Diffusionism & Hmong Culture

The Hmong people are group of people who came to the United States because of the Vietnam War. Due to the movement, many cultural traditions did not transition well. Because some customaries could not be done in the United States, the Hmong people had to borrow traits that were customary in the United States in order to carry on what they could do.
An example of this is the sacrificing of black dogs. From my parents views on dogs, they were not valued as much as they are in the United States. Since there is no high value of dogs in the Hmong culture then, it was not look down upon to use a black dogs for spiritual sacrifices. Now that the Hmong people are in the United States, that custom could not carry over because of the values that Americans had for dogs. So instead of using dogs now, they are able to use black dog stuff animal instead. Even though the Hmong people do not use real dogs now the belief is transferred into the black dog stuff animal. This is an example of the diffusionism that has happened with the Hmong people. Since chickens, cows and pigs are more seen as food compare to dogs, that custom of using them for rituals still happen because of the same value American culture and Hmong culture share.
Another example of diffusionism in the Hmong culture is the Bride wealth that occurs. During the wedding process, it was customary for the groom’s side of the family to give some sort of payment to the bride’s family such as silver, animals, and other valuables. Since coming to the United States, the value of bride wealth has alter because money today in American society is more value than animals so the Hmong people has changed their value of bride wealth which has cause some commotion within the culture because the value of what bride wealth was in Laos and Thailand cannot compare to what bride wealth should be in the United States.
These two examples are of diffusionism that has happened within the Hmong culture after coming to the United States.

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2 thoughts on “Diffusionism & Hmong Culture

  1. I’d like to hear more about the dog ritual and why specifically black dogs were/are used and how else it has changed since plush animals have become the substitute. I think these are interesting examples of how cultural practices change and adapt to different regions and how they change rather than being made entirely obsolete. I’m sure Hmong-American culture shows many elements of change and diffusion. I always thought diffusion as being the adoption of cultural practices to different groups of people and cultures not a one culture adopting their practices to fit into a new environment but I guess this shows Hmong-Americans adopting American practices into their traditional practices so It gave me a different way of looking at diffusion.

  2. Very interesting. A fascinating point is that bridewealth still exists. This demonstrate that this cultural point is so strongly connected to their personal identity, that even when surrounded by a society that does not truly practice this, the Hmong still do.

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