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Comments on "The Hmong Tragedy" Page

E-mail feedback received on the various issues raised on my page about the Hmong people in America.

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Here are some recent comments I've received for my page dealing with the issue of the Hmong people in America, their history and their plight. I will place selected comments here to add additional perspectives. Usually, there is at least something in these e-mails that I disagree with, but feel that it may be helpful to see the variety of perspectives people have.

  1. Email from a young woman, 2011:
  2. I just want to thank you so much for your website. I have learned so much! I am actually dating a Hmong guy (he is 21, and I am 19) and I have been able to learn a lot more wonderful information about his culture. He told me bits and pieces of the background of the Hmong culture and how they came to the United States, but I definitely did not know the grave extent of it. I am so thankful for your concern and love of this people, and I am grateful to share that in common. I never realized the incredible difficulties that he and his people must face in living in the United States! I have gained so much more respect now for him and his family. I also have more friends who are Hmong, and I am just very grateful for this new understanding. If I have any more questions, I know where to look. I am also quite displeased in the viewpoints of many Americans, especially those who have voiced their opinion on your site. Granted, I still respect them and their own opinion, but I feel that perhaps they are a tad uninformed. The Hmong that I know are exceptional people, and I am so blessed to consider them friends. I have come to find that I greatly appreciate the family values that these people have, including those that you have discussed. They are very family-oriented, one thing that I have always enjoyed, and they are view marriage as sacred (yet another quality that I highly value). The Hmong I know are Christians, and my boyfriend's father is a pastor. In knowing them, I cannot help but be skeptical as to how those comments could be true opinions of others about these people. I only hope that their eyes can be opened to their caring hearts and their heart-breaking stories. Thanks again for your insight. God bless!

  3. Email from a Hmong student received May 2010:
  4. Hello, my name is [withheld], and I am 16 years old attending ... highschool. The school year is almost done, and I have decided to give my final exam speech on the Secret War and the Hmong people. I know what my parents have been through, but i never knew how bad it was. Thank you for these information, it really helps alot to understand what has happened in the past and continues to happen today.

    I have always been proud to be Hmong, and knowing what my ancestors have done in the past, I continue to take pride in being Hmong. And yes, there are also hard times that is also included with this pride. The hardships that goes on can never be forgotten, and the war can damage one's mind that have gone through it. I am grateful that some people do care about us Hmongs and know what the Hmongs done for America. As a result of this, although all hearts are not the same, people like you continue to give us hope for that one day we can fit in just like other Americans without being judged.

    The stories on your website is very touching, although some of the racist comments was hard to read. But I know many people do not know what we or our ancestors have done, and many have never heard or know what Hmong is. In the past, while playing online games, I have told people that I am Hmong. But they reply, "What's Hmong?" or "I've never heard of that before." But I simply tell them that Hmong is an ethnicity and tell them to search it up on google. I was very surprised that the Hmongs were so unknown to the world.

    America, taking in Hmong refugees. I know that some Americans do not like the thought of having an immigrant from another country that doesn't know one word or english. But I myself have never understood why people judge and have racist comments towards others when they themselves, have ancestors that migrated to America. Their ancestors were once the people that could not speak a word of english and had to start over in another country, just like the Hmongs that are now arriving in America. And the money from the government and foodstamps, If I was a person that has lived in the jungle for the past 30 years, not knowing about anything about the outside world and modern day technology, I would also expect money from the government. But I guess you never really understand how it feels to be the one that is an outcast, until you yourself is the one that is being talked about and being hated. I am grateful that America is taking in Hmong refugees. Because if America hadn't, my parents would probably in the jungle running for their lives or maybe even dead and I would not be here. But today, I am living my life as an American, getting my full education, the chance that my parents have never gotten.

    We are all humans, we have wants, needs, emotions, and desires. The way that I look at it, the world is one big web, everyone is related to each other by far distant ancestors. We all want the best for ourself and our family, and by having this want it creates greed. The greed to want the best and to be the best. But being in a war is like killing your brother or sister from another country, the brother or sister that you have never met, but your country wants the resources in their country, so one must kill each other to full fill the desires.

    To get on track, I thank you again for informing the public about Hmong and America's past. I am sorry if i have worded some things weird, but there are just some things that words can not explain. I hope that others too, will understand what the Hmongs have given up for America, and will stop the racism that individuals have.

  5. Email from a Hmong woman, received Jan. 2009:
  6. I, myself am Hmong, and I saw all of these comments and post, and although these racial slurs, and misconceptions do sadden and anger me, I would like to clarify a few things and state my opinion as well. We all have to understand that this was the native's country in the first place, and nobody can claim this country as their own. The Native Americans were killed and slaughter through-out the United States when the land wasn't built with all these new technologies; so to claim something as part of your ethnic or culture that wasn't even yours to begin with isn't right.

