact it seems like we are actually lucky here to have an island or three here in the south seas.

This is an example of one people stretched across a range of boundaries. Thanks feddabonn for sharing about your people.

"People from the north eastern region of india, spread over 8 states. this is a slightly arbitrary division, negotiated more in terms of geography and difference from 'mainland indian' culture/races than in any real similarities between the various tribal cultures of the north east.

'mizo' (people of the hills), and our 'homeland' is the state of mizoram (land of the mizos). 'mizo' is again a negotiated identity, consisting of a few tribes that banded together (a lot like the maori, i guess). what we speak is the mizo language, which was originally a dialect of one of the tribes. most individual languages have been lost, but not regretted, as it has meant a common identity and a stronger base to bargain with india. of late, there has been a movement to further integrate with our people from other states of india (manipur, tripura and assam) as well as our cousins across the border in bangladesh and myanmar (the chin).

we were converted to christianity somewhere around the 1890s, and have lost most of our old religion. having said that, the christianity we follow has been indegenised, and has re-introduced a lot of elements (like the use of the drum) that the missionaries had thrown out. the missionaries also gave us our writing

post indian (1947) independence, we had a severe famine in the mizo (also called lusei/lushai) hills called the mautam. our requests for help from india were largely ignored, and in 1966 the mizo national front declared independence. india's response was to send in the air force and the army, starting off a brutal (on both sides) guerilla war that lasted till the peace accord was signed in 1986. i have (as many of us have) had family on both sides of the conflict, but by and large, we have a rather suspicious attitude to mainland india. mizoram was recently declared the most peaceful and crime free state in india!"
Check out these sites for more information.
Mizo writing in English
Music of Mizoram
To my shame i didn't know anything about these indigenous people until i began conversing with feddabonn. How many other indigenous cultures are out there, fighting for life, for dignity but we just never hear about them from the MSM (mainstream media). That is why mars2earth is open to hearing all stories - send them in!
feddabonn has a great blog - Bottle broke - i highly recommend it. Good discussions on art, culture, books, politics and crafts.
indigenous peoples have to work together. we have to learn from our similarities and our differences. and we have to resist the assimilation into the larger homogonised cultures which have colonised us.
kia kaha Mizo people

1 comment:

Richard Taylor said...

This is good - shows the complexity of the world - India is vast with a vast history, with many peoples and dialects. And, as well as a long history even pre-British occupation etc, it also has a long history of struggle against the British.