Hmong in our Communities Bridging Cultures
Hmong Cultural Center • The Hmong resource Center offers a variety of programs for Hmong in the community. • Offers information to educate about the Hmong people. • Cher Vue (Graduate of metropolitan state, law enforcement) • Xai Lor (Graduate of Hamline University)
Hmong Antiquity • Between 5 and 6 thousand years ago; Hmong rebelled against Chinese expansion, and were defeated. • The Hmong emigrated to more southern regions of China, and formed a new kingdom. They were never as strong as they once were (4,000 years ago). • Over the years numerous wars eventually forced the Hmong into southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Thailand). • Many of these wars resulted in Chinese expansion, and forced assimilation with many Hmong killed in battle or captured and executed.
Fast Forward • The CIA coordinated effort against Communism in Laos, and Partners with General Vang Pao. • Hmong Help save thousands of U.S. soldiers with their efforts to block North Vietnamese advance along the Ho Chi Minh Trail (30 to 40 thousand die). • 1974 U.S. leaves Laos. • 1975 General Vang Pao evacuated to Thailand. • Many Hmong left behind and the Pathet Lao (communist Lao) announce their plans for Hmong genocide. • Refugee camps organized in Thailand, and Hmong refugees begin to arrive in December 1975 and January 1976.
Exodus from Thailand • 1976 – present; Hmong Refugees begin to move to the U.S., France, Australia, French Guyana, and Canada. • Many Refugee camps close by 1992. 15,000 Refugees that were not able to come to the U.S. sought refuge by a Thai Buddhist monk at Wat Tham Krabok. • Thai Government wanted to force the refugees back into Laos (This meant certain death). • With the help of General Vang Pao and Lobbying by Hmong-Americans, in 2003 the U.S. accepted the refugees from Wat Tham Krabok.
Hmong Population in the U.S. • California 78,400 • Minnesota 52,300 • Wisconsin 34,741 • North Carolina 8,900 Most Populated Cities • Minneapolis/St Paul 40,800 • Fresno CA 22,500 • Sacramento CA 16,300 • Milwaukee WI 8,078 (2000 Census)
Important Subgroups in the Minnesota Hmong Community may be identified as follows: • Followers of the traditional Hmong Religion (a majority about 70% of the population), Hmong ceremonial ritualists and Shamans. • Speakers of the Green and White Hmong dialects. • There are 18 Hmong Clans and their Leaders.
Important Subgroups in the Minnesota Hmong Community may be identified as follows: • It is crucial to understand that there is no one “leader” who speaks for the Hmong community or even completely understands the variety of views in the community. Decision makers should attempt to get input from a variety of sources in the Hmong community before making decisions or forming judgments. Younger, more “Americanized” leaders in particular, may not fully understand the feelings of large segments of the community pertaining to certain issues.
Concerns And other culturally important issues that Hmong have Concerns • Language barrier can create achievement gaps • Hmong born here do not seem as motivated as first generation. • ESL students some times get pushed through school with out learning strong English skills. • Need more Hmong role models: • Dr. Yang Dao, the first Hmong in history to receive a Ph. D. in social science from the Sorbonne, University of Paris, in May 1972. • Vang Pao: A Major General in the Royal Lao Army.
Hmong Chamber of Commerce • Organization to help Hmong thrive in the community and provide support for business owners. • Biggest concern was the poor performance of Hmong students, graduation/drop out rates, and the small amount of Hmong who earn college degrees.
Important for Hmong success in school • Teachers need to learn how to motivate Hmong students. • Teachers should understand traditional way s of interacting with the Hmong. • Hmong students tend to learn more visually if younger (k-12) and more orally if older (especially adult learners). • Tutoring programs are helpful. • Adults in the Hmong community stress and understand the importance of education.