Nepal and Bhutan are two small countries perched on the top of the world in the Himalayan mountains between India and China.
In the 1880’s, one ruler united the Kingdom of Bhutan. He subsequently invited people to come from the neighboring country of Nepal to help build agriculture & infrastructure. Fifty-one Nepalese clans came to Bhutan. Now neither country wants the descendants of those families. Even after all these years, they still have not assimilated into Bhutanese culture. They still have their language, culture and religion. They are largely Hindu, while Bhutan is largely Buddhist.
Bhutan began persecuting the Nepali minority, about 1/3 of their population, and many fled back to Nepal. Nepal would not receive them back as citizens, and has been holding them in refugee camps for over twenty years. Generally, any Bhutanese Nepali under 20 coming to the United States was born in a refugee camp. In the camps many of them have learned English and skills, such as tailoring, sewing & looming.
Five years ago, the population of Bhutanese Nepali refugees in refugee camps in Nepal was about 107,000. The world has begun to take these refugees in and some of the camps have closed. About 60,000 are coming to the US, and are settling in every state except Hawaii. Among our most recent refugee arrivals, there are now about 500 Bhutanese Nepalese in Utica.