Hmong Heritage Month
The Hmong—a distinct ethnic group with ancient roots in China—began arriving in the United States in 1975 as refugees of the Laotian Civil War (also known as the Secret War of Laos). Today, about 4.5% of the global Hmong population lives in the United States, with just over 3,000 residing in the City of Eau Claire alone.
Learn about the history and culture of Eau Claire’s largest ethnic minority group through the stories and experiences of Hmong Americans from the Chippewa Valley Museum’s “Hmong in Eau Claire” Exhibit below.
Photo: Three Hmong children pose next to a livestock fence in a small village perched high atop the misty mountains of northern Laos, Xiong Khouang Province, 1973. Photographer: Wayne Persons.
Over the years, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) has collaborated with the community to document their remarkable stories by collecting oral histories, images, and artifacts, and by publishing books and articles on the Hmong experience.
Photo: Hmong shopping at Country Store, Lexington and University, Saint Paul. Photographer: Michael Kieger
The Hmong Cultural Center in Saint Paul is the only independent Hmong museum in the country. Using art and education, they promote positive race relations in the Twin Cities community and are the only non-profit in Minnesota that focuses on sustaining and teaching Hmong culture through multicultural education and cultural arts programs.
Their museum-quality interactive exhibits, outreach seminars, and online classes about Hmong history and culture invite individuals to become culturally aware members of the community. The Hmong Cultural Center also hosts the Hmong Resource Center Library, the site of the most comprehensive collection of Hmong-related literature in North America, and supports new immigrants and refugees through free English classes, employment services, and citizenship classes.
Photo courtesy of Hmong Cultural Center.
Sunday, May 22 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Landmark Center, Saint Paul
The Qeej—or lusheng— is a Hmong musical instrument with a long history in China that can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD). Highlights of the festival will include performances by Qeej Masters, competitions featuring Qeej groups from Minnesota and beyond, Qeej-making workshops, exhibits, and performances of other traditional Hmong musical instruments and Hmong folk art forms.
Photo courtesy of Hmong Cultural Center
During Hmong Heritage Month, we hope to foster a renewed sense of identity for the Hmong students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire—and the wider Hmong community as a whole—and help the non-Hmong allies see the value of cultural, social, and academic diversity at work. Stay up to date on what is happening in the Hmong Eau Claire community by liking the Hmong Heritage Facebook Page.
Photo: Two coin sashes, both made in Thailand and Laos. Photographer: Sallie Anna Steiner
Hmong Movie Night
April 6 from 5 - 7 p.m. | Centennial Hall 1204
Come watch the film “Nuj Nplhaib” while enjoying snacks and refreshments.
Sim naav/Hnav HMoob: Claiming Meaning and Sisterhood Through HMoob Clothes
April 7 from 5:30 - 7 p.m.| Zoom
Listen in on a discussion on the politics of HMoob clothes featuring Kuab Maiv Yaj/Koua Mai Yang, Lee Xiong, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Tshab Her, and Victoria Kue.
Hmong Arts, Stories, and Food Day
April 13 from 12:30 - 3 p.m.| Critical Hmong Studies Resource Center, VLL 2138
An afternoon of Hmong arts, stories, and food.
Keynote Talk: Kabo on Hmong Women's Leadership
April 21 from 3 - 4:30 p.m.| Zoom
Hmong Heritage Month keynote Kabo Yang speaks on Hmong American women’s leadership.