"It's Just Food": A Study of the Foodways of Chin Refugees in America
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As an ethnic minority the Chin people of Burma have faced a variety of influences, pressures, attacks, and struggles for centuries at the hands of both .foreign and internal powers. The Chin's distinct identity and lifestyle applies also to the foods they eat and the practices that surround what they consume. As extensively analyzed by previous research, foodways act as a marker of one's ethnic identity but such a bond is subject to change particularly in cases of diaspora. Based upon ethnographic semi-structured interviews with Chin refugees in Maryland and the pre-existing literature regarding ethnic identity and food ways, along with the immigrant experience, this paper seeks to analyze to what extent have Chin refugees maintained their ethnic foodways whilst in America. Like diaspora communities before them, Chin refugees face a variety of influences that work to alter their food practices, thus creating a new hybrid identity that acknowledges their Burmese homeland whilst adapting to their new American environment.