For approximately the last six generations, an estimated 300,000 Hmong have come to call Laos home. Most Hmong know their forefathers emigrated from China but that’s been the extend of their historical knowledge. Few know of such legendary figures as Chiyou, Tao Tien and Ba yue Wu. Due to limited written documentation, migration and sometimes forced assimilation, Hmong history is seemingly lost and remains relatively obscure. But relearning and interpreting Hmong roots recently began at China’s Xiangtan University in Hunan province where a handful of U.S. Hmong students attended a two-month summer program in ancient Hmong history and culture.
The program included a month of intensive (6-hour days, six day weeks) classroom lectures and a month of field research to Hmong villages in southwestern China. The summer program was initiated by Xiangtan philosophy professor, An-ping Lei. According to Professor Lei, the idea was born in the United States. As a participant in the 1995 International Symposium on Hmong People, Professor Lei discovered that Hmong in the States were particularly interested in learning more about their history in China. Upon returning to China, Lei and a group of Hmong-Chinese professors and research scholars founded a summer program at Xiangtan to share what they know of Hmong history.
Five students – Txianeng Vang, Cy Thao, Cziasarh Neng Yang (all from St. Paul, Minn.), Charles L. Fang of San Diego, Calif. and I – attended this past summer’s program. According to the president of Xiangtan, we were their very first foreign students.
Professor Xin-fu Wu lectured on ancient Hmong history and reminded us that although Hmong history is richly unique, it will be rather difficult, perhaps near impossible, to put together all the scattered parts into one coherent piece. He acknowledged that this enormous challenge of uncovering the Hmong people’s history is the duty and priority of Hmong scholars in years to come.
Professor Tong-jiang Yang, a 33 year-old Hmong-Chinese historian and author or co-author of more than 20 titles, took us as far back as half a million years, associating Hmong origination with the Peking man (Homo erectus pekinensis) whose remains were discovered not far from Beijing in the 1920s. However, Professor Yang agreed that Hmong history beyond 5000 years remains obscure and speculative. The term ‘Miao” appeared in the Chinese Classics and early historical records such as the ‘Zhanguo ce’ (“Intrigues of the Warring States”) and the “Shiji’ (“Records of the Historians). After the Han Dynasty in 220 A.D., “Miao” disappeared from historical records until the Song Dynasty (A.D. 947-1279). The reason for the mysterious disappearance remains unclear.
Scholars seem to agree that the Hmong had gone through numerous dreadful periods in history in which the term ‘Miao” also underwent some changes: from “Miao” to “Miao-Man” or “Man-Miao”, “Wuling Man,” ‘Wuxi Man,” or simply “Man,” and then eventually back to “Miao”. Whether the ancient Miao are today’s Miao is debatable among scholars.
How did the term “Miao’ or ‘Hmong” come into being? Although the term ‘Miao” appeared in Chinese historical records, the term ‘Hmong’ never did. What did they call themselves back then, “Hmong or ‘Miao?’. The answer to this question varied from region to region. For example, the western Hunan Hmong call themselves “Guo-xiong”. Those in eastern Guizhou call themselves “Amaot” or “Mo’. And those in Yunnan and southeastern Sichuan call themselves ‘Meng” or “Hmong”. They may indeed have called themselves “Hmong” as many assumed, but “Miao’ is probably a name given to them by the Chinese, at least in writing. In his “Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou: The “Miao” Rebellion, 1854-1873,” Robert Jenks wrote, “The most convincing explanation of the origin of the term ‘Miao’ is that it represented an effort on the part of the Chinese to recreate the sound of the word (pronounced ‘Mong’ or ‘Mu,’ as the ‘H’ is unaspirated) used by members of the ethnic group to refer to themselves.”
Despite its obscurity one thing about Hmong history was clear to J. Mottin, the author of “History of the Hmong.” “Of their pre-history only one thing is certain, that is that the Miao were in China before the Chinese, for it is the latter themselves who indicate the presence of the Miao in the land, which they, the Chinese, were gradually infiltrating, and which was to become their own country, ” Mottin wrote.
