Changing Lives of Refugee Hmong Women

By Nancy D. Donnelly | Go to book overview

4
THE HMONG IN SEATTLE

My name is Mai Hang. My father's name was Shoua Chai [Suas Ntshai] and my grandfather was Shoua Lu [Suas Lw]. I came to the United States in 1980, and now it's 1984. I have some American friends who want me to sing some Hmong songs. When we have lived in America a long time, the young people will want to know how Hmong songs go, and from this tape recording, they will know. The young people will forget Hmong songs, so I will sing some Hmong songs for the young people to keep. Now I will sing.

The year is through, twelve months are over.
The weather will change from summer to winter.
Winter will come, winter will go away, and summer will return.
Leaves will come out and grow green on whole branches,
Insects will sing. Pairs of insects will sing,
That the old year is past and the new year has come.
New Year is come. Everyone is killing boars, the relatives
All join together, every brother, every cousin
join together to make parties. Once parties are done,
They support their leader and praise his name.
Now we have come over here and the New Year has come.
But we don't kill the pig, and we don't have a party.
We have no boars, for we have no land,
Nowhere to plant our rice and corn.
Because we have no animals, we cannot have a New Year,
We cannot invite anybody to come.
We live on rock. We have no spirit money or incense to burn.
Religion is different here.
We came to this country, and saw nothing but crows.
The birds fly up to catch hold of the branch.
The birds fly up and sit on the tree.
We have food, we have clothes, but we don't have our country.
We have clothes, we have food, but our family is homesick.
We came and saw only those birds,
Flying up to catch the tip of the branch.
Even though we have come to live in this country,

-59-

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Changing Lives of Refugee Hmong Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • HMONG LANGUAGE, ORTHOGRAPHY, AND NAMES vii
  • 1 - Discovering the Hmong 3
  • 2 - Hmong Society in Laos 19
  • 3 - Changing Times 48
  • 4 - The Hmong in Seattle 59
  • 5 - Selling Hmong Textiles 88
  • 6 - Courtship and Elopement 113
  • 7 - Wedding Negotiations and Ceremonies 145
  • 8 - Domestic Conflict 167
  • 9 - What Does Change Mean? 183
  • Notes 193
  • REFERENCES CITED 209
  • Index 217
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