HMONG RESOURCE CENTRE OF THE HMONG CULTURAL CENTER, E-MAIL NEWSLETTER, 2002, NO. 4

ABOUT THE HMONG RESOURCE CENTRE

Located in St. Paul, MN, the Hmong Cultural Center’s Resource Centre is one of the most comprehensive
centralized collections and lending libraries of Hmong-related books, PhD dissertations, indexed articles and
Hmong language literature in the United States. The collection also includes several exhibits of Hmong cultural
artifacts. Funding supporters of the Resource Centre include the New York and Vermont-based Freeman
Foundation, the Pinewood Trust of the HRK Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota Humanities
Commission in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Minnesota State
Legislature, the 3M Foundation, the Medtronic Foundation, and the Marbrook Foundation.

The Hmong Resource Centre of the Hmong Cultural Center is open to the public Monday through Friday from
10 AM – 6 PM. Most of the items in the Resource Centre may be checked out with a photo i.d. for a period of
one week. A photocopier is also available on site.

The Hmong Resource Centre is located in the Hmong Cultural Center’s offices at 995 University Avenue, Suite
214 in Saint Paul. Phone: 651-917-9937. E-Mail: hmongcultural@hotmail.com Website: www.hmongcenter.org/

GROUPS VISIT RESOURCE CENTRE IN MARCH

Groups to visit the Hmong Resource Centre in March 2002 included adult students enrolled in an ESL Class at
Hmong-American Partnership’s Minneapolis office as well as students and professors from the Institute for Race
and Ethnic Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Educational orientation sessions related to Hmong-related resources and Hmong history and culture are
available for interested groups. To schedule a group visit, please call the Hmong Cultural Center at 651-917-
9937.

HMONG CENSUS DATA RELEASED FOR ADDITIONAL STATES

The U.S. census has continued to release demographic data for enumerated Hmong populations in additional
states. In recent weeks data has been released for Hmong in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia,
Colorado, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Massachusetts, and
Texas in addition to Rhode Island, Oregon, Iowa, and Alaska which were released earlier. Data is also available
for Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, and many other ethnic group populations.

The newly available data may be viewed at the census website at www.census.gov in the American FactFinder
section. The new data is part of Summary File 2. It includes the variables of age group distribution and gender
distribution, household tenure (home ownership vs. rental), household size, family size, and household type.
The data is being released on a state-by- state basis. Geographic areas must have at least 100 Hmong in order
for tables related to the above variables to be generated. Please contact Mark Pfeifer at the Hmong Resource
Centre if you have questions about how to access this data.

RECENT RESOURCE CENTRE ACQUISITIONS

Books and Dissertations

DePaola, T. (2002). The Knight and the Dragon: Hmong/English Bilingual Edition. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota
Humanities Commission. Popular illustrated children’s story with text provided in English and both the White and
Green Hmong dialects. The Hmong Resource Centre thanks the Minnesota Humanities Commission’s
Motheread/Fatheread Program for its generous donation of this new published book.

Millett, S. (2002). The Hmong: First Peoples of Southeast Asia. Minneapolis: Lerner Books. An excellent
overview of Hmong culture in Thailand, Laos, China, Vietnam, and the United States. The work includes many
colorful photographs. Sections of the book focus on the Hmong identity; the physical environment in the
highlands where many Hmong reside; planting in the highlands; highland wildlife; ancient Hmong farmers;
Hmong historical migration out of China; Hmong involvement in the Vietnam War; The Hmong agricultural
economy; economic changes experienced by Hmong in Vietnam; traditional Hmong homes; Hmong villages and
clans; Hmong marriages; the Hmong language and legends; Hmong clothing; Hmong stitchery; Hmong songs
and music; Hmong myths and spirits; Spirits, birth and death in the Hmong community and Hmong community
celebrations. While the reading level of this work is intended for youth, it also provides a very useful primer of
Hmong culture, history, and geography for adults as well.

Mueller, M.A. (2001). A study into the lives of eight academically successful Hmong female high school students.
EdD Dissertation, University of La Verne. This ethnographic PhD study explores the lives of eight academically
successful Hmong female high school students residing in California. The students were asked by the
researcher to provide information about themselves and their lives with regard to their education, their
traditions, and their adaptation process in the United States. They also provided the author with knowledge and
insight to understand their perceptions and values. Additional explorations include the extent of acculturation of
these academically successful Hmong female students into the mainstream American society.

Thompson, E.K. (2001). 'Middle' generation Hmong students' perceptions of their college experiences at the
University of Montana: A phenomenological analysis, EdD Dissertation, University of Montana. This PhD study
investigates the perceptions of six middle generation Hmong refugee students who were matriculating at The
University of Montana during the late 1990s to shed some light on their perspectives of the college experience.
The researcher selected a qualitative, phenomenological/psychological methodology developed by Amedeo
Giorgi to access, analyze, and explicate the subjective and psychological dimensions of the phenomenon. The
results of the analysis revealed that the subjects felt apprehensive, lonely, overwhelmed and frustrated in the
college setting but were, nevertheless, highly motivated to persevere. The themes of hope, courage, resilience,
and tenacity emerged as important strategies used by the students to counter the adversities they experienced.

Williams, V.B. (2001). A Chair for My Mother: Hmong/English Bilingual Edition. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota
Humanities Commission. Popular illustrated children’s story with text provided in English and both the White and
Green Hmong dialects. The Hmong Resource Centre thanks the Minnesota Humanities Commission’s
Motheread/Fatheread Program for its generous donation of this new published book.

