She has seen my knowledge grow
as the year has gone by. She is happy that I learned how to
play the k’eng.
I valued my child’s
understanding about stereotypes and his concerned about Hmong
being subjected to stereotypes.
I think MacKenzie is generally
an inclusive kid. I think understanding the origin of the
Hmong exodus to America was the most valuable information
that she discovered during this year.
I have valued the growth
he has experienced in writing and overcoming his reluctance
to write about things he doesn’t find especially interesting.
He is much better at both note-taking and writing than he
was last year. But more important, he learned that he could
find aspects of interest (such as history and exhibit design)
within a topic that he was reluctant to participate in. Finally,
I do think he has a better sense for what culture is in general,
as he put it, “everything connected with what people
We look at them and
tell them what they should do and we tell them to blow the
qeej and write in Hmong and read in Hmong. I think we like
our own children knowing their own culture.
Having Erika see the
opportunity to see a wide variety of cultures within a culture
(green Hmong, blue Hmong, white Hmong, etc.)
I have most valued the
honesty of the Hmong culture study, allowing kids to see difficult
things and to ask probing questions about people and ways
of life that were previously unfamiliar.
I appreciate that my
son has been exposed to so much information about Hmong culture
in such a caring and sensitive way. The approach of visiting
people from all walks of life in the Hmong community, regardless
of age and integration into the larger community, and of acknowledging
that cultures, even when they are different from ours, are
deserving of respect and appreciation, has required him to
keep an open mind about people who are “different.”
While I believe that my son knew this already in some sense,
the HCT experience has brought the need for respect to the
fore, which I trust will inform his attitudes for the rest
of his life.
Of most value is Martha’s
excitement in learning about Hmong culture. On several occasions
she told me about cultural events that intrigued and interested
her. I’m hoping that this excitement about the Hmong
will lead to a life long interest in other cultures.
The most valuable thing
to me is not any particular thing about Hmong culture, but
that they’ve learned that you can learn about culture
by observing and asking questions, and that it’s okay
and healthy to acknowledge cultural differences. They’ve
learned that culture is something many people are proud of
and strive to preserve.
–Abigail and Maggie’s parent
We value two things
– 1) is the exploration that both journeys allowed Sarah
to experience. Observing and learning are very useful in their
own rights – for their outcomes – but the process
of doing them is at least equally valuable. Sarah learned
a lot about how to observe and report what she saw in the
Hmong culture; 2) that she was able to see a very unique part
of our new home – Wisconsin – in the same year
that she saw that culture closer to its roots. She was practically
able to travel back and forth in time and then compare the
two. While certainly she, or any of us, for that matter, may
not be able to reach some profound conclusion about that contrast,
again she possesses it in her mind’s eye, and for that
we are very thankful for both opportunities.
It has been fun for
me to watch how excited Nico has been to learn about the Hmong.
Involvement with the
Hmong Cultural Tour has been a peak experience for Dylan and
me. We have discussed religion, life and death, and examined
out own family values. We have experienced another culture
on a level that would normally require travel to another country,
at great expense, and I doubt we would have achieved the same
My mom said that it’s
difficult for students like us because my mom said when she
was a little girl she had never done that before and my brothers
and sisters had never done that before either. My mom said
that she is glad that I’m learning another culture but
she said that I’m still Cambodian and I will always
be. She said that it is difficult for kids like us because
then when we go some where else, we always have to take notes
while we go to some place and my mom said it’s hard
for us because we get tired and exhausted and she also said
that’s a good thing because when you take more notes
you listen better and learn better and pay attention much
By learning about the
traditions and cultures of others, we have learned to appreciate
and value our own traditions and culture. We also learned
that we are lacking some features of the Hmong culture. By
becoming a homogeneous group of Caucasians, we have lost the
traditions of our heritage (however many cultures hat entails).
With each generation, the family is left to make its own culture
or traditions. Because cultural customs are no longer passed
from generation to generation – or the customs are not
valued by the newer generations, the traditions are lost or
diluted or the reasons for traditions lose their meaning.
Studying Hmong culture has made us more interested in our
own beliefs or traditions. At the same time, it has made us
more open to other cultures. It has also helped us to better
understand why people would wish to retain their cultural
independence within another culture.
Finally, I have been touched by the generosity and patience
of the Hmong people who have shared their stories, their skills,
their talents, their food, their time and their homes with
me and my daughter so that we may learn.