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"Cross the river, take off your shoes,
Flee from your country, take off your status."-Hmong Proverb
This book examines the experience of the Hmong people whose lives and culture were completely transformed by the covert war in Laos and the subsequent refugee resettlement in the United States. Historically semi-nomadic farmers living in small villages in the mountains of Laos, northern Vietnam, and southern China, the Hmong served as guerrilla fighters alongside the CIA and American military during the Vietnam conflict and the Lao civil war. After the successful ouster of the Royal Lao government by the Pathet Lao communist leadership, the Hmong fled as refugees from the new regime.
This book traces the Hmong experience from the war through the refugee camps to their new homes in such American cities as Fresno and Merced in California. It explores the impacts that the war, years in the camps, and exposure to the American education system have had on redefining Hmong culture, particularly for the young adult "Rising Sun" generation. Since there were no Hmong in the U.S. prior to 1975, this is also a study of how and where immigrant and refugee communities form. The creation of the new Hmong ethnic geography reflects both changes in culture linked to the experience of socialization and attempts by the Hmong to retain key cultural traditions by adapting them to an American context.
(Ph.D. dissertation, Arizona State University, 1994; revised with new preface)
Garland Publishing Inc
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