Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
Hmong Vron women wear long wooden horns connected to their hair. Because of this they are called Long Horn Miao in English. Hmong Vron means "forest Hmong." The Chinese call them Qing Miao, which means "forest Miao." There is another group of Hmong near Bijie who also wear horns, but the two groups are only distantly related. In Operation China this latter group is called Horned Miao.
The Hmong Vron, like many other Miao/Hmong groups in China, have been ensnared by dire poverty for centuries. When the Communists passed through Guizhou in 1934 on their Long March, they were horrified at the condition of the Miao. "They sat huddled in nakedness beside straw cooking fires. ... Girls of seventeen and eighteen worked naked in the fields. Many families had only one pair of trousers to share among three or four adult males. ... They owned no land. They were in debt to the landlord from birth to death. There was no escape. They sold their children if anyone would buy them. They smothered or drowned baby girls. That was routine. The boys were killed too, if there was no market for them."
To produce their striking appearance, Hmong Vron women first tie a big wooden horn on their heads. "Then, cords of hair are bound around the wooden horn. ... In fact, the cords are made from the hair of her deceased elder relatives handed down through the generations. ... Tradition has it that long ago a villager caught an exceptionally beautiful pheasant. It caused a sensation among the villagers, who wished to dress themselves as beautifully as the golden pheasant."
In the past, each Hmong Vron village had its own shaman. Today most are animists, living in constant fear of evil spirits.
The Hmong Vron are an unreached people group with no known believers despite the fact that they are neighbors of the Gha-Mu (Small Flowery Miao) - the majority of whom are Christians. The gospel has not spread to the Hmong Vron because of linguistic and social barriers. This situation highlights the necessity for the Christian world to view the many Miao groups as separate entities. The Gha-Mu speak a completely different language from the Hmong Vron. Also, the two groups do not particularly like each other. As a result, there is little contact between them.