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Literacy and L'Armee Clandestine: The Writings of the Hmong Military Scribes

Author(s): John Duffy

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2000;
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Keywords: Hmong Studies

While histories of Hmong literacy development in Laos havefocused on the role of village schools, the arrival ofmissionary Christianity, and the development of various Hmongreligious alphabets, one site for Hmong literacy developmenthas been consistently overlooked: L'Armee Clandestine, or theHmong "Secret Army." This article examines literacydevelopment in the Hmong military, looking at the writings ofHmong military scribes. The article discusses how 1) literacyskills taught in other contexts, such as Laotian publicschools, were further developed in the Hmong military, 2) aselected number of Hmong men were introduced through militaryservice to English language and literacy, and 3) militaryscribes might appropriate literacy to address personal needsand aspirations.

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