HMONG RESOURCE CENTRE OF THE HMONG CULTURAL CENTER, E-MAIL NEWSLETTER, 2002, NO. 2

ABOUT THE HMONG RESOURCE CENTRE

Located in St. Paul, MN, the Hmong Cultural Center’s Resource Centre is one of the most comprehensive
centralized collections and lending libraries of Hmong-related books, PhD dissertations, indexed articles and
Hmong language literature in the United States. The collection also includes several exhibits of Hmong cultural
artifacts. Funding supporters of the Resource Centre include the New York and Vermont-based Freeman
Foundation, the Pinewood Trust of the HRK Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota Humanities
Commission in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Minnesota State
Legislature, the 3M Foundation, the Medtronic Foundation, and the Marbrook Foundation.

The Hmong Resource Centre of the Hmong Cultural Center is open to the public Monday through Friday from
10 AM – 6 PM. Most of the items in the Resource Centre may be checked out with a photo i.d. for a period of
one week. A photocopier is also available on site.

The Hmong Resource Centre is located in the Hmong Cultural Center’s offices at 995 University Avenue, Suite
214 in Saint Paul. Phone: 651-917-9937. E-Mail: hmongcultural@hotmail.com Website: www.hmongcenter.org/
Contact: Mark E. Pfeifer, PhD

HMONG CULTURAL CENTER WEBSITE RECOGNIZED

John Fischer, Project Director of the Wisconsin IDEAS Portal Website has announced that the Hmong Cultural
Center’s educational website has been chosen for inclusion as a top quality resource as part of the IDEAS K-
16 education resources webpage (http://ideas.wisconsin.edu). The Hmong Cultural Center website received
the highest possible ranking for content as a resource for students and teachers in the Social Studies
category. The Wisconsin IDEAS Portal Website is a collaborative of the Wisconsin Department of Public
Instruction, the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and several large
school systems to provide quality internet-based resources to students and educators in Wisconsin and
beyond.

While census-takers found a rapidly growing Hmong population of just under 170,000 in the U.S. in 2000,
Hmong studies-related content is still very much underrepresented in the nation’s universities and school
systems. There have been few comprehensive websites with information pertaining to the Hmong people and
their culture. Educators in regions with large Hmong populations such as the Upper Midwest, California, and
the Carolinas have been hard-pressed to find Hmong-related resources to use in their classrooms. The Hmong
Cultural Center’s website includes extensive information about Hmong history and culture, detailed 2000
census data relating to the Hmong across the United States, galleries and information about Hmong people
living across the world, pictures and information pertaining to Hmong cultural artifacts, 30 comprehensive
Hmong subject bibliographies, and a fully indexed and annotated catalog of the hundreds of Hmong-related
books, Phd Dissertations, academic journal articles, newspaper articles, and videos contained in our Hmong
Resource Centre.

GROUPS VISIT RESOURCE CENTRE

Groups to visit the Hmong Resource Centre in January 2002 included students enrolled in a seminar on the
Hmong culture taught by T. Christopher Thao at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, students enrolled in a Sociology
class on Ethnic Groups at St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, MN, and teaching and support staff from Breck
School in Golden Valley, MN.

Educational orientation sessions related to Hmong-related resources and Hmong history and culture are
available for interested groups. To schedule a group visit, please call Mark Pfeifer at the Resource Centre.

