MPR’s Tom Weber interviews three Hmong-American artists, spoken word and hip hop artist Tou Saiko Lee, painter Cy Thao (also Former Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives), and writer Kao Kalia Yang. They discuss the value of the arts, through which personal and cultural pasts are melded with their present lives.
The year in which this audio was created, 2015, marks the 40th year since the first time Hmong refugees settled in Minnesota. Many were re-settled in the U.S. by the American government. Hmong soldiers fought alongside the U.S. military to contain the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, until the fall of South Vietnam to Communist forces, at which point Hmong people were forced to flee their homeland for fear of persecution by the Pathet Lao, the Communist party of Laos.