Between five and six thousand years ago, the Hmong people lived in today’s Hebei province, said Professors Wu and Yang. Their leader at the time was the legendary Chiyou, and his people were known as the Jiuli tribes. The ancestors of the Han Chinese, ruled by leaders Huang Di and Yan Di, lived to the northwest of the Jiuli Kingdom. As Chinese population grew, they expanded southward into Hmong territory. A major war broke out between the two sides on the northwestern part of modern-day Beijing. Professors Wu and Yang cited that according to legends and folk songs, “the Hmong won nine battles but lost on the tenth.”
After their defeat, the Hmong emigrated southward into the lower reaches of the Yellow River where they re-established a new kingdom approximately four thousand years ago. The San-Miao Kingdom and its people were led by Tao Tie and Huan Tuo. Unfortunately, history repeated itself; the Han Chinese expanded, encroaching and taking over on what had become Hmong land. In the ensuing war the San-Miao Kingdom was defeated and “largely exterminated” by Yu the Great at about 2200 B. C., wrote Jenks. The Hmong then became disintegrated and lived dispersely in China’s south and southwest corners. “After San-Miao,” Professor Wu said, “the Hmong people could never be united again, and be strong as a nation.”
After the destruction of San-Miao, the Hmong continued to migrate southward into today’s Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. Much was talked about their living in the Dongting Lake and Poyang Lake areas, where the Chu Kingdom during the Eastern Zhou and Qin Dynasties encompassed. Many scholars, both Hmong and non-Hmong, argue that the state of Chu was a Hmong kingdom. If it was not Hmong, it certainly was not Chinese. Conrad Schirokauer, a published scholar of Chinese history, referred to the Chu state as a “semi-Chinese.” Many researchers, including our Xiangtan professors, argue that the intact female corpse (died and buried during the Chu Kingdom and excavated from a highly elaborate tomb in 1972 in Changsa, Hunan) was Hmong because the drawings on her caskets and on the piece of silk covering her coffin are designs unique to the Hmong.
Based on the seal unearthed, this female corpse was named Xin Zhui, the wife of Li Cang who was the Marquis of Dai. Even after more than two thousand years, her body was well preserved and protected from decay by a set of four coffins carefully arranged inside one another.
Along with her body, over 1,400 cultural and funerary objects were buried inside the tomb, ranging from agricultural seeds, combs, mittens, stockings, shoes, gowns, wooden dolls, food and wine containers to zither-like stringed and reed-pipe instruments.
On top of the innermost coffin, there laid a splendid and exquisite T-shaped painting on silk. The painting details a person’s three souls – one which remains to watch over the body, the second which goes in search of the ancestors and the third which just wanders. This belief in three separate souls and their duties upon death exist today. Having published a paper on this unique piece of painting, Professor Yang believes this old pictorial lends even greater evidence to the claim that the corpse and the Chu Kingdom could be Hmong. He argued that except for a few minor illustrations on the top left, the rest of the intricate illustrations coincided with legends and folk stories of the Hmong. Pointing to the wooden dolls, a tour guide of the museum mentioned that many visiting scholars argue that they are dressed in Hmong-style clothing.
Throughout history, if the Hmong people found any kind of peace, it never lasted long. They have been forced to emigrate from northeastern China into the country’s southwestern corner. During the Qing Dynasty, several major wars further pushed hundreds of thousands of Hmong into Southeast Asian countries of Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thailand.
The first major war during the Qing Dynasty erupted in 1735 in southeastern Guizhou province as a result of Chinese southward expansion and forced assimilation. Eight counties and 1,224 villages were said to be involved in this war. When the Hmong were suppressed in 1738, Professor Wu said 17,670 Hmong had been killed in combat, 11,130 were captured and executed and another 13,600 were forced into slavery. Half of the Hmong population were affected by the war.
The second war (1795-1806) was started in three provinces – southeast of Sichuan, east of Guizhou and west of Hunan. The Hmong were led by Ba-yue Wu, Liu-deng Shi, San-bao Shi and Tian-ban Shi. As in the past, this war was launched to resist the Chinese and the Qing government from taking over their land. The popular slogan at the time was, “Get back our fields. Drive the Han people and he Manchus out off our fields.”
The last war was the biggest and longest of the three. As a result of the Taiping Rebellion, the Qing government demanded more taxes and labor from the Hmong. The Hmong, led by Xiu-mei Zhang and other leaders, revolted in southeastern Guizhou in 1854 and fought until 1873. In excess of one million people were involved in this war, which spread to cover hundreds of cities and counties. According to Professor Wu, only 30 percent of the Hmong survived the war. Seventy percent of them were either killed or ran away. Zhang, a native of Taijiang, Guizhou, was captured and taken to Changsa, Hunan where his life r ended under cruel tortures.
