Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories

Hmong Women's Action Team Oral History Project

Hmong Women's Action Team Oral History Project participants


DATE: 1999 – 2000

INTERVIEWERS: Bo Thao, May Hang, MayKao Hang, Pacyinz Lyfoung, Mai Neng Moua, Kim Yang, and Khias Yang

This oral history project chronicles the contributions and experiences of Hmong women with ties to Minnesota. Members of the Hmong Women's Action Team, a group of Hmong women community leaders and activists, interviewed each other and their mothers and grandmothers, and in one case her daughter. They share their stories of life in Minnesota, Thailand, and Laos. Three generations from six different families are represented in this series of eighteen interviews.

The interviews help provide a greater understanding of Hmong women's roles in the home and community, challenges and successes in public and private realms, and across time and space.

The elder women's experiences included maintaining home and family while their husbands fought alongside American soldiers in the Vietnam War. They fled their farms and villages and crossed the Mekong River into Thailand where they lived in refugee camps before resettling in the United States.

The experiences of the oldest members of the community are vastly different from those who came here as children and those who were born in this country. Today, Hmong women work as teachers, lawyers, and decision makers in their respective positions - opportunities not available to them in their homeland. The youngest never experienced war or resettlement and are unfamiliar with the privations of their elders.

COMMENTS: All but one interview were conducted predominantly or totally in Hmong. The interviews were transcribed and then translated into English. The transcripts include both the English translation and the Hmong transcript.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 17 hours 55 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 806 pages