“I personally feel deeply uncomfortable when I see a company taking ancient cultural knowledge and practices and using them in marketing messages for their products. Interpreting this discomfort has been a revelation to me that stems from my childhood as a first-generation Mien immigrant.
My parents lived in a small village in the mountains between Vietnam and Laos. During the Vietnam war, they were forced to flee to Thailand, then the USA as refugees. My dad is a shaman, and he as well as my mother carry the medicinal and spiritual knowledge of food and herbs. Even though we lived in California, my parents grew almost everything we ate from the garden in our backyard and foraged for the many mushrooms and herbs we consumed. Every time I got sick growing up, an herbal recipe and Mien chant was there to help me heal.
My parents gleaned their knowledge from living in the mountains between Vietnam and Laos, and from their ancestors that lived on that land. So it’s an interesting dichotomy to see some of that knowledge portrayed as a marketing message for large brands. This discomfort/contrast is why it’s important for us to state that we really do respect the cultures and traditions that have used these ingredients before they were incorporated into the western world. And why we exclusively source ethically and sustainably.”
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