Yellow leaf people or Mlabri Hill Tribe Information
Mla are known as yellow leaf or “Mlabri”. The meaning of the name “Mlabri” can be separated into two words. The first word is “Mla” meaning human, this is the word the tribe use to call themselves. The second word “Bri” meaning forest, this is just a word to add after, thereby they have the word Mlabri which means “barbarian tribe” but they would like to be known as “Mla tribe”. This means “human” because they are not barbarians. They live in the forest. Mlabri is what they are called by others but not what they call themselves. “Yellow leaf” is the name given to them by other people but they do not like being called this because it makes them sound like ghosts, which they are not. They are human like us. “Yellow leaf” is a name that the “Mla tribe” do not like being called, and to not call them yellow leaf, honors. Them they will call others “Gwao”
“Yellow leaf” came from “Mla” people living in the forest; they find goods from the forest such as taro, potatos, bananas, bamboo shoots, animals and bees. They live at a singular place for around 2-3 days then will move the place continuously and will choose where to move to by having a discussion between families. Sometimes they will move to an other place, not for food, but because they fear people will come to disturb or hurt them. So, when a stranger comes or even when they hear people’s voices near the area that they lived, they would escape rapidly. They would do this because they had experienced relatives of theirs being shot and hurt in front of them in the past. This makes them fear people so they move continuously, make very little noise and also do not dare to make fires.
The banana leaf that they make their huts, changes color from green to yellow and then eventually dries, this is the origin of the word “Yellow leaf” but the word that they are proud of and want other people to call them is “Mla” Source: The Mlabri community at Baan Boonyuen, Moo 13, Thambon Vieng, Rongkwang district, Prae province.
[…] are sometimes called ‘Yellow Leaf People’. They were discovered in 1936 by an Australian researcher named Dr. H. Bernatzik discovered them […]