We Are Hmong Minnesota: IMAGES

For immediate release

Release dated: 
December 8, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
​Wameng Moua, Hmong Today, 651-491-5946, hmong40@gmail.com

We Are Hmong Minnesota: IMAGES

These images may be used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers and online to promote “We Are Hmong Minnesota,” March 7 - Jan. 3, 2016, at the Minnesota History Center. Credit information is listed.

Hmong village

Typical Hmong Village

In Laos, before and during the war, Hmong traditionally lived in high elevation (above 3,000 feet). Aside from their slash-and-burn agrarian lifestyle, many families also raised domestic animals, including chickens and pigs. These children made sure the livestock were fed and tended. (Noah Vang Collection)


President John F. Kennedy on the Secret War in Laos

“I want to make it clear to the American people, and to all of the world, that all we want in Laos is peace, not war--a truly neutral government, not a Cold War pawn, a settlement concluded at the conference table and not on the battlefield.” President John F. Kennedy made these remarks at a press conference concerning the situation in Laos on March 23, 1961. Later that year, he dispatched several hundred CIA personnel to recruit and train Hmong soldiers to defend America’s objectives inside Laos. The maroon-shaded area on the map had the largest Hmong population and was where the heaviest fighting took place during the U.S. Secret War in Laos. (JFK Library)

Leaving Ban Vinai

Leaving Ban Vinai

Koua Vang and his family, like thousands of other Hmong families who became refugees in the aftermath of the war in Laos, boarded a bus to leave the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Loei Province, Bangkok, Thailand. In 1979 they left Bangkok and arrived in the United States. (Vang Family Collection)

Liberty Plaza

Liberty Plaza Youth Program

“Many of us entered middle and high school when we first arrived to Minnesota from the refugee camp. It was difficult to learn English so we joined after-school and summer programs that helped us excel,” said Neng Vang Lo, who was enrolled in the 1978 Liberty Plaza Youth Program. The program helped many Hmong refugees find summer jobs and build their skills. (Neng Vang Lo Collection)

Choua Lee

Election of Choua Lee

Choua Lee won a seat on the St. Paul School Board in November 1991. Her victory encouraged other Hmong Americans to run for office as a way to better their community. She also helped pave the way for Hmong women to hold office. A decade later, attorney Mee Moua successfully ran for the Minnesota Senate as the DFL-endorsed candidate during a special election in Jan. 2002, making her the first Hmong in the United States to be elected to a state legislature. (Cheu Lee Collection)


Funeral for Minnesotan Kham Xiong

Governor Tim Pawlenty attended the funeral of Pfc. Kham Xiong, who was killed at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009. Xiong was at the military base getting ready for deployment to Afghanistan when the shooting took place. Xiong was among 13 killed and many others injured. Pawlenty issued a proclamation: “The State of Minnesota recognizes Private First Class Kham Xiong for his dedicated service to and sacrifice for the people of this country with our deepest gratitude, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and community.” Next to Pawlenty is Songtou Xiong, family member and master of the funeral ceremony. (Noah Vang Collection)



The qeej is a musical instrument used as a spiritual tool to communicate and tell a story. It is commonly used at funerals. It is also played for entertainment. (MNHS Collection)


Flower cloth

Paj Ntaub or "Flower Cloth"

This textile art consists of bold geometric designs, often in bright contrasting colors. Hmong girls learn how to sew and copy motifs from their mothers and grandmothers. At left is a wall hanging using reverse appliqué made or provided by May Ying Xiong and sold at Hmong Handwork, St. Paul, 1981. Visitors can see a display of 50 paj ntaub showcasing appliqué, embroidery and batik styles at the James J. Hill House, April 10-Nov. 29, 2015. (MNHS Collection)



Shoua Moua and Dang Her, 1977

Refugees Arrive in Minnesota

Shoua Moua (l) and Dang Her (r) with their children, Touvi and Bill (baby). The couple arrived in Minnesota on Nov. 5, 1975, making them the first Hmong refugees following the bruatal wars in Southeast Asia.

This photo was taken in 1977 in Anoka. Photo courtesy Her family.

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