Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories


Pitaro Khouth and Mary Khouth listening to language tapes at Centennial School, Richfield, 1980. MNHS Photo Collection.

Cambodians, also known as Khmer, began to flee their country after the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a brutal communist regime, in 1975. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 Khmer refugees began to pour out of Cambodia to camps in neighboring Thailand, fleeing both natural disasters and the Vietnamese army, which had occupied the country. The U.S. government resettled 150,000 Khmer refugees throughout the United States, including Minnesota. As of 2008 Minnesota was home to around 7,000 Khmer Americans.

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