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Akha Human Rights - Akha University
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2. How and why to preserve culture
Protecting a language?
Identity. The cuture gave birth to the people and is a result in many cases of the indigenous, of thousands of years of passed down knowledge that protects the people.
If one has the best interests of a people in mind then they must work from within, rather than from without, and this means to do all in one's power to protect culture and language which are the components of identity.
Cultures change very slowly if at all as a means of self protection.
People who say that all cultures change are probably missionaries or people who have no interst in protecting culture.
Culture however is the means by which people are, the more of it which is preserved, the better identity and stability the children will have.
Working from a sympathetic standpoint, one can take on various projects from preserving and recording language, to promoting cultural events in the society.
Addressing those who attack the culture is also beneficial, to help them to become aware that what they are doing is destructive, or at least that they should stop.
It is pretty hard to say one cares about Akha people while trying to make the individual into a good Swiss person or a good American. To care for the one is to care for the other.
Even for people who grew up seperated from their language and culture, as in the case of adoptees and orphans, there yet remains an internal part that carries on, without the visible reasons for it, which creates conflict and unrest in the individual.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation