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They scattered around the country in climates that were foreign to tropical hill dwellers, enduring subzero winters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and the baking heat of California’s Central Valley summers.
Adam Lee smiles at the memory of a childhood in war-torn Laos and voyage to America, where he spent decades adapting to life in big cities.
In Trinity County, they are reinvigorating a struggling, rural area that was losing population.
The legalisation of recreational marijuana in November set off a so-called green rush in California, which has been a centre for cannabis-growing for decades.
“We’ve scrambled to figure out how we can incorporate their traditions,” said Debbie Miller, the superintendent of the Mountain Valley Unified School District, where 30 of the 280 students are Hmong. At the school holiday pageant, the students put on a Hmong fashion show.
“We’ve had declining enrolment for a while, and they’ve brought children to us,” Ms. “I hope more of them come.” Mai Vue, the founder of Conscious Cannabis Resources, a nonprofit organisation that helps Hmong farmers navigate the growing thicket of regulations applied to marijuana growing, estimates that more than 1,500 Hmong live in Trinity County, which has a population of about 13,000. In November, Bobbi Chadwick, a farmer, was elected to a seat on the Board of Supervisors under the slogan Unite Trinity, which was understood as a sign of uniting the Hmong and the white population.