HMONG RESOURCES NEWSLETTER March/April 2004
ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE HMONG RESOURCE CENTER OF THE HMONG CULTURAL CENTER
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION: The Hmong Resources Newsletter provides up-to-date information about new works in
Hmong Studies and Hmong-related research resources. To access back issues of this unique online publication
ABOUT THE HMONG RESOURCE CENTER:
The work of the Hmong Resource Center is to provide information to Hmong and non-Hmong for the purpose of
promoting positive race relations, human rights, multicultural education, information about cross-cultural health and
medicine, teacher education, family literacy education and community-based research.
The Hmong Resource Center of the Hmong Cultural Center is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 AM
– 6 PM. The Hmong Resource Center is located in the Hmong Cultural Center’s offices at 995 University Avenue,
Suite 214 in Saint Paul. Phone: 651-917-9937. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Online Resource Center
Catalog: www.hmongcenter.org/ or www.hmongcenter.com/ Walk-ins are welcome and there are many displays to
look at that teach about the Hmong people, their history, their culture and their experience in the U.S. over the past
25 years. Larger group tours and educational sessions may be arranged in advance.
The Hmong Cultural Center and its Resource Center serves as the Hmong representative organization on the
Council of Advisors of Tolerance Minnesota.
RECENT RESOURCE CENTER ACQUISITIONS IN HMONG STUDIES:
Theses and Books
Mote, Sue Murphy. (2004). Hmong and American: Stories of Transition to a Strange Land. Jefferson, North
Carolina: McFarland and Company, Publishers. The author of this new book provides information about the life
stories of Hmong Americans derived from interviews with twelve Hmong refugees residing across the U.S. Those
interviewed include a female shaman, an ex-military officer, a reformed gang member, a doctor, and a woman who
lived in France as a child. In separate chapters, the author also discusses Hmong history and her trip to Hmong
villages in Laos in the mid-1990s.
Ballard, Brette M. (2003). “Refugee Reintegration in Rural Areas: Land Distribution in Ban Pha Thao, Lao PDR.”
Working Paper #18 Cambridge, Mass.: The Inter-University Committee on International Migration, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Center for International Studies (March 2003) 26 Pages. This paper assesses the
reintegration of Hmong in Ban Pha Thao, Laos and the adoption of new farming methods by this repatriated
community. The work may also be accessed online at: http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/migration/pubs/rrwp/18_land.pdf
Falk, Catherine. (2003/2004). “The Dragon Taught Us: Hmong Stories about the Origin of the Free Reed Qeej.”
Asian Music. XXXV(1): (Fall/Winter 2003/2004) 17-56. Stories the Hmong tell about the origin and purpose of their
most important musical instrument, the free-reed six-piped mouth organ qeej, interlock with stories they tell about
their loss of books and writing in earlier centuries. Both types of stories are lodged in Hmong memory of their
history and their construction of the past and present. This research paper assembles these stories and situates
them within Hmong constructions of knowledge, communication systems and identity. The Hmong Resource Center
thanks Dr. Catherine Falk of the University of Melbourne in Australia for donating this important new work to our
Falk, Catherine. (2003). “’If you have good knowledge, close it well tight’: concealed and framed meaning in the
funeral music of the Hmong qeej.” British Journal of Ethnomusicology 12(ii): 1-33. This journal paper argues that
embedded and framed meaning addressed to specific audiences is a consistent structural and structuring force in
Hmong expressive arts and that the use of secret or disguised meaning is a consequence of the harsh realities of
Hmong history and of the need both to protect and to project their identity. It demonstrates that the deliberate
opacity and obfuscation of meaning in various Hmong spoken and sung forms culminates in the funeral music of
the Hmong six-piped free-reed mouth organ, the qeej and suggests that models of framing found in social
organization, verbal art forms, poetic structures and graphic designs can be extended and applied to the musical
and social roles of the qeej in Hmong funerals. The Hmong Resource Center thanks Dr. Catherine Falk of the
University of Melbourne in Australia for donating this important new work to our collections.
Kaiser, Tamara L. (2003). “Achieving Shared Meaning in Cross-Cultural Dialogue: Understanding a Hmong Family's
Response to Marital Violence.” Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. 12(3): 29-54. Based on a
qualitative study of the Twin Cities Hmong community, this paper offers a case study of a Hmong family's response
to a situation in which a woman who is a member of their family has been chronically physically abused by her
husband. The case illustrates the challenges of understanding the family's reactions in light of their cultural context
as well as the implications for social work practice. An excerpt of a verbatim interview between the author and a
subject from the study is provided. The specifics of the cultural values, protocol for handling conflict and
communication patterns that contribute to understanding what has occurred are discussed. The author then
discusses the challenges for the social work practitioner of simultaneously maintaining the ethical values of
honoring diversity and protection of the oppressed.
Olson, Kent; Yang, Vang; Tadesse, Nigatu; Chang, Yanping; Yang, Nengshao and Seung-Wan Lee. (2003).
“Results of a Farm and Market Survey for Hmong Specialty Crop Farmers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area.”
