History of the Miao Hmong People | Culture Cross

History of the Miao Hmong People

Who are the Hmong People?

The Hmong people are an ethnic group that lives throughout East and Southeast Asia. The majority of the Hmong live in China, where they are known as the "Miao", while significant Hmong populations also live in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and the United States. 

History of the Hmong/Miao People

The Hmong people are originally all from what is now Central China. In their homeland, they developed their own language, religions, culture and way of life. Over thousands of years, conflict between the Hmong and the Han Chinese pushed Hmong people further South, to what is now Southern China and Northern Laos and Vietnam.

During the Chinese Communist Revolution, Mao ZeDong and other leading Chinese communists were looking for common enemies of the Chinese imperial dynasties as well as the Chinese Nationalists. Finding an ally with a common enemy, the Hmong/Miao welcomed Mao during the Long March period, protecting the Communist Revolutionaries and allowing them to gain strength. When the Communists did succeed in taking control of China, the Hmong Miao were given semi-autonomy status, allowing them to keep aspects of their culture and way of life while much of the culture of China was destroyed during the Communist "Cultural Revolution". Today the Hmong in China represent a more traditional way of life that draws much from cultural heritage while the rest of China modernizes. 

In Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, the Hmong also found an ally with a common enemy. The Communist revolutionaries in Those countries had a different relationship with the Hmong, and saw them as an obstacle to their goals. When the United States entered the Vietnam war, local alliances were key. The United States was able to convince the Hmong that siding with them was better than siding with the Communists, and the Hmong joined the fight with the Americans. But things did not go the way they thought. The United States lost the war and fled and the Hmong were left to fight alone. Many Hmong refugees were allowed to come to the United States but many were left behind.


Working with the Hmong / Miao

We work directly with the Hmong people across East Asia and Southeast Asia. This gives us an opportunity to visit their villages and learn more about their history and way of life. It's been an amazing opportunity! 

Through our time with the Hmong we really gained a special appreciation for their jewelry. Handmade Hmong Silver Jewelry is some of the most beautiful craftsmanship I have ever seen anywhere in the world and carries special cultural and spiritual significance to the Hmong people. While many Hmong Jewelry items are culturally significant, there are also many other Hmong Jewelry pieces that are influenced by their heritage but designed by us, including our Hmong Feather Ear Cuffs. Take a look at our collection of Hmong Jewelry and see great examples of traditional Hmong craftsmanship.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to offer Hmong Jewelry for sale here at Culture-Cross, to help support the Hmong people and provide them with some income, and to spread appreciation for traditional Hmong Culture! We are so excited for our next opportunity to return to the Hmong Miao villages and reconnect with our friends.