Blah blah blah...this is our introduction to the culture groups that explains what they are that that people can access the content below.

Laos

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

With the withdrawal of US forces from South East Asia in 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government of Laos ending a six-century-old monarchy and sending refugees streaming across the border into Thailand. These refugees were eventually resettled internationally and were the first contemporary refugee population resettled in Vermont. The first Lao refugees were resettled in Springfield in 1980.

LOATIANS IN VERMONT

Blog Post: Souphine Phathsoungneune to Receive Vermont Heritage Artist Governor's Award

 Article describing award presented to Souphine Phathsoungneune, a folk opera singer relocated from Laos to Brattleboro, VT, for his work on the music production “I Think of This Every Time I Think of Mountains.”

Green Mountain Lao Association

 Contact information for the Green Mountain Lao Association.

Twin Cities Daily Planet Article: Documenting a diaspora: 40 years and beyond

 Article describing preparations for the 40th anniversary of the Lao diaspora with mentions of now Vermont residents Souphine Phathsoungneune and Phayvanh Luekhamhan.

Blog of Montpelier based Laos poet and writer Phayvanh Luekhamhan

 Phayvanh Luekhamhan shares her stories and thoughts on life.


Burma

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

Burma was administered as a province of British-controlled India until 1937 when it became a separate self-governing colony. Civil war broke out when Burma became independent of Britain in 1948, and armed resistance has been ongoing. Since 1988 the country has been controlled by a repressive military government, which crushed student protests and imprisoned political dissidents. Political violence and widespread human rights abuses have forced Burmese people of all ethnicities to flee their homes. The first Burmese refugees were resettled in Vermont in 2008.

BURMESE IN VERMONT

Seven Days Article: Speaking in Tongues, Burmese Staff Interpreter at Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program

The Atlantic ArticleFrom Burma to Burlington: The Story of 'Brings Luck'

GENERAL BACKGROUND RESOURCES ON BURMA

Cultural Orientation Resource Center: Refugees from Burma, June, 2007, Refugee Backgrounder

  Information about the diverse histories, cultures, refugee backgrounds, and resettlement experiences of refugees from Burma, with a focus on Burmans, Karen, Karenni, and Chin.

Click here for more information.


Sudan

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

Islamic-oriented military regimes have controlled Sudan since it became independent of Anglo-Egyptian co-rule in 1956, and political violence there has displaced millions of people in two prolonged civil wars. These conflicts were fueled by northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non- Arab southern Sudanese. The Lost Boys of Sudan displaced and/or orphaned during the second civil war and the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur are well known to most Americans. Sudanese refugees were first resettled in Vermont in 1998.

SUDANESE IN VERMONT

2001 The Herald of Randolph: 'Lost Boys' Find Home in Vermont
 Local news article about Sudanese refugees resettled in Vermont in 2001.
2014 - Burlington Free Press: South Sudan strife affects Vermont's Lost Boys
2009 - Montpelier Times Argus: A 'Lost Boy' Finds Vermont
Community TV News Clip: Vermont Sudanese Community Discusses South Sudan Independence Day
Seven Days Article: Out of Africa and Into Vermont

GENERAL BACKGROUND RESOURCES ON SUDAN

Video Trailers: Lost Boys of Sudan and Dinka Diaries
NPR, All Things Considered: Christians Flock to South Sudan, Fear Future in North

 


Somalia

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

The new nation of Somalia was formed in 1960 from territories formerly controlled by Britain and Italy. In 1969 a coup resulted in repressive, authoritarian rule and the persecution, jailing, and torture of political dissidents. With this regime’s collapse in 1991 the country descended into turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy.

Efforts to establish a stable, functioning government have been underway since, but ongoing political violence has driven thousands of people from their homes. The first refugees from Somalia were resettled in Vermont in 2003.

SOMALI-BANTU IN VERMONT

Somali-Bantu Community Association of Vermont (SBCAVT)

 Vermont non-profit organization facilitating the resettlement and integration of the Somali Bantu refugee community of Vermont.

Excerpts from interview with Mohamed Abdi, President of SBCAVT, discussing the organization and its goals.

The Somali-Bantu experience in Vermont

The difference between integration and assimilation

The difference between refugee and immigrant


Music of the Somali Bantu in Vermont: Music, Identity and Refugees, Thesis by Simeon Chapin, Tufts University, August 2007.
The first known study of Somali Bantu music culture in the U.S., this thesis documents their music in relocation.  Thesis submitted by Simeon Chapin, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Music (Ethnomusicology), Tufts University, August 2007 

Read Full Thesis Here

GENERAL BACKGROUND RESOURCES ON SOMALI-BANTU

Cultural Orientation Resource Center: The Somali-Bantu, February 2003, Backgrounder
 A basic introduction to the people, history, and cultures of the Somali Bantu resettled from refugee camps in Somalia. – See more at: http://www.culturalorientation.net/learning/backgrounders#sthash.51sUzf9n.dpuf

Somali-Bantu Association of America
  National non-profit advocating on behalf of resettled Somali-Bantu people.


