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Spotlight on Culture

People that call this area Home

New Americans

Refugees from other areas of the world

The Bhutanese people

Cultural Profile of their country of origin- Bhutan

The flag of Bhutan

Bhutanese refugees are Lhotshampas (meaning southerners), a group of Nepali speaking Bhutanese people. These refugees started registering in refugee camps in eastern Nepal during the early 1990s, as Bhutanese citizens deported from Bhutan during the protest against oppressive measures of their government. This protest demanded human rights and democracy in Bhutan.

More than 20 percent of Bhutan's 600,000 population became refugees when Bhutan's King Wangchuck systematically purged the ethnic Nepali Bhutanese population from the country in the 1990s. This makes Bhutan one of the greatest producers of refugees per capita of any country in the world.

In the summer of 1992,the UNCHR and Nepal agreed to establish seven UN refugee camps in the region to house the expanding Bhutanese refugee community. And that, in turn, finally led to the resettlement of more than 110,000 Bhutanese refugees starting in 2008. Since then, many Bhutanese refugees have resettled to North America, Oceania and Europe. Many also migrated to areas of West Bengal and Assam in India independently of the UNHCR. More information on this process, the tragedy of their situation, everything that they've survived, and their journey- can be found here and here. These pages, and the picture, are from the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio's website

In our area, 1,770 refugees from Bhutan resettled in Fargo, North Dakota since 2002. You can read about one of these people here. The Bhutanese community in town is known for their close-knit family ties, and their hard working people. Most of them work in the many hospitals and senior living centers in town, working hard in the middle of the pandemic.

Stay tuned for more information on the Bhutanese and their culture, and more places and their people in future posts. Our area is blessed to be called home by many people of many cultures, and they deserve to be acknowledged.


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