Koom txoo Hmoob thoob ntuj

Hmoob 18 Xeem: Raws li thaum Vaj pov sawv los coj Hmoob nyob rau xov tshoj, sawv daws muab Hmoob los suav cov xeem muaj raws li nram qab...

Hmoob 18 Lub Xeem

Hmoob 18 Xeem:



Raws li thaum Vaj pov sawv los coj Hmoob nyob rau xov tshoj, sawv daws muab Hmoob los suav cov xeem muaj raws li nram qab no:

  1. Vaj/Vaaj (Vang).
  2. Tsab/Tsaab (Cha, Chang).
  3. Lis (Lee, Ly).
  4. Thoj (Thao).
  5. Yaj/Yaaj (Yang).
  6. Muas (Moua).
  7. Hawj (Her).
  8. Ham/Haam/Taag (Hang).
  9. Xyooj (Xiong).
  10. Lauj (Lor).
  11. Phab (Pha).
  12. Vwj (Vue).
  13. Tswb (Chue).
  14. Koo (Kong).
  15. Kwm (Kue)
  16. Faaj (Fang).
  17. Tsheej (Cheng).
  18. Khab/Khaab (Khang).

Zoo siab nrog peb cov nres xeem uas ua tau hauj lwm zoo heev rau peb Hmoob nyob Minnesota 2 xyoos dhau los no.  Cia siab tias 2 x...

Hmoob18Xeem nyob Minnesota





Zoo siab nrog peb cov nres xeem uas ua tau hauj lwm zoo heev rau peb Hmoob nyob Minnesota 2 xyoos dhau los no.  Cia siab tias 2 xyoos tom nej no nej tseem yuav ua tau zoo tshaj qhov no ntxiv.

200,000 xyoo dhau los, tsuas muaj leej tibneeg nyob rau ntawm daimav Africa xwb.  Lub zwjceeb no daimav pib qhua, tsis muaj nag thiab tsi...

Hmoob DNA


200,000 xyoo dhau los, tsuas muaj leej tibneeg nyob rau ntawm daimav Africa xwb.  Lub zwjceeb no daimav pib qhua, tsis muaj nag thiab tsis muaj dej.  Tsob neeg ntiajteb kev nrhiav nojhaus tu zujzus.  Leej tibneeg kuj yog tshuav tsawg heev.  (Yog tibneeg tu noob thaum ntawv, nws yuav tsis muaj nej losyog muaj kuv nyob rau ntiajteb niajhnub niam no.  Yog muaj koj thiab kuv, los tej zaum peb yuav yog tsiaj, kab, los xyoobntoo xwb.)  Lawv thiaj tsiv mus yos dua chaw tshiab nyob.  Tsis tas li, lawv thiaj tig los xav txog kev cawm lawv; xws li, yam twg thiaj noj tau thiab npaj hmuv, hneev thiab vos tau cawm tsiaj qus.  Xyoo dhau xyoo, lawv thiaj mus deb zujzus ntawm lawv lub chaw lawv ib txwm nyob.  Lawv thiaj mus txog rau tej chaw uas muaj dej, tsiaj, nrojtsuag thiab havzoov.  Txij ntawv los leej tibneeg thiaj vam zujzus tuaj. 

Raws li hais los no, Kuv tsuas piav tau me me li Kuv kev tshawbfawb thiab kawm tau xwb.  Nws tshuav ntau heev uas Kuv paub tsis txog thiab tsis tau kawm.  200,000 xyoo los rau niaj hnub no mas ntev ntev
heev li; nws twb dhau li ntawm 20,00 tiam neeg lawm.  Yog li Kuv mam muab teev tseg yoojyim rau hauv qab no.
  *200,000 xyoo dhau los, neeg ntiajteb tshwmsim nyob daimav Africa
  *150,000 xyoo dhau los, daimav Africa peb qhua thiab tsis muaj nag
  *70,000 xyoo dhau los, neeg khiav mus txog rau tebchaws India
  *50,000 xyoo dhau los, neeg khiav mus txog rau qabteb Asia
  *40,000 xyoo dhau los, neeg khiav mus txog daimav Australia
  *40,000 xyoo dhau los, ib co neeg mus txog daimav Europe
  *30,000 xyoo dhau los, neeg nyob thoob daimav Asia
  *14,000 xyoo dhau los, ib co neeg mus txog daimav North America

Cov neeg no yog tsiv ntawm daimav Asia, taug dej khov hla ntawm tebchaws Russia mus rau tebchaws Canada.  Lawv yog cov Khab uas nyob daimav North America thiab South America.
 
Txij thaum 14,000 xyoo dhau los no, neeg xyaum thiab paub ua qoobloo thiab tu tsiaj.  Xws li, qaib los ntawm qaibqus, aub los ntawm hma, npua los ntawm npuateb, thiab miv los ntawm plis.  Lawv paub cog pobkws, dib, taub, nplej thiab lwm yam.  Tejzaum yuav muaj tus xav tias neeg yuav paub uantej, tiamsis 14,000 xyoo dhau los mas ntev  ntev heev li lawm.  Nyuav qhuav li 500 xyoo dhau los xwb, cov neeg Khab tseem pab cov neeg Aaskiv cog pobkws nyob rau tebchaws America hos.  Niaj hnub no, ib xyoo twg neeg America thiaj ua lub koobcheej nco txog thiab ua tsaug thaum lub 11 hlis tim 26.

Ib tsoom Hmoob, nej puas xav tias txhua txhua tus tibneeg nyob ntiajteb no koom ib tsob?  Kuv muab xav los mas tu siab kawg.  Leejtwg los yeej yog yus tus txheebze vim thaum ub peb yog ib tug.  Ntxiv, txhua txhua tus
neeg puav leej muaj cov keeb ntshav DNA uas yog 99 feem puas sib xws nkaus.  Kuv vam hais tias zaj keeb kwm no yuav muaj nqi rau leej tibneeg txhua tus, thiab nws yuav ua rau leej tibneeg lub siab kaj thiab hloov
los xav txog kev sibpab, sibtxhawb, sibhwm, sibhlub, sib cogqhia thiab sib haumxeeb.

Ua tsaug.

noobneej
innoquest@yahoo.com

(note: yog koj paub txog peb Hmoob zaj dab neeg txog "Siv Yis" thov tuaj piav ntxiv rau peb cov hluas tau kawm....ua tsaug) T...

Siv Yis


(note: yog koj paub txog peb Hmoob zaj dab neeg txog "Siv Yis" thov tuaj piav ntxiv rau peb cov hluas tau kawm....ua tsaug)

Tus sau: Maiv Zuag Ham

Siv Yis pheej mus kawm hwj huaj ntawm nws tij laug, Npag Nag Phav, nws thiaj li mus pom nws niam tij muaj ib yam nroj tshuaj uas muaj hwj huaj heev.  Tsob nroj tshuaj ntawd yeej tsa tau txhua yam uas tuag lawm rov qab los.  Siv Yis thiaj li tau muab nyiag nqa los mus tsa neeg ntiaj teb kom rov qab ciaj los thiab muab coj los tiv thaiv nws kom nws tua tau ob tug menyuam ntxwg nyoog.

Tom qab Siv Yis tua nkawd tuag tag thiab tsa neeg ntiaj teb ciaj rov qab los tag nws thiaj li tau nce mus nyob saum qauj ntuj lawm thiab.  Ua ntej uas nws yuav mus nws tau muab nws cov twj neeb pov tseg nyob rau ntiaj teb.  Siv Yis tseem tau hais tias yog leej twg tsuj tau nws cov qub hneev taw ces tus ntawd yuav tsum tau los mus ua ib tug neeg uas txawm ua neeb los mus pab cawm thiab kho neeg ntiaj teb tej kev mob nkeeg.  Txij hnub ntawd los yog leej twg mus tsuj raug rau nws cov hneev taw ces lawm yuav tsum tau los ua ib tug txiv neeb.  Yog nws hnov pas xyab tsw, hnov lub nruas los sis tswb neeb nrov, nws yuav pib tshee thiab dhia paj paws heev heev.

Tus txiv neeb siv cov tsiaj no coj los mus kho ntsuj kho hlau thiab coj mus txhaws tus neeg mob lub qhov tuag kom tsis txhob muaj kev ploj kev tuag. Tus qaib, tus npua, thiab lub pob zeb raug siv thaum ua neeb kho tus ntsuj plig.  Xws li, menyuam mob taub hau los sis tug neeg ntawd tau poob plig. Tus roob ris yog siv thaum tus neeg mob ntawd raug dab zaj thiab dab nab qa. Tus qav yog siv thaum nws raug dab hav liaj hav av.

(Tseem Tshuav Ntxiv)

by Kao-Ly Yang Part I: Growing up in a Hmong Traditional Family.     Ann PajYeeb was born in Laos in 1975, the year where her peopl...

Why Must I Do Hmong Traditional Wedding?


by Kao-Ly Yang

Part I: Growing up in a Hmong Traditional Family.  

 Ann PajYeeb was born in Laos in 1975, the year where her people lost war and did flee to Thailand before coming to the United States of America. Ann's parents were from Xieng Khouang, a province near Vietnam. They belonged to the ethnic sub-group of White Hmong. The mother got married when she was just thirteen years old in 1970. The father was at that time seventeen years old. As many other people, her parents did not have any formal education. Farmers in the mountains of Southeast Asia, their expectation of a better life was simple: having enough to eat, having sons for the old days where they need support and care, and marrying their children to the best parties. From 1971 to 1990, the mother gave birth to eleven children, eight daughters and three sons. Five children were born in Laos and in Thailand, and six children in the United States.

Ann's family decided to come to the United States after a difficult two-years stay in Ban Vinai, one of the refugee camps in Thailand. It was 1981. The family reached San  Diego, California. Ann was six years old. Life seemed full of promises for her. As a child, Ann revealed to be very insightful, full of curiosity and of innocence. Her father, a well-known wedding mediator, always encouraged his children to learn and to respect norms, values and traditions. Ann, belonging to the first generation of refugees grown up in America, knew how to cook, to politely speak towards Elderly and relatives, to embroider beautiful pieces of fabric for a promising wedding and to take care of her young siblings. Growing up in such a conservative family and at school, Ann acquired a double culture, Hmong culture and the culture of the Mainstream society where she has been immerged.

Just a few years after they came to America, her two older sisters got married. One was fourteen years old and the other, sixteen. Ann did not follow her sisters' examples. She was not enough pretty to attract men: she did not have white skin, dark pearl-eyes, oval face, long hair, tall seize or sweet voice. In addition, her encountering with her teacher of eleventh grade changed her idea of success: she became aware that even girls could pursue higher education, which increased her self-esteem. After her sisters got married, Ann was more in charge of the domestic work. She had less time to do her school homework, as other teenagers. She never complained about that. Reaching the age of fourteen, Ann became the center of a daily attention on behalf of her mother. This latter knew that in the community, an early marriage guaranteed a "good husband". Otherwise marrying later would lead to a "bad husband"; disable, widowed or divorcee men were considered "bad". At any occasions, Ann's mother always reminded her to "speak nicely" to men.

When Ann got older, she refused to date men that her mother introduced to her. Facing such a stubbornness and daily disputes, the mother stopped encouraging her daughter to find a "good husband". Years passed. Ann got into college. Her household became more acculturated: the father accepted more his daughters'choice to study. Ann's mother also became more aware of higher education as an additional attraction to marry well even if during some long years, mother and daughter had been confronting each other on dating issues. Ann was particularly sad when her parents refused her to attend the university of California, Berkley even if she got a scholarship. Instead, she did pursue at Fresno State. They forbad Ann to study in Berkley because it was four hours driving away from Fresno. They believed, alone and isolated, she might be exposed to gang, to men who could abuse her or to other races that could take her away from her community. Although those struggles, in the year of 2000 where Ann was twenty-five years old, she finally accomplished her master degree in counseling.

