Some people may think that all that Hmong
culture is about is performing for other people, and they
might think that especially after hearing about all the great
cultural presentations we got.
But, Hmong culture presents itself much more than we know,
inside their own culture.
When we were in Wausau, a few kids got a chance to go to a
Hmong radio station, and watch how it was operated. I didn’t
even know there was such a thing as Hmong radio!
Also, that same day we had a group of Hmong dancers come
to perform. The girls, in grades four to six, usually performed
for other Hmong people, but that night we were fortunate to
see about a fifth of their dancers. Not only were their clothes
beautiful, and homemade by their mothers, but the dances they
performed were so graceful it was amazing.
You may have seen a quilt or a blanket before, and thought
it was pretty, but I don’t think any hanging could be
as unique, interesting and beautiful as a Hmong storycloth.
The designs of paj naub used to be mostly shapes and patterns,
but when the Hmong were in refugee camps in Thailand, the
Hmong women started to develop different patterns. They started
making people, and animals and houses in beautiful bright
colors. The cloths told stories of dangerous journey to refugee
camps and life in America. These story clothes represent their
culture during the war.
On our trip in the fall, we visited the Hmong/American Friendship,
and there was an exhibit with many photos and tools and clothing
that were used in Laos and Thailand. The exhibit was to show
both Hmong and American people what life was like in Laos