I'm typing this from A friends iPhone because my internet is down and has been for the whole day. So pleAse bear with me here. Okay so ever since Ive been a student at uc davis I have met quite a few Hmong students and can honestly say that I knew absolutely nothing about their culture or history whatsoever. Taking a couple Asa classes before I have to say with the large Hmong population in California I'm very suprised that no lower division asa courses talk even a little bit about Hmong immigrAtion to the USA as this particular article touches upon with detail. The Hmong experience of persecuiton in north china and the peoples aiding the USA during the vietnam war I feel should be recognized in even the most elementary of history publishings from high school and forward.
Regarding the pon Dow textiling of the Hmong people, I am very intrigued not just by the art of how they stitch the cloth but what the Hmong people stitch onto their clothing. I love how the culture and values of the Hmong people are stitched onto the cloth and how this textiling style sets them apart from any other distinctive culture regarding style and culture in clothing.
As this style of art is truly unique, I feel like other cultures use tattoos as a way to express themselves and their culture pictorally. Just from reading the article I can honestly say I respect this form of art and expression more so than the way the rest of the world reverts to tattoos because of the rich tradition and history behind the art of story clothing and it's originality. Most people who have adopted tattoo culture whether just a little or a lot probably don't have as great of a connection with their body art pertaining to what it stands for unlike the hmong people and culture that pow Dow expresses.
I can truly say that I wish I had strong ties with a culture of mine that did something so unique and creative with clothing. But more importantly I wish that more people, Asian American or not, were more aware of cultures like that of the Hmong people whether it be something as extensive as their history and culture or something as small as where they settle in the USA.
Now I can actually say I at least know a little bit about Hmong history and culture other than simply their economic and social hardships as refugees, which more or less pools them with many other south east Asian
inorities who have their own rich and interesting culture history.
Hopefully sooner than later the average American won't simply have the Clint Eastwood movie gran Tori to depict Hmongs as gang members who shoot old racist white men -_-
Reading: Ava L. McCall. Speaking through cloth: Teaching Hmong History and Culture through Textile Arts."
Images 1 and 2: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.artsmia.org/mia/images/38/mia_38470g.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.artsmia.org/education/teacher-resources/objectinfocus_d.cfm%3Fp%3D1%26v%3D18&usg=__Pdty81mqzXP1CPfi5mlyyxprarc=&h=240&w=204&sz=22&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=bIP0zG8IdXGDNM:&tbnh=110&tbnw=94&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpon%2Bdow%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den