International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

9 August is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

This year’s focus in on highlighting how the preservation and promotion of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and practices can be leveraged during COVID-19 and build back stronger.

We’re seeing this in action with the incredible stories of resilience among the Hmong Community who are an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

As Hmong fled to Thai refugee camps during the civil war, traditional embroidery and needlework practices were adapted to making what are known as ‘story cloths’. These embroidered, pictorial cloths, depicting traditional village life, war, escape, refuge and resettlement were a way that Hmong women could capture their experiences of displacement, tragedy and cultural transformation. Finding themselves destitute in the Thai refugee camps, making and selling story cloths were also a way to earn a much needed income for themselves and their families.

Their stories of survival, maintaining cultural identity and the continuation of their unique craftsmanship and more will be on display at Queensland Museum’s new exhibition I Do! Wedding Stories from Queensland opening 18 September 2020.

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