Refugee Status

Hmong history goes a little like this; live peacefully, be forced to assimilate or be killed, run for your life, repeat. So I bet your wondering, “who are you talking about?” well, I’m talking about me. I’m talking about my story, my family’s story, every untold story of the Hmong fight for survival.

Hmong are the indigenous people that lived in the southern mountains of China; back before the Chinese resided in those areas, the Hmong people lived peacefully and prosperously. As the Chinese Empire grew so did the hostility between these groups; the Hmong could no longer live peacefully as they were forced to assimilate under empirical rules. To escape this persecution the Hmong fled as refugees to South East Asia, where many still reside to this day. They created and adapted the lifestyle that some young Hmong descendants -like myself- are accustomed to and know well. Some of these practices include farming large plots of land, sewing paj ntaub -also known as embroidery- and preparing for yearly celebrations.

This is how the Hmong lived for quite some time, as peaceful farmers, however the communist scare in the 1940s and 50s would change the lives of many. The United States had allied with the Hmong in Vietnam, I will not go into much detail with this but after American troops retreated the Hmong faced massive genocide and many Hmong recall this time as when lub teb chaw tawg, directly translated to the country breaking. The Hmong fled once again as refugees to Thailand awaiting their promise to the United States. Families were separated and children were orphaned. This directly affects all of the Hmong who are currently in the United States today, we all have someone in our families that know the destruction of war. We all know someone that faced death; whether they survived or not. This was our Journey to Today.

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