Part II: Experiencing Love 

Ann felt in love two times in her young life. The first time was with a young man of the same ethnic origin as her's. She was fifteen years old; her date was sixteen years old. Her eldest sister advised her not to get married. And Ann trusted her because she saw her two brothers in-law daily violence, verbal or physical abuse, toward her sisters: The reason of such a violence was on marrying a second wife. This experience made Ann's mind up on early marriages. Marrying early was an obstacle for lasting relationships. Her undertanding helped her to move on with her platonic first love. Long time after, she knew that this experience of broken heart was a rich event that assisted her to better appreciate vulnerability in love relationship.

While taking the bus, she met her second love. She was just seventeen years old. Her new friend was a young and open-minded Latino American; he was four years older than her.

During this first decade in America, dating a non-Hmong was something completely unknown and unaccepted by her community of origin. Her family couldn't tolerate it. Fearing her parent's anger, criticism and rejection, she hid the relationship. This experience with her Latino boy friend was so different from her experience with a Hmong. He did not try to control Ann or to marry her at all costs. Ann was simply enjoying loving a man. It was a wonderful experience: she learnt to take care of herself as person with individual's needs and dreams. As her boy friend has passion for art and other cultures, he lead Ann to discover other visions of life in appreciating beauties in small things as well as in important things. His curiosity in helping others guided Ann to see beyond Hmong narrow views of clan competition and solidarity. He initiated Ann to empower her life in becoming aware of her needs, of her intellectual skills, of the existing multiple choices of careers. Later on, Ann will understand this chance. Without him, she wouldn't become aware of things that will make her old days rich and peaceful.

But in present time, Ann had somehow difficulty to understand his way of approaching issues such as living alone far from home to study, helping strangers or giving without expecting something in return. Life was quiet for Ann and her boy friend during two years. When he finished his four-year college, he got into a medical school in Chicago, so far from Fresno. He wanted to go because his dream was always to become a medical doctor. After tearing discussions, Ann finally accepted his choice. She knew that love toward such a man requested acceptance of this separation even if it might cost their love. At nineteen years old, Ann got into maturity that one could not expect. She understood that love involved separations and reunions, and distance might change feelings. During the first months of their separation, her boy friend did not often call her. Once, when she phoned him, a female voice answered her. She discovered in the following weeks that he had a new girl friend. Instead of depressing, she just ignored it.

This experience of separation suddenly introduced Ann to the universe of her mother -- somehow to all Hmong women' horizons. Being now more informed on grief and sorrows, she started to differently see life. She thought: "The acceptance of life depends more on the place one sits. Maybe, I need to change my place in order to better appreciate my experience". She understood the meaning of courage in what she called "weakness" in her mother's inconditional love toward her father, and in her eldest sisters' attaches toward their husbands. The women preserved their marriage and kept their children together at any emotional and physical costs. She also appreciated the great courage of these people who lived the life they chose even if they were rejected, banished from their own community. Life suddenly appeared to Ann with multiple choices on the ways of loving and living. She thought: "As a Hmong woman, I am lucky to live in America because I have choices".

After this sad experience, Ann committed her following five years to her professional growth. She was very lonely. Her past relationship had increased her understanding of human nature and needs. She cannot live alone. She needs to build a family. But she was hesitating between two choices: either marrying a Hmong and doing a Hmong wedding or marrying a Non-Hmong and avoiding any traditional weddings. Her experience of a cross-cultural love and her daily exposures to her mother and sisters' marital problems already convinced her that lasting loves do not exist. Concerning traditional weddings, she often questioned their cultural diversity and adequacy: "Why could Western people live together without any formal or legitimized marriages? Why do some cultures practice polygyny (
a man can marry several wives - it is the case of the Hmong culture) or polyandry (a woman can marry several men ? it is the case of Tibetan culture where a woman has to marry all the brothers of one family)? And why do some other cultures practice monogamy (one husband gets married to one wife)? Is marriage a more cultural and economic business than individualistic desires?" So Ann came to doubt about the greatness of traditional marriages.

Part III: Thinking of Getting Married To a Man That She Doesn't Love. 

Ann met a young man of her own ethnic group at the graduation of her master degree. They are both twenty-five years old. He seems kind but looks old fashioned. He is not talkative, and has no formal education. He belongs to a big household, and reveals to be the first son; there will be lots of duties for soon to be wife: she will have much more duties toward parents and lineage. After their first meeting, he kept callingAnn several times, and finally got a date with her.

The twenty-five year man believes that he is young with a good physical appearance, he is capable to attract Paj Yeeb. He expects his future spouse to give birth to many sons --sons that will benefit from her good education to succeed in life and to increase new strong male members with leadership skills in his lineage. He expects his wife to bring a complementary salary because his dream is to buy a house for his parents. He doesn't ask more questions about intellectual or psychological compatibility. He believes flowers and candies could buy the heart of a girl. He only visits Ann at home, in presence of her parents: he thinks this approach, a sign of respect, will earn the heart of the whole household. In simple term, his intention is to marry her.

As for the twenty-five year Ann, she pays attention to this young man because she feels old. Her mother, by dint of reminding her to find a man, finally succeeds to get Ann to date this fellow. The convincing argument is: "No good man would marry an old woman" and "Love will grow with time". Nevertherless, Ann is trying to find out more about him if they could be compatible regarding needs, psychological features and common dreams. In getting to know him more, she realizes that he is really a traditional man. He doesn't attract her intellectually and emotionally. He appears to be a good man. But, Ann has more questions in selecting a companion. "Is goodness enough to make me happy? Is he able to overcome traditional division of gender roles? How am I going to fit his conservative family? In the traditional setting, back in Laos, people got married because they need each other to survive. What is now the purpose of getting married if one can support oneself?"

Traditional women grown up in Laos wouldn't ask too much questions. But Ann is an acculturated young woman living in America. Her past experience opened her eyes to a world where love, compatibility and respect in marriage are like air to lungs. Ann is far beyond survival logic that still focuses on the reproduction of the group in having sons and in satisfying the basic needs such as food, minimum comfort (house, clothes), and sexuality. As for Ann, she would like to diversify her experiences in education, in professional growth, in leadership, in business, ?, in the enjoyment of life in its every aspect (traveling, reading, making friends, and having fun). She wants two children, and won't never mind if they're all girls. With such expectations from life, could Ann marry a man who doesn't have anything in common with her, and that she doesn't even love?

Part IV: Dilemmas in Hmong American Weddings. 

Ann's story digs Hmong American wedding issues out with its dilemmas. The first dilemma for a modern Hmong woman like Ann is to find an "appropriate husband". Life will be difficult for her if she came to marry a man who won't share her needs and vision of life. As for Ann, being aware of the gaps of socialization between her and the boy friend only shakes her mind The fact that Ann could think a marriage acceptable without love and compatibility is likely linked to her unconscious dependence to Hmong perception of age: with her twenty-five springs, she is considered by her people as an old girl, which makes her worry about finding a husband and a son in-law to please her family.

In addition, most of the socially acceptable husbands are already married. Women desiring to marry a man of common ethnic origin will have difficulty to find a match. The ones who did not marry yet may be ? as her mother repeatedly reminds her-- disable or men with problems. With her higher education, marrying an outsider will lead to a total rejection on behalf of her community. Indeed, most of the parents expect their children, especially people who reached college, to marry inside the group. And marrying a widow or a divorcee  will lead to to lose prestige.

Ann's second dilemma concerns the legitimization of her union. In her people's traditions, when a girl gets married, she has to pass by a rite of passage: the wedding happens to be a long and harassing negotiation where the groom must pay a
bride price.

In America, the bride price is an important amount of money that go from $6,000 to $9,000 (in 2000). If one add the other spending (food, renting of space, etc.,), the total may go from $8,000 to more than $15,000. If a young and poor groom could not afford spending such an amount of money, he would have to postpone the wedding or to buy "by credit" his wife in borrowing from banks. The lack of money may lead the couple of fiancés into trouble because girls couldn't wait longer: they are afraid of losing time and good opportunities to marry a "good husband" when they are still fresh and desirable.

Among the overseas communities, the bride price is still practiced. Ann thought a lot about it. She knew that her parents could not avoid asking for a bride price. She understood that the bride price is a kind of guarantee for her safety: husbands would not physically --and emotionally--abuse wives like beating them or easily sending them back to their lineage after a few months of marriage. It is also a gain of face to parents. A high price means a good bride in term of beauty and education. Even if Ann understands the social and symbolic functions of the bride price, she is not insured of their appropriateness in the community now resettled in America. Ann's financial autonomy and education support a better way to legitimizing love. She hesitates between different ways of marrying:

1) do a traditional wedding where the groom has to pay a pride price,
2) an unique banquet (It is the case of people getting married to outsiders),
3) a legal wedding according American laws (Such a ceremony is not well considered by parents).

She knows that her parents, as other conservative parents, would like to have a traditional wedding to legitimize her union. Beyond her understanding of traditional wedding as a part of her culture and identity, Ann experiences a deep conflict of integrity: she thinks of her more as an individual apart with the power to choose her life, including the way she would like to celebrate her wedding, than as an individual living in an interdependence with her community, its norms, social standards, and values.

At the individual's level, in following her choice, she will hurt her parents, especially her mother. She is aware that she may generate conflicts with her parents for years. But how could she reconcile two different worlds with two different visions? She just wants to do a legal wedding, and no traditional celebration with laborious processes, no banquet in some fashioned and expensive places. For Ann, love is in itself a celebration of two people willing to live together. Does her choice of celebrating love fit the aspirations of her traditionalist and immature boy friend, of her conservative family? This dilemma between her own desire to marry according to her heart, and the cultural and community norms and standards, leads Ann to question about cultural determination in human being's happiness, individual's interest facing the interests of the group, love and social duties, courage to live the life she wants and courage to fit to her family and community expectations.

Part V: Narrator's position. 

As the narrator of Ann PajYeeb's story, I cannot give a happy or a sad end to her problem because I think there is no unique answer. It's Ann --like each of you, reader-- who has to find out her own way. She knows that her family and the society where she lives, studies, contributes cannot help her to find a culturally appropriate answer to make her fully happy. What I hope the most in writing this modern tale is to increase your awareness on Hmong American dating and wedding issues. When you face this issue, you will be inspired to find the most appropriate way to find happiness in this country rich of opportunities. I really hope this story will make you awake of the various existing ways to express love. I also hope this story will earn your heart, your compassion, and a bigger tolerance toward people who just want to follow their convictions.


"The following story is not my story. All characters and events are fictional. While writing this story, I  would like to make this issue more sensitive to readers.  I then used fictional approach to question the soundness of Hmong wedding  that I have been studying for several years as an anthropologist.
Writing about Hmong wedding is not at all easy because it has an indelible impact on women's destiny. Indeed, getting married in Hmong community constitutes a rite of passage sanctioned by a bride price where men and women acquire the status of adult, passing from childhood to adulthood. For women, it means a symbolic death where they are reborn in the husband's lineage.
In this story, Ann, the main character, questions the various wedding practices and reasons to get married while facing choices. She doubts the soundness of traditional wedding as the unique way to legitimize love. She is not the only one to feel the need of reinveting Hmong wedding in the West. Nowadays, marrying forms the core of misunderstanding and of conflict between parents and children.
While reading this story, I hope you, readers, will come to be more aware of new existing ways of getting married and will show more tolerance toward choices of marrying that you could not understand. I also hope this story will help you to find ways back home in becoming more tolerant toward your parents. Even if they refuse to share your choices of getting married, let's remember that parents are like the sunset. Just love them even if they do not agree on your choices. Life is short. Let us live in peace and with love."



