The cultures of highland ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia are changing rapidly as the hilltribe people become more incorporated into the lowland majority societies. The Virtual Hilltribe Museum is geared to documenting these cultures and their changes for the world to see.
The Lahu grandmother in this picture tells the story. She is holding a bamboo container as she prepares to take part in a hand-washing ceremony to bless her village's new temple. But instead of dressing herself in the intricately decorated clothes of a Red Lahu woman, she is wearing a Spiderman t-shirt. Yes, the cultures of hilltribe people are in transition.
The Virtual Hilltribe Museum (www.hilltribe.org) has as its goal to document and make available for public edification the cultural transition of highland ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. The Museum focuses on both the traditional ways of life and the manner in which the hilltribe peoples have adapted and integrated with majority cultures. The project also hopes to attract an audience among hilltribe youth in urban environments throughout Southeast Asia and even America who no longer have the time, access or interest to receive the oral traditions of their cultures from elders.
The Virtual Hilltribe Museum is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation's Mekong Sub-Region Project..