While a major portion of the Hmong emigrated to Southeast Asia during periods of the last two wars, hundreds of thousands of Hmong were left behind in China. According to the 1990 Chinese census, there are still 7,398,035 Hmong scattered in Chinas southwestern provinces – approximately 3,686,900 in Guizhou province; 1,557,073 in Hunan; 896,712 in Yunnan, 535,923 in Sichuan, 425,137 in Guangxi, 200,702 in Hupei, 52,044 in Hainan Island; and 43,544 in other provinces.
Because of the many years of warfare and assimilation, the Hmong in China have been divided into five main branches – Hong (Red), Hei (Black), Bai (White), Hua (Flowery) and Qing (Green) Hmong. They have also been separated linguistically into three main dialects – eastern, central and western. One group cannot understand the other two’s dialects. Fortunately, all three groups pay respect to the same ancestry, the legendary Chiyou. Legends, folk tales and folk songs are similar in many ways between the three groups. All of the different groups of the Hmong – in and out of China-have continued to practice the so-called showing the way or qhuab ke in Hmong, a funeral song sung to the deceased. Qhuab ke precisely guides the deceased individuals soul from his present location to the original homeland of his ancestors, tracing backward the migration route from village to village, city to city northeast towards the Beijing area. Besides written materials, Hmong scholars have recently used qhuab ke as a major source to help them relearn and interpret Hmong history.
Although their culture and tradition are similar in many ways, a few major cultural practices are different between those in China and those outside China. Unlike the Hmong in and from Southeast Asia, those in China standardize how a person is called. According to our professors and the Hmong-Chinese community, the Hmong traditionally call each other and oneself by the given name first, followed by the family or last name. Unless one is talking to Chinese people (who go by last name followed by first name), or putting down his name on official document, he would never go by the family name first. In short, inside the Hmong-Chinese community, one is always called by the given name first. On the contrary, a minority but growing percentage of Hmong from Southeast Asia prefer to be called by their last name first,
Moreover, we also learned that the Hmong in China don’t toss cloth balls during new year’s celebration. Our professors concluded that the Hmong in and from Southeast Asia may have adopted this practice from the Zhuang or other nationalities in southwest China before entering Southeast Asia.
Our field research to Hmong villages in southwest China was an informative but a physically demanding one. Roads ended in the cities or nearby villages so we walked for miles crossing over mountains and valleys before reaching Hmong villages. There, we were shock to see how they managed to survive living in poverty in mountainous locales.
Experiencing only the natural spring water in Laos and filtered tap water from the kitchen sink in the United States, I could not believe how terrible their drinking water was. The water color wasn’t clear but dark yellow. Young boys fished in it. Pigs and chickens are within its vicinity. People and animals take turn drinking from the same pond. That’s how it is in many Hmong villages in the remote countrysides. They purify their water by placing limestone (zeb qaub in Hmong) into the bucket of water to separate the dirt from the water.
Educational opportunities are lacking in Hmong villages. For as long as it has come into existence, Hei Shan village, for example, has not produced a single junior high graduate. High school and college education are beyond their dreams. Most of these children drop out before or after fourth grade for various reasons ranging from financial inability to lack incentives.
Economically, the Hmong-Chinese remain undeveloped and backward. This is especially true for those in Yunnan province. Shortage of land for cultivation is their initial problem. Having no money to buy fertilizer to enrich the exhausted soil is another. According to village leaders, they are always hungry six months of every year. They said that if they have fertilizer, they would be in a much better condition.
The barren surroundings where most Hmong live accelerated our concern for their well-being. Most of them seem to give up on everything, even their dreams. A few have just began to develop and enrich Hmong society. A one-year-old committee of Hmong scholars and leaders was organized and is in the process of trying to erect a statue of Chiyou in Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou. If this happens, this single statue may become a symbol of national pride, identity, unity and commonality for the Hmong people, regardless of where we’re all living on the surface of this world.
