Black H’mong Tribe, Vietnam (Catherine Huang, Bonderman Fellow)

The Hmong fill the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong people migrated south from China in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find arable land to harvest rice.

During the first and second Indochina Wars, Hmong people were recruited by France and the United States to fight against forces from north and south Vietnam and communist Pathet Lao insurgents during the Vietnam War and the Laotian Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of Hmong refugees fled to Thailand to seek political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the US (also in Australia, France, French Guiana, Canada, and South America). Others have returned to Laos under UN-sponsored repatriation programs.

We spent the weekend with Hmong women in Sa Pa learning about their excellence in craftsmanship, tenacity in rice harvesting, and large family structure (lack of knowledge of birth control) despite Vietnam’s 2-child policy.

For more information on how you can receive $20,000 to travel the world for 8 months as a Bonderman Fellow, visit the CGIS website.

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