SPECIAL REQUEST:
If you want, as a reader, you can suggest to me:

1.) The end that would fit Ann's profile to make her happy
2.) Or the end that YOU THINK the most appropriate?

Please, feel free to let me know your opinion at
HmongContemporaryIssues
Please, FEEL Free to let me know if you WANT TO SHARE YOUR COMMENT WITH OTHERS READERS. Suggestions of the end of Ann's story by other readers: to read them, click here

Copyright © 2003 Kao-Ly Yang
All rights reserved.

Nws Yog Pes Tsawg ne …Hmoob tus me nqi tshoob?  Tus sau: Pajnyiag Xyooj (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Txawm peb haiv neeg Hmoob ta...

Hmoob tus me nqi tshoob


Nws Yog Pes Tsawg ne …Hmoob tus me nqi tshoob? 
Tus sau: Pajnyiag Xyooj (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Txawm peb haiv neeg Hmoob tau tsiv teb tsaws chaw, peb tseem txawj tuav peb tej kev ua dab ua qhua li thaum ub.  Ib yam tseem ceeb nyob rau txoj kev ua dab ua qhua yog kab tshoob kev kos.  Kab tshoob kev kos tseem ceeb vim hais tias txoj kev ua dab ua qhua no muab ob txoj sia los ua ib txoj lawm.  Tiam sis, nyob rau txoj kev ua tshoob ua kos, tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam peb Hmoob tseem tham txog.  Tsis yog hais tias tham thaum lub caij ua tshoob ua kos xwb, Hmoob yeej tham txog yam no sab nrauv thiab.  Tsis tas li ntawd xwb, cov laus nrog rau cov hluas yeej tham txog tus nqi mis nqi hno txhua zaum yuav ua ib rooj tshoob.  Txawm peb tej kev ua dab ua qhua twb nyob ntev npaum twg los, peb yeej tseem sib cav thiab tham txog tej yam no.

Li no, tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam teeb meem nyob rau peb haiv neeg Hmoob.  Yeej muaj cov pom hais tias yog muaj tus nqi mis nqi hno nyob rau ib rooj tshoob, ob tug menyuam yuav ntsib kev kaj siab thiab nkawv txoj kev hlub yuav tsis ploj. Tus nqi mis nqi hno muaj nuj qis vim hais tias nws txhais tau hais tias tus tub yeej hlub tus ntxhais kawg nkaus.  Vim li no, tus nqi mis nqi hno thiaj li tseem ceeb thiab yuav tsum muaj nyob rau txhua lub rooj tshoob. Txoj kev hlub yog ib yam tseem ceeb nyob hauv cov tub ntxhais hluas lub neej.  Thaum nrhiav tau kev hlub thiab ua ntej yuav ua tshoob ua kos, tus tub yuav tau los nrog nws niam nws txiv tham. 

Ua li no, niam thiab txiv yuav tau ua tib zoo xav txog tus ntxhais ua ntej pub nkawv sib yuav Niam thiab txiv yuav tau ua li no vim ob yam: Yuav tsum qhia niam txiv paub ua ntej saib ces Hmoob ntawd (1) puas yog neeg Hmoob zoo los [sis] yog Hmoob tsis zoo, thaum paub [hais] tias yog Hmoob phem ces tso tseg.  Thaum paub [hais] tias yog Hmoob zoo ces niam txiv tso lus kom mus yuav.  (2) Thaum ntawd niam txiv yuav tsum npaj tej yam txhiam xws tos nkauj nyab los txog… (Leepalao, 2000)

Ntawm no yog ib yam xwb ntawm cov kev mus yuav poj niam.  Muaj tsib txoj kev mus yuav poj niam.  Txiv Plig Nyiaj Pov, ib tug txiv plig uas tau tsim cov ntawm lasteem thiab sau txog kab tshoob kev kos nyob rau Nplog teb tau sau hais tias muaj li no:

1.   Arranged marriage: this is the cross-cousin marriage, arranged by the parents, and good for both families because they know each other.

2.  Mutual consent: the young man and woman request their parents’ permission to marry, and negotiations are favorably concluded.

3.  Elopement: the couple run away together and sleep in the young man’s house.

4.  Bride capture: a man and his male relatives “grab” the young woman in the fields or […] take her from her house.  Usually she has given some sign that she wants this.

5.  Forced marriage: the young woman is pregnant (Symonds, 2003).

Tsib txoj kev no pab tau tus tub seb nws yuav xaiv txoj kev twg los yuav nws tus poj niam.  Vim muaj ntau txoj kev mus yuav poj niam, yuav tau nug seb txoj kev twg thiaj li zoo tshaj los sis seb txoj kev twg niam thiab txiv pom zoo tshaj rau.  Np. T. ib tug niam tais muaj 82 xyoo, tau hais tias,

 “Yog tias tus tub nyiam tus ntxhais thiab tus ntxhais tsis yeem, yeej sib yuav tau lawm.  Tiam sis, niam thiab txiv yuav tsum pom zoo rau qhov no.  Qhov zoo tshaj yog mus hais nqi tsev xwb vim li no qhia tau hais tias tus tub yeej nyiam tus ntxhais lawm.”  Tsis tas li ntawd, LM. X., ib tug niam tsev muaj 45 xyoo, tseem tau hais tias,

“Nkawv sib nyiam, nkawv sib yuav xwb es.  Yog yus niam [yus] txiv pom zoo, ces nkawv sib yuav xwb.  Tuaj hais [nqi tsev] zoo dua vim [hais] tias qhov no qhia tau [tus tub] nws yuav sib hlub dua thiab nyiam tus ntxhais kawg nkaus.”

Zoo li tuaj hais tus ntxhais tom tus ntxhais lub tsev zoo dua lwm txoj kev.  Txoj kev no qhia tau rau tus ntxhais niam thiab txiv hais tias tus tub yeej hlub tau thiab tseem muaj peev xwm los hais tus ntxhais tsev neeg.  Txoj kev ib tug tub yuav xaiv los yuav ib tug poj niam yeej tseem ceeb rau nkawv txoj kev hlub.

Ua ntej yuav ua tshoob ua kos, tus tub thiab tus ntxhais ob tsev neeg yuav tau los sib tham txog tus nqi mis nqi hno.  Tus tub thiab tus ntxhais ob tsev neeg yuav tau xaiv plaub tug mej koob.  Maiv Zoov Vwj, ib tug poj niam Hmoob ua hauj lwm nyob Mas Dis Xeem, Wivcoosxis tam sis no thiab tseem tau ua tus thawj coj nyob hauv lub koom haum Hmong National Development tau nrog ib tug mej koob nyob rau Mas Dis Xeem, Wivcoosxis tham txog txoj kev ua ib tug mej koob.  K. X., tus mej koob no tau hais tias,

First of all, the two "mej koob" or marriage negotiators from each side are needed to be the messengers, negotiators, and deliver the wedding.  […] A wise "mej koob" will not ruin his reputation but an unwise one will ruin his reputation after the first couple of times.  […] Parents will use their grapevine to warn each other [about] "bad" marriage negotiators—those who take the wedding as an opportunity to abuse alcohol (drunkards) and those who deliver inaccurate messages between the parents (Vue, “Voices for the Heart: Traditional Hmong Marriage Negotiation”).

Li no, yus pom tau hais tias cov mej koob tseem ceeb heev thaum yuav hais tus nqi mis nqi hno.  Lawv txoj hauj lwm tseem ceeb rau ob pab tsev neeg vim hais tias ob pab tsev neeg tso siab rau lawv kom tau ib tug nqi mis nqi hno zoo.  Tus nqi mis nqi hno yuav yog hais tias niam tais yawm txiv thiab pog yawg pom zoo rau.  Yog ib tsev neeg tsis pom zoo, cov mej koob yuav tau sib tham kom txhua tus haum siab.  Nancy Donnelly (1994), tus sau phau ntawv, Changing Lives Of Refugee Hmong Women, tau sau txog tus nqi mis nqi hno li no:

In defining nqe mis for me, women tended to emphasize the process of raising the child, while men tended to emphasize the cost in such things as clothes or food.  […] For all the Hmong I talked with, bride wealth stood not as a representative of market value but as a symbol of social involvement (Donnelly, 1994).

Donnelly txhais tau hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno tsis zoo li ib tug lej yus nrhiav tau thaum mus yuav khoom tom khw; tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam qhia tau txog tus ntxhais tus kheej nyob hauv Hmoob zej zos.  Tsis tas li ntawd, Robert Cooper (1998), tus sau phau ntawv, The Hmong: A Guide to Traditional Lifestyles tau txhais hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno yog,

“There is, however, a form of bride wealth which remains with the bride, a wedding gift from her family which is not discussed with the family of the groom and which ensures for her a limited independence and security.”

Cooper tau txhais hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam niam tais yawm txiv tsis hais nrog pog yawg ua ntej yuav ua tshoob ua kos.  Tsis tas li ntawd, Hmoob muaj tus nqi mis nqi hno vim hais tias qhov no qhia rau niam tais thiab yawm txiv hais tias yuav tsis muaj teeb meem dab tsi rau tus ntxhais thiab nws yuav tau kev ywj siab thaum mus ua nyab lawm.  Tus nqi mis nqi hno yeej yog ib yam tseem ceeb tshaj plaws thaum ib tug tub thiab ib tug ntxhais xav los sib sau ua neej.

Nyob rau hnub tim 1 lub 6 hli xyoo 2003, lub 18 Xeem nyob rau Minixaustas tau sau ib txoj cai txog tus nqi mis nqi hno.  Xyoo 1996, Lub 18 Xeem los sis lub koom haus “Hmong United International Council of MN” tsim tau los pab Hmoob zej zos.  Lub Koom haum Hmoob 18 Xeem xav pab Hmoob li no:

1.      Assist Minnesota Hmong in their struggle to adapt to and work with the American legal, school, and cultural systems,

2.      Strengthen Hmong cultural connections and identities through education and the traditional and legal systems, and

3.      Build bridges and partnerships between the Hmong and other American communities (Xiong, Hmong Times, 12/16/02).

Lub Koom haum Hmoob 18 Xeem no muaj ntau lub rooj sab laj thiab tseem muaj cov “surveys” los sis cov lus nug rau Hmoob zej zos thaum xyoo 2001 txog txoj cai hais txog tus nqi mis nqi hno.  Txoj cai no hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno yuav yog $5,000 xwb—tsis pub tshaj (Hmong 18 Council, Traditional Hmong Wedding Dowry Policy).  Yeej muaj lwm yam tus tub thiab nws tsev neeg yuav tau them (i.e. thoob xo, saum rooj tshoob); tiam sis, qhov tseem ceeb tshaj yog tus nqi mis nqi hno.  Tam sis no, txoj cai no nyob rau Minixaustas thiab Wivcoosxis lawm.

