Izzy S. | Pakou
| Mark | Pao | Mariah
| Maggie | Jeremy
| Sarah M. | Alex |
Tim | Sara K. | Benjamin
I think it’s important for the Hmong
to keep their traditions alive any way they can. If they didn’t,
the world would be less interesting. But on the other hand,
it’s good to adapt to American culture because it would
be easier for children at school, and for Hmong adults to
get jobs. If all the Hmong learn the English language it would
be easier for others to give them jobs because they can communicate.
The decision should be made by the Hmong. The American government
shouldn’t make the decision. Other Americans shouldn’t
either. In fact in any culture this is true. Nobody should
tell someone this is what you eat, this is what you wear,
and this is what you believe. America is supposed to be a
free country, and if we go around telling people how to do
things and what to believe, that’s not really free.
Is it? Nobody has the right to change someone’s culture.
My question is, why do we try?
I think the Hmong people still do their
own traditions but they can speak English to know and understand
Americans. The Hmong people get to make their own decisions...
The [Hmong] persons get to make the decision
because it’s their life...
I think that it is better for Hmong people
to keep their tradition. I think it is better to keep their
culture because they understand it more better than American
culture. I also think that Hmong people should make the decision
because it’s their culture. You can’t just force
I believe that the Hmong people should
keep their traditional expressions otherwise there might not
be any Hmong people left because they would all be Americans,
and personally I don’t want that to happen.
It’s better for them to keep
their culture, because if they become mainstream Americans
it’s a whole culture lost, just like what happened to
Jewish Russians when the Nazis wiped them out, only Americans
will wipe the Hmong out.
I think that it is better for the Hmong
to keep their traditional cultural practices because...they
can have two ways of doing things. They can have a doctor
or a shaman, an American or a Hmong funeral, or a Hmong wedding
or an American wedding. Another reason is that America is
made up of many cultures---European, African, Hispanic, Japanese,
Chinese, other Asians, etc. It would be more harmonic to let
the people themselves decide if they want to be different
or like everyone else. The people who practice that culture
OWN it. They get to use it in ANY way. It’s THEIRS!
I mean, it’s a free country!
If the traditions of shamanism, New Year’s
celebrations, and Paj Ntaub are forgotten, there wouldn’t
be such a thing as Hmong culture. So I hope that Hmong traditions
get passed on from generation to generation so that the culture
is kept alive. On the other hand, it would be easier for the
Hmong if they adopted some things about mainstream American
culture, such as the language and skills required to live
here. Already, the Hmong are doing just that, in coming to
America, finding homes and jobs, and adapting to the way things
are done here.
Both elders and kids should be represented. Kids should
be represented because people who come to the exhibit will
be kids, and it would be more interesting for them to see
and relate to people of their own age. Also, kids are a good
example of adapting to mainstream American culture, because
Hmong children are living between two worlds—their life
at school in mainstream American culture, and at home, in
traditional Hmong culture. Often, children are the translators,
which would be very surprising and interesting for kids who
come to the exhibit. But after saying all that, elders are
important as well. We have gotten most of our information
from them. They know much more about life in Laos and Thailand,
and remember traditions like butchering and healing...
I think we should show Hmong kids in
the exhibit because kids can relate to them more than elders.
Also, kids have to bridge two cultures: Hmong at home and
American at school.
Most of us in the class think it’s
better for the Hmong to keep their traditions rather than
to assimilate...but in truth this is not our decision to make.
It’s the Hmong themselves who have final say.
I think the Hmong should balance their
culture between mainstream and traditional cultures...I also
think the Hmong can make the decision [themselves] but I’m
not sure because I don’t stay connected with political
stuff. In the exhibit, we should show mainstream and traditional
cultures mixed together...I suggest doing Hmong kids a little
more because this is a kids museum and I think children would
rather learn about kids from a different culture than from
I think that the Hmong should be able
to keep their traditional cultural expressions, yet be able
to understand and be part of mainstream culture whenever they
want. If that happens, then the Hmong will be able to adapt
better to the American way of life. Many Hmong people, including
just about everyone we met, have accomplished that.
The Hmong themselves should be able to make that decision.
Of course, the Native Americans didn’t make that decision,
the American government did. The Hmong shouldn’t have
to go through that.
No government, no Christian, no anybody
can tell the Hmong how to run their lives except the Hmong.
I think the Hmong are very well off right now: They know two
languages, they have two cultures, and they now are welcomed
into the American culture.