The Importance Of Nature In A Hmong Home

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Displaced from their homeland, many of the old traditions and practices of Hmong refugees are re-established in their new abodes in Washington Park. They reproduce their home in alien buildings built by 20th Century German Americans. Duplexes, four-squares, and Victorian cottages become stage sets where daily life and practices of Hmong families unfold, where memories and practices from the past are enacted and remembered.
Buildings are cultural products—the interior layout of rooms, the relationship between various interior spaces, the visual and architectural character reflect the cultural values of those who built these structures. Doors, walls, entrances act as boundaries between various social domains— public, private, male, female, nature, culture, leisure, and recreation. Therefore, the very act of inhabiting a building
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The plan and images of a Hmong home show how interior spaces are filled with indoor plants. The profusion of indoor plants seems to continue the verdant FIGURE A2 outdoor garden into the living room making the boundary between inside and outside very permeable. Resident Mae explains the importance of nature in a Hmong home, “…it’s always good to have plants in the house… or something herbal that keeps the house safe…” (Vang 2015). In Laos, meadows and forests are typical landscapes around Hmong villages. Hmong resident, ZongSae explained, “Almost ninety percent of the Hmong people come from Laos, come from the jungle. Nature… brings joy for them. ” Now in Milwaukee, Hmong elders reconstruct that landscapes in the urban context, within their living FIGURE A3 rooms and their backyards. They use their knowledge of gardening to farm in their back yard, produce greens indoors, or take over a nearby vacant lot to grow vegetables (Vang

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