RECENT RESOURCE CENTRE ACQUISITIONS

Books and PhD Dissertations

Pfeifer, M.E. (2002). Annotated Bibliography of Hmong-Related Works: 1996-2001. St. Paul, MN: Hmong
Resource Centre, Hmong Cultural Center. Newly compiled by the Hmong Resource Centre, this 40 page
bibliography contains references and summary descriptions for about 280 Hmong-related works published
since 1996. The Hmong-related materials are organized by topical sub-category. Categories include
Dictionaries, Bibliographies and Reference works; Hmong in Asia; Hmong Culture; The War in Laos and
Refugee Resettlement Issues; Hmong Families, Parenting, and Gender Roles; Settlement Patterns and
Socioeconomic Incorporation; Cultural Adaptation; Race Relations, the Law, and Political Incorporation;
Literacy and Educational Adaptation; Physical and Mental Health; Personal Narratives of Hmong-Americans;
Juvenile Literature and Curriculum Materials for Teachers; Fiction; Videos and Internet-based Resources. This
volume is the first Hmong-related annotated bibliography published in more than 5 years. It will be of
considerable interest to librarians, educators, students, as well as professionals who work with the Hmong. The
work is currently available to patrons at the Resource Centre and will soon be printed in an edition that may be
purchased for a modest price.

Patch, J.H. (1995). Discourse Patterns and Practices of the Hmong Acquiring Literacy in Midville, California.
PhD Dissertation, University of California at Berkeley. This is a PhD study that focuses on the process by which
Hmong-origin persons acquire literacy. The author utilized qualitative methodologies to acquire data from nine
Hmong subjects representing three generational groups – elders, middle-aged adults, and youth. The
research in the study investigates several interrelated issues including the patterns of Hmong language use in
varied environments, given differing waves of migration and generations; the structure of basic narrative forms
of the Hmong language that are transmitted to the young; and the ways in which the oral tradition patterns of
learning function in concert with or in conflict with written work in school settings.

Nelson, C.N. (1989). Communication Strategies: A Case Study of a Deaf Hmong Adult. MA Thesis, University of
California, Santa Barbara. This MA thesis is a case study of a deaf Hmong female adult who did not possess a
formal linguistic system. Various aspects of the research subject’s sign language were observed and described
during 21 sessions with the researcher. One of the salient features noted in the research informant’s use of
sign language was repetition. These repetitions were classified by the author as exact, reduced, or expanded
repetitions. The subject’s use of repetition is discussed in terms of pragmatic strategies, including
conversational turn-taking and the marking of old, “given” information. Additional aspects of the subject’s
language described in the study include lexical semantics, topic initiation, pragmatic discourse parameters, and
esoteric signs.

Long, L.N. (1988). The Floating World: Laotian Refugee Camp Life in Thailand. PhD Dissertation, Stanford
University. Highly detailed ethnographic study that describes the formation of a “refugee” consciousness
among Hmong and Lao camp dwellers who resided in the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Using research
conducted with five families over eleven months during 1986, the author vividly illustrates how the
circumstances of camp life and the treatment of camp dwellers in Ban Vinai imposed a refugee identity. This
PhD dissertation was later revised by the author and published as a book.

Academic Journal Articles

Lee, S.J. (2002). “Learning ‘America’: Hmong American High School Students.” Education and Urban Society 34
(2): 233-246. This newly published ethnographic study explores the way Hmong-American students at a public
high school in Wisconsin interpret what it means to be Hmong in the United States. It examines the way a
culture of “Whiteness” at the school shapes Hmong-American students’ experiences and their understandings
about being American. The researcher explores the content of what the school teaches Hmong students about
America and being American; the social constructions non-Hmong students and staff have of Hmong-American
students and the ways the Hmong-American students in the Wisconsin school respond to the culture of
“Whiteness”. One specific issue dealt with at considerable length by the author is the school’s practice of
referring most Hmong students to ESL programs as soon as they encounter academic difficulties. This article
will be of particular interest to teachers and educational professionals who work with Hmong-origin populations.

Foggin, P., Armijo-Hussein, N., Marigaux, C., Zhu, H. and Z. Liu. (2001). “Risk Factors and Child Mortality
among the Miao in Yunnan, Southwest China.” Social Science and Medicine 53: 1683-1696. A study conducted
among Miao (Hmong) residing in Yunnan province in China. The research focuses upon the links between
child mortality and specific risk factors related to lifestyle variables among the Hmong including geographic
mobility, the age of weaning, religious beliefs, and the use of available health care facilities. The authors posit
that birthing customs play an important role in explaining the perinatal component of child mortality among the
studied population. They offer suggestions on areas of possible intervention that could help reduce the levels
of child mortality among minority populations in Southwest China and elsewhere.

