One thing mothers are usually responsible for are the clothes and food. These are some important aspects of culture that also needs to be passed down from generation to generation. These ladies, and many more out there, are doing their jobs well. I am quite inspired by the leaderships of these strong women, including my mother, to be an advocate not only for my heritage and for others to keep their own. My apprecitions go out to those representing strong leadership within the communities especially those that goes unnoticed often.
This whole trip I have seen a lot of strong women representing high titles, such as CEO, Prime Minister, Teachers, Principle, Manager etc. which I think is unbelievably AWESOME. This country seems to be more open to women leaders. One type of the leader that I think don’t get much credit are “Heritage Leaders.” Usually one would think that carrying on the Heritage, is mainly a man’s job, but it’s amazing how women contributions are so simple , it can be unnoticed. I would like to give some acknowledgment to some of those women leaders that are not often recognized.
One example of great women leaders, are the ladies from the hill tribes of Akkah and Lahus. I really appreciate the ladies sharing their stories and struggles with us all. Their actions thus far, contributions and continuous work on issues are essential for their cultures. One thing I notice was that their story was much similar to my own, the hardships of conserving ones culture. Being raised in an environment where you are the minority, having a strong influence of another mainstream culture, and then having to struggle with clashes of cultures.
The struggle with the younger generation, not wanting to be different, I can relate to. I remember going to the Hmong New Years, and seeing some people wear American attires while I was in my traditional clothing. I was embarrassed and I complained to my mom, “Why do I have to wear Hmong clothes, the other people are not.” I never knew how hard my mother worked on the tinist detail of the clothes, how much she wanted to preserve our culture and how sad she looked when all of this was not appreciated. Being older now, I appreciate my Heritage background, and find it weird if I didn’t wear Hmong clothes to the Hmong New Year.