QUOTE (直隸總督 @ Jun 8 2004, 06:10 PM)
Let me ask a quick question, where did you get all these Miao people. In the school I attend and where I live, there's hardly any Miao. But when I come on this forum, it seems that many of you have " a lot of " Miao in your areas. Is it because the government of US concentrates all Miaos in certain regions?
No. But like any other ethnic minority, they tend to gravitate towards each other. Just think of all the China Towns. Anyways, if u really want to know where we're concentrated in the US, most of the Hmong's=Miao's are concentrated in the Central Valley of California (Sacramento, Merced, San Diego, Fresno, Stockton, Visalia, Santa Anna, etc.), Minnesota (St. Paul, & Minniapolis [Twin Cities]), Wisconsin (Green Bay, Appleton, Wausau, Stevens Point, Madison, etc.), North Carolina (Hickory, Charlotte, etc...). I may have left a couple out, but these are the major states and cities that they concentrate in. California having the most, then Minnesota, ofcourse with the concensus not yet updated, Minnesotta may have more today, with all the moving around happening.
Anyways, to those who still can't seem to agree on the term Hmong versus Miao
, Meo termonology
. And it's so true what some of you have already stated, you can't define a group of people. It's like trying to define Americans, Japanese, Native Americans, Blacks, etc. On the termonology itself, people may define it differently because of what it means to them personally. Below, I've bolded some of the comments I deemed important. So if you don't want to read the whole thing, just read what's bolded.
Quoted from Mai Na M. LeeThe Thousand-Year Myth: Construction and Characterization of Hmong"Hmong,"
the word which an obscure people use to identify themselves, was not known to the world until two decades ago. Politically marginalized, it took the mountains upon which the Hmong inhabited to echo their name across the hemispheres........
Let us begin with the name "Hmong" itself. Virtually all authors who have written about the Hmong since the 1970's acknowledged the Hmong's preference to be known as "Hmong." In addition, almost everyone makes reference to the fact that the names "Miao" and "Meo," used by outsiders to identify the Hmong people, have pejorative connotations. Yet most of these authors, even those of respectable scholarly background, have refused to establish the trend of labeling the Hmong by their preferred name, citing academic consistency and established tradition as excuses. Today everyone and anyone who writes about Hmong is pulled into the debate of defining Hmong.
Being here to discuss issues on Hmong I am also compelled to touch upon the name "Hmong." There are two basic opposing views concerning the word "Hmong" in its written and spoken forms
. Those who continue to use outsider's terms to identify the Hmong insist that the names "Miao" and "Meo" have no derogative connotations. On the other hand, Yang Dao, prominent as the first Laotian Hmong to hold a doctorate degree, argues that the word means "barbarian." Introduced into Indochina in the late nineteenth century, the word "Miao" degenerated to "Meo," a derogatory term
. Swedish researcher Joakim Enwall disagreed with Yang, arguing that there is no reference to the fact that "Miao" meant barbarian although the people who used it to label the Hmong may have perceived the Hmong as barbarians. Finally, Enwall shoots down the arguments of Yang and other's who insist on the name Hmong by stripping the political context embedded in the debate of Hmong. Enwall raises questions regarding academic pragmatism versus a people's right to insist upon an orally correct name which may be impossible for others to pronounce. He also points to the fact that Chinese characters cannot accommodate the aspirated "m" in the word "Hmong."
As to the meaning of the word "Miao," Enwall concludes: "To my Miao friends, I just want to say that the basic meaning of the word 'miao' in Chinese is 'young plant', which in an agrarian culture is certainly a more positive concept than that of a 'swede' in the western world."
The debate over whether the word "Miao" has negative connotations has been elaborated upon by many. Most writers have taken "Miao" to mean "aboriginal" with the added connotation of "uncivilized." However, others argue that the ancient form of the character "Miao," in fact, represented a cat's head and meant "cat." The Chinese probably used this word to describe the Hmong due to the Hmong's vocalized language which seemed to resemble the meowing of a cat. William Geddes found it difficult to believe that the Chinese thought there was similarity between the feline utterance and Hmong speech which resembles Chinese. However, he speculated upon the relevance of this argument, citing Chinese references which speak of the Hmong as having tails and Hmong belief in their own ability to transform into tigers after death.
Quoted from Gary Yia Lee
(an anthropologists)Cultural Identity In Post-Modern Society: Reflections on What is a Hmong?
The meanings of the terms "Hmong" and "Miao"
The term "Hmong" has come to be used internationally during the last twenty years, largely through the advocacy of the Hmong in Laos and through the pioneering work of Dr. Yang Dao (6), who first suggested that the word "Hmong" means "free people". Before this period, the international literature, following Chinese usage, usually refers to the Hmong as "Miao" or "Meo". Regardless of the name they use for themselves, most Hmong are hesitant about its meaning as they simply do not know.
