Maung Nyeu is helping his people put their language and stories on record

The first-grader was still crying when he came home, an hour’s walk from school, his hands smarting from two days of being smacked with a cane.

“You must go back,” his parents said in Marma, their native language.

Since the government had begun trucking tens of thousands of Bengali settlers into the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a pocket of Bangladesh where indigenous groups have tended hillside fields for centuries, land had been harder and harder to come by. Settlers grabbed land with impunity, according to Amnesty International, displacing farmers from their ancestral land.

 

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