    About the Hmong man killing 6 hunters: yes, I agree--killing six was wrong but probably a couple of shots were for self-defense. To stereotype a whole Hmong community just because of one Hmong man is injustice and clearly shows how racist this world is. I am sure a Hmong family would have the same reaction as a white family would have despite the fact that they're Hmong also.

    There are a few things I do wonder though--why is it that when you hear of a white person killing another person, it's not such a big controversy as another ethnicity killing a white person? What is the difference when it involves killing? What about when the white man killed the Hmong refugee? Do you see anyone making it big news for several weeks and months? Do you see Hmong people doing racial slurs all over white people all the time?

    I think this is pathetic, and people killing and hating people just because of ethnicity. I saw the posts about how the Hmong refugees should just die over there. That part just angers and confuses me. I think that the white Americans wouldn't have even made it this far if it wasn't for others to help them. The Hmong people sacrificed so much to get where they are today, and yet you can say such things? Your son was in it? And didn't get anything from it? Okay--- all my ancestors and relatives were in it, and did they get anything out of it? Can you sacrifice your life and family to go that far? Even I myself don't even know how far I will go to put myself in their positions. I think that people don't see the hardships and corrupted things in life because it's true: America takes things for granted. You will never know the experience until you have been in something that takes as much courage and faith that the Hmong people did to help the United States during the secret war.

    I hope this email doesn't sound racist, or biased, but I just thought I'd share a few things.

    P.S. It takes one to know one.

    Signed,

    Anonymous Hmong

  7. Email from a Hmong young man in France, received Jan. 2007. His message and name are used with permission:
  8. My name is Yves Yang, I'm a sixteen-years-old Hmong living in France. I was looking for more information about my past and my history when I found your website and your articles about the Hmong and their history and habits. I am very happy and grateful to see that someone can write such nice things about the Hmong people. And I appreciate sincerely your tolerance and your 'good mind'.

    When I read the document about "The Wisconsin Hunter Murders," I was very shocked and sad about it. When I read the first comment [from Mark Lawrence], I was very angry and revolted against him and his sayings. However, we can understand that man (Mark Lawrence) and his hateful reaction ... But there are accidents everywhere in the World, and so also in United States. No matter about the meaning of the tragedy and the details -- it happens and we cannot change anything. However don't say that the Hmong are all the same just because someone killed people, I know that is not a happy thing but Hmong people aren't bad people, no, not that all. But we are people, like every people in the World, with a past and an history.

    At the beginning, life for the Hmong people in France also wasn't an easy thing (according to what my parents told me). Life for the new generation of Hmong born in France is complicated, too. First, because there are always the Hmong's old habits like early marriage, the dowry that the man needs to pay...etc.

    Indeed, there is a big conflict between the old generation and the new one (that I am). It's simple, the new generation of Hmong faces two choices: "To keep old habits, and to fit in" or "To disagree it, and to make a life apart." Most of the young Hmongs choose to fit in and to try to make a good life, but another part of them try to make their own life without the "old Hmong habits", and so they are unfortunately "banned" from their families.

    I think that in France and USA we encountered the same conflict. And I sincerely hope that the situation will be better soon, and minds will definitely change.

    Besides that, I am very worried about the new generation of Hmongs in France. I know personally many Hmong people who don't know what to do to make a living, or many people who do not like studies and feel very depressed about their future...Moreover, France is actually in a bad political situation and so it affects many young people and also older Hmong people. I don't know if it is because of the politics of France, or the new generation but I know that something is wrong...

    I hope that all will be better soon, for Hmong people, and particularly for the next generation. And I hope that my testimony will be useful for you and for everybody.

    Au revoir.

    Thanks for those valuable insights, Yves! I was very pleased to hear from a Hmong person in France (yes, there are many Hmong people who went to France, and sometimes families were split between the US, France, and Southeast Asia, a truly painful situation). I hope things improve for them -- it is a difficult time there.

  9. Here's email received at the end of 2006 from Gao Xiong, whose name is used with permission:
  10. The Hmong's fear of Caucasians is as real as racism. Where did the Hmong receive the message that they are not welcome, liked, nor deserve to be treated humanly? The message came from real life experiences.

    My family members and I entered the US in April of 1978. My father was a Hmong soldier for the U.S. during the Vietnam War and to this day can claim no veteran status. My mother speaks little English, is illiterate, and uneducated. My Grandmother, angry with my father for taking her away from Laos (the only home she had known) to flee to America to escape death, took her anger with her to her grave. We were blessed to have a sponsoring religious Caucasian couple take us in and introduce us to America as refugees as I was about to turn one year old.

