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Hmong in Minnesota

Chia Youyee Vang

Publication Year: 2008

Minnesota has always been a land of immigrants. Successive waves have each made their own way, found their place, and made it their home. The Hmong are one of the most recent immigrant groups, and their remarkable and moving story is told in Hmong in Minnesota. Chia Youyee Vang reveals the colorful, intricate history of Hmong Minnesotans, many of whom were forced to flee their homeland of Laos when the communists seized power during the Vietnam War. Having assisted U.S. troops in the “Secret War,” Hmong soldiers and civilians were eligible to settle in the United States. Vang offers a unique window into the lives of the Minnesota Hmong through the stories of individuals who represent the experiences of many. One voice is that of Mao Heu Thao, one of the first refugees to come to Minnesota, sponsored by Catholic Charities in 1976. She tells of the unexpectedly cold weather, the strange food, and the kindness of her hosts. By introducing readers to the immigrants themselves, Hmong in Minnesota conveys a population’s struggle to adjust to new environments, build communities, maintain cultural practices, and make its mark on government policies and programs.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-ix

Human beings have not been clever students at learning any lessons from their three or four thousand odd years of recorded history. We repeat our mistakes from generation to generation with tedious regularity. But we ought to have learned at least one simple truth: that there is no word, no idea that is not a double-edged sword. Take, for example, the adjective...

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Hmong In Minnesota

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pp. 1-76

Hmong refugees have been settling in Minnesota since the mid-1970s; along the way they have experienced both intense hardship and rewarding success. Many have received much-needed support in their new home at the same time that they have made significant contributions to the state. Yet many Minnesotans and other...

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Personal Account: Reflections

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pp. 77-80

From May of 1975 to March 15, 1976, I lived with my husband and family in Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Just before leaving Ban Vinai, I remember being afraid. I knew we were going to a country called America, but I couldn’t even imagine what the place would be like— whether it was hot or cold; what would the people look like. I had...

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p. 81


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pp. 83-86


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pp. 87-90

Picture Credits

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p. 91

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p. 92

For the first time, Hmong people are actively participating in the documentation and writing of our collective history. I am grateful for the opportunity to write the story of the Hmong in Minnesota: this history is also my personal history. As part of my dissertation on this subject in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, which I completed in December 2006, I conducted extensive research...

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The People of Minnesota

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p. 93

Minnesotans can trace their families and their state’s heritage to a multitude of ethnic groups. The People of Minnesota series tells each group’s story in a compact, handsomely illustrated, and accessible paperback. Readers will learn about the group’s accomplishments, ethnic organizations, settlement patterns, and occupations. Each book includes...

E-ISBN-13: 9780873517379
E-ISBN-10: 0873517377
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873515986
Print-ISBN-10: 0873515986

Page Count: 112
Illustrations: 50 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 794700985
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hmong in Minnesota

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hmong Americans -- Minnesota -- History.
  • Refugees -- Minnesota -- History.
  • Hmong Americans -- Minnesota -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- Minnesota -- History.
  • Minnesota -- Ethnic relations.
  • Hmong Americans -- Minnesota -- Social life and customs.
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