This is a Hmong story cloth. Hmong people are native to southeast Asia, and have a long tradition of embroidery and textile work.
Story cloths, however, are not traditional Hmong textiles. Hmong story cloths were only invented in the 1970s, when thousands of Hmong were interred in refugee camps.
Hmong had allied themselves with American forces during the Vietnam War. When Americans withdrew from Vietnam and Laos in the 1970s, the governments of those countries, which had opposed U.S. intervention, targeted the Hmong. In this story cloth, Hmong flee these armed soldiers.
In refugee camps, Hmong were encouraged to manufacture textiles for sale abroad. Hmong women developed story cloths, which depicted pastoral Hmong life before the war, Hmong legends, or harrowing tales of forced migration.
Hmong story cloths were made purely for the marketplace, and helped families establish a reliable source of income. Refugees sent the textiles to relatives and friends in the U.S., where most Hmong eventually settled.
Areas with the largest Hmong populations, in both Asia and the United States, are depicted in white on this story cloth. What Asian nation did most Hmong flee in the 1970s? (Use this map to help you identify southeast Asian countries, as well as American states.)
The story cloth depicts the Hmong fleeing west. Why did they not migrate north or east?
To what neighboring country did most Hmong flee?
To what U.S. states did the most Hmong relocate?
What jobs did Hmong refugees seek in the U.S.?
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry ally Noun
person or group who supports and cooperates with another person or group.
to represent or draw.
to decorate with elaborate sewing or needlework.
to inspire or support a person or idea.
forced migration Noun
the movement of people away from their homes due to political conflict, natural disaster or environmental hazard.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
extremely disturbing or scary.
wages, salary, or amount of money earned.
to make or produce a good, usually for sale.
central place for the sale of goods.
serene and rural.
person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.
refugee camp Noun
temporary shelters built for immigrants who have fled their homes due to environmental or social conflict.
person who serves in a military.
cloth or other woven fabric.
beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.