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Old 21st September 2020, 12:26 PM   #11
Peter Dekker
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Posts: 60

Hi Ian,

Yeah it's all a bit murky. Kachins, to begin with, was of course a term only applied to the various people of Kachin state, by the Burmans. Nobody in Kachin considered themselves to be Kachin. This is often the case with minorities, the majority labels them differently than they themselves would have.

Instead, most identify as Jingpo and within that group there are a lot of subdivisions. It gets even more complicated when you take into consideration that some groups practiced exogamy, and so by default married outside their group, creating a lot of mixed children. Especially on the border between the Shan and Kachin states there was a lot of fluidity, with examples of Shan "becoming" Jingpo and vice versa.

Sir George Scott who traveled extensively through the norther frontier areas noticed that the people referred to as Tarengs did have similar burial traditions to the Kachings (Jingpo).. but otherwise were apparently distinctly different. Enough so, to say of them that they were not "true Kachins".

This Errol Grey is a bit of a mysterious figure, Sir George Scott obviously had access to his writings for quoting him, but I have not located them yet. He may have elaborated further on exactly why he thought Turnegs were not "true Kachins (Jingpo). Was it something he assumed through observation, or did they themselves make this claim?
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