    I can recall having our windows and cars egged. We were called, "Japanese," "Chinese," and names I'd rather not repeat. As a child I believed being called, "Japanese," and "Chinese," were bad words and to this day still fill a frightening chill when I hear these names mistakenly directed at me. I use to regret declaring myself Hmong because I would fail at an explanation. I was told on numerous occasions, "go back to your country." As a child I endured stares, hateful looks (looks of disgust), spit on, and I was threatened. I was bullied to the point of insanity. I was pushed, beat up, and got my hair pulled. I understood that I was very much different. You can't tell me I misunderstood gestures and dreamt up these numerous events that repeatedly took place and scar me for life. It didn't surprise me to hear many other Hmong people speak of similar situations. Situations such as incidents on the freeway where cars would pass and the people in their vehicles would create slanted eyes as they stuck out their tongues. To make sure we got the message of hate they flipped us off.

    I will never forget the tall blonde Caucasian woman who would come to our house every week day and teach my mother the alphabet and some English words. She was so kind. She expressed a real interest in the Hmong culture and wanted to learn everything about us. She would attend the New Year celebrations and wear the traditional Hmong costumes.

    I will never forget my Caucasian best friend from grade school who stood up for me and protected me from other students who wanted to hurt me. She wouldn't let people make fun of my racial looks. I will always remember how my childhood shaped my thinking and taught me right from wrong. Not all people are bad and not all are good, but we all have the power to do good and bad.

    I will always remember how in college I was required to read a sarcastic story about the Hmong people and how it angered me to the extent that I sought the history of my people in defense. Now that I know I will not forget. Knowledge is strength. Please continue to educate.

  11. Here's email from a Hmong college student received Oct. 25, 2006:
  12. I just wanted to thank you for devoting your time to spreading awareness about the Hmong people. When I first found your website, I was in my first year of college [a university in New England] where there were no other Hmong students (I grew up in California). I just couldn't stop bawling. Before college, I had always been a little afraid to talk about my heritage for fear of criticism. Many of my Caucasian friends didn't know much about the Hmong people and what they did know were just the negative aspects (welfare, gangsters, etc.). This really created a sense of resentment and insecurity in myself, even though I knew of the Hmong tragedies and struggles and loved the people. I let people get away with inaccurate information. Living in Vermont and being away from my family and relatives really helped me to appreciate and accept my heritage. Now, I am in my 3rd year at Chico State in California and trying my best to change these views of the Hmong people. Every time I visit your website, I end up crying. I don't like to make race an issue, but it gives me hope that people of other ethnic background can understand and have compassion for what the Hmong people have gone through and not judge them on what they see in the media. Thank you.
  13. From email received Sept. 23, 2005:
  14. I felt compelled to contact you after finding your web page looking for updates on the murder trial in Wisconsin. I must say that it was nice to find an historical, insightful and logically oriented web page. I also must admit that I disagree with some of the view points expressed by others who have also found your site. Unfortunately the whole incident has been used as a platform for racism. Even more unfortunate it has been used to say that the "white" hunters were racist against the Hmong hunter. Why is it that whenever there is a disturbance where race becomes a question it is automatically reflected as racism performed by Caucasians? Am I to make the grievous assumption that racism can only be performed by whites. Do no other cultures engage in racism? Obviously I am only asking a rhetorical question to prove a point that racism may also be reflected by the Hmong hunter against those that he murdered. I also intentionally used the term murdered as that is what occurred in the woods in northern Wisconsin on Nov. 21st of 2004. Race was not a factor in the disturbance until Chai Vang made it that way. He used his own race as a reason that he was being removed from the property, not trespassing, and is now claiming racism by the hunters as his defense. The whole 'I did what I did because what I thought they might do' defense doesn't seem correct in this situation.

    Now, let me tell you my own insight into the situation. My family and I are friends of some of the slain hunters, to the point where I used to hunt with their party on a yearly basis. To hear about this tragedy after spending my day in the woods was truly a crushing blow. THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT RACE! My apologies to all Hmong who have found their lives more difficult because of this incident. Please understand that even one of the survivors understands that as a culture you were not responsible. You can see this from a memorial website were she reaches out to everyone affected:http://www.rice-lake-hunters-memorial.com/.

    If you have ever been a hunter you understand the seriousness of trespassing on another's property. You can also understand the level of competition among hunters. To paint this conflict as a racial confrontation does a disservice to the Hmong community and they can only blame one of their own, Chai Vang. It was what Chai Vang saw as his opportunity to strike back at those around him. I understand that not everyone will agree with my sentiments either. That is their choice. But understand that although we grew up in a small town without a lot of cultural differences we were all raised to respect each other as individuals, not races. To those who truly feel that this was a case of racism, just try to step off the narrow path you have set yourself upon and refresh your viewpoint.

    David W.

  15. From Michael Adair, June 2005:
  16. I was recently given your article regarding the Hmong people by my father in law. It was quite interesting. Much of the information I was familiar with and some of it was very new to me. My wife had described to me the involvement in the Vietnam war, and many aspects of the culture. However i was unaware of the scale of discrimination they have to endure. Unfortunately many people who come to this country have to deal with this nonsense, the absurdity that Hmong people could be singled out as a target is ridiculous. My wife and her family maintain the culture and values of the Hmong people. My father and mother in law are the two hardest working people I know, and they pass that on to their children as well. Many Hmong people I know work twice as hard as others and have greater sets of values they live by. I am very glad Hmong people preserve their culture, I encourage my wife to have that as part of our lives and to educate our son about it so it will be a part of his life as well. I am honored that I am accepted as a part of the family with my in laws. My birth mother and father are unbelievable role models for me, I also have another set of parents who are just as important. How many can say that? I want to thank you for writing that article and filling in some spaces that were left, please continue to write and inform others.

