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Chapter 8

Anthropology Anthro 3283 Chapter 8: Fadiman Ch. 8 (93-105)

Course Code
L48 Anthro 3283
Benson Peter

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Fadiman Ch. 8 (93-105)
Fadiman meeting the Lees
Hmong don’t distinguish between mental and physical problems; they are all spiritual
Sukey, psychologist, understands the Hmong; said that even though there were thousands
of Hmong in Merced, not one American spoke English
May Ying cultural broker; with May by her side, she was not an official or someone
who would tell them what to do
Lees needed less status; Americans made them feel as their family didn’t count as much;
like they were belittled
Pog how May addressed Foua, connoting respect and intimacy
Fadiman, May, and Foua started to develop a more intimate relationship
o Lees unhesitantly granted Fadiman access to Lia’s health records
She looked at the records at saw that the doctor’s diagnoses were untranslatable, which
would mean very little to the Lees
o Lees did not tell time in the same way that hospital record-keepers did; years were
not identified by a number, but as an event
o 1982 year Lia got sick
o 1985 year Lia became government property
o when referred to times of the day would use Hmong phrases
Lees told her everything she asked, but also so they could tell her about Hmong culture
so she could understand their way and explain it to others
Foua wants doctors to believe in their neeb (healing spirit); doctors can fix some
sicknesses that involve body and blood, but for us Hmong some people get sick because
of their soul, so they need spiritual things
Nao Kao believes this is why some doctors cannot effectively treat their sickness; this
young man hated the doctors, because the only way to cure that kind of sickness was to
sacrifice a dog
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