Organized Panel Session
Myanmar’s ethnic minorities, both larger and smaller minorities, had limited space to promote their identity under different eras of authoritarian regimes from one-party socialist regime to military regimes. However, in recent years of political transition and decentralization, different ethnic areas of Myanmar have seen as resurgence of identity politics. Importantly, this paper explores the emerging efforts of identity formation and separation by smaller ethnic groups, which are mainly resided in larger dominant ethnic area or multi-ethnic regions and previously played a subtle role in ethnic politics. These efforts have taken clear patterns in light of federal dreams which are fiercer in ethnic regions after Aung San Suu Kyi’s government came into power in 2016. The study looks at four different areas of smaller ethnic groups including PaO, Da Nu, Ta-ang (Palaung) and Naga. In these cases, the study examines different approaches they have been using in their efforts. Finally, the study argues that through identity formation and separation, these smaller ethnic groups have been shaping a federalism which would render a secured position in which they can make as least compromise as possible with a larger dominant ethnic group or groups.