Bosnia and Herzegovnia

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with a long history that, for most of the 20th century, was part of the nation of Yugoslavia. When Bosnia declared its independence in 1992, Bosnian Serbs—supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro— responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines.

The ensuing conflict, accompanied by massive human rights abuses, forced over half of Bosnia’s population of 4.4 million from their homes. An estimated 1.3 million people were internally displaced, approximately 500,000 fled to neighboring countries, and some 700,000 became refugees in Western Europe. The first Bosnian refugees were resettled in Vermont in 1993.

BOSNIANS IN VERMONT

Middlebury Campus Article: Bosnian Refugees Call Vermont Home
 Middlebury Campus article on Bosnian immigrants in Middlebury, the language barrier, and  information about the growing community in Vermont.
Boston Language Institute: The Bilingual U.S. - Bosnian Burlington Vermont
 Article about Bosnian immigration to Vermont and the languages of the post-Yugoslavian  countries. 
First Vermont-Bosnian Film Festival
 Article from Seven Days newspaper on first Vermont Bosnian film festival (Bosansko  Vermontski Filmski Festival.) Covers some of the exhibits at the film festival and highlights the  festival’s focus to “raise awareness of domestic violence and celebrate cultural diversity.”

GENERAL BACKGROUND RESOURCES ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Background Note: Bosnia and Herzegovina
 An overview of history of region and religious differences, demographics, economy as well as  current political structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Produced by the United States  Department of State.
Welcome to Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Information about culture, Geography, Tourism, and Political System
BBC Bosnia-Herzegovina Timeline: A Chronology of Key Events
 Covers the years 1908-2010.
BBC Country Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Includes history, maps, information on political structure and media in Bosnia and Herzegovina  to date.
The Bosnia Institute
 Information on the Bosnian diaspora community and Bosnian culture and history.
CIA World Factbook: Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Detailed demographic, economic and political information compiled by the CIA.
Europe and Eurasia: Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Site that addresses Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the conflict in Kosovo. Addresses a  range of issues from business development to social work. Under the banner of Bosnia-  Herzegovina are links a wide variety of pages including stories from those directly impacted  by USAID programs, the country profile and selected reports.
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Bosnia
 Contemporary and historic maps of Bosnia.
Southeast Europe Times
 Balkan news agency. Gives a sense of day-to-day issues and developments in the Balkans.


Burundi

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

Burundi’s first democratically elected president was assassinated in 1993. His death led to widespread violence between Tutsi and Hutu factions and to the deaths of more than 200,000 Burundians over a period of nearly a dozen years. During this conflict hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. The first refugees from Burundi were resettled in Vermont in 2004.

BURUNDIANS IN VERMONT

NY Times article: Refugee Farmers find Solace on a Flood Plain

 NY Times article on Burundi, Somali Bantu, and Bhutanese refugees in Vermont after Tropical  Storm Irene

Burundian Community of Vermont Celebration

 The Burundian Community of Vermont’s celebration with cultural dances, drumming and      children’s games.  Remarks by the President of the Burundian American Association.


Tibet

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

In 1951 the Tibet Autonomous Region came under the control of People’s Republic of China. Although part of the Chinese state, the government of Tibet and Tibetan social structure remained largely in place in the Tibet Autonomous Region until the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when the Dalai Lama fled into exile and after which the Government of Tibet was dissolved.

The Tibetan government in exile is based in Dharamsala, India, and the worldwide exile population is estimated at approximately 128,014: India 94,203; Nepal 13,514; Bhutan 1,298; and rest of the world 18,999 (Demographic Survey of Tibetans in Exile 2009, by Planning Commission of Central Tibetan Administration)

Under the 1990 Immigration Act, 1,000 Tibetans living in exile in India, Nepal and Bhutan were chosen, via a Tibetan lottery, to receive U.S. visas. In 1993, Vermont became one of 25 resettlement sites in the United States. However, unlike other immigrants who came to Vermont as refugees, the Tibetans were deemed “displaced persons” and hence received no financial support from the U.S. government. Instead, Vermonters had to create a private nonprofit, Burlington’s Tibetan Resettlement Project, to help them get established.

TIBETANS IN VERMONT

Website for Tibetan Association of Vermont
 Community association representing Tibetans in Vermont.  
Video: Tibetan Association of Vermont 2012 - Footage of Events with Commentary

 Video clips from the associations most important events aimed at raising awareness of the  conflict in Tibet and calling for Tibet’s autonomy.

Seven Days Article: Burlington-Area Tibetans Reflect on Life in Exile
  Burlington-area Tibetans reflect on life in exile.
Burlington Free Press Article: Dalai Lama's visit is a dream come true for Vermont Tibetan community
  Article on Dalai lama’s visit to Middlebury in 2012  

GENERAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT TIBET

International Campaign for Tibet
   All about Tibet from the International Campaign for Tibet  
Humanity in Action Article: 'One Home One Dream': Exploring Tibetan Diaspora in New York City
 Article on Tibetan immigration to the United States since the Tibetan diaspora. Addresses the  issue of Tibetan identity and “citizenship,” even though Tibet is not a formally recognized  state by the UN.
The Office of Tibet
  The official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Administration to the Americas