By Nancy Price
The Chin Community of Indiana is hosting their 71st annual Chin National Day celebration this Saturday, Feb. 16. The event will feature traditional Chin traditions, including a fashion show, food, a variety of dances from different tribes, cultural music and honored political guests from Burma, in addition to local and state government representatives from Indiana.
Each year, the Chin communities throughout the world celebrate Chin National Day to recognize and commemorate the General Assembly of Chinland event, which was held in Falam on Feb. 20, 1948. At the assembly, 5,000 representatives voted to overturn their traditional system and elect local and state leaders as a democracy. The Chin Affairs Council decided to officially honor the day in 1951, yet the holiday was not recognized by Myanmar governments until the 2010s.
The Chin community originates from Chinland, which is located on the northwestern portion of Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Chins have been widely discriminated and suppressed by the ruling Myanmar military government for decades. For the past 15 years, thousands of Chins have escaped from Chinland and Myanmar and entered host countries, including the U.S., as political refugees.
Approximately 60,000 Chin people live in the U.S.; nearly 19,000 are residing in the greater Indianapolis area. In Burma, celebrating the national day with a banner reading, “Chin National Day” is illegal. Chin National Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the weekend closest to Feb. 20.
This Saturday, the celebration will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Grace Assembly of God, 6822 U.S. 31 S., Greenwood. For more information, either call (317) 300-1078, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to indychins.org.