  17. From a Hmong man in Minnesota, received June 2005:
  18. I am a middle age (36) Hmong living in Minnesota, with a professional career, like many other Hmong across the US and the general population. I wish I had come across your site sooner, regarding this issue above and the many other great articles (stories) you have published. First off, I would like to say "Thank you" for being very supportive of the Hmong People and the many issues that we face. I also appreciate the many supportive comments from many of the non-Hmong people, those you're able to published, and those you weren't able to.

    Although, I'm not a hunter, and personally opposes hunting, I have family members, relatives, and many friends who are hunters, and love outdoor activities. From stories that I heard from the many Hmong hunters that I know, the situation that Chai Vang encountered was not unique to many of them. Many of them have either privately or within the Hmong community, express that they have encountered (often more than once) the racial language abuse or threaten by non-Hmong (predominantly white) hunters.

    I am curious if you have got any response from anyone or any organization, on how we can prevent this kind of problem in the future?

    To be fair, I also agree with some of the comments that non-Hmong individuals have submitted to you, and I appreciate their honest opinion in this, regarding witnessing some Hmong hunters and outdoor goers, who are abusing the environment or not following hunting laws, etc. I know a few Hmong hunters who have done that and told me about it, and I often tell them that, as a hunter, they should respect the law and the environment. Base on what I know and heard within the Hmong community, those who did the abuse are only the few, and the many are respective of the law and the environment. Nevertheless, this is something that I hope the leaders in the different Hmong communities will address (address the US).

    My best suggestion for those who encounter Hmong or non-Hmong hunter who abuses the law, they should just report it to the authority and let them handle it.

    Again, thank you for your support and the support of the many non-Hmong people out there, and to let the law run it's course.

  19. From a Hmong woman, Jan. 2005:
  20. Hello. This is Adora. I just wanna say straight up that I am Hmong. And reading all of the cruel, hurtful, and painful e-mails, all you people have it all wrong. Hmong people have a right to be here because we are all human beings. Why do whites have to get everything? Don't you know right now the Hmong people in Laos are suffering and dying everyday. All the children are starving and suffering with nothing to eat or drink! So why don't you use all your energy to help? And don't even get me started on the Vietnam War. Gosh leave it alone! It's the past, and though the memories burn in our hearts, what's done is done. And may I remind you that whites gave up on the Hmong people when we offered to help fight Vietnam! Remember?

    Just because one person made a mistake, doesn't mean you all have the right to judge all Hmong people like that. Why try so hard to put us down when all we're trying to do is build our culture up? I may still be young but I am a girl with a thirst to learn more about the Hmong culture! I speak Hmong fluently and I read and write it. I try my best to keep the Hmong culture up, even if I live in the United States! You know you whites don't own it. The indians do!

    Why always have to say negative things? Hmong people have hearts too okay! We are all Americans! So grow up and stop being racist! Discrimination is against the law you know! I don't want to start arguments or anything but if you whites think that it is okay to judge us Hmong people and put us down, you are totally wrong and I promise I will fight your cold hearts until the day I die!

  21. From a woman in Florida, March 2005:
  22. Thank you Jeff for your beautiful articles of the Hmong people! I am a realtor from Orlando, Florida who has recently moved from Minnesota. I was raised in a white community in LaCrosse Wisconsin and attended private Catholic school until I had graduated from high school. My community was safe and I had best friends who were always there for me.

    When we heard about the Hmong hunter who had killed several other hunters, it made my heart ache to hear such tragedy. What hurts me most now is all the racist remarks pointed at him. If they would not reference to his nationality but just as a simple human being, I would understand their feelings. It makes them no better than the killer himself because if they have that kind of attitude already then if the situation were turned around, they would have lost their temper and shot everyone as well. If we treat everyone from that race for one person's crime, we are no better, no matter how much we complain. As I was reading about the hunter who killed those other hunters, it didn't shock me to read that he was a US National Guard and a best shooter as well. Makes me think about the unabomber in Oklahoma and the snipers who had killed innocent people for no reasons, for they too were part of the US military. In short, there are bad and good people in every race whether you're white, black, yellow, or any other color you can think of. But as long as you're a human being, you have a heart with a brain with feelings. Because the Hmong people are so few in numbers like the Jewish people, we are being treated like them with hatred from everywhere...sad. Just like back in the old 50's when the African Americans were mistreated so badly all by the white Americans as well. America was found for a reason, for unity for all religions and cultures. Immigrants fled from everywhere in Europe and Asia for a purpose. You're not called an American because you're a blood American, but because we live in America whether your grandparents were Germans, French, English, Asians, or others. All of these names only mean one thing - an insignificant title, nothing more. We are all humans, so if you treat others bad then you are just as bad unless you're a robot who is being controlled to emit anger when told to. I sympathize with all victims of every crimes. All families are hurt because of one person, but if we don't forgive, the hate and the pain will carry us further with destruction. This is true because of the hate we carry in ourselves will be passed on to the next generation, which will be your children, your grandchildren, and so on along the line. Thanks again, Jeff! Sorry for such a long email. This is my first time seeing your site with so much hurt from everyone that I had to write. To others who still have anger and hate, sit in solitude and pray for a better world. Prayers are good for the heart, the brain, and the body, physically and psychologically.

