SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND SHIFTING AGRICULTURE-THE WHITE MEO.
Technical rept. no. 1, Nov 65-Sep 66,
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT INST WASHINGTON D C
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The study of a Meo Community in Thailand includes 1 a brief formal structural analysis of enthnographic data 2 a description of the ecological setting in which the community practices shifting agriculture and 3 a discussion of land tenure as a regional problem. The White Meo Hmong Deau constitute a linguistic sub-group of the Meo peoples of the mountain provinces of South China. Large groups of Meo have migrated into Thailand, Laos, and Burma in search of a better environment, usually at elevations above 4,000 feet. The area discussed is a complex of White Meo villages in Chiengmai Province, Thailand. The community study village is Mae Nai. Staple crops are rice, corn, squash and pumpkins. Opium poppies are the traditional cash crop. Peaches introduced as recently as 1962 already have become a viable substitute for opium poppy. The Meo system of land tenure combines features of traditional Indonesian land law, tribal rights, and systems adapted from French, Dutch, and Japanese administration. The conception of the Meo of rights to land is similar to their conception of rights to water and air. Ownership of abandoned or uncultivated lands may be acquired by putting it to use. Rights of ownership can be transferred only with the approval of the tribe or village. This system sometimes has brought the Meo in conflict with government tax policies. Problems have arisen when a migratory, swidden community becomes a semi-permanent agricultural settlement. Author
- Sociology and Law