Sunday, April 28, 2013


Chapter 3 in Hmong Americans is very interesting because it reveals how the Hmong community organizes to address problems in the USA. The notion that immigrants exclude themselves away from the dominant view is a myth as shown in this chapter. However, the multiple numbers of groups and factions is a reflection of the clan system in Hmong culture. Within the culture there are various clans distinguished by the last names, and within each clan there is a further grouping dependent on their elders and kinship. For example, just because two families have the same last name it doesn’t necessarily mean they are of the same group; each may have their own leaders, elders, and kinship. So under the ethnicity of Hmong there are various clans and within each clan there are a number of groups with the same last names but different decision-makers. Each group many interact with one another and have many forms of relationships but during times of conflict, they report to their own elders. This is because the interaction and movement between each group, no matter the last name, is very political and controlled. The heads of each group decides how to deal with inter and intra-group conflict, celebrations, and distribution of resources during hard times. It is a political, economic, legislative, social, and policing structure. The complexity of how the Hmong people organize themselves is now carried over into America as they deal with money, social and gender issues, and restructuring.
Currently, many family groups still hold meetings to discuss a variety of topics, such as funeral proceedings, success of their children, critical celebrations, etc. In addition to the serious topics, they also engage in family reunions, big family dinners, rent out dinning halls for special occasions or holidays, plan camping trips, etc.  
Despite the organizational method of the Hmong people, there are times when the lines are broken and many come together to fight for a cause. The protest to release Vang Pao and his associates was one such event.

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