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Hmong Americans in Michigan

Martha Aladjem Bloomfield

Publication Year: 2014

The Hmong people, originating from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, are unique among American immigrants because of their extraordinary history of migration; loyalty to one another; prolonged abuse, trauma, and suffering at the hands of those who dominated them; profound loss; and independence, as well as their amazing capacity to adapt and remain resilient over centuries. This introduction to their experience in Michigan discusses Hmong American history, culture, and more specifically how they left homelands filled with brutality and warfare to come to the United States since the mid-1970s. More than five thousand Hmong Americans live in Michigan, and many of them have faced numerous challenges as they have settled in the Midwest. How did these brave and innovative people adapt to strange new lives thousands of miles away from their homelands? How have they preserved their past through time and place, advanced their goals, and cultivated plans for their children and education? What are their lives like in the diaspora? As this book documents via personal interviews and extensive research, despite the tremendous losses they have suffered for many years, the Hmong people in Michigan continue to demonstrate courage and profound resilience.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Series Editors, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

I would like to thank the many Michigan residents of Hmong descent who willingly and graciously told their invaluable first-person stories. They are the very first Hmong Americans in Michigan to share their courageous stories for others to read about their challenging journeys. They include:...

Timeline of the Hmong

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xxii

The Hmong Americans—elderly, middle-aged, and young—in Michigan who participated in the interviews in this book were particularly friendly and gracious. Some had come as refugees; others were born in the United States. Excerpts from these oral histories and follow-up email interviews...

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A Brief Overview of Hmong History

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pp. 1-22

The Hmong are a people who have no country of their own. For centuries, they have migrated thousands of miles and struggled as a minority to survive wherever they have lived. Not having a written language, they have relied on oral communications to maintain strong connections with...

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Coming to Michigan

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pp. 23-36

Over several centuries of history and always under a cloak of fear, the Hmong people migrated many times from one country to another. They finally left the refugee camps in Thailand beginning in the 1970s to go to the United States and other Western countries. Th e individuals interviewed...

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Adapting to Michigan

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pp. 37-68

While the Hmong refugees have faced major challenges and difficulties adapting to Michigan, several significant factors have helped them survive and thrive. They have a tremendous ability and desire to preserve their culture and family that strengthens them individually and collectively. They have...

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Some Afterthoughts

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pp. 69-70

Hmong Americans in Michigan is merely an initial, very brief introduction to the Hmong Americans in Michigan, a backdrop or launch pad for others to explore the history of these people and to conduct future research so that others may learn more about these strong, brave, innovative people...

Appendix 1. Hmong Populations in Michigan Areas

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pp. 71-72

Appendix 2. Education and Socioeconomic Attainment in the United States

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pp. 73-74

Appendix 3. Recipes

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pp. 75-80

Appendix 4. Resources

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pp. 81-82

Notes

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pp. 83-90

For Further Reference

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pp. 91-98

Index

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pp. 99-101


E-ISBN-13: 9781609174095
E-ISBN-10: 1609174097
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611861198
Print-ISBN-10: 1611861195

Page Count: 123
Illustrations: 11
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1st
Series Title: Discovering the Peoples of Michigan
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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Subject Headings

  • Hmong Americans -- Michigan -- Social conditions.
  • Hmong Americans -- Michigan -- Biography.
  • Hmong Americans -- Cultural assimilation -- Michigan.
  • Immigrants -- Michigan -- Social conditions.
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