  23. From May Xiong, Jan. 2005:
  24. My responds to the comment posted on www.jefflindsay.com. Please post my response on your site.

    My comment here today is not to offend or look down upon anyone or anybody of any race or color or culture. But after reading what has been posted on this site by some of the viewers, I am filled with mixed emotion. It angers me to see how much racism is upon us Hmong people. I am sad that there are so many people of other cultures who could misunderstand us so much. These are my responds to the comments that was made on this site:

    TO: Jeff Lindsay
    Thank you for a wonderful webpage that not only express to people of the other culture who we really are and why we are here, but to also give us Hmong people a chance to get to know ourselves a lot better with the informative fact about where we came from and what we have done for the U.S. Thank you and let me be another one of the very few Hmong to say that I really appreciate what you are doing. This website has touch many hearts of the Hmong people. Thank you for you support and understanding.

    TO: Ms. R - "Enough is Enough"
    I want to respond to your racist comment about us Hmong people. You need to be reminded that the reason why us Hmong people are here in the U.S., is because we have been made a promise and yet more than 15 years has gone by and the promise made to my kind has not yet been accomplished. You will know this if you took the time to read the many stories posted on this wonderful site. You feel as though we (the Hmong people) are here to milk the government system and are here to try to get your working tax dollars, when you should really keep an open mind that we are not the only culture here in the US that uses the welfare system and receive food stamp. On another note, our Hmong veterans living here in the US are not receiving the same military benefits as the American veterans, even though many of us fought as U.S. combat infantrymen for 10-plus years. Many Americans who fought in the Vietnam War as combat infantrymen were there for only six months. I give tremendous amount thanks to Chief Sergeant Jack Austin Smith, for his educational responds back to you. What he said was not only true but also generously nice. You can keep to your racist opinions and keep your eyes closed to what is happening all around you, but the one thing that the Hmong are known great for is standing for each other and for what is right and for that we will survive in this world full of many hate.

    TO: "A Clash of Culture: Problems for the Hmong in America"
    I must agree that yes, we as Hmong people do need to let go of some of our ways like "Teenage Marriage." But first of all I would like to correct you on some of the comments you posted on this website. There are men from many other cultures that are wedded to more then one women or men who dates more than one girlfriend. It is not just the Hmong cultures that do so. Our marriage may not be legal American marriage but it is not consider illegal either. You speak of polygamy, which means; "The offense of having several & specifically more than two spouse at one time". Man having a 2nd wife is not considered polygamy but actually is called bigamy. I am not say that having a 2nd wife is right but and I am not agreeing to it but I feel as though you may have thrown this issue out of proportion. There are men from different race, kind or cultures that beats up on the girlfriend or spouse, but just because one or a few relationship turns sour it doesn't mean that are others are. Another point I want to make is that, a Hmong man marrying ONE more then one wife is a way of our "Culture." Back in Laos lots of help is required to tend to the livestock and the many hills, and hills of agricultural land to provide food for their families. They don't have supermarket out there in Laos. That is why us Hmong have so many children. Majority of the time a Hmong man getting married to a second wife is because she is a widow. He marries her and become the man in her life to help her and her kids that were left behind out. I understand that, that should not be used as an excuse to do so but as far as the Hmong men marrying more than one women for pleasure is not all entirely true. I give my deepest concern and wishes to your Hmong girlfriend who was hurt and ill treated by this man. I do have to also say that it is true that sometime guy do get away with thing even with the law, but my advice to your friend is take all bad experiences and use it as a form of motivation to better yourself in life. For people like her boyfriend."What goes around comes around."

    TO: "The Wisconsin Hunter Murders: Another Tragic Tale."
    In responds to these comment from these so call Mark Lawrence, Donald Petzold, Sherrie, and R. Fischer, you know who you are. You call us Hmong "worthless leeches and vermin," Mark, you Donald Petzold said that us Hmong have no "values," Sherrie you refer to us as "THEM" and you speak of us Hmong as "invader" and you call us "nut jobs," and lastly R. Fischer you call us "killers."