Staff Paper P03-11, Department of Applied Economics, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences,
University of Minnesota, (December 2003), 1-39. This report presents the findings of a survey of 62 Hmong farmers
and 69 customers at farmers markets in the Twin Cities area that was intended to determine local Hmong specialty
crop production and market conditions. The overall goal of the project summarized in the report was to increase the
economic viability of Hmong farmers in Minnesota and reduce their exposure to risk. This paper is also available
online at: http://agecon.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/pdf_view.pl?paperid=12326&ftype=.pdf
Salaün, Pascale . (1999).- Le système de production agricole hmong à Saül (Guyane française) : modalités de
pérennisation. JATBA, Revue d'Ethnobiologie, vol. 41 (1-2), 251-279. This French language article discusses
Hmong agriculture and socio-economic development in French Guyana. The Resource Center thanks the author
for donating this item to our collections.
Geddes, William. (1971). The Miao Year. This classic documentary shows viewers Hmong culture and the Hmong
lifestyle in Northern Thailand by following the annual cycle of the Hmong growing season, harvest and the New
Year. The Hmong Resource Center thanks Dr. Gerald Fry of the Department of Educational Policy and
Administration of the University of Minnesota for donating this rare item to our collections.
RECENT RESOURCE CENTER VISITORS:
Several groups have received tours and participated in multicultural education presentations about the Hmong at
the Hmong Resource Center and the cultural center over the past several weeks. These groups have included:
Dr. Cheryl Chatman’s Multicultural Education class at Concordia University, Saint Paul.
Dr. Yueh-Ting Lee’s Introduction to Ethnic Studies class at Mankato State University
Dr. Dia Cha’s Anthropology of Hmong Culture class at Saint Cloud State University.
Multicultural education presentations about the Hmong were also recently given at the Chisago Lakes School
District Middle School in Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota, Saint Bernard’s Catholic School in Saint Paul and North
Hennepin Community Technical College in Brooklyn Park, MN.
HMONG RESOURCE CENTER NOW AN AFFILIATE OF THE MN STATE DATA CENTER AND THE U.S. CENSUS
The Hmong Resource Center has recently become an affiliate of the Minnesota State Data Center and the U.S.
Census Bureau. The goal of this partnership is to make U.S. census products more accessible to the Hmong and
Southeast Asian American population. The Resource Center is home to the Southeast Asian American Census
Information Center. The Southeast Asian American Census Information Center at our Saint Paul offices provides
quick access to researchers of population, socioeconomic, education, and demographic 2000 census data for
Hmong, Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, St. Paul, suburban communities,
the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area and the U.S. as a whole.
The Resource Center has also recently posted a step-by-step tutorial for accessing Hmong census data online:
NEW BUILDING BRIDGES: TEACHING ABOUT THE HMONG IN OUR COMMUNITIES MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION
For the purpose of advancing diversity awareness and positive race relations in our communities at a time of the
pending arrival of many new Hmong refugees to Minnesota, the Hmong Cultural Center has initiated a new
multicultural education outreach program. The Building Bridges program provides multicultural education
presentations to persons of all ages and backgrounds about the Hmong, their history, and culture to groups at the
cultural center and throughout the Twin Cities area.
Common topics of the hour-long interactive presentations in the Building Bridges program include Hmong History,
Hmong Role in the Secret U.S. War in Laos 1963-1975, Why the Hmong fled Laos as Refugees, Hmong
resettlement to the U.S. 1976-1995, Early Experiences of Hmong in Saint Paul and Minnesota, Important leaders in
20th century Hmong history, Introduction to Hmong life in Minnesota and the U.S., Hmong Contributions to
Minnesota, Prominent and Successful Hmong-Minnesotans, Hmong Culture (clans, music, agriculture, clothing), the
Hmong Language, Hmong beliefs about Health and Medicine, Working with Hmong-origin students and their
Families and Hmong refugees in Wat Thamkrabok and their resettlement in the U.S. Curriculum of presentations
can be adjusted to meet the needs of particular groups.
Please call 651-917-9937 and ask for Mark Pfeifer or Txong Pao Lee to discuss arranging a presentation at the
center or at your school or organization.
HMONG COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS BULLETIN BOARD:
A continually updated and comprehensive listing of events and other announcements relevant to the Hmong
community in Minnesota and beyond is available at:
Please feel free to send us your upcoming announcements for prompt posting on the Bulletin Board page.
YOUTH PROGRAMS UPDATE:
Looking for some traditional Hmong culture to enliven your community event this Spring? The Hmong Cultural
Center’s Youth Qeej (Traditional Hmong Music) Troupe is available to perform for a fee. Persons interested in
scheduling performances may call Meng Vang or Txong Pao Lee at 651-917-9937.
CITIZENSHIP PROGRAM UPDATE:
Detailed information about resettlement procedures for Hmong refugees in Wat Thamkrabok in Thailand is
available in both Hmong and English at the Hmong Cultural Center offices in Saint Paul.
Need information about the citizenship process, study guides or application forms? Extensive citizenship-related
information is available on the Hmong Cultural Center website at www.hmongcenter.org/ The citizenship section of
the website includes examples of typical citizenship interview questions, as well as 100 sample citizenship exam
questions in both the English and Hmong languages. Up-to-date information is also provided about eligibility and
requirements pertaining to the Hmong Veterans’ Naturalization Act of 2000.
Hmong Cultural Center is a member of the federal and state funded Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium
Funding supporters of the Hmong Resource Center include the New York and Vermont-based Freeman
Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Marbrook Foundation, the 3M Foundation/COMPAS Award for Innovation in
the Arts Program and the Asian Pacific Endowment of the Saint Paul Foundation.