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Artist Unknown (Nou Yang's Mother)
Nationality or Tribal Affiliation Hmong
Title Hmong Migration and the War in Laos
Type of Object Needlework
Date ca. 1992
Medium Cotton, thread
Dimensions H-161 W-256.4 cm
Collection Missoula Art Museum Collection
How acquired Donated by Anne & Jon Bertsche, 2004
Object ID 2004.04.01
Statement about this object This major story cloth depicts the history of the Hmong people. Several of these story cloths were made in Missoula around the time of the Missoula Museum of the Arts exhibition in 1992.

The story begins at the top left corner with the Hmong migration from China to Laos in the top left corner. Next to this, on the right side of the Mekong River, is Long Cheng, the clandestine airbase that the CIA ran in Laos from 1960 - 1975; at its height, more than 400 flights arrived and departed daily, making this un-mapped base busier than Chicago's O'Hare airport.

A line of people and blue van snake underneath the airport to cross the Hin Her Bridge, the site of a Community checkpoint and terrible massacre of Hmong people marching to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in May 1975. Afterward, Hmong were fled to the jungles, as seen in the top right. Great fighting with soldiers, shown down the right side of the cloth, followed. Hmong risked their lives swimming across the Mekong River, in the bottom corner.

Those who survived entered refugee camps in Thailand; these are shown below and to the left of the river, across the bottom of the cloth. Americans are easily identified by their strange hair colors. At the bottom left, Hmong board flights to new homes all over the world.
Classification Textiles
Narrative
Subjects War
Military bases
Airplanes
Evacuations
Soldiers
Massacres
Refugees
Immigrants
Immigration
People
Landscapes (Representations)
Rivers
History
Search Terms China
Laos
Thailand
Burma
Long Cheng
Mekong River
Vientiane
Ban Vinai
Vietnam War