Cultural Assessment of the Hmong People

Home Cultural Assessment of the Hmong People

Hmong is an ethnic group that settled over the world. These people are from the northern China, Laos and Thailand. They have their own culture, beliefs and the way of life (Fadiman, 1997).

Giger-Davidhizar created a model of cultural assessment. This model consists of six components. They are time, space, communication, social organization, environmental control and biological variation (Giger & Davidhizar, 2003). The best book that shows all mentioned above components calls “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.” It was written by Anne Fadiman, in 1997.

Social organization of the Hmong people differs a bit from others. They are group-oriented. The needs of the group are higher than individual needs. The Hmong people follow their traditions and beliefs. The tradition of birth is the best instance. It is the tradition of burying the placenta. After the birth, the placenta must be buried in the spot under the home. They believe that the human soul will get back to the placenta after the death. In the Hmong communities, parents love boys more than girls. However, Lees loved Lia very much. She was adorable (Fadiman, 1997).

Environmental control of the Hmong people is internal

They believe that soul and inner human world are the base of their society. They have their attitude to illnesses and health. In addition, they have their practices. Epilepsy is a very spread disease among the Hmong people. They call this disease “quag dab peg”. It means “the spirit catches you and you fall down.” They believe that this disease can be healed. In addition, they consider this illness an honor. They believe that people who has epilepsy can become a shaman. They do not accept surgery because they believe that the human body is a cover for the soul. If the cover is damaged, the soul will not reborn in another body. They use herbs for treatment. In addition, they use spiritual practices and sacrifice for treatment (Fadiman, 1997)

Communication of the Hmong people is different. Their language is full of nonverbal items. They do not look in their interlocutor’s eyes for a long time. It is rude. In their communication, the word “yes” sometimes means “yes,” however, sometimes it means “I hear you.” It is shown in the book, when Lia’s parents listen to the doctor. They answered “yes,” however, they did not understand him. In addition, in their oral communication, while narrating something, they use the phrase “hais cuaj txub kaum txub.” It means “to speak of all kinds of things.” With these words, the narrator tries to remind people that the world is full of things that can be invisible. However, all these things are connected and impacted on people’s lives and destiny (Fadiman, 1997)


The Hmong people perceive the space in their own way. Women are very modest. They criticize American doctors because they ask patients to put off their clothes, and sometimes they put their fingers inside vaginas. The Hmong people attached to their clans (Fadiman, 1997).

The perception of time of the Hmong people differs from others. They estimate today. They think about the future like about the time, when their soul will be released. They do not use calendars. Lia did not know when she was born. Her mother also did not know the date. She knew that it was the time when the opium fields had to be weeded for the second time (Fadiman, 1997).

The Hmong people have their own biological variations. Dan, a man, who registered Lia in the hospital, described her as a round-faced child, with black hair. All the Hmong people have the same appearance. They are not tall; however, they are stocky. Adult women have long black hair, round faces and dark eyes (Fadiman, 1997)

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