Stories in Thread
About This Episode
Stories in Thread focuses on Hmong Pa Dau or Story Cloths - the hand-made textiles are integral to what it means to be Hmong in America. The Hmong fought alongside American Soldiers and CIA operatives as a secret army in the Vietnam War. When the war was lost they faced a campaign of genocide with many coming to the United States as refugees.
Despite this significance of Pa Dau to identity and cultural survival, the art form is disappearing. The perspective of the elder generation, the fighters and refugees from Laos, is expressed in their own Hmong language and their fear of cultural loss is immediate and painful. The story of Hmong Pa Dau is the story of identity change and perseverance, it is an exploration of the refugee and immigrant experience, and also a commentary on contemporary minority issues in America.