Changing Lives of Refugee Hmong Women

By Nancy D. Donnelly | Go to book overview

NOTES

1: Discovering the Hmong
1.
Directed by Renee Taylor, funded first by the Northwest Area Foundation, and then by a Seattle City Block Grant, the Indochinese Women's Project began in 1980 and ended in 1985.
2.
Hmong girls, like boys, are given one or two personal names (Mai and Chia are both given names, created as a single name like Mary Ann in English). Young married men, when their wives have produced a child or two, receive another personal name, which is granted by their wife's father. This honorific, which signifies maturity, is generally the name of an honorable antecedent in the wife's natal family. Thus in the name Nhia Doua Hang, Hang is the clan name, Doua is the child name, and Nhia is the honorific. The man will then be known as Nhia Doua. But Hmong speaking to each other or about each other especially within the family commonly use teknonymy. That is, if Nhia Doua and his wife Mee have a child Kong Meng, usually Nhia Doua will call his wife Kong Meng's mother and she will call him Kong Meng's father. This is an affectionate way of speaking. Teknonymy replaces names most of the time in ordinary conversation. Nhia Doua's mother, for instance, might well call her daughter-in-law Kong Meng's mother, Nhia Doua's wife, or daughter-in-law, depending on what aspect of the relationship she wanted to invoke, but she would not generally use Mee. Since relational terms replace names in domestic settings, as time passes mothers' personal names are rarely spoken; my subjects often did not know their grandmothers' names. Men's names are more often used and remembered because they are important for figuring descent, and in formal or political settings.
3.
A section of the Seattle City Department of Human Resources, the P-Patch program began in 1973, and provides garden sites in twenty-two locations within Seattle. Each garden site is divided into plots which are rented to individuals for the cost of services. The program, which provides no-cost plots to needy families, did not charge any of the refugee families I signed up in 1981.
4.
The following analysis owes a great deal to the ideas of Collier and Yanagisako ( 1987) and Swidler ( 1986).
5.
However, no society is fully consistent in its ideas. Actions sometimes contradict explicit statements about gender; various statements may contradict one another; actions can be inconsistent. A society's resilience, hence its ability to sur

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