Neighbors from Burma: Images and Stories from the Chin Community

  • Saturday November 6, 2010: Community Festival, 1–4 pm at the Southport Library in Indianapolis (2630 E. Stop 11 Road)
  • October 28, 2010-January 10, 2011: Photo Exhibit, Neighbors from Burma: Voices and Stories from the Chin Community, at the Southport Library in Indianapolis (2630 E. Stop 11 Road)


Photos from Neighbors from Burma: Images and Stories from the Chin Community from Traditional Arts Indiana on Flickr.

Many people from Chin State in Burma are fleeing the oppressive military regime to seek freedom. Most go to Malaysia, others to Thailand and India. They register with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and resettle in the United States.

There are an estimated 5,000-7,000 Chin people in the Indianapolis area. They often find stability and comfort in their community and in the thirteen large Chin Christian churches in the area.

A refugee:

  • Flees persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Seeks protection in a nearby country.
  • Is accepted and resettled into a third country.

There is no freedom at all. The country is under military dictatorship. There is no development. Everything is like a dead-end road, so I decided to leave Burma. (San San)

We told them it would be much better if they stayed in America by groups because they speak the same language and they can help each other. So the Haka group chose Indianapolis because about two or three Haka Chin people were here. They got asylum before. (Klem Kio)

Most people think the Chin people look like Mexicans. They talk to me in Spanish. I tell them, “No Comprende.” (Than Hre)


Kawlram i Chin State chung mipi tampi cu ralkap uknak thalo zamtak in himnak an kawl.  Atambik pawl cu Malaysia, Thailand, le India ah an kal.  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) ah an min an I khumh I, US lei ah an nun a ni thawk than.

Chin miphun 5000 in 7000 hrawng cu Indianapolis chung ah an um.  Mah vialte minung hna nih hin an mah kallak (community) chung ah le krihfa bupi pa hleithum a um mi an bu cio ah himnak le lungthin damnak an hmuh tawn.

Refugee pakhat cu:

  • Miphun, biaknak, bu pakhat khat ah I tel ruang ah le uknak tanh ruang ah hremnak le hmusit nak chung in a zam mi an si.
  • An pawngkam ram hna ah himnak an kawl.
  • An cohlan hna I, ramdang ah an kuat chin hna.

Himnak a um bak loh.  Kawlram cu ralkap uknak tang ah a um mi asi.  A thangcho mi zong a um loh.  Zei lam paoh a pit dih ruang ah Kawlram cu ka zam tak ti in (San San) nih a ti.

Nan holhka ai khat ruangah hmunkhat ah um tti in a bawm zong nan I bawm kho deuh lai tiah kan ti hna.  Laimi hnih thum an um ruangah laimi cheukhat hna cu Indianapolis khua ah an phan.  Asylum an hmuh hmasa tiah (Klem Kio) nih a ti.

Mitampi nih Chin miphun pawl cu Mexicans pawl he nan I lo a kan ti.  Spanish holh hna in a kan chawnh.  “No Comprende” tiah ka ti hna tiin (Than Hre) nih a ti.