Outside the west coast of Burma is a vast archipelago few people have ever heard about. It consists of about a thousand islands called The Mergui (Myeik).


This is the ancient home and last refuge of The Moken People; Sea Nomads who still live as animistic hunter-gatherers in perfect harmony with “Mother Ocean”, as they describe our seas. Their culture is a window into our own common ancestry, and has survived because they always shy away from strangers. Now they are rapidly diminishing in numbers due to industrial fishing emptying the sea and governments

seizing their islands to accommodate the tourist industry. The Moken, along with most other coastal dwellers in South-East Asia today, are all descendants from the Great Austronesian Expansion where people where pushed to sea by the ever-expanding Chinese groups about 3500 years ago. They populated the coastal areas and islands of the Indian- and Pacific Oceans in magnificent ocean-crossing

log-boats with advanced marine technology and navigation. Now most of these peoples and populations have been “civilized” into poor villages, forgetting their skills and culture, except for the Moken in the Mergui Archipelago. They are now the only ones left living as true sea-nomads, which is the same lifestyle as the early Europeans and a window into our past and who we are.

 


Over the last 8 years we have developed a close relationship with the Moken living on the island of Surin on the border between Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand. We work closely together to delve into the different aspects of Moken culture and tradition, while at the same time giving them the opportunity to present their world through various venues. We welcome you to join in our initiative to place focus on one of the worlds last groups of indigenous sea nomads!


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