    What I want you all to know is that, what we know about this story is what the media tells us. Still no one knows who shot the first shot. All we know is that this man Chai Vang killed 6 people and injured a few others. But what you fail to see is that, if you look at this picture from a different angle, you see Chai Vang, ONE MAN, and ONE GUN against the other 6 HUNTER & MORE, who can easily be armed with 6 or MORE GUNS, who has the advantage here? Now if a group of people comes up to you and yells out racial slurs and tells you to get out of their land, (that you may of happen to stumble in by accident or you didn't know that is was private own property) instead of just asking nicely for you to leave. Now would you or would you not be terrified? We don't know if he killed out of defense or maybe he was scared because there was more than one of the other hunters. He may of made the mistake of sitting in their man made tree stand but the other hunters made the mistake of stepping up to him in the manner that they did. Mark, the reason why the Laotian wants to kill us Hmong people is because we were allies to the American and helped them out during the Vietnam War, a war that we as Hmong have nothing to do with. Because it is harder for the Laotian to reach and attack America and because of our aid to the American, that made us an easy target for revenge. Donald Petzold, you said we have no values. VALUES? I don't think you seem to be having much of it either. If you did have values and if you had pride in yourself, you would not be one of the many American to post your very racist comment on the Internet. Sherrie, you said that us Hmong invaded America; no we were welcome for our helping out the U.S. You call people insane, stupid or just truly evil when you yourself are truly the insane and evil one for hating minority like us Hmong and for hating people who support us minority. Oh, and by far you are the most racist person to comment on this website for referring to us Hmong as "THEM." I feel that is just down right rude and we are not "THEM" like you said, we are "HMONG." And you, R. Fischer, you call us Hmong people "killer" because you automatically assumed that one man like Chai Vang, who killed 6 people and wounding other (who could of by the way did it to protect himself, we do not know) that all Hmongs are like that. That is one Hmong person to made headline news for killing more than one person, but you fail to see that you and I as a person live in a world full of killers & sexual predator. Three example of what I consider killers in America is: David Berkowitz who calls himself the "Son of Sam," who terrorized New York City in the late 1970s, Albert De Salvo, the "Boston Strangler," a serial killer and rapist who terrorized Boston women and last but not least the famous Ted Bundy, known to be a handsome, educated psychopath who stalks and murder young college women.

    So before pointing the finger and calling us Hmong "killers," take a look at the horrifying history of serial killers and rapists in America. We as a culture have never said or done anything to offend or discriminate anyone or anybody. The great majority of us are not racist. We just want to be left alone and like everyone else in this country, we are just trying hard to make someone good of ourselves and provide for our family. Do not look and judge us Hmong or anyone of any race or color for the bad, but see the good and let the good drown over the bad.

  25. From Hannah, Jan. 2005:
  26. I was stunned and sad to read about the plight of the Hmong in our country. My parents lived in Laos during the late 60's and consequently were active in helping refugees when they began to pour in during the 1970's. I am not sure if you are aware but many Latter-day Saint ["Mormon"] stakes and wards in Utah sponsored refugees, some of whom were Hmong. I want to encourage you to share your research with a wider LDS audience. The idea of any of the families that lived with us being "repatriated" is heartbreaking to me, and I was just a kid. I am sure that many others would be shocked and willing to help.

  27. From Tom H., Dec. 2004:
  28. Nyob Zoo (Hello):

    Your web site is most impressive! Thanks for the information you've gathered about the Mong. I, a Mong myself, have learned a great deal about my own history and people through the links you have on your site.

    I also read through the few emails you listed about the shooting in Wisconsin. As you put it correctly, is it fair to condemn the entire people for the act of one man? Violence, tragedies and misfortunes transcend through all colors: black, brown, white, yellow, etc. Personally, when I first heard about the tragedy, I was shocked and even felt a bit embarrassed. My condolence goes out to the families of the victims. This incident could have been avoided altogether if we would just learn to treat one another with dignity and respect.

    As a fact, the majority of the Mong I know don't hunt. Personally, I have never gone hunting even after 20+ years in the U.S. My family and I, however, did go camping in the national forest here in California twice. We were always careful not to disturb other campers or pollute the environment. We kept our camp grounds clean just as we found them, and we have never had any problems or complaints. Understandably, there's almost always a disgruntle person out there.

    About hunting laws: I have a few friends who like to hunt quite a bit. They speak fluent English and understand the law well. In general, I believe, the Mong people know and understand the law even when they don't speak English. My grandfather, who spoke no English, used to hunt and fish on a few occasions when he was still alive; there's always someone there to teach him what he could or could not do. Nonetheless, I did hear from at least two friends who said that some hunters disregarded their bag limits especially when it comes to hunting squirrels. I don't know if this is true but if I knew such a case should ever exist I would probably report it to the proper authority. Like most law-abiding citizens, I don't like abuses.

    Keep up the good work!

