The Khon Muang of Ban Mae Lai
The Ban Mae Lai village. Situated in a well managed watershed forest which has a circumference of about 20 km and an area of approximately 30 sq km, this forest is the primary livelihood resource for the village, which has developed a very complex symbiotic relationship with it. The village consists of 42 homes and approximately 90 inhabitants that are collectively known as the ‘Ban Mae Lai’. Mae Lai, means ‘mother Lai’ – and refers to the name of the mother of Khun Phiyalai – the first headman.
Cultural History. An ethnic group known as ‘Khun Muang’, were originally
farmers and hunter gatherers from Chiang Mai valley that were displaced
by ethnic groups who moved in from the south, causing them to migrate
up to the hills surrounding the valley floor. Through marriage, they
absorbed the original inhabitants of mountain area – Kamu (Cambodian)
and Lua (Shan) ethnic minorities, and over time ...