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Karen History

*An important note before you embark on your journey through this archive. You will see the term "Karen" and "K'nyaw" used interchangeably throughout these pages. While "Karen" is the most commonly used identifier for our people, it comes from Anglicized pronunciation of the Burmese term "Kayin" or Mon term "Kareang".

"K'nyaw" or "K'nyaw Poe" is the identifier we use that is spoken and written in our mother tongue.

We encourage you to help us normalize the use of "K'nyaw" in our identification. Thank you!


(most closely pronounced as "G-in Yaw")

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Learn about the rich history and culture of the Knyaw people of Kawthoolei.


The Knyaw people have been fighting for freedom and self determination since 1949. Learn more about the important people, places, and players of Knyaw history and the revolution.

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Maps & Media

View the interactive map and see content from the Knyaw Revolution.


Learn about the history of Knyaw Poe (Karen people) through the experiences and stories from our elders. Primary source interviews about our history, culture, and traditions.

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Gain better context for the current situation in Kawthoolei and Myanmar by traveling back in time to learn about the important moments that have brought us to today.

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Find our work cited link as well as other useful resources to help you continue to explore Knyaw history and culture! 


Interested in a training? 

Thank you to the Minnesota Humanities Center

This work is funded in part by the Minnesota Humanities Center with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.


Help us grow
the archive

Friends, this historical archive is years in the making. We offer it to you freely, but if you've appreciated this content and you would like to see this archive continue to grow, please consider a contribution to The Urban Village.

Eh Pah Doh!

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