The Hmong People
The Southeast Asia Global Village, previously in the larger Asian region, is now designated as lands in Asia South of the Tropic of Capricorn and excluding the Pacific Islands and India. The areas from Burma in the West to Vietnam in the East, along with the islands from Sumatra in the West to the Philippines and New Guinea in the East make up this Global Village. The culture region does not include Taiwan, but does include Hong Kong and Macao.
A constant reminder about culture is that no region is completely isolated and much diffusion and overlapping of cultural traits is always the norm rather than the exception. This is a large and fragmented cultural region and we must look to mainland China for clues to its history and cultural markers.
The oldest modern human skeleton, found in Southeast Asia dates to between 50-60,000 years ago. It was found in 2009 in “The Cave of the Monkeys,” in Tam Pa Ling, Laos by paleoanthropologist, Laura Lynn Schackelford of the University of Illinois. It is only a partial skull, but fills a gap in the fossil record. Schackelford, interviewed by Live Science stated, “Most people didn’t think we’d find anything in these caves, or even in the region where we’re working in mainland Southeast Asia. But we’re stubborn, gone where no one’s really looked before, or at least in almost a century.”
This finding sheds new light on where the first peoples in Southeast Asia may have originated. The common theory was that the Hmong peoples were the first peoples to migrate south from possibly the area around Beijing, China. Now the migratory patterns are being re-visited.
This is a fascinating Global Village with many unique cultural traits to discover and many different ethnic groups, most of whom may be related to the early Hmong people that you can see in the following video.
However, there are dozens of sub-groups or branches of the Hmong spread over all of Southeast Asia.
Join me in the classroom to learn more about this ethnic group and their cultural traits, which have endured for at least 6,000 years.