  29. From a reader who wrote on Nov. 26, 2004:
  30. I am a veteran of the Vietnam war and travel there each year to do research as I am a writer. There are still Mung and Hmong fighters (that we abandoned) at odds with the current governments of Laos and Vietnam...supported by wealthy Viets here in America and other western countries, they raid into Vietnam from Laos to fight the Viets that have tried unsuccessfully to displace them from their ancient homes. In 2001 my wife and I were not allowed into an area near Ban Me Thought because the Hmong had just raided a Viet Army outpost and a number of other villages. They are an honorable and proud people and I can only speculate what occurred that day in the Wisconsin woods. But, knowing the prejudice that exists up there toward these people and native Americans, I am sure that the man was defending his honor. It is a clash of cultures.

    Now I am told by some of these hunters that they are going to begin Hmong hunting!... I can only say that this is a terrible mistake as they will be hunting a people that are among the worlds finest CIA trained warriors. Seems to me that the Game Warden could have been called to ask this man to leave the area...just shows what can happen when people try to take the law into their own hands. I do not condone killing but I am sure it was Redneck-stupidity that caused this horrible tragedy...

  31. From a message received October 2005:
  32. Racism and discrimination do absolutely exist among people in America. It is obvious as seen on the comments posted on your website. Many of us are so ignorant that we intentionally forgot where we originally came from uninvited. For sure, this land was conquered.

    Because of the killing in WI happened on private property, here is my comments for nonlandowners. I would be very defended when asking for the souls, flesh and blood of my children to go to war to protect private lands that nonlandowners have no share in them. Moreover, nonlandowners can be jailed and fined if caught being in private property. To be fair, landowners must double the souls, flesh and blood when the U.S. goes to war, and they must be at the front line because they have 1) their private lands, 2) public land and 3) freedom to protect while nonlandowners have only 1) public lands and 2) freedom to protect. Hmong lost most of our loved ones during the secret war in Laos for the interest of the United States.

    Incidents during hunting, in my group of hunters alone, we encountered, at least, five deadly confrontation with Caucasian hunters during the last three hunting seasons on public lands. All incidents were harassed, imitated and intimidated by Caucasian hunters. I heard lots of bad stories from other Hmong hunters. Stories were as bad as "Caucasian hunter tagged our deer and took it at our presence", etc. These deadly incidents happened on public lands. What was it like when the incident happened on private lands? With these bad experiences, I am not surprised by the killing in WI.

    Some people mentioned about trashing hunting areas. I personally found trashes on areas that were not commonly visited or hunted by Hmong. I found trashes in towns and cities where there was no Hmong near the areas. Ignorant and prejudice people will normally blame these things on Hmong.

    Overall, ignorant, discrimination and prejudice are the keys to many of these issues.

  33. From Mai Vang, Dec. 2004:
  34. You probably receive tons of emails in regards to what happened with the murders in Wisconsin, but I felt the need to share what I am feeling, if not with you, with anyone. First I must say that my heart goes out to all the victims, their families and their friends. There is no justification for what Chai Vang did, even if there had been racial slurs prior to the shootings.

    When I first heard about this story, I was shocked with disbelief. I felt my heart literally drop to my feet because of the many murders among the Hmong community as of late. A few months ago, when one-year-old Cynthia Yang was killed by her uncle (CA), I honestly broke down. There was so much going through my mind and I didn't know what to do. It leaves me shaky just thinking about what is happening to the Hmong people.

    I am a member of the Hmong community, born as an American in California. Growing up, I did not appreciate the Hmong culture as much as I should have, but I quickly found myself and headed back to my Hmong roots. Though I was once ashamed, I am so proud to be Hmong. Our culture is extravagantly beautiful, and to disregard it all due to one man's actions, is just wrong.

    Now that Chai Vang is in custody, I thought that it would be in the hands of authority to punish him as fit, but the outrage of racism has disappointed me beyond my words. Naturally, I did not expect the country to ignore what happened because I'm sure it did a number on everyone who respects life. It is definitely disturbing but nonetheless, I did not think for one second that it would stir up so much hate.

    In America, we pride ourselves with freedom, justice and liberty for all. but some of the cruel reactions from America would suggest otherwise. I am thankful for the chance to be in this country but I can tell you that I have encountered many Hmong elders, who have stated that their journey after death, will be to find their way back to the mountains of Laos. Life for the Hmong in America is not as peachy as it is sometimes made out to be.

    The struggle is endless and the saddest thing is that these racial results have done nothing but divided us. In the big picture, it has stirred up the hidden racists of America, but it has also left many of the Hmong people themselves, hating each other and ashamed to be who they are. It breaks my heart that the media is so powerful; it can impact such portions a nation into embracing discrimination and hate.

    My words do no justification for the disappointment in my heart and soul. What Chai Vang did was wrong. He had no right to do the things he did and I hope justice is served, but to damn an entire people is the opposite, it is unjust. In my senior of high school, my U.S. History teacher said something to me that I think America should think about. I don't know who said it, but just the simplicity of the awareness that 1% is what happens to you, and 99% is how you react to it.

