For centuries non-HMoob people and scholars have sought to label and define who HMoob people are, but this paper reclaims and repositions HMoob people as agentic and reinforces our people’s power to define themselves as we have for centuries. This paper also addresses problematic discourse about HMoob people and HMoob education, such as “peb HMoob tsis muaj kev kawm”1 or “peb tsis muaj kev txawj hab kev ntse le lwm paab lwm pawg.”2 Departing from such deficit discourse, this paper explores HMoob eldership as pedagogy as one way that HMoob people have valid knowledge systems. HMoob eldership as pedagogy examines who is considered an educator and how education is implemented within our community. I propose HMoob eldership as pedagogy as a form of knowledge from our community’s multiple pedagogies and education methodologies, one that roots HMoob epistemologies in eldership. Eldership, in this sense, traces the ways HMoob knowledge is passed down from the older generations to the younger generations through everyday teaching and learning. Ultimately, this work aims to nuance HMoob people’s understanding of HMoob epistemologies and cosmologies.

Thaum yug tseem yau, yug saib moog rua qhov twg los muaj cov laug nyob rua qhov hov lug coj peb, qhuab qha peb, hab hlub peb. Ua caag lug moog txug rua nub nua, yug saib moog rua txuj kaab txuj ke twg los tsis pum ib tug laug nyob rua qhov twg le lawm? Lub sib hawm thaud moog rua qhov twg lawm? Cov laug tsawg zuj zug, leej twg yuav lug sawv puab qhov chaw? Zag nuav, yuav yog koj hab yuav yog kuv. Peb yuav tau dlhau moog ua cov laug lawm. Thaum ti teg ti taw, tsis muaj tug lug qhuab lug qha, peb yuav ncu txug tej laug. Yog vim le nuav, koj hab kuv, peb suav dlawg yuav tsum kawm hab paub txug tej laug tej kev qhuab kev qha. Peb yuav tau xyum hab ncu txug peb HMoob kev qhuab kev qha.3 (Collective Teaching, n.d.)