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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minority in western Cambodia still proud of its heritage and traditions

Bour Mer, 42, says the community still lives and works with its own culture. He says they have no problems and life is good.
Bour Mer, 42, says the community still lives and works with its own culture. He says they have no problems and life is good. Charlotte Pert

Minority in western Cambodia still proud of its heritage and traditions

The Por indigenous group of western Cambodia are proud of their identity, which is distinctly separate from ethnic Khmers. The people have their own language, traditions, farming practices and beliefs.

Living on their ancestral lands spread between Battambang and Pursat provinces near the Cardamom mountains, they grow rice, celebrate the harvest and pay respect to their ancestors as they have done throughout generations.

However, their numbers are dwindling and they fear their language and culture are under threat from assimilation.

The Por no longer wear their traditional clothes.
The Por no longer wear their traditional clothes. Charlotte Pert
Se Soy still prays to her ancestors four times a year.
Se Soy still prays to her ancestors four times a year. Charlotte Pert
Bour Mer’s rice farming family uses a traditional method of planting.
Bour Mer’s rice farming family uses a traditional method of planting. Charlotte Pert
The Por children can understand the Por language but do not speak it.
The Por children can understand the Por language but do not speak it. Charlotte Pert
Hout Sake, 47,  used to work in the rice fields but now prepares rattan collected from the forest by her husband.
Hout Sake, 47, used to work in the rice fields but now prepares rattan collected from the forest by her husband. Charlotte Pert
Se Soy, 63, (left) says the Por have their own language and way of dancing.
Se Soy, 63, (left) says the Por have their own language and way of dancing. Charlotte Pert
The Por still maintain some traditions. After their harvest they celebrate and dance wearing animal heads.
The Por still maintain some traditions. After their harvest they celebrate and dance wearing animal heads. Charlotte Pert

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