Thaum saib daim ntawv no tag, yeej yuav muaj kev ntxhov siab.  Yog hais tias lub 18 Xeem twb muaj ntau lub rooj sab laj txog tej yam no thiab tseem muaj lus nug rau Hmoob zej zos, yeej yuav muaj ntau tswv yim los ntawm peb Hmoob sawv daws.  Tiam sis, lub Koom haum Hmoob 18 Xeem twb tsis hais txog cov tswv yim no li. Zoo li, txhua tus yeej pom zoo rau txoj cai no.  Tiam sis,yog muaj leej twg pom zoo rau ib txoj cai, yeej yuav tsum muaj leej twg tsis pom zoo rau thiab.  Tsis tas li ntawd xwb, txhua tus nyob rau lub 18 Xeem no yog txiv neej tag nrho.  Txhua tus yeej pom zoo rau txoj cai no vim hais tias tsis muaj cov poj niam nyob rau hauv lub Koom haum Hmoob 18 Xeem no los sib cav.  Yog muaj poj niam ntshe lub 18 Xeem twb tsis tau sau txoj cai no.  Tsis tas li ntawd, nyob rau lub 18 Xeem hauv xeev Wivcoosxis, tsis muaj leej twg los sawv cev ntawm pab Hmoob Tswb, Faj, Ham, Hawj, thiab Phab (Hmong 18 Council, Traditional Hmong Wedding Dowry Policy).  No tsis zoo vim hais tias txhua pab Hmoob tsis muaj suab los hais txog tus nqi mis nqi hno rau lawv tej ntxhais.  Lub 18 Xeem twb sau tag lawm txog txoj cai no; tiam sis, txoj cai no ua tsis ncaj tsis ncees lawm.

Ntxiv mus, yeej muaj cov pom hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam yuav tau muaj nyob rau txhua lub rooj tshoob xwb.  Nyob hauv phau ntawv, Calling in the Soul los ntawm Patricia Symonds, nws tau sau hais tias:

The bride price payment, referred to as the debt owed to her parents for her milk and food (“milk and care money,” nqe mis nqe hno), ties a woman to her husband and his lineage, giving them rights to her labor, sexuality, and reproduction.  […] If bride price is not paid, the groom’s family forfeits jural rights to the children.  If a woman doesn’t conceive, the groom may return her to her family, who then return the bride price (Symonds, 2003).

Qhov no txhais tau hais tias tus ntxhais muaj ntau yam pub rau nws tsev neeg tshiab yog hais tias nws yuav mus ua lawv tus nyab tshiab.  Tus tub thiab nws tsev neeg tau tus ntxhais txoj kev yug menyuam thiab nws txoj kev sib deev.  Tsis tas li ntawd, yog hais tias tus tub tsis xav them, nws tsev neeg tsis muaj txoj cai los tau cov menyuam tus ntxhais thiab tus tub yuav yug.  Yog hais tias tus ntxhais yug tsis tau menyuam, tus tub tsev neeg xa tau nws rov qab; li no, tus ntxhais niam thiab txiv yuav tau muab tus nqi mis nqi hno them rov qab rau tus tub.  Txoj cai tseem ceeb npaum no vim hais tias tus ntxhais niam thiab txiv yug tau nws loj hlo thiab nws muaj ntau yam yuav pub rau thiab pab tau nws tsev neeg tshiab.  Vim li no, ML. X.j, ib tug poj niam yug tau 5 leeg ntxhais hais li no,

Kuv tsis zoo siab rau qhov tsawg heev.  $10,000 thiaj tsim nyog.  Vim peb khwv khwv thaum nej tseem yau los.  Tus nqi mis no muaj nqi rau kuv kawg.  Twb khwv khwv tu nej, yuav tsum yuav nqi.  Ua li lawv zaj phee [nkauj]—“Kuv yug mob kuv plab nab!” (ML. X., 7/29/04)    ML. X. xav hais tias nws txoj kev yug nws tej ntxhais yog los ntawm nws txoj kev khwv noj khwv haus.  Yog li no, nws yeej xav tau ib tug nqi.  Yeej muaj cov hais tias:

 “Txawm muaj nyiaj los Hmoob yeej tsis muag.  Tus nqi tob hau yog rau niam txiv tus ntxhais xwb (V.V., 7/27/04).”

Qhov no qhia tau hais tias niam txiv tsis muab tus ntxhais muag kom tau nyiaj; tiam sis, niam txiv ntau tus nqi no li ib tug nqi tu tus menyuam hlob.  Tsis tas li ntawd, tus nqi mis nqi hno txhais rau niam thiab txiv hais tias lawv tus ntxhais yuav mus ua lub neej zoo tsis ntsib kev txom nyem thiab nyuaj siab li.  ML. X. tseem tau hais ntxiv hais tias:

“[Kuv pom] zoo [rau tus nqi tob hau] rau qhov [nws yog] kom nkawv sib sib hlub. Thiab txoj kev sib hlub yuav kav ntev zog yog tias yus them.  Tus nqi tob hau lav tau hais tias ob tug yuav ua neej zoo.”  Tus nqi mis nqi hno yeej yog ib yam yuav tau muaj nyob thaum yuav ua tshoob ua kos.

Yog muaj leej twg pom zoo rau tus nqi mis nqi hno, yeej yuav muaj cov ntseeg hais tias tus nqi mis nqi hno tsis yog ib yam tseem ceeb nyob rau txoj kev ua tshoob ua kos.  Cov tsis pom zoo rau yeej tsis xav them vim ntau yam.  Muaj ib tug tub, P. H., nyob rau hoob 3 ntawm lub SEASSI program hais txog Hmoob tau hais li no:

“Yeej tsis xav them vim kuv twb cog lus rau niam txiv tias yuav hlub xwb.”

Ntxiv mus, yus pom hais tias cov tub tsis xav them tus nqi mis nqi hno vim nws txoj kev hlub tseem ceeb dua.  Ib tug ntxhais, NkH., nyob rau hoob 3 ntawm lub SEASSI program hais txog Hmoob tau hais li no:

“Yog hais tias nyiaj tsis muaj nuj nqi, ua cas tsis txhob muaj [tus nqi mis nqi hno] es mas hais tias ‘ua tsaug, kuv tsis muaj nyiaj tsuas [yog] muaj kuv txoj kev hlub xwb. Tsis yuav nyiaj los yeej tsis hais.” 

Tus ntxhais no tau qhia hais tias txoj kev hlub tseem ceeb dua cov nyiaj thiab.  Txawm yuav hais li no los yeej tsis tau vim hais tias feem ntau, niam thiab txiv tsis paub tus cwj pwm ntawm tus tub; lawv yuav ntseeg tsis tau nws. Ib yam li ib tug ntxhais, D. L. nyob rau hoob 3 ntawv lub SEASSI program hais txog Hmoob tseem tau hais,

“Niam txiv tsis ntseeg vim txhua tus [tub] yog laib xwb.  Yeej ntseeg tsis tau.”

Yog li no, niam thiab txiv yeej yuav tus nqi xwb.  Tsis tas li ntawd, tseem muaj cov hais tias tsis muaj nyiaj them niam tais thiab yawm txiv.  Li no, yog tsis muaj nyiaj, yeej muaj peb txoj kev pab tau tus tub los them tau tus nqi mis nqi hno: 1. Nrog niam tais yawm txiv nyob los khwv kom tau tus nqi mis nqi hno them niam txiv. 2. Khwv ib leeg kom tau tus nqi mis nqi hno thiaj li tau tus ntxhais los ua neej 3. Mus nug kwv tij neej tsa los pab nws them.  Lwm hnub tseem yuav them lawv rov qab thiab (ML. X., 7/29/04).

 Txhua yam no, Hmoob tseem ua thiab.  Yog hais tias muaj leej twg tsis xav them, yeej muaj peb txoj kev no los pab tau.  Txawm hais tias tsis muaj nyiaj los sis hais tias txoj kev hlub muaj nuj nqi dua, tus tub thiab nws tsev neeg yuav tau lees them xwb.  Tus nqi mis nqi hno tseem ceeb yuav tsum muaj nyob rau txhua lub tshoob.

Tas li ntawv, thaum Hmoob ua tshoob ua kos, tus nqi mis nqi hno tseem ceeb heev.  Nws yog ib yam qhia tau rau niam tais thiab yawm txiv hais tias lawv tus ntxhais yuav ntsib kev noj qab nyob zoo.  Tsis tas li ntawd, tus nqi mis nqi hno tseem yog ib yam khoom pub rau niam txiv vim hais tias nkawv tau yug tus ntxhais ntawd loj hli tiav hluas nkauj kom txawj mus ua nyab.  Cov tsis pom zoo them tus nqi mis nqi hno ntseeg hais tias txoj kev hlub yeej piv tsis tau rau tus nqi mis nqi hnov.  Tiam sis, niam thiab txiv ntseeg tsis tau li no vim nkawv tsis paub tus tub.  Tsis tas li ntawd, cov tsis pom zoo tseem xav hais tias cov tub tsis muaj nyiaj them; li no, txhob muaj tus nqi mis nqi hno zoo dua.  Tiam sis, yeej muaj peb txoj kev kom pab tau tus tub no.  Tus nqi mis nqi hno yog ib yam tseem ceeb vim hais tias niam thiab txiv yeej xav kom tus tub thiab tus ntxhais ntsib kev kaj siab lug thiab tau lub neej zoo xwb.  Li no, tus nqi mis nqi hno yuav tau tshwm sim rau txhua lub rooj tshoob.

Hmong American History Timeline By Kao-Ly Yang, Ph.D . "Wherever countries we may live either in the East, in the Southeast o...

Hmong American History Timeline


Hmong American History Timeline
By Kao-Ly Yang, Ph.D.

"Wherever countries we may live either in the East, in the Southeast or in the West, whatever word we may use to call ourselves, either "Miao", "Hmong"(Hmoob), "Mong"(Moob), or "Méo", we all shall remember and cherish our common cultural heritage made of sub-cultures and of divers dialects, and the fragments of our history that we have kept in memory.
Whatever good relationship we may maintain within our community, whatever ideology,  beliefs or lifestyle we may seek to promote, how acculturated in the Western cultures we may become, we all shall protect and preserve the unity of our ethnic group as a necessity to enhance our kind so that our descendants will have better opportunities to appear and voice as one unique group
before the challenges of modern societies."

TIMELINE
2700 BC: Description in the Chinese Annals of Chi-You, the mythical ancestor of the Miao people in Central China, near the Yellow  River or Yang Tse Kiang. The Miao tribe under Chiyou defeated at Zhuolu defunct prefecture on the border of today provinces of Hebei and Liaoning) by Huang Di leader of the Huaxia tribe as they struggled for supremacy of the Huang he valley.