Hu, J. (2001). “Increased incidence of perforated appendixes in Hmong children in California.” New England
Journal of Medicine. 344(13): 1023-1024. Short article from a scientific journal that discusses a study among
Hmong and White children in Fresno, California. The author found that the incidence of appendiceal
perforation was significantly higher among the Hmong (2/3) as opposed to the White children (1/3). The
meantime from the onset of symptoms to the child’s arrival at the emergency room was also significantly higher
for Hmong children. Hospital stays were on average two days longer for Hmong children. The author concludes
that delayed treatment is an important risk factor for appendiceal perforation among children. The researcher
also argues that the results suggest that social and cultural barriers and communication difficulties
substantially compromise the health care received by Hmong children.

Ly, C. (2001). “The conflict between law and culture: The case of the Hmong in America.” Wisconsin Law
Review. 2: 471-499. This article published in a Wisconsin law journal focuses on the intersection of Hmong
culture and the American legal system. Specifically, the author examines three Hmong practices that have
come into conflict with American laws: marriage by “capture”, opium use for medicinal purposes, and the
sacrifice of animals for healing ceremonies as part of the Hmong religion of Shamanism. The article addresses
how some courts have used cultural evidence to reconcile the conflict between law and culture. The author
argues against the adoption of a formal cultural defense in cases involving Hmong while advocating for a
“limited use” approach instead. The researcher concludes that when culture conflicts with the law, cultural
evidence, when used appropriately, can meet the legal needs of the criminal justice system and the cultural
needs of the immigrant group. The article will be useful reading for criminal justice system representatives as
well as other social service professionals who work with Hmong populations and need information about
common conflicts between Hmong practices and the U.S. legal system.

Other Materials

Southeast Asian Refugee Statistics 1975-1995. Unpublished volume prepared by Professor Daniel F. Detzner
and several graduate students at the University of Minnesota. The collection features a wealth of statistical
data tables and bar graphs related to Hmong, Cambodians, Lao, and Vietnamese in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the
United States, and Canada. Most of the data included in the volume were derived from the 1990 census. Data
tables profile population numbers, age demographics, housing status, marital status, fertility rates, household
size, educational attainment, income and socioeconomic status, occupational distribution, English proficiency,
public assistance rates and a range of other variables for the four major Indochinese groups in the United
States. The Hmong Resource Centre thanks Professor Daniel F. Detzner of the College of Human Ecology at
the University of Minnesota for his generous donation of this item.

CITIZENSHIP CLASSES AT HMONG CULTURAL CENTER

The Hmong Cultural Center is currently accepting enrollment for some of its citizenship and functional English
classes. There are openings in the English Language Citizenship Classes offered Monday through Thursday
from 10:00 AM to 12 Noon and those held Tuesday through Thursday 1:00-4:00 P.M.

Congress has extended the Hmong Veterans’ Act for another 18 months. Hmong veterans who qualify study for
a set of 25 questions instead of 100. The questions are administered in the language of the veteran’s choice.
Interested individuals may contact Tong Vang at the Hmong Cultural Center for enrollment information. Phone:
651-917-9937.

HMONG MUSICIANS OR DANCERS ARE AVAILABLE TO PERFORM AT YOUR EVENT

The Hmong Cultural Center’s Qeej (Traditional Hmong Music) and Traditional Dance troupes are available to
perform for a fee. Persons interested in scheduling performances may call Meng Vang (Qeej) or Yer Lo
(Dance) at the cultural center.

MEMBERS SUPPORT THE HMONG CULTURAL CENTER

The Resource Centre would like to thank the people who have joined the Cultural Center as member-
supporters. A complete list of these individuals is posted at www.hmongcenter.org. Individuals wishing to
become member/supporters or financial contributors may drop by the Hmong Cultural Center or fill out the form
on the website and mail it in. Membership is only $5 for one year.