My dream was to have a lot of land and have people work for me.: Becoming Minnesotan

Male silhouette.
  • Name - Cher Vang
  • Age at interview - 31
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Refugee
  • Date of Interview - 02.03.1992
  • Blong Yang with some of his classmates, Laos, 1960s. Photo courtesy MayKao Hang.
    Blong Yang, Laos, 1960s.  Photo courtesy Naly Yang.

    Class & Work

    Economics, Hmong, Work

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Class & Work: How important is work in defining a person’s identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Most of the Hmong were subsistence farmers who grew only enough food to feed their families.  Farming was difficult to do in the mountainous regions where most of them lived.  In order to become rich, a person had to produce more food then they needed (which required more land), or have some other business where they could charge other people for their services.

    To learn more about Hmong history and culture, visit our Hmong Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Cher Vang 1
    0:32 Minutes | 0.51Mb


    Narrator: Cher Vang (CV)

    Interviewer: Linda Rossi (LR)

    LR:  When you were in Laos, and you were 15 at that point, what kinds of dreams did you have for your future?

    CV:  My dream was to have a lot of land and have some people working for me. Because back in my country my mom and my dad, they were kind of like rich people, like upper middle class. And then, if you have a lot of land you can hire somebody else to work for you and you can pay them a little and you make a lot of profit. Because if you have a taxi back in my country then you work for 10 years and you probably can buy pretty much anything you want.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A grouping in society based on a person's wealth, education, and other characteristics.


    Noun:  The money a person or business earns for providing goods and services.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 467