2200 BC:  Battle of the "San Miao" against the great Yu who exterminated this ethnic group
1728-1736: Rebellion of Miao in Guizhou against military pressure in sight of assimilating Miao into Han
1800's:  Several rebellions of the Miao people in Hunan, Guanxi and Guizhou: escape to the South of China and to the Southeast Asia.
1851-1862: Participation of the Miao people into the "Taiping Rebellion".
1854-1873: "The Miao Rebellion" in Guizhou: afterwards exodus to Southeast Asia, more than 10.000 refugees per day crossed the borders of Vietnam towards Laos, and Thailand. Last arrived in the IndochinesePeninsula where the valleys were already occupied, the Hmong settled down in the Mountainous areas
1893: Colonization of Laos: a French protectorate until 1945.
1918-1920: "The Madman's War" (Rog phim npab): a Hmong messianic leader, Pa Chay (Paj Cai), raised soldiers to fight against French because of tax imposition. This rebellion lead the French administration to take in consideration the presence of Hmong ethnic group in Southeast Asia in attributing administrative and political positions to a few Hmong men.
1936: Raise and fall of Chongtou Lo (Txoov Tub Lauj), son of Lo Bliayao (Lauj Npliaj Yob), to take over his father's duties as Kaitong (Kiab toom) ("Canton": political district). However, due to his ineffectiveness, he was replaced by his brother-in-law, Ly Foung (Lis Foom). Ly Foung's ascension to the position of Kaitong would eventually lead to clan conflict, the Lo Clan against the Ly Clan.
1938: Appointment by French Administration of Touby Lyfoung (Tub Npis Lis Foom), son of the Ly Foung as the Kaitong.
1943: Arrival of Japanese troupes in Laos. Hmong two most powerful clans, the clan Ly/Lyfoung (lead by Touby Lyfoung, son of Ly Foung and nephew of Lo Blia Yao) and the Lo/Lobliayao (Lead by the Faydang Lobliayao (Faiv Ntaj Lauj Npliaj Yob), Lo Bliayao's son and Touby Lyfoung's uncle) fought for Lo Bliayao's political position of "Kaitong" in the District of Non Het in the Province of Xieng Khouang, Laos. The Ly/Lyfoung was supporters of the French colonialists and the Lo/Lobliayao, of the Japanese invaders: the end of the World War II divided the Hmong community into two fractions. The Ly/Lyfoung remained in Laos and supported the Lao royal regime. As for the Lo/Lobliayao, they fled to Vietnam where they joined the Pathet Lao, ally of the Vietnamese communist movement.
1945: September: Declaration of the Vietnam's Independence by Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi.
1947: Creation of a Lao Constitution where Hmong people are integrated as a part of the Lao Nation.
1952 October: Invention of the Hmong Latin or the Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) written system by Catholic missionary Father Yves Bertrais, and American linguists, Dr. Williams Smalley and Pastor Dr. Linwood Barney with the help of two Hmong, yang Yeng (Yaj Yeeb) and Yang Hue (Yaj Hwm), in Luang Prabang in Laos.
1954 May 7: Surrender of the French Military Troupes at Dien Bien Phu,  Vietnam. End of the French colonies in Indochina.
1954: Full independence of Laos as a constitutional monarchy. Civil war broke out between royalists and the communist group, the Pathet Lao.
1954: Opening of Geneva Conference.  Geneva Agreements adopted, Vietnam provisionally divided at the 17th parallel.
1955: Beginning of the United States direct aid to South Vietnam. United States advisers began the training of South Vietnamese army troops.
1961: Beginning of US building covert up and CIA recruitment of Hmong soldiers as a secret U.S-backed army in Laos, authorized by President John F. Kennedy, warned by his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower, that Laos was the domino that could lead to the loss of the Southeast  Asia to communism.
1961-1973: "Secret War" part of the Vietnam War in Laos: the minority Khmu, Mien and mainly Hmong soldiers were recruited to fight the communist party, the Pathet Lao, ally of the North Vietnam. General Vang Pao, after serving the French army, was recruited to support the American effort of war against communism. The estimated number of deaths during the secret War is about 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers; the wounded are about 50,000 to 58,000 and the missing are about 2,500 to 3,000. The Laos was subject to extensive aerial bombardment by the United States in an attempt to destroy the North Vietnamese sanctuaries and to rupture the supply lines known as the "Ho Chi Minh Trail". It's estimated that more bombs were dropped in Laos than used during the whole of World War II.
1964, August 7: Amendment of the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" by the United States Congress authorizing the President of the United States to use military forces in Vietnam to repel attacks on American installations.
1965 February 7: Beginning of bombing military targets in North Vietnam by US Army.
1969 May 14: Top of Bombing strength in Vietnam: at 543,000.
1969 July 12: Death of Lee Lue (Lis Lwm), the Hmong best fighter bomber pilot, shot down by heavy anti-aircraft fire.  Lee Lue flew, averaging 120 combat missions a month to build a total of more than 5,000 sorties.
1972 March 30: Launch of the largest offensive of the war since 1968 by People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) troops. The Vietnamese soldiers reached the city of Long Cheng known as the site Lima LS20A where lived General Vang Pao with his high ranked militaries. Major Colonel Shoua Yang (Txooj Suav Yaj)  and Colonel Shong Leng Xiong (Soov Leej Xyooj) along with their soldiers revealed to be the bravest militaries in defending the city.
1972: Yang Dao (Yaj Daus):  First Hmong to obtain a Ph.D. doctorate degree in Economics Sciences, at the University of Paris X, France. He became the role model for the following intellectual generations.
1973 January 27: Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam signed in Paris.
1973 February 21:  Signature of the agreement to stop fighting with the Pathet Lao by the King, Sri Savang Vatthana. Vientiane ceasefire agreement divides Laos between the communists and the royalists.
1974 April: Creation of a government of National Union, which is the cohabitation between the royal party and the Pathet Lao.
1975 April 30: Fall of Saigon to North Vietnam. The exodus began: hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese became refugees by escaping by boat, communist oppression and re-education camps in the coming years. The fall of South Vietnam anticipated the fall of Laos in May.
1975 May 14: Arrival of the first Hmong refugees in Thailand. Most military families flew to Udon Thani before being transferred to the temporary campNamphong and to Ban Vinai.
1975 May: Birth of the Hmong resistance movement, lead by Sayshoua Yang (Xaiv Suav Yaj) then by Pakao Her (Paj Kaub Hawj) in the 1980's: the resistants lived in the jungle of Laos and got support from the Hmong in Thailand and overseas.
1975 May to 1990's: Inestimable number of thousands of Hmong murdered by the communists when trying to flee to neighboring Thailand by crossing the Mekong River.
1975 May 10: Opening of the military camp Namphong to welcoming Laotian first refugees
1975 July: Departure of General Vang Pao lfrom Thailand to the United States. First families, including Dr. Yang Dao's family, migrated to France and the United States.
1975 December 2:  Abdication of the King Savang Vatthana. He was arrested with many other personalities, including Touby Lyfoung. Most of them died in captivity in re-education camps in Samneua province. The communist Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR) was established with one legal political party.
1975-1978: First Wave of Southeast Asian Refugees" where with more educated refugees in the United States. More than 130,000, refugees, predominantly Vietnameses, entered the U.S. Congress passes the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act to provide funds for resettlement programs.
1976: Removal of the Hmong refugees at Namphong camp to Ban Vinai, a former military training camp in Thailand. Opening of additional refugees camps: Ban Vinai, Non khai (Province of Loei, closed in 1982), Poua (Province  of Nan), Ubone (closed in1982), Outradith, and ChiangKhang.
1977 July: Departure of the high ranked military households for overseas.
1975-1980: Arrival of the Hmong first families in Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and California.
1975-1990: Official number of 150,000 Hmong refugees in France, US, and other countries.
1977: Amendment of Congress law allowing SEA refugees to become permanent resident upon request.
1977: Creation of the first Lao Family Community Based Organization by General Vang Pao and his committee in Santa Ana, California.
1978: Visible sign of drops of chemical agent called Yellow Rains by the Pathet Lao on Hmong villages in the Mountain Phou Bia region where the Hmong resistants were hidden.
1979-2003: "Second Wave of Southeast Asian Refugees" with less educated people in the United States.
1979: Modification of the Thai government approach to supply the refugees because of food shortages and the flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees to Thailand. Some private enterprises within agriculture were permitted.
1980's: Secondary migration inside the United States: Hmong people arrived in different states, sponsored by American citizens, finally gathered into three states: California, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
1981: Detection of chemical agents used against the Hmong and other minorities by Western scientists. These chemical agents were from the former Soviet  Union.  General Vang Pao asked for an investigation into the use of chemicals against the Hmong. The United Nations voted for an investigation of the use of chemicals in Laos.  The United States held hearings on the use of chemicals in Laos.
1986: Death of Asian/Hmong 5 children by open fire, Stockton, California, Cleveland Elementary School: this case deeply affected the feeling of safety of the Hmong community in the United States.
1991:  Choua Lee  (Cua Lis): First Southeast Asian American and Hmong woman to become school board at the age of 23 years old, in St Paul, Minnesota.
1993: Escape of 10,000 Hmong refugees from the official refugee camps to Thai Buddhist temple "Wat Tham Krabok" rather than be repatriated.
1993: Creation of the Hmong National Development, a native non-profit organization in Washington D.C. for advocating more visibility of Hmong issues and self-sufficiency.
1995: Beginning ofa five-man fact-finding mission to Thailand by Representative Steve Gunderson (WI) and Representative Christopher Smith (NJ). They wanted information concerning repatriation and various atrocities. Their findings confirmed the information that had previously been considered rumors.
1995: Closure ofall refugee camps in Thailand.
1997: Acceptance of Laos as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Asian financial crisis decimated the value of the Lao currency, the kip.
1997: Recognition of the Hmong veterans in Washington D.C. for their efforts during the Vietnam War.
2000: The Hmong Veterans' Naturalization Act of 2000, which became law on May 26, 2000, and which was amended on November 1, 2000, provides an exemption from the English language requirement and special consideration for civics testing for certain refugees from Laos applying for naturalization.
2000: Appointment of Lee Pao Xiong (Lis Pov Xyooj) by President Bill Clinton to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.
2001: Mee Moua (Mim Muas), first Southeast Asian American and Hmong woman to be elected as a State Senator in Minnesota.
2003: Dr. Tony Vang (Tony Vaj), first elected Hmong in California, as school board in Fresno Unified School District.
2003 June: Amendment of the Assembly Bill AB78 introduced by Assembly Woman Sarah Reyes with the support of a group of Hmong women to recommend the teaching of the "Secret War" at all California public schools from grade 7 to 12.
2003 June: Cy Thao (Xais Thoj), first State Representative in the district 65A, Minnesota
2003 December: Announcement by the U.S. State Department of the resettlement of 15,000 Hmong refugees from the Temple "Wat Tham Krabok" camp in Thailand to the United States.
2004 April-present:  New waves of escape of the Hmong Laotians to Thailand, trying to join the last Hmong refugees of 1975 at "Wat Tham Krabok", hoping to be able to come to America. They are retained in the Thai province  of Petchabun. Thai authorities and the High Commissariat of Refugees try to find an appropriate solution for the repatriation.
2004 May 27: Release of the reportage "A Day of War" by the English channel BBC on the fraction of Hmong resistance living in the jungle since 1975 in Laos.
2004 June -present: The "Third Wave of Southeast Asian Refugees", mainly Hmong from "Wat Tham Krabok", Thailand arrived in the United States.

SOURCES
Websites:
www.cidcm.umd.edu
www.nationmaster.com
www.ravens.org
www.peopleteams.org
www.laofamily.org
www.laoveterans.8k.com
www.hmongcenter.org
www.dce.k12.wi.us
www.hmong_timeline.htm
www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/hmong.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/programmes
this_world/one_day_of_war/html/14.stm
Interview with Colonel Shoua Yang, 2000-2003
D. Jenks, Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou:
The Miao Rebellion 1854-1873, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994

Common Basis and Characteristics of the Miao and Hmong Identity Zhang Xiao Director of the Institute of Culture of Minorities, Provinc...

Keeb kwm Hmoob


Common Basis and Characteristics of the Miao and Hmong Identity
Zhang Xiao
Director of the Institute of Culture of Minorities,
Provincial Academy of Social Sciences of Guizhou, Guyang, Province  of Guizhou, China

FOREWORD
by Kao-Ly Yang, Ph.D. Anthropology

The article Common Basis and Characteristics of the Miao and Hmong Identity" is definitively a very estimable piece of contribution to the Miao (Hmong) studies, enlightening the state of knowledge of the ancient history of the ethnic group.

