Laotian Americans (Multicultural America:)
John Tenhula's interview with Ge Lor, a Hmong highland dweller in Laos who immigrated to the United States with his wife and two sons in the early 1980s, shows the struggles that many immigrants grapple with in adjusting to a new profession in a different culture. Ge Lor explains that American farming was different than the farming that he was used to in Laos. The Hmong were simple farmers who used hand tools and slash and burn agricultural techniques. Lor explains that, even though he benefitted from a training program, learning the business aspects of American farming was as difficult as learning how to plant cash crops and how to use pesticides.
Laotians have not, in general, been in the United States for a long time. In 1975, Hmong refugees from Laos began to flee to Thailand and to other countries, including the United States. As Laos was taken over by Communist insurgents, Laotians fled, fearing persecution by the new government, military conscription, and arbitrary arrest of anyone suspected of political crimes or disloyalty. The Hmong, one ethnic group in the Laotian community, which also includes the Mien and Khmu groups, as well as several other smaller groups, were targeted as enemies of the new government because they had worked with the United States Central Intelligence Agency during the Vietnam War. In the 1990 census, the Lao immigrants numbered...
(The entire section is 6340 words.)
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