Leaders of a messianic movement based in the former refugee camps in Thailand believe that the term "Peb Hmoob" (Us Hmoob) derives from the word "Peb Hmoov", meaning "the Tree Fortunes". The word "peb" can mean either "us" or "three". Hmong messianic legend has it that the Hmong were once delivered from the Chinese by a set of three brothers called "Peb Hmoov" (the Three Fortunes). Previous to this, the Hmong are said to call themselves "Keeb" (Quing or Ch'ing) or "originators". Despite the linguistic similarity between "Peb Hmoob" (the way the Hmong often refer to themselves) and "Peb Hmoov", this explanation seems to have confused Hmong origin with Vietnamese history. The Vietnamese are known as the Quing people, and they were at one time delivered from Chinese domination by the Le sisters, similar to the story of the three Hmong brothers. To complicate matters further, the Hmong in Laos and Thailand have been known as "Meo", a derivative of the Chinese word "Miao". With a slight change in accent, the word "Meo" in Lao and Thai can be pronounced to mean "cat". It is most offensive for many Asians to be compared to an animal, a lower form of beings in their views. For this reason, the Hmong have taken exception to being known as "Meo".
The Lao government has complied by referring to them as "Lao Sung" or "Lao of the mountain tops", a term which also includes the I-Mien or Yao people. Thai authorities have taken no official line on the issue. Outsiders in Laos and Thailand may refer to the Hmong as "Hmong" when political correctness calls for it, otherwise the Hmong continue to be called "Meo".
According to Enwall , the term "Miao" was used in pre-Quin China to refer to non-Chinese people of Southern China, often in combination such as "Miao Min" (the Miao people), "Yu Miao" (the Miao) and "San Miao" (the three groups of Miao). Later, during the Tang and Sung dynasties, the term "Nan Man" (Southern Barbarians) was used, and it was not until 862 A.D. that the word "Miao" appeared again in Fan Chuo's book _Manshu on the Man Tribes_. During the Ming and Quing dynasties, both the terms "Man" and "Miao" were used. The Ming dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) finally saw the term used for the Hmong in today's China where they are now referred to as "Miao-Tseu". The Hmong in China are today reported to readily accept being called "Miao".
Enwall (1992: 2) also contends that the Hmong in China have voiced no concern about the term, and it is impossible to write "Hmong" in Chinese characters (with a nasal 'h').
Regardless of this, the reference to the Hmong as "Miao-tseu" carries shades of ambiguity since it can be defined as either "rice sprouts" or "sons of the soil". The Chinese Hmong may have raised no objection because they are not aware of the ambiguous meanings of the term, or have not been ridiculed by the use of such a name unlike their brothers and sisters in Thailand or Laos.
Among themselves, the Hmong outside China prefer to be called "Hmong" (in the White Hmong dialect) or "Mong" (in Blue Hmong or Moob Lees). Those in China use such terms to designate themselves as "Ghao Xong" in Western Hunan; "Hmub", "Gha Ne" or "Hme" for a group speaking the same dialect in Southeastern Kweichow; "A Hmao" in Northwest Kweichow and Northeast Yunnan; and "Hmong" in South Sechwan, West Kweichow and South Yunnan. These many different terms also refer to the languages spoken by the people concerned whose number is estimated at 7.5 million around the world.
Of this number, Hmong speakers are the most numerous with more than 3 million people in China, Southeast Asia and in the West. Given this diversity in their name, it is possible that the Hmong in China accept the Chinese term "Miao" for convenience and through forces of history rather than any meanings of the word. The non-Chinese aboriginals of southern China consist of many different ethno-linguistic groups. After many centuries of Chinese control, some might have adopted the name "Miao" without realising how many other groups have had it used for them. Hence, the acceptance of the name by such a large number of culturally and linguistically diverse people, many of whom cannot even communicate with each other except in Chinese.
It will be interesting to see whether they will continue to use the term "Miao" or to change to "Hmong" in the near future as advocated by the Hmong in Western countries.
Those of you who question where I'm getting my resources, you can read all the articles archived at:http://members.aol.com/hmongstudiesjrnl/HSJArchives.html
The people I quoted is also in there, with their full article, if you actually want to read the whole thing. I only posted some of there comments on the meaning of the word Hmong. Also, though many Chinese people may not deem it inappropriate to call us Miao, also keep in mind that when you use this termonology, it is derogative in the Thai and Lao language, pronounciation is also very similar
. I should know, I was called one once by some Lao girl and another Lao girl overheard and had to tell me what it meant. She was like, "You don't know what it means! It means you're a freaking cat! It's not a really nice reference to you at all." I guess that's all I'm going to say for now on this topic....