The author, Zhang Xiao, a Miao Chinese researcher, presents important trails and brings accurate facts that she has been gathering for more than 30 years in China. These outcomes are precious to the Hmong people in the West as well as to the Western researchers seeking to assemble in depth studies in Ethnohistory, Archeology, Anthropology, Linguistics and/or Literature, etc.

This article is particularly generous, fertile, and captivating  because of its academic content and of the regard of the author who questioned her astonishing encountering with the Hmong of the United States or of France, the descent of the fraction that had left China in the 19th Century. In fact, her set of anecdotes where she described her interactions with them, unveiling the gaps between the various fractions in term of language, of culture and of mentality.

The overseas Hmong are quite close to her because of a common preoccupation regarding their identity origin and of their search of the roots of the Miao and Hmong people. At the same time,  they are paradoxically so far from one another groupes because they cannot understand each other due to language barriers.

I believe this encountering with the overseas Hmong generated her awareness of another type of gap, and has sharpened her understanding of the necessity to incorporate the fraction of the West into her researcher's framework and network of exchange.

Besides, Zhang Xiao posed a contrasted and engaged analysis of the term "Miao", which contributes to catch the historical background of the complex uses of the ethnonyms "Hmong" and "Miao".

When we met in 2003, both of us, the Miao Chinese and the Hmong French, travelers and researchers, suddenly felt sharing the same ethnic origin, and started to ask this unique question: "Do Miao and Hmong people belong to the same ethnic group when we, Miao of China and Hmong of Southeast Asia, and Hmong of the West, do not understand each other anymore? If yes, what will be the basis of our common culture and identity?" Zhang Xiao here answered the questions in highlighting the historical common origin.

I believe this paper has powerful research avenues that will lead Hmong people to self-awareness, acceptation of their unity in acknowledging their cultural diversity. This article may guide many Hmong to understand their past so that they will take better care of the future and to search for accurate knowledge of the Miao (Hmong)'s origin. There is great need: I have always observed Hmong people living with great desire to go back to China to find their origin that would suspend their thirst of defined identity and hunger of pride and of cultural distinction.

Zhang Xiao did also imply a request of cooperation between the fraction in China and the fraction in the West. Poor departed immigrants, now become flourishing men and women, the Hmong in the West seem likely the hope of prosperity for the remaining in the cradle of their origin and in Southeast Asia. In fact, in this World of globalization, Zhang Xiao has more voices in her role of Miao to advocate a brighter future for the whole community: she is the mother, the intellectual, the native researcher who must raise her voice (and her curiosity) for more cross-intra ethnic research studies, for the preservation of the Miao (Hmong) culture, history and literature, and for more understanding between the divers Miao fractions. Beyond expectation, as the history of migration of other people already shows, migration is not a synonym of shame, of misery or of death at the long term: migration may become an essential survival mean for the group. The Miao (Hmong) had been immigrants for the past four thousands years when one after another fraction started their journey progressively from Central China to the South, then to the Southeast Asia before reaching the West in 1975.

I felt lot of pleasure at the same time painful sorrow during the reading of this paper. Beyond the collective history, there are the individuals' paths where people has been left behind, separated forever from their loved ones, miserably died in unknown places.

The Miao (Hmong) Diaspora is certainly one of the most ancient Diaspora in the migration history. In spite of the four thousand years of wandering due to wars, political and religious persecutations, the Miao (Hmong) people still remember their ethnicity. Time did not dimunish their search of their origin: members still acknowledge their ethnicity and seek to preserve their cultural heritage.

I also understood that more research on the Miao (Hmong) is necessary to understand this society, which has survival lessons to share with other minorities. This ethnic group had survived wars, rebellions, starvations, persecutiions, and culture and language assimilations.

The analysis of the ancient practices of rituals strongly suggested that the Miao (Hmong) might experience ages of prosperity during periods in the Antiquity before or during the Chinese Antiquity. However, unfortunately, the evidences had vanished in the ground; only latent memory in the literature, day dreams of scholars, buried ruins or hidden remains might be henceforth the only witnesses of that fabulous past kept somewhere in the contemporary China. In this quest of the origin of the Hmong people.

Such an ethnic group needs to be studied in dept to better catch hold of the mechanisms of survival and of the reproduction of its culture, its capacities of adaptation. This text brings after all hope and enchantment: it helps me to not regret anymore my life of miserable student, my current never ended exile far from France to acquire more experience as a Hmong woman and anthropologist, and the choices of my professional life.  Alike the story "Le petit Poucet" who throws stones on the forest trail in order to find his way back home, this article helped me to find my path of researcher on Hmong culture and language that I have sometimes neglected in sight of materially surviving. I now know that my project of research belongs to a bigger framework, the one that may lead one day to find missing pieces of the ancient history of the Miao (Hmong) people. I learnt that knowing one's history is essential to overcome shame, feeling of inferiority, humiliation, to accept one's legacy --and oneself-- with pride, and to live in peace, in knowledge and in harmony with oneself and others. Maybe it is time for many of us to acknowledge that being a Hmong may offer an infinite chance to better live in this post-industrial society where our plural and pluralistic identity and cultural heritage will be incredible assets to enhance our abilities, skills and aptitudes to take the challenge of any modern enterprises.

Readers, I hope this article will increase your awareness of whom you are, of what you should do for you and for your descendents so that a part of the history of Mankind will be preserved. I really wish this paper will shake your consciousness, and not any other, but your historical consciousness, the one that preserves the people from ethnic violence, massacres and wars.

At last, I would like to express a great thank you to Zhang Xiao for the time we shared together in Fresno, California where our interesting discussions enhanced my confidence in my choices in this universe of intellectual women exiled far from home, one from France and another from China. I really appreciate her kindness and strong mentorship in shaping my awareness.

Wherever countries we may live either in the East, in the Southeast or in the West, whatever word we may use to call ourselves, either "Miao", "Hmong" (Hmoob), "Mong" (Moob), or "Méo", we all shall remember and cherish our common cultural heritage made of sub-cultures and of divers dialects, and the fragments of our history that we have kept in memory.
Whatever relationship we may maintain within the Hmong community, whatever ideology, beliefs or lifestyle we may seek to promote, however acculturated in Western cultures we may become, we all shall protect and preserve the unity of our ethnic group as a necessity to enhance our kind so that our descendants will have better opportunities to appear and voice as one unique group before the challenges of modern societies.

In this effort to preserve legacy and memories, we shall create opportunities for other native researchers to go further, to dig deeper in the Chinese soil to find -- I hope-- not only a fragment, but many archeological pieces of our vanishing past, and maybe even more, some unexpected treasures.

A huge thank you to Zhang Xiao to allow me to publish her article in English, in French and in in Chinese (in the original version),  in my website on Hmong Contemporary Issues.


                           .................................................................................

Common Basis and Characteristics of the Miao and Hmong Identity

Original Title:
All Hmong's Recognition (of) the Basis and Characteristics
Zhang Xiao

First translation from Chinese to English by Ling Cho
Edited by Kao-Ly Yang in 11/26/2003

(This text has been presented at the Conference organized by the California State University of Fresno in 1996)

As a member of the Miao People, I live in the Southeastern part of Guizhou, China. Among the three major Miao dialects, I speak the dialect from the Central part (of China). In the spring of 1989, I made my first encounter with a Hmong American; he spoke the dialect which was from the West region of China. At that time, I did not know that dialect (But I later learnt in 1992), I could not communicate with him. Through a translator, he asked me: "Since we cannot communicate, why say that we are the same race?" He also asked me a question on the nature of this identity basis. I think that my today topic is to answer this question through situations that I understand and from my research. At the same time, I want to conduct discussions with representatives about the cultural characteristics that appear during the process of formation of the ethnic group.

I. The main basis of the recognition of all Miao and Hmong identity [1]
"All Miao" that I am talking about are here the Miao people who live all over the World. But the fact of questioning and doubting Miao identity does not happen among neither Miao/Hmong people who are outside of China living in different countries (referred as "overseas Miao/Hmong") nor between Miao in the Yunnan province and the overseas Miao/Hmong. Questions and doubts only exist between the Miao/Hmong and the Miao in other provinces of China. As we all know, the Hmong mostly are migrants from Yunnan province of China to the Southeast Asian countries within the most recent few hundred years.  A part of them, in this decade, has migrated from Southeast Asia to Europe and America. In comparing the overseas Miao/Hmong and the Chinese Miao of Yunnan, the origin and kinship are very clear. The languages are also completely communicable. Therefore, the question that needs to be answered is: "Why have the overseas Miao/Hmong and the Miao of Guizhou, of Hunan and of other provinces in China been classified as the same ethnic group?" This question is like a formula of syllogism: Since A=B; in order to get A=C, it requires knowing B=C. The Miao of Yunnan are like a bridge to explain the sharing of Miao identities. We must explain why people in different areas of China belong to the same ethnic group.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese government organized in the beginning of the 1950's some specialists to classify all the different ethnic groups or national minorities. The Miao, who are scattered throughout China, were truly acknowledged as one group at that time, and were named "The Miao People". According to the Department of Recognition of National Minorities[2], the Miao are described as "scattered" over vast areas. They form many unconnected but compact communities, in language and cultural aspects. There are both similarities and big differences. For long times, they were called by the same name by other people. And they also considered themselves as belonging to the same group. Therefore, the self-awareness as a people is obvious.

According the 1990 census in China, there were 7,398,035 Miao in China. They were mostly distributed in Guizhou with 3,686,900, in Hunan with 1,557,073, in Yunnan with 896,712, in Sichuan with 535,923, in Guanxi with 425,137, in Hubei with 200,702 and in Nanhai with 52,044.

The Miao language has three major dialects: Eastern, Central and Western dialects. In Hunan province, the Miao use the Eastern dialect. In the Southeast part of Guizhou, they use the Central dialect. The Western dialect is used in Central Guizhou, in Yunnan, in SichuanProvinces, and also the overseas Miao/Hmong who speak a Western variety. The majority of Miao people use the Western dialect. The Central dialect is second in usage while the Eastern dialect is the least used. The three major dialectal areas can be considered as the three main parts of the Miao people. Indeed within these groups, the native speakers cannot directly communicate to each other group. There are also some differences in term of cultural customs. They have been living in different areas and have had different economic situations. But then why do they perceive themselves as belonging to the same race? And why other people call them the same race too? The recognition of Miao people as being the same race must have some strong basis or foundation as discussed below.

1. History
The origin of the Miao people is still an unsolved problem. For the past five thousands years, the sequences are rather clear, partly because the Chinese historical Annals. There are also rich historical legends among Miao people's culture. Those Chinese Annals described how the ancestors of the Miao resided near the Middle low area of the Yellow River, back to four or five thousand years ago. Ci You was the Miao leader of the "Jiu Li" tribe. Later on as outcome of tribal wars, the Miao group was forced to migrate during the past five thousand years from North to South, and from East to West to form the current distribution of the Miao in China today. In the books of Chinese History, the names of "San Miao", "Jin Chu", "Jin Man", "Nan Man", "Wullin Man", "Wuxi Man", etc. were all names used to address the Miao group at different periods in History in China. The Miao people?s ancestors continued to divide into different sub-groups and to depart because of the wars. According to Yi Xi Jian's documents, in the biggest Miao village in Qiandongnan in Guizhou province, it is said that Ci You had three sons: the oldest son was Pang Ci, the second was Fu Ci and the third was Li Ci. After Ci You lost the war, the third son took some people and escaped to the North; the second son and his people were captured; only the oldest son lead his people to the South. If this legend was true, the third son Li Ci with his people blended later on into other race. Fu Ci and his men merged into the Han race. Only Pang Ci and his people who traveled to the South formed the Miao Nationality in China. This last group who crossed the Yellow River in going south then established the "Three Miao" groups. Not long later, they have conflict with the Hua Xia group. Under the congruence of the ruler of the Xia dynasty, they were forced to migrate and to divide again. I think the separation of the three branches of Miao started at that time. Due to an early separation, there were later certain differences in term of formation of language and of culture among the three major branches. But since the three groups has already gone through a long period of history and had shared the tribal name of "Miao", they did not forget that their ancestors at one time belonged to the same tribal group. Sharing the same ancient history is an important basis of the Miao people's identity. Every branch has its own recording about this prehistory and remembers it very well.

