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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.
Chia Youyee Vang was born in Laos and as a child escaped with her family to the United States. An assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, she specializes in the study of Hmong community-building efforts.
Posted July 1, 2011
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