Hmong Competency and Recruitment - Iowa Association for College

Hmong Competency and Recruitment
Presented by Jillian Hiscock, Meng Her, and Ashley Harville on behalf of the
Minnesota Association of Counselors of Color
Jillian Hiscock
College of St Benedict/Saint John’s
Meng Her
Chief Financial Officer
University of Minnesota, Morris
• Ashley Harville
– Chair of Programs Committee
– St Catherine University
What We Will Cover
Family Structure
Gender Roles
Generation Gap
Hmong Pursuit of Higher
• The Model Minority Myth
and the Hmong
• Tips Working with Hmong
• Questions
• Hmong history is often
tied to the Chinese
• Originated in Central
– Chi-You: Believed to be
the leader of the
Hmong's ancestors
– “Miao” is a term in China
that refers to a number
of minority groups
including the Hmong.
Hmong History
Time Line Of Key Events
Time Line Continued
1854 – 1873, “Miao Rebellion” was
1893 – French colonization of Laos
1918 – Madman’s War
1952 – Development of the Hmong
Written Alphabet
1954 – French Army surrendered,
ending French colonization of
1954 – Laos became independent,
civil war broke out between the
Royalist Army and Pathet Laos
1961 – United States begins
recruiting Hmong Warriors
1975 – United States pulled out of
Vietnam, General Vang Pao left Laos
1975 to 1980 – Arrival of the first
wave of Hmong into the US
1979 to 2003 – Second wave of
2000 – Hmong Veteran Naturalization
Act of 2000
2004 to Present – Third wave of
Hmong immigrants to the US
Hmong by the Numbers
• 2010 Census – 260,076
Hmong in the US
• Minnesota – 66,181
• Wisconsin – 49,240
• Iowa – 534
• North Dakota – 33
• South Dakota – 94
• 30.7% ages 5-17
• 19.4% ages 18-24
• Median Age 20.4
Family Structures
• Patriarchal Society
– Father, Mother, Grandparents,
Children by Age
• Family belongs to Clans
– Clan: Consisting of those persons
who share the same paternal
– 18 Clans
• Cha, Cheng, Chue, Fang, Hang, Her,
Kang, Kong, Kue, Lee, Lor, Moua, Pha,
Thao, Vang, Vue, Xiong, and Yang
– Wife becomes part of husband’s clan
– Self-Governing, Clan Leader and
council of elders act as judge and jury
to settle family disputes
• Clans belong to community
– Council of 18 Clans, Elected Leader
and Council to settle disputes among
Family Values
• Bigger is better
– High infant mortality
– Needs the extra set
of hands
• Sense of belonging
• Extremely competitive
• Respect for age
Gender Roles
• Prized, Privileged, Power
• Do heavy work such as chopping
wood, killing and butchering,
some cooking
• Marry between the age of 16-20
• Men eat at separate table, or first
if only one
• More trust
• Expected to carry the family
• Expected to go out and get
educated, start business, primary
income earner
• Expected to learn how to sew,
cook and clean on daily basis
• Babysit the younger siblings
• Often have to ask permission to
go out, many times denied
• Mother acts as the mediator
between father and children
• Father head of household
• Expected to get married, have
and raise kids
• Marry between ages of 14 – 18
• Not uncommon to marry older
Hmong Pursuit of Higher Education
• High standards
• First Hmong PhD Dr. Dao Yang 1972 in France
• First Hmong Women to earn PhD Dr. Dia Cha in
• Boys encouraged to go to school
• Girls had to go to school to gain economic power
– Leads to community backlash
– Too old to get married
– Too independent
• Divorce Rates
Hmong Pursuit of Higher Education
• 2010 Census
Male High School graduate or higher: 69.7%
Female High School graduate or higher: 59.7%
Male Bachelor’s Degree or higher: 14.1%
Female Bachelor’s Degree or higher: 15.6%
No cause for celebration: Bachelor’s Degree or higher: 11.1%
• Causes for low percentage?
Gang Affiliation
• Much work needs to be done!
Generation Gap
• First Generation (Hmong)
– Tend to abide by strict traditional
• Second Generation ( HmongAmerican)
– Loosen up on traditions
– Rebel
• Third Generation (American
– Not very much traditions at all
– What does it mean to be Hmong?
– Speak Hmong?
• Fourth and onward (American)
– Many abide only by American
values and cultural norms
Model Minority Myth
• Asians are high test takers
• Asians are math and science
• Asians do well economically
• Asians don’t need the help
that other minority groups
need because they are selfsufficient
• Average ACT score of
Hmong students: 17.7
• 1990 Census: 62% Poverty
• 2000 Census: 34% Poverty
• 2010 Census: 27.3% Poverty
• National Average 2010
Census: 15.1% poverty rate
• Did not choose to come
There is hope!
• Hmong when given the
opportunity excels
• Poverty rate improves
• Growing Businesses
• Doctors and Lawyers
• Increasing enrollment into
• Many have done well
Lee Pao Xiong
Cy Thao
Mee Moua
Kou Yang
Many others leading the way!
Hmong Student Recruitment: How can
you help?
• Trust is huge issue: Recruit the whole family
• Know which generation of student you are working with
• Word of mouth is powerful, be known, outreach to events (New
Year, etc.)
• Hmong girls still have a hard time with cultural barriers
• Don’t condemn girls who married early, they will leave: lack of trust
• Be sensitive to cultural values
– Girls clean and cook at home
– Boys work to provide for family
• Scholarships
• Be committed to the population, know about us and we will know
about you
• Thank you very much for coming we will be
around to answer questions.
Khang, Mai S. (2010). Hmong Traditional Marital Roles and the Pursuit of Higher Education for
Married Hmong American Women. Retrieved From:
Lao Family Community of Minnesota Inc. (1997) Hmong Culture. Retrieved From:
Lao Family Community of Minnesota Inc. (1997) Hmong Family. Retrieved From:
Lee, Stacey J. (2007). The Truth and Myth of the Model Minority: The Case of Hmong Americans.
Issues in Children’s and Families Lives, Part 3, 171 – 184.
McNall, M., Dunnigan, T., and Mortimer, J. T. (1994). The Educational Achievement of the St. Paul
Hmong. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 25(1):44-65. American Anthropological Association.
Vang, T. and Flores, J. (1999). The Hmong Americans: Identity, Conflict, and Opportunity.
Multicultural Perspectives, 1(4), 9-14. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Watson, Dwight C. (2001). Characteristics of Hmong Immigrant Students. Childhood Education,
Annual theme.
Yang, Kao L. (2005). Hmong Compemporary Issues: Hmong American History Timeline. Copyright
2005 Kao-Ly Yang.
Yang, Kou (2003). Hmong Americans: A Review of Felt Needs, Problems, and Community
Development. Hmong Studies Journal, 2003, 4:1-23.

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