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Exploring Hoosier Heritage at Home

April 17, 2020

Due to the Covid-19 precautions, our previously scheduled Ethnic Eats: Myanmar on April 16 was postponed. Inspired by our multicultural collecting initiatives, our Ethnic Eats series began in 2017 exploring the food of the many cultures who call Indiana home. While learning together is certainly preferable to virtual gatherings, we can still learn about the culture and experiences of some of our newest neighbors from the comfort of our own homes.

For this Ethnic Eats we were planning to travel to the Burmese American Community Institute to learn more about the Burmese refugee and immigrant population of Indianapolis and the services available to help this new and growing community. Since the early 2000s, more than 25,000 individuals from the Myanmar mainland have settled in Indiana. They have been victims of persecution, genocide, injustice and war. To understand more about this ongoing conflict please review:

More than 20,000 of these individuals have built new homes in the Southport and Greenwood area due to affordable housing, job availability, and established programs that provide resettlement services. Other populations have settled in northern Indianapolis in Nora as well as Fort Wayne, Ind. This growing community provides stability for more incoming refugees and immigrants, but the transition certainly isn’t an easy one. To learn more about some stories of Indiana resettlement please read:

BACI does fantastic work for this community. Their mission is “to build a thriving, self-sufficient, and sustainable, integrated Burmese Community through advocacy, education and employment.” Starting in 2011, BACI has helped more than 9,000 individuals through its various programs and has thriving after-school programs for its youth. To learn more about how BACI assists their refugee and immigrant population check out their website and digital collections (such as newsletters, documentaries, and community integration guide) available through the Indianapolis Public Library.

With a growing international population comes new menus and markets. Check out the menus and reviews of these Burmese restaurants in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne and add them to your social distance to-go meal plan today:

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous with your down time and want to explore trying some new dishes, check out these:

If you’re able to grab takeout or try a new recipe at home, post a photo of your favorite dish in the comments. Keep an eye out for the future rescheduled Ethnic Eats: Myanmar and other Ethnic Eats adventures.

Photo of Lauren Peightel

Lauren K. Peightel is Manager of Genealogy and Cultural Programs for the Indiana Historical Society

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