My father thought that if he took us to this country then we would have the chance to get more education.: Becoming Minnesotan

Kim Yang, c. 2000.
  • Name - Kim Yang
  • Age at interview - 31
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Refugee
  • Date of Interview - 12.01.1999
  • Hmong students at Lao Family Community Center, St. Paul, 1981-1982.
    MayKao Yang at her grauation from Como Park High School, St. Paul, c.1990.

    Education, Freedom, Hmong

    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    Push & Pull Factors: Why did this person come to the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    During the Vietnam War many Hmong soldiers fought with the Americans against the Vietnamese Communists. When the United States eventually pulled out of Vietnam, the Communists retaliated against the Hmong for helping the Americans. Many Hmong fled to neighboring countries like Thailand where they lived in refugee camps. Knowing that they could not return to their homelands in Laos, Vietnam, or China, many of these refugees made the decision to find a permanent home in the United States.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Kim Yang 4
    1:3 Minutes | 1.01Mb


    Note: Original interview was conducted in Hmong.  Excerpt is read in English by MayKao Hang.

    Narrator: Kim Yang (KY)

    Interviewer: Mai Neng Moua (MNM)

    MNM:  What made your parents decide to come to America? This is because as you had mentioned that your father didn’t even want to come to Thailand. Is that correct?

    KY:  Yes, my father did not want to leave Laos at all, but when we were going to come to this country, I saw that my father is a humble man, and he knew that education is very important because he is a very educated man. He had heard from others that America is the Land of Opportunity so he thought that if he took us to this country then we would have the chance to get more education than if we stayed in Thailand so both of my parents decided to bring us to this country. It was not only my father or my mother’s decision to come to this country, but both of them had made the decision to come to America.

    MNM:  What did they see in this country that would benefit you, the children that drove them to make the decision to come to this country?

    KY:  They thought that by coming to this country maybe their children would have more chances to learn than if they stayed in Thailand. He also thought that maybe there would be houses to live in, more jobs to do, and maybe there would be more freedom.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  An advantage, help or aid.

    Verb:  To be or to provide a benefit to.  (benefits, benefiting, benefited)


    Adjective:  Modest; not proud or arrogant.


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 471