The Hmong Are Not Mongols
By Yang Kaiyi, Kunming, Yunnan, the People’s Republic of China
Translated by Jennifer Yang, Fresno, California
Yang Kaiyi is a Hmong Chinese and had the opportunity to stay in the United States for approximately six months. During his stay in the U.S., he visited the Hmong in many communities and met with many Hmong from all walks of life. This article is his point of view as well as an attempt to answer or generate answers to the many unanswered questions that the Hmong Americans have for him and for themselves.
There is no doubt that the Hmong came from China, but there are many other schools of thought that need to be explored and explained. Many of these schools of thought, may not have sufficient evidence to support them. The issue of Hmong origin was often raised during my stay in the United States. It is specially interesting to hear many Hmong brothers and sisters ask me: “Are Hmong Mongols?” Many of them also expressed to me that they want to go to Mongolia to do research about the Hmong. It seems that many Hmong truly believe that their ancestors came from Mongolia and that they are Mongols. To clear this question and generate ideas and questions, I would like to bring to discussion the origin of the Hmong and other related issues. Also, I would like to bring into the discussion my personal opinion on many of these issues. I hope this paper will help clear many myths, rumors, ignorance of our history, and generate many ideas and questions to be further explored.
The Origin of the Hmong
The history of the Hmong in China is very long. According the historical record, the ancestors of the Hmong had already lived in the large valley of Yellow River (Huang He) around 3000 B.C., or about 5000 years ago. Depending on the good geographical environment and their hard work, they became a strong nation in the East of China. They were also known as the “Nine Li” ethnic group or nation. Its leader was Chi You who once led the Hmong to fight with the “Han” ethnic group who lived in the higher reaches of the Yellow River. Two important leaders of the Han ethnic groups were mentioned as Wang Di and Yan Di. These two leaders combined their forces to fight with Chi You and his Hmong group. This war lasted a long time and at the end, the Hmong group lost the war to the Han forces. Chi You, the known Hmong leader at that time, was killed during the war.
Consequently, the rest of the Hmong people were forced to move the South, known today as the First Move or Migration of the Hmong. Later, they established residence in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. During the Yao, Shu, and Yu era, or about 2000 B.C., the Hmong again united and formed a new ethnic group unity: this is what historical documents refer to as the “San Miao.”
The Han dynasties of Yao, Shu, and Yu didn’t give up their hope and want to conquer the “San Miao” by force of arms. They fought a bloody war with the “San Miao” and executed any San Miao who were stubborn and disobedient to them. Because of the superior forces of the Han and their outnumbering of the San Miao, the San Miao were again forced to move southward. This move or migration is known as The Second Move or Migration of the Hmong, and they moved to the present day Shan Xi and Gan Su in the South-central of China. In these areas, they lived side by side with other western Chinese ethnic groups. These were the Hmong who moved to the west; later they moved to the south of China, and then entered the present day Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan provinces. They lived adjacent to the Hmong who moved earlier to the areas of Pan Yang and Dong Ding Lakes. Since the San Miao period and from Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Han dynasties, or more than 3000 years ago, the Hmong situation didn’t realize any changes. They often endured genocide, oppression and the push to move out of their own territory by Han emperors and their armies. These developments led to another migration known as the Third Move or Migration, moving from the East to the West of China.
Many Hmong of the sub-group who called themselves Hmong had already moved to Indochina more than 600 years ago. Some scholars even stated that more than 2000 years ago, there were already some Hmong living in the south of Yunan and north of Vietnam. In the 20th century, because of Indochinese political unrest, the Hmong in Indochina suffered many hardships as well as positive developments. For example, in the mid 1970s, because of the war in Laos, the Hmong of Laos began another move. This time they move to the West and all over the world. The Hmong have been through many difficulties, though they have survived. To reflect the experience of the Hmong, I recall an Australian anthropologist named Kurtis who said, there are two ethnic groups in this world that have been through many hardships but have survived to be strong: they are the Jews and the Hmong in China.
Hmong are not Mongolians
Where do Hmong people get the idea that they are Mongols? In China, there are no such historical records and among the Hmong Chinese, they have no such history. I think there are three reasons to cause this belief:
(1) Misunderstanding of history,
(2) The similarities in Chinese characters use in writing the word “Hmong” and the word “Mong” in Mongols, and
(3) The yearning of many Hmong Americans to search for their roots.
