Hmong wedding and funeral procedures translation project helps preserve Hmong cultural practices in Minnesota

The Hmong Cultural Center has completed a major project initiative involving the translation into English and production of two books -Tshoob Kos (Wedding Procedures) and Kev Cai Pam Tuag (Funeral Procedures). Earlier versions of these books were compiled in the Hmong language by Tougeu Leepalao, the Cultural Consultant of Hmong Cultural Center between 1995 and 2005. Hmong Cultural Center’s goal with theTshoob Kos (Wedding Procedures) and Kev Cai Pam Tuag (Funeral Procedures)Translation project is to help preserve and disseminate key elements of Hmong ceremonial culture to current and future generations of the Hmong community in Minnesota and beyond.

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Our last war: Allied Veterans of American Legion Post 1975 to serve Hmong-American service members and veterans

Hmong soldiers are renowned for bravery, valor and military tactical prowess. That is especially true of the Special Guerrilla Unit (SGU) veterans who fought under the late Major General Vang Pao during the Secret War in Laos serving American interests as wll as Hmong self-determination for freedom. Today’s generation of Hmong-American service members carry on that legacy in all branches of the U.S. military also.

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Hmong football players — in St. Paul high schools today and in the NFL tomorrow?

Streaking along the sideline, #12 flashes by the linebackers as he races towards the first down marker. He catches the ball, evades the first tackler and then gets smashed to the ground, a pile of defenders quickly stack on top of him.He might be the smallest man on the field, but somehow #12 is tough enough to keep bouncing back up after being crushed again and again by these giant men.No, this is not Percy Harvins, #12 of the Minnesota Vikings. The player described here is Richard Xiong, wide-receiver and team captain of the Harding Knights varsity football team.Xiong is one of many Hmong players on the Knights who are key contributors to the team’s early season success. Most notably, there is Chealang Yang (#3) who is among the conference leaders in nearly all receiving stats and plays on nearly every single down, including on offense, defense and special teams. And then there’s running back Joe Vue (#85) who at only 140-pounds smashes through the line like he’s a 300-pound full-back.A look at the rosters for other St. Paul high school teams will show at least one or two Hmong players on the squad, and as in the case of schools like Harding and Johnson, nearly a quarter of the names are Hmong.And the phenomena doesn’t end in Minnesota. Continue Reading

The war for J4—and why there are no winners in Minnesota Hmong community

The flyers were posted early in March 2012. It announced that there would be a Hmong sports festival held during the Fourth of July weekend—and as usual the event was hosted by Lao Family.But upon closer inspection, this flyer was quite different from years’ past.For one thing, this tournament was going to be held at the Dakota County Fairgrounds, a 45-minute drive from Como Park in St. Paul where the J4 Festival has traditionally been held for the past 30 years. For another, this was not Lao Family Community of Minnesota (LFC), but instead it was a newly formed organization named, “Lao Family Social Services.”So now there are two organizations called Lao Family and both are hosting similar events at the exact same time. This scenario sounds very similar to the nightmare that occurred in Fresno last year when two competing agencies held separate Hmong New Year events. Continue Reading

General Vang Pao legacy

His body is riddled with bullet scars suffered from his many years of warfare. Having survived through multiple assassination attempts, airplane crashes and even a carpet bombing, many observers make the claim that this man may have been divinely indestructible.But on January 6, 2011, General Vang Pao, beloved leader of the Hmong people, lost his final battle to pneumonia, and ultimately a heart finally expired.After a ten-day stay at a Fresno area hospital, Nais Phoos Vaj Pov took his last breath and shared his last heart-beat with loved ones huddled closely by his bedside.His death, much like the rest of his life, seemed to play out like a Hollywood script. For one thing, the timing of his death coincides with the 50th year anniversary of the famous first meeting between the General and Col. James “Bill” Lair, the CIA operative whose alliance with the General would seal the fate of the Hmong thereafter. Also, to die just days after appearing one last time at his favorite public event, the Hmong International New Year in Fresno, would also seem to be a great coincidence suitable for a movie script. Continue Reading