The Miao/Hmong people spoken the Western Miao dialect are the descendents of a front army team of the early tribal group who had been involving in most of the fighting with the Han Chinese. They were the main power of the oldest brother Pang Ci. Therefore, their impression of the tribal wars is especially deep and their culture has kept a rest recording toward the prehistory wars. The Ci You's legend of Western Miao mentions the war between Ci You and the Yellow dragon man and the red dragon man in a vivid description. This legend matched the Chinese historical account of the battle between Ci You and the Yellow Emperor Yan during their "fight for the central plans of the Yellow River".  In the ancient songs of the Western Miao, there are detailed descriptions of the fierce fighting between the Miao and the Xia people. The music of the Miao in the Northwest of Quian talks about the history of Miao in three major parts: The first period was the peaceful period; the second was the period of war; and the third reflects the period of decline. For the peaceful time, the music is happy and fast as it describes how the Miao ancestors lived peacefully before other people intruded them.  For the epoch of war, the music is rapid but sad. It begins with an alarm announcing the coming fighting, the drinking of bloody wine, and finally the war and the accompanying death. The decline period employs reed pipe[3], which tells about the bad news from the front line and how the people were dreadfully sad. At the end, the music plays the songs "Rooster crowed" and the "Sky is bright" which reveal the bright future of the Miao people. Played as flute music, it always begins with a stepping road song to expressing the continuous migration of the Miao people. Western Miao till now have kept a big volume of legends and of stories about the Miao people under the early leader Ci You.

Miao people speaking the Eastern dialect also have ancient songs. "Cu E Dou Huan" mentions about the difficulties of the Miao group as they lived in the South area of the lower middle part of the Yellow River and in the lower middle area of the Yang Zi River, when they were fighting against the Xia ruler. Maybe it was the survivors of Ci You's men who kept the relics of Ci You's Ban Bing city, village  of Ci You, Ci You's fountain. These relics can now be found in the village of Ci You in the Zu Lu County in Hebei Province. Next to the Ci You's fountain, there is a kind of gigantic tree called the "Ci You's Pine" that local people have bravely protected. It is still well kept nowadays.

Southeast Guizhou Miao women like to embroider their early people's legends on their clothes. The Eastern and the Western dialect Miao use embroidery and wax crayons to record the ancient times, their hometowns fields, scenery and the process of migration from the Yellow river and the Yang Zi River in their skirts. People of the Central dialect Miao have information based on their father's name; they can trace back up to two to three hundred generations of their ancestors even to the leader of Jiu Li tribe. Native speakers of all three Miao dialects address or refer to Ci You as the "Great Ancestor" and the "Great Man". Cun Nan in the Northwest of Guizhou province has the Ci You?s temple to let the local Miao people offer their respect to the ancient leader. As the maple tree has something to do with Ci You, the Cenbu Miao of Hunan province have the custom of worshipping the "Maple God". The Miao people of the Southeast  Guizhou province represent the maple tree as a god or a spirit who protects the village. In the ancient song, the "maple song", the maple trees were considered as the ancestors. A Hmong American of a certain age still keeps a secret that has to do with Ci You.

2. Culture and beliefs
Because of the separation in residence such as the blocking by whole mountains, different branches of Miao have formed some differences, which is normal. In spite of several thousand years of separation with little opportunity to correspond, some culture can be regarded as similar among all Miao and tend to unity them as one group. A main example is the reed pipe that is used by the Miao, especially the Miao of the Central and the Western dialects are the most outstanding in the handling of this instrument. The Miao reed pipe occupies a very important part in their life.

In all parts of China, no other ethnic group has clothing as rich and colorful as the Miao. In Guizhou, there are one to two hundred different types of traditional costumes.  The variety of costumes mostly has tops and folded skirts that are commonly reflected among all Miao branches. The clothing possesses a noble and elegant manner, and it represents the specialty of the ancient ethnic group. The Miao are known for their batik, their embroidery and their silverware as well as for the artistic quality and for the process of making which may reach world's best standards. Wherever in China or overseas, the Miao clothing exhibitions are highly appreciate by viewers. Miao women all over the world are excellent producers of weaved embroidery and batik and painting.

Also Miao people love singing and reveal good in using songs to tell stories. They use songs to express feelings so that the singer can be appreciated by the opposite sex. Those who cannot sing have difficult time to find a mate. Wherever they live, they have many similar cultural customs but because of the limited space here they cannot all be named. However, I want to introduce some aspects in depth that are distinctive and specific to this culture. The first aspect concerns the ancient song and the second aspect the sacrifice of cow to worship the ancestors.

Miao songs are living literature. Their values go far beyond the limited nature of literature. They are an encyclopedia of the Miao people's prehistory and early culture. These ancient songs all start from the beginning of the World. They tell how the Earth was formed, how things grew, how human beings were born and the migrations of the Miao people. All the different sub-groups have similar songs. The group of Western dialect has songs such as "Ye Zhang Du Feng Tian Di", "Kai Tian Pi Di Ge". The songs of the Central dialect, "Da Zhu Cen Tian", "Zhu Ri Zao Yue", are almost identical to the ones of the Western dialect. They all describe the smelting of metal, the construction of golden poles, of silver poles, of bronze poles and of iron poles to hold the sky up, and the use of metal to make the sun and the moon. The song of the Eastern dialect, "Kai Tian Li Di", the song of the Central Dialect "Yang Ya She Ri" and the song of the Western dialect "Yang Ya She Ri" all talk about the sky which has twelve suns and twelve moons. When they were all out at one time, they burned the Earth. Therefore, hero came out to shoot down the extra suns and moons. The songs of the Western dialect Miao "Gun Zhi Ye Lao Wong Dong Qian", "Ah Miao Qian Dao Gui Yang Dit Fang", "Shi Er Zhi Di Jia Qian Dao Pu Nuo", the songs of the Central dialect "Suo He Xi Qian" and the song of Eastern dialect "Bu Zu Ran Qian", etc. all describe the migrations of the different Miao branches. These ancient songs constitute cultural accumulations from earlier generations who transmitted them to succeeding generations. They reflect the history and folk legends of the Miao from the primitive society until the eleventh year of the Emperor Yong Zhan of the Qing dynasty.

The sacrifice of cow was called "Gu She Ji". It consists of sacrificing cow to the ancestors. Different units within the clan held the ceremonies. It appeared as if this ritual was to worship drums. But in fact, it was to worship ancestors whose spirits were resting within the drums. These drums were sheltered and kept in mountains caves. These ceremonies happened every thirteen years but they lasted four following years every time. The program of activities of the first year included receiving the spirits of the Earth dragon, choosing the drum master, buying the sacrificial cow, receiving the grand offspring drum, awakening the ancestor drum, and chopping the drum tree. The activities of the second year constitute of receiving the drums of the ancestor and the beginning of the cow sacrifice. The activities of the third year involved worshipping the cow sacrifice drums. The fourth year had pig sacrifice, bringing the ancestors drums to visit each other, and finally the sending of the ancestor drums back to the drum mountain. In this period, there were numerous activities and rituals which can be stated. But I only choose to introduce a few here.

1. Recite history: the elder recited the historical past. They first stated the original living places of the ancestors in the past and explained the reasons why they migrated to the West. Then they enumerated the different clan branches or lineages and listed "who was born from whom".
2.Choose the drum master: nine people were altogether needed as drum masters. Each drum master had to be served by the succeeding drum master. In addition, each of the numerical drum masters had specific function. The first drum master represented the first ancestors of the group, the second the leader of the clan, the third, and the offspring. This third drum master was also in charge of reading the ancestors worshipping documents. The fourth drum master incarnated the king who would protect all the people. The fifth drum master was in charge of the reed pipe music[4]. The eight-drum master was in charge of the bowls of the clan.
3.Shang Den: The wives of the first five drum masters wore complete formal costumes and stopped over the long stool that symbolized the bed. The representative of the other clans stood beside the long stool, using a gourd with wine inside (symbolizing the male reproductive organ) that he made forward movements which continuously sprayed wine on the skirts of the five wives -- representing sex.
4.The holding bowl: the ninth drum master of the previous "Cu She Ji" used the right hand with palm up to hold the bowl up right, which represented the unity and harmony of the clan and their ancestors, as the current number two to number five drum masters also using their right hands placed their hands with palm up underneath and in support of the holding bowl. With the drum masters' sin hands touching one another, the current first drum master then placed his right hand in support of the other drum masters to hold the bowl. Everyone was silent and serious. The priest then sang songs praising the clans. From this example about the drum ceremony, one can tell the depth and richness of the culture from the Miao people. The reproduction worship was one of the ancestors' worshipping cults; it expressed the thirst for life of human beings. The self-education of the race needed to be done through some big activities at the same times allowing people to understand where the inner gathering power of the Miao people came about. To hold such ceremonies, it required various conditions such as a sufficient number of people, economic prosperity and environmental safety. Are there any similar activities in other areas? I have conducted one survey. I found many Miao areas had worshipping activities of cow sacrifice for ancestors. However, they differed in degree: the Miao native speakers of the Eastern dialect have "Zui Nio", the Miao of Northwest Guizhou have "Da Lao Nio", and the Miao of Yunnan have "Cu Lin". Also, in a Western dialect Miao ancient song, there is a written description such as

"From now men raise animals
Every thirteen years one cycle
About to kill pigs and slaughter goats
Offering the wine again".

I conclude in ancient society, all Miao might have a similar activity or ceremony, but because of all separation and hard living later on, they may have lost the ability to continue this activity. Drum ceremonies are still held in simpler method in an area of Southeast  Guizhou. But as the old generation passed away, no people know to conduct these ceremonies. This is a part of historical heritage of the Miao people. They need to preserve as fast as possible, we need to investigate, organize notes, takes pictures, and make recordings; but it is a pity that so far this has not gotten enough attention by the people. I have not been able to do this further.  Besides, there are ceremonies like "Ji Long" (worship of the dragon) and "Xao Zai" (Cleaning of the village), which were common activities among Miao people.

As to the Miao beliefs, it goes without saying that the Miao all over the world believe in spirits, ghosts and ancestors worship. There are Miao shamans in every country where there are Miao people. I personally saw shaman activity in Yunnan and have seen slides of shamans from overseas Miao. In this comparison, it seems that the Guizhou shamans and the overseas Miao are about the same. The conception and the practice of the Miao religious beliefs are very similar.

