Explore Kui heritage with Siam Society
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Explore Kui heritage with Siam Society

Explore Kui heritage with Siam Society
(Photo courtesy of Siam Society)

Siam Society is holding a lecture on "The Last Elephant Catchers? The (In)Visible Indigenous Heritage Of The Kui In Thailand" at its Lecture Room on the 4th floor, on April 25 at 7pm.

The Kui Ajiang in Thailand are an indigenous community living in the Northeast, along the border with Cambodia. Known as the "elephant people", the Kui Ajiang are named for their history of catching wild elephants -- a practice that came to an end sometime in the 1950s or 1960s.

Conducted by Alisa Santikarn, an archaeology expert with a BA, MPhil, PhD and postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Cambridge, this talk is based on the results of her PhD research, where she worked with members of the Kui community in Surin between 2018 and 2021.

The talk takes the case study of the Kui people of Surin and their elephant heritage as a means of exploring issues of agency, authority, authenticity and loss. This is done by looking at how different definitions of heritage (both natural and cultural) by the Thai state work to exclude indigenous peoples from defining, managing and protecting their heritage.

The speaker will provide a wider-scale view of Thailand -- the historical development of its heritage policies and approaches to culture and the environment and indigenous rights from the colonial period up to present, as well as a more in-depth view of Kui culture in Surin province.

Over the course of fieldwork, Alisa identified three Kui traditions that became endangered following the end of elephant catching. She will discuss them in this talk, from why elephant catching ended to the community's responses to this cultural threat.

The fee is 300 baht (free for members and students).

Email pinthip@thesiamsociety.org or call 02-661-6470--3 ext 203.

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