Hein, J. (1995). From Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia: A Refugee Experience in the United States. New York:
Twayne Publishers. A work that describes and analyzes the resettlement and adaptation experiences of Hmong,
Lao, Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees and immigrants in the United States. Individual chapters discuss the
events in Southeast Asia that provoked Southeast Asian origin refugees to come to the United States;
resettlement experiences in the U.S.; race relations; community politics and organizational development; the
roles of family and kinship in adaptation; and socioeconomic adjustment of the four Indochinese origin groups.
The Hmong Resource Centre thanks Professor Jeremy Hein of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for his
generous donation of this item to our collections.

Academic Journal Articles

Beger, R.R. and J. Hein. (2001). “Immigrants, Culture, and American Courts: A Typology of Legal Strategies and
Issues in Cases Involving Vietnamese and Hmong Litigants.” Criminal Justice Review 1: 38-61. This article uses
a sample of 181 criminal and civil court cases with at least one Vietnamese or Hmong litigant in order to
construct and illustrate a typology that provides a portrayal of the legal strategies and issues that bring these
immigrants’ culture into American courts. The authors observe that the most common way that culture arises in
litigation is through the defensive legal strategy of a criminal defendant. However, they find that immigrant
plaintiffs in civil cases and prosecutors in criminal cases also use culture as an offensive legal strategy.
Similarly, they note judges have the discretionary power to invoke culture during jury selection and in
sentencing criminal defendants. However, their most important finding, they argue, is that language rather than
conduct norms is the most frequent cultural element raised by Hmong and Vietnamese litigants in both criminal
and civil cases. The authors conclude that cross-cultural miscommunication, not cross-cultural normative conflict
is the primary way in which the culture of Hmong and Vietnamese refugees affects American courts. The Hmong
Resource Centre thanks Professor Jeremy Hein of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for his generous
donation of this work.

Catlin, A. (1997). “Puzzling the text: Thought-songs, secret languages, and archaic tones in Hmong music.”
World of Music 39(2): 69-81. A detailed analysis of the human language elements found in Hmong music. Much
of the article focuses on the tones associated with two Hmong musical instruments – the Qeej and the Free
Reed Pipe.

Mottin, J. (1984). “A Hmong Shaman’s Séance.” Asian Folklore Studies 43: 99-108. An older article based on
ethnographic research that provides a contextual analysis of the symbolic meaning of the elements associated
with a Hmong Shaman’s séance in Thailand.

Cooper, R.G. (1979). The Yao Jua Relationship: Patterns of Affinal Alliance and Residence Among the Hmong
of Northern Thailand. Ethnology 28:173-181. An older paper that discusses the yao jua alliance formed between
a man and his wife’s father within the socioeconomic context of Hmong agriculture in Northern Thailand. The
author argues that the yao jua is a key factor in explaining the response of Hmong to a situation of resource
scarcity which made it increasingly difficult for households to continue swidden cultivation and associated
patterns of movement and settlement.

Cooper, R.G. (1978). Unity and Division in Hmong Social Categories in Thailand. In Studies in ASEAN Sociology,
Peter Chen and Hans-Dieter Evers, eds. pp. 297-320. Singapore: Chopmen Enterprises. An older paper that
provides an overview of the dynamics of Hmong social structure in Thailand. The author discusses norms and
values in Hmong society, identity roles, social divisions, clan structure, the functions of lineage, the composition
of household units, as well as the importance of neng ja and yao jua (between husband and in-law) relations.

Newspaper Articles

(1980). “Worlds Apart.” The Saint Paul Dispatch, Oct. 20, 1980. A fascinating 20-page special section published
in the old Saint Paul Dispatch newspaper about the early resettlement and adaptation of Hmong refugees in
Saint Paul. The section includes articles related to cultural adjustment, housing, available social services,
Hmong folk medicine, relations with other residents of Saint Paul neighborhoods, General Vang Pao and his
family residence in Montana, family life, Hmong cultural arts, gender roles, and events in Laos.

(1980). “Hmong: Key to Race Balance?” The Minneapolis Star, November 6, 1980. A fairly lengthy article that
discusses Hmong distribution and learning experiences in the Minneapolis Public Schools in 1980.

(1979). “New Roots in St. Paul: Laos Nomads find U.S. life confusing.” The Minneapolis Star, January 3, 1979.
An article that documents early resettlement and adjustment experiences of Hmong refugees in St. Paul.

CITIZENSHIP CLASS ENROLLMENT AT HMONG CULTURAL CENTER

The Hmong Cultural Center is currently accepting enrollment for some of its citizenship and functional English
classes. There are openings in the English Language Citizenship Classes offered Monday through Thursday
from 10:00 AM to 12 Noon and those held Tuesday through Thursday 1:00-4:00 P.M.

Congress has extended the Hmong Veterans’ Act for another 18 months. Hmong veterans who qualify study for
a set of 25 questions instead of 100. The questions are administered in the language of the veteran’s choice.
Interested individuals may contact Tong Vang at the Hmong Cultural Center for enrollment information. Phone:
651-917-9937.

HMONG MUSICIANS/DANCERS AVAILABLE

The Hmong Cultural Center’s Qeej (Traditional Hmong Music) and Traditional Dance troupes are available to
perform for a fee. Persons interested in scheduling performances may call Meng Vang (Qeej) or Yer Lo (Dance)
at the cultural center.