The first reason can be reviewed through Chinese history. In 1279 A.D., the Mongols overthrew the Han emperor and took over China. They ruled China from 1279 to 1369, known in history as the Yuan dynasty. The Mongols or the Yuan dynasty conquered China, ruled the country for 90 years, and during this period the Yuan emperors sent Mongol soldiers and officials to every part of China, including the minority areas, to control the country. In the history of China, the winners have always eliminated the losers and their officials. Because of this practice, when the Han regained power from the Mongols (Yuan dynasty) in 1369, they not only killed officials of the Mongol emperor, but the Mongols in China. Many Mongols fled to the mountain and minority areas, claiming to be members of other minority groups. Some of the Mongols changed their own ethnic identity to avoid being executed by the Han. In 1950s and 1960s, there were some groups who came out from the “closet” and revealed their own identity as Mongols. Because of this incident, it is anticipated that there must be many Mongols who were hidden with the Hmong and claimed to be Hmong.
From the Yuan Dynasty until now, it has been more than 600 years, and according to Hmong marriage tradition, 20 years mean one generation. The period of 600 years must be 20 to 30 generations in the Hmong reality. Because there are no written records, we learn our history through oral story. When we talk about our ancestors’ experience, we depend on words from mouth that transmit from one generation to another. This practice of oral story telling is not reliable. For example, most of us can only remember our ancestors from one, two or three generations, not 10 or 20 generations of the past. Also, because of the lengthy time and many generations to be remembered, no one can remember clearly about their ancestors and history. This can lead to the development of rumors and erroneous accounts that Hmong are Mongols.
Many Hmong in America told me that the Hmong came to Beijing from Mongolia, they became an empire, were later overthrown by the Han, and then they moved to Vietnam and Laos. According to written historical records, the Hmong had been living in the valley of the Yellow River (Huang He) around 3000 B.C., or 5000 years ago. There is no record that the Hmong, during this period , lived in the highland or any parts of Mongolia. When the Mongols built their Yuan Dynasty in the thirteen century, the Hmong had already lived in the south of China for several hundred years and some of the groups who called themselves Hmong had already crossed the border of China to the Indochinese countries. According to these historical accounts, the claim that Hmong are Mongols is invalid and there is no evident to support that Hmong are Mongols.
Another reason many Hmong believe that they are Mongols is the misunderstanding of the word “Hmong” in oral language and in Chinese writings. The Hmong have more than 4000 years history. There were times when the Hmong were called “San Miao, Yo Miao, Miao Ming,” and so on. After several thousand years, history has changed. Hmong are now called Hmong, Ahmu, Mo, and Ga Xiong. The 1990 Chinese census indicated that the Hmong in China numbered 7,390,000. The groups who called themselves Hmong numbered 2.5 million. There is no question that those who call themselves Hmong and those who moved from China to Indochinese countries in the past many centuries, and had recently moved to many parts of the world, came from China. Their origin in China can be detected from their culture and other elements such as language, oral history, and ancestral worship. Many of their oral stories indicate their experiences along the Yangtze River (Changjiang) and the Yellow River (Huang He). Another reason that the Hmong might misunderstand that they are Mongols is the use of Chinese characters for the word “Hmong” and “Mong” in Mongol. Chinese scholars used the same characters for the words Hmong and Mong (in Mongol), although there is no relation between the Hmong and the Mongols.