3. Mentality and the Language
There are many similarities here in the Hmong mentality such as hard working during times of hardship, honesty, hospitality and peace loving etc. If one had to select one word to describe the Miao, then that word would be honest. Whenever they were, they appeared more honest than the people around them. It was also the cause of the suffering endured by the Miao. When one examines the history of the Miao during the various wars, many times they lost the war not only because of the military situation but also often because of the trust that Miao people have toward others who lied and deceived them. The Miao ancestors were brave and fierce warriors. However, they fell because of a lack of military strategies. Their honesty allowed them to easily adjust to different environments by getting along with others. But it also hindered them from stepping forward faster. Their honesty made them very loyal to their own people. The Miao are recognized as one of the hardest groups to assimilate because they have a very strong identity of themselves as Miao. I have often heard people tell me anecdotes like this one: if a Miao family is put into a village  of Zhuang people; after a few generations, this family will still speak Miao language and still dress like a Miao.  Before China's liberation, the National Party had tried to force the minority women to change their costumes. These efforts were strongly boycotted by Miao women so that the movement seeking to change costumes was discontinued. It is hard to describe the Miao mentality in a few words. For the Miao people who perceived themselves as Miao, mentality is one of the most powerful bases for being recognized as a Miao.

The Miao language has three major dialects, seven (7) sub-dialects, and eighteen (18) varieties. In my hometown separated from another village by two field paths, the languages spoken by the two villages have already demonstrated changes. These changes and the variety explain the reason for the difficulty of communication among the different branches of the Miao caused by long periods of separation. In spite of the big differences in languages, the three main Miao dialects still have about fifteen percent (15%) commonality. In spring 1992, I went to a Miao village in Yunnan where I have been staying for forty days. During this brief time, I was able to learn the basis of the Western Miao dialect. In this experience, I deeply understood that if I was not Miao and if Miao language was not my maternal language, I would not be able to understand or speak the Western Miao dialect. I also discovered that many words used in different varieties of Miao dialects are actually the same. But as the sounds have slightly changed into the current pronunciation, people are not able to understand them. And these similar words are often basic words.  This observation makes people infer that the various contemporary Miao dialects might have been the same in the ancient time. In the Western Miao dialect, there is a song called "the origin of addressing parents", it said that long ago, men and women had different social roles. Women stayed at home and cared the Elderly and children while men went out to hunting and gathering food. If the men left home for too long, women at home loudly cried so that they were called "cry". As for men, they might have suffered from wounds so that they might die or, they might have been seduced by other women, the wives tried to hide the husbands so that men were called "hide". In Northeast Yunnan province, the Western Miao dialect has undergone a change in tones for the words "cry" (Nied) [5] to "mom" (Nief) and "hide" (vaik) to "father" (vaib). In my village, the pronunciations for "cry" and "hide" have the same sounds as the ones found in this poem. Until now, some villages still address "mother" with a similar sound to "cry". According to the Elderly, long time ago, the way to addressing "father" was indeed close to the sound/tone "hide".  This song in the Western dialect was sung in the former Miao language. The translator used lot of energy to record these old songs. In my village, the old songs also used many antique words so that it was different from the spoken language now. All these observations lead me to suppose that the old language might be completely different from each dialect. In addition, the old language might be completely different from the modern language. Yet, this old language might be the common language that unified our Miao ancestors.

Through the understanding of Miao history and culture, I feel that among the various branches of Miao groups, the differences are superficial in term of culture. The similarity is reflected in the heart and the core of the Miao culture. The cultural differences were later added on. The Miao starting point is traced way back to the Ci You's era when this ethnic group formed an agricultural society. It was the strongest tribe at that time. Many aspects of their culture developed then slowed down even stopped. Therefore, much of Miao current culture could be attributed to the ancient culture. This ancient culture has become the main basis for the recognition of the Miao people as an independent and fragmented group. Here is the reason why Miao people think of themselves as a group.

Here I need to talk about why the people in China are called "Miao", and why Miao people may accept this name because I have encountered too many overseas Hmong who asked this question. Some have even used sharp tone in their questions such as ?Why call the Hmong people "Miao"?, "Does "Miao" mean "Miaozi"? or "Can it be changed into "Hmong"? According to Miao history, the Miao people called themselves with a name that sounds close to the sound of "Miao". "Miao" might be a self-addressing sound, which corresponds to the Chinese word "Miao". The name of "Miao" has a long history that everybody knows, and was generally accepted by the Miao people. Therefore, the Miao people were named "Miao Zu". In the old songs of Western Miao, the Miao called themselves "A hmaud"[6] in ancient times. According to linguists, in the ancient time, "Miao" and "A hmaud" would have the same pronunciation. Now the Miao call themselves "Hmong" and also use "Miao" since both derive from the tone changes of "A hmaud". "Miao" was in fact the way the Miao people addressed themselves using sounds of Chinese characters in ancient time. It was used back to the era of "San Miao".

"Miao" in Chinese characters combines radical "grass" with "rice field", which means the seedling of cereal crops. Some scholars said that this information indicates that the Miao were farming people. It does not matter what use "Miao" was as a name of tribe; it did not mean to lower the dignity of this group. Some outsiders have used "Miao Zi" to scold Miao people, making the word "Miao" a sub name for foolishness and ignorance. But this negative connotation was added later on to "Miao". Back to the ancient society when Ci You was the leader, the ancestral tribe "Jiu Li" was the strongest one. Even experiencing defeats, this tribe would still rise and become strong again, which explains why ruler in ancient China, always classified the Miao as barbarians and tried to suppress and the same time conquer them. The expression of "Miao Zi" came from stereotype and insult.

After 1949 with the establishment of the New China, the government promoted the policy if equality among all races. The status of Miao people was thus raised. The term "Miao" as an insulting term has vanished with the end of persecution of the Miao people. The new laws allow the term "Miao" as a self-addressing term to return to its original purpose and intent. Now there are still people using the term of "Miao Zi" to push down people but it has nothing to do with the identity of the ethnic group. The expression of "Miao Zi" in the contemporary China has nothing to do with demeaning or insulting Miao people. The overseas Miao or Hmong people migrated to other countries during the Ming Qing dynasty, especially during the "White Red War". In the rebellious war against Qing, the feudal rulers greatly suppressed and slaughtered the Miao in Yunnan province who were forced to move out of China. During this time, the Miao people were particularly humiliated by using expressions such as "Miao Zi" to insult the Miao people. Finally, the term "Miao" has remained in Miao vivid memory an insulting term, which caused the feeling of aversion toward this term.  Such a situation is understandable. But I would to take this opportunity to inform all of the overseas Miao people that the time of humiliation is long gone. Please, let's trust the term of "Miao Zu" as an original term of reference to our ethnic group.


II. The main basis of all Hmong characteristics
The Miao history is full of many disasters and difficulties; the situation now is far from economic stability. Therefore, we need to recognize one another sub-groups so that we can depend on each other, spiritually, and help each other. As the Miao group has been spread over the world for hundred of years, the Miao people have to base their standing point on the "tribal origin". Overseas Hmong recognize the Miao in Yunnan as close relatives and share the status of "home races", while they recognize the sub-groups in Guizhou and Hunan as people descending from common ancestors thus sharing "races origins". A Miao from the Wu family in Yunnan told me that one of their early ancestors had two wives. Therefore, there were two branches: one from the first wife, and the other from the second wife. Wu San Gui was a later ancestor. He married a woman from the Luo clan. When she took her children back to her clan, members of the Wu family could not marry members of Luo clan. Similar to the Yang clan, members cannot eat the pig heart. They know the reason and the basis of this custom. Every generation of the Lee/Ly family has to recite the names of their ancestors, tracing in that way the migration path traveled by ancestors, and following the rules and guidelines in the worshipping cults to their ancestors. After the liberation of China, the Lee/Ly family was able to trace their way back to China by following the recorded documents of these routes and their family tree.

For the Miao in China, one can find whether in one village there are members of one clan only or in several villages, there are members of one clan either. There is also migration back from other areas when the economic situation of the village improved and the standard of living went up. Many Miao people found new interest in finding their family roots. Many tribes are mending the tribal history. In 1994, my father organized and held in our village a gathering meeting of the Zhang families. Representatives from other areas all came to join us and compiled the family tree and history from different branches into books. Upon the closeness of blood ties, the lineage should have no problem in working to compile clan history. However, it will be difficult for members of different clans who are not as close. Among the overseas Hmong and the Miao from Guizhou and Hunan, which represent the different branches of Miao group, they will trace or base their connection on race. The overseas Hmong strongly believe that their origins are in China. Whenever they have gotten a chance to visit China, they have shown an eager desire wanting to know more about their own past. Also, they have shown a deep devotion to their people. In 1994, when Hunan province sponsored the International Miao Conference, and Elderly Hmong American requested to talk to someone who knew about the Miao history back to more than five thousands years ago. An American young man asked me to help him to find a book on the "Miao simplified History". In June 1995, we formed a group to investigate the original residence and the old battlefields of the Miao people; we invited an American Hmong and a Chinese Miao. When they reached the tomb of Ci You, they knelt down for long times. A French Hmong, after arriving in Guizhou, asked me to take him to pay respect to his ancestors. I took him to a Miao village. He then kowtowed and offered incense, and in the end, he took some dirt back to France.

The Chinese Miao also have show the same loyalty and spirit towards those who desire to seek their roots. No matter what area they live in, when the Elders die, the people will read to the soul of the dead from the "Book of Guiding Road"[7] or "the song of Burning Handkerchief". The Miao of Yunnan province had been migrating very far from the cradle: thus when an Elders' body is buried, the head is pointed in the direction of the Eastern hometown. The old songs existing among all ethnic branches constitute all historical records of the past in the Miao groups. In my village, at one time, during the ritual of cow sacrifice, the worshipping ceremony, when was recited description of the hardships of the ancestors in the past, participants were continuously sighing aloud, even the cow seemed shedding tears.

There are many intellectual Chinese Miao who are working hard in researching their history. The major activities are now carried on as part of the historical education. Because of bias in history in perceiving the victors as rulers and the defeated as bandits, Miao ancestor Ci You's representation was distorted in historical interpretation. Now, many scholars and amateurs of Miao history are studying and trying to restore Ci You to a more righteous image.

The Miao, especially the ones from overseas, have the same purpose upon basic recognition as the same ethnic group. So long, as our roots are analyzed as the same, then we belong to the same group. But the origin of the race still needs to have further research and discovery. We need to know more about our past. There was a recent excavation that may provide some more clues on the ancient history. A report from Southeast China stated: a recent archeological finding solved a "puzzle of thousand years" has proved through investigation that ocean immersion was a cause of the departure of Ci You and of his tribe to Northbound, which lead to create the most developed culture known as the Liang Zhu culture. This report provided some directions to research:

1. Liang Zhu culture was created by Ci You's tribe;
2. Before migration to the North; Ci You's tribe resided in the South;
3. The geographical origin of the Miao group might be in the Southeast part of China.

Regarding this question, I will carry on the actual site to investigate more when I will be able to do.


[1] Fei Xiao Tong, 1980, Questions About Tribal Recognition in China sociology, Vol. 1
[2] Fei Xiao Tong, 1980, Op. Cit.
[3] The reed pipe is said ?qeej? in the dialect of overseas Hmong (Note of the translator)
[4] In this article, the functions of the sixth and the seventh drum masters are not described
[5] Miao people in Diandong Be in the Northeast of Yunnan used these words "cry" (Nied), "mom" (Nief), "hide" (vaik) and "father" (vaib).
[6]"A hmaud" is a foreign use of Miao in the Northeast of Yunnan province. The sub Miao dialect spelled it "Ad Hmaod".
[7]In the Western dialect, it is called "Qhuab ke" (Note of the translator)

(archive story from: Kao-Ly Yang, Ph.D. Anthropology)