Thailand: The Black Tai Community of Loei Province

The Tai Dam or 'Black Tai' village of Ban Na Pa Nat is situated about midway between Loei, the provincial capital, and the old Mekong riverside town of Chiang Khan. If the visitor turns east off Highway 201 connecting these two points, and follows a narrow, surfaced route east for some 6 km, a sign by the side of the road announces the imminence of ‘Ban Na Pa Nat Tai Dam Cultural Village'. The surrounding countryside is generally low-lying and fertile, the numerous lush paddy fields alternately verdant with green rice shoots or golden with rich heads of sticky rice, depending on the season. A single rocky mountain to the northeast of the village is all that breaks the horizon.

In other words, this is ideal territory for any Tai community, a group of people known for their millennia-old love affair with low-lying, irrigated paddy fields. The Tai Dam of Ban Na Pa Nat are settled in a near-perfect, bucolic rural retreat – and this is not by any mere chance. But who are the Tai Dam, and how did they come to settle in Ban Na Pa Nat in the first place?

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BLACK TAI , Ethnic Minorities , Tai peoples , Thailand , Laos , Vietnam , China , Burma , India , Sipsongpanna , Xishuangbanna , Sipsongchutai , Tai Dam , Yai , Yong , Yawng , Khoen , Khun , Daeng , Khao , Kao , Lu , Lue , Dai , Ahom , Shan

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