The third reason that Hmong might believe that they came from Mongolia can be developed from the desire of many Hmong to search for their roots. The Hmong in the United States become stronger in many aspects and are presently in the stage of wanting to know who they are. As such, many of them are eager to search for the path of their ancestors. In the past, the Hmong, not only in China but in many other countries faced many hardships, especially in terms of discrimination, prejudice, and oppression. For example, many non-Hmong often use the word “Miao” or “Meo” to tease or harass the Hmong. Thus, the word “Miao” became a symbol of labelling barbarian, uncivilized or stupid people. After the proclamation of the new China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party adopted a policy of equality among all nationalities in China. In Indochina, the political situation was unstable, especially in Laos. This instability led to the involvement of the Hmong in the war conflict. As a result, the Hmong paid a heavy price for participation in the war; it is said that nearly half the Hmong were lost in the war. Simultaneously, many Hmong were exposed to new opportunities and changes. Many of them had the opportunity to attend and receive an education, especially the Lyfoung brothers and later Dr. Yang Dao. They wrote books and educated others (non-Hmong) that the Hmong called themselves “Hmong” not Miao or Meo. Also, in the 1960’s, Vang Pao became a powerful General in Laos, influencing other people of the general perception of the Hmong in Laos. Other people began to perceive the Hmong in Laos in a positive light and the Hmong continued to promote their positive image. Because of the change from Miao to Hmong, many Hmong became motivated to move forward. Notably, many Hmong went to the cities to attend school, including those who attended school in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and in foreign countries. In 1975, many Hmong of laos began to leave the country and many of them suddenly appeared in many parts of the orld. It took just a little more than one decade for the Hmong in America to become a force and voice for others. Although Hmong Americans number a little over 100,000 people, they are becoming a powerful force and voice. In the field of education, Hmong Americans have done quite well; approximately 2 out of every 100 Hmong Americans have college degrees, and about 19 people hold doctoral degrees. This does not include those who live in Canada and other countries. There are also many thousands of Hmong college students who will soon graduate and pursue higher education. The number of Hmong college students has increased rapidly; many already study high technology and other scientific fields. Hmong Americans also do well in other areas; a few of them have already become millionaires. Opportunity to achieve upward mobility, accessibility to resources, and the American free market system work well for many Hmong entrepreneurs, although these successful Hmong entrepreneurs are few.
Because of many reasons, in addition to the voice and name of Hmong Americans, many anthropologists and researchers have turned their interest to the Hmong and their experiences. Consequently, many books and written materials about the Hmong are now available in the United States. More is now known about Hmong Americans and the Hmong of Laos.
Differences in Culture and Customs: Hmong and Mongols
There are many differences in culture and customs between the Hmong and Mongolians. A brief comparison will be made here for us to review the similarities and differences between the Hmong and the Mongols.
Hmong belong to the Mongoloid or Mongolian race, and do so the Han and other Asians. Thus, we can say that Hmong belong to the Mongolian race; although Hmong is not the same ethnically as the Mongols. Hmong and Mongol are two different ethnic groups, with many differences in culture and customs.
The Mongolians, in general, are herders (many of them are nomadic herders). They are good equestrians (horse riders) and archers. The Hmong, on the other hand, are farmers (and had practiced agriculture for many centuries). The Hmong are not equestrians, but are excellent in their own mountainous environment. The Hmong adapt well to hardship, are independent and not willingly submissive to anyone, including many Han emperors. The food staple of the Mongols are meat and dairy products. The Hmong consume rice and vegetable products grown by themselves. The musical instrument that symbolizes the Mongols is the Ma To Shin or Mongolian violin, and for the Hmong, it is the Lu Sheng or Qeej. In contrast to the Mongol, the Hmong are not direct people. They keep their opinions to themselves and often express their thoughts and perceptions indirectly. Physically, the Mongols are tall and robust, but the Hmong are short and small. There are also many other differences in other customs, such as funeral rites, marriage activities and others. These differences can be interpreted as indications of the difference in ethnicity between the Hmong and the Mongols. As such, we should not confuse the Mongolian race or Mongoloid and with the ethnic Mongol and ethnic Hmong. From these accounts, we can say that the Hmong and Mongols are not of the same ethnicity. They belong to two different ethnic groups: Hmong and Mongol.
In concluding this paper, I would like to say that the Hmong’s origin is China, and there is much evidence to support this claim. Also, in daily life, Hmong and other ethnic groups are different which makes the Hmong a distinct ethnic group. There is, of course, need for further study of Hmong’s origin, culture and other aspects to fully understand the Hmong and to answer many other questions. Many studies have already begun. Some anthropologists and scholars of other disciplines have already begun to study the group who call themselves Hmong, including Hmong Americans. In China, too, there are many studies which attempt to research the Hmong. The results of these studies are not yet conclusive, and differences of theory and thought are often found. Some studies say that the Hmong originated from the North, other scholars indicate that the Hmong came from the East or the West, and still many more researchers have their own interpretation of the Hmong’s origin and history. These many schools of thought might lead the Hmong to believe that they came from Mongolia or elsewhere.
I am not a scholar or a researcher but I am a Hmong, and have concerns about the Hmong. I want the best for the Hmong, especially in learning more about ourselves and in working toward bringing our economics, social, and political status to be paralled with others. I contribute this paper in anticipation of continued efforts to know more about ourselves and for generating further discussion.