About Hmong

Who are the Hmong and where they come from?

Hmong people came originally from several southern provinces of mainland China. In the middle of the nineteenth century, they fled the oppression of China and journeyed south across rugged mountains to make new homes in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, but a great number of them settled in Laos in the high mountains. They are known as a highland tribe.

There were approximately 250,000 Hmong in Laos in the mid seventies. For more than three decades, the Hmong who lived in Laos fought the Vietnamese communists. After Laos collapsed, they fled in great numbers to Thailand, and between 1976 and 1985, thousands of Hmong came to the United States. Even as late as 1996, several thousand Hmong refugees entered the United States.

For the Hmong people, fighting the secret war in Laos remains the main drama, because it gave the Hmong new roles and identities; from highland farmers they became guerrilla warfare specialists, then refugees fleeing genocide and finally immigrants, adopting new homes around the world.

Presently, there are between 100,000 and 140,000 Hmong in this country of which an estimated ten percent are Catholics. Although they are spread out in many states, the majority of Hmong are in California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Suggested readings:

Learn About Hmong

The Hmong Cultural and Resource Center of Minnesota has put together a unique multicultural education site devoted to teaching about the Hmong experience for the purposes of promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

Mr. Lindsay has put a beautiful website about how and why the Hmong are present in the United States at www.jefflindsay.com/Hmong_tragedy