Hmong Traditions: Understanding a Way of Life
The Hmong migrated to Southeast Asia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Prior to their arrival in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, the Hmong lived a simple agrarian lifestyle in China. They settled along the Yellow River. Eventually, the Han Chinese came along and both groups lived in peace for two thousand years. However, when fertile land became scarce and both populations grew, conflicts arose. The Han Chinese believed that their culture was superior and that the Hmong were barbarians and too uncivilized to live with. They forced the Hmong to adopt and assimilate into the Chinese culture. The Hmong could not tolerate coercion and prejudice, so they fought back. In the 1700s the last Hmong royal family was executed in Beijing, and the Hmong surrendered. Many Hmong remained in China and followed the Chinese way of life, while others migrated south to retain their autonomy and traditions.
My research examines the lifestyle of the Hmong before the Vietnam War and the aftermath of the war. Specifically, I examined the psychological and emotional changes that occurred in adults who survived this traumatic experience. Throughout the world, the same cycle of human suffering takes place as powerful as if it never happened before. For instance, the Native Americans lost their land and dignity in this nation when the Europeans came over. The Jewish people suffered genocide at the hands of the Nazis. Since the beginning, when the Hmong fled from China, they continue to journey from one place to another in search of freedom and independence.