    Blaming a whole people for what one man did is wrong. And- I don't mean to sound out of line here, but Anglos have had hundreds of years to learn and educate themselves to their own written language. We, the Hmong have been here for no more than 40 years. Speaking for myself, I am at a true crossroad. This is not a lousy excuse, but it is the honest truth that so many of us are not ready to lose our culture and identity.

    My mother once told me that the only reason my family is in America is because they were left with little choice. The first time they were to come, they declined. The second time, a fire had just burned down their refugee the night before, "Otherwise, your grandparents would have never agreed to come to America." It blows me away that we were involved in a war we never should have taken part in, only to be carried overseas to experience the same hate we knew before.

    We are individuals and if someone does something that is shameful, give them the credit of being a wrongfully led human being and don't point fingers. I'm not particularly proud of the unfortunate crime situations that other Hmong families have been in either, but I seriously doubt turning to racism or internalizing racism is really going to our nation get anywhere.

    Once again, whether the sympathy is accepted or not, my heart goes out to each victim. Forgiveness is the only key, and yet it is so far out of reach for most of us.

  35. From Bree, Jan. 2005:
  36. Hello, my name is Bree. My English class has been studying the Hmong culture and about their migration into our country. We read the book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. I am not sure if you have read this book or not but it deals with the complications of one family moving to Merced, California. They must deal with the medical system over here due to their daughter's epilepsy. Anyways...reading this book and discussing it in class obviously gave my classmates and I a different point of view on the Hmong than most of America has. But in this case however, I do not feel that the Hmong man who shot and killed 6 men should have any lenience because of his ethnicity. From what I have heard he understood English and has been in our country for quite some time now. I am sure that he would consider himself an American or at least part of our country so I believe that he should be prosecuted in the way an American would, regardless of his ethnicity.

    I do not have a problem with the Hmongs coming into our country because during the Vietnam War our government told them and promised them that they could. However, I do believe that once they are here, they need to abide by our culture and our legal system. I am not saying that they need to abandon their practices and their beliefs all together, but they ask to be treated like Americans so why shouldn't we? All of our ancestors were immigrants at one point or another.

    This man was set off by something, we don't know what or who it was, but he deserves to go to jail because of his actions. His skin color and/or his ethnicity does not matter.

    Thank you.

  37. Here is a fascinating perspective from a Viet Nam veteran, Jan. 2005:
  38. I would like to offer my emotional support for Mr. Vang using you as a forum please. I am a Viet Nam Veteran of the 121st Assault Helicopter Co. We often transported S.F. troops to include Hmong warriors. I grew to respect and admire the quiet, gentle people held in disdain as "Hillbillies" by the more educated, sophisticated Vietnamese. Typical racial hatred in yet another guise. God forgive us.

    I read this account which establishes that Vang had been taunted, assaulted, threatened, intimidated and shot at before he finally responded. Vang felt his life was in imminent danger from perpetrators with the will, means and ability to kill him. These three elements comprise "Jeopardy" in our American justice system which allows self-defense measures to neutralize the threat. I admire his restraint!

    He did exactly what I would have done in that situation: he returned fire to protect his life. Initially, he fired in self defense. Vang does not have the legal/law enforcement training and experience that I have. I know that once the actual, immediate threat is neutralized, I stop firing, scan the area for further perpetrators , reload my weapon and call for assistance. The question will be asked "Did he over-react?" NO, not in some parts of the continuum of the situation; in other parts, yes.

    In my opinion, there exists sufficient evidence that Vang has had military training. Perhaps too he is a combat veteran of Viet Nam. In my writing, I will continue as though he were. The axiom I learned well in Viet Nam was: "Never walk away from a field of battle with an enemy left alive !" Apparently Vang learned the same lesson too!

    Did you notice that after being fired upon Vang took the time to remove the scope from his rifle before returning fire? That's because he never used a scope in the military! He had mentally reverted to his military training and experiences. Note too that a "Siaga" rifle is legally imported and capable only of semi-automatic fire, like any Remington or Browning hunting rifle. He was using the armament that he was familiar with.

    Yes, this is truly a tragedy for everyone involved. Vang shares the blame for this tragedy with the hunters involved. There are no one totally innocent in this tragedy.

    Our prayers and condolences go out to the victims and their families and their respective communities. . . .

    (Additional message from the same person:)
    If you are interested in posting any part of my original e-mail, please feel free to do so. It presents one perspective I've not seen yet on the web and may be of interest to some. By the way, I started my career in law enforcement in 1968 and will retire next year.

    I neglected to tell you that, I read the initial report, the recorded interview and the "confession." The police and D.A. committed an egregious error in permitting him to be interviewed without an attorney present who spoke his native language. His defense attorney will have a field day with that one.

    Many of the concepts of the American justice system are totally incomprehensible by a man of Hmong ancestry. Just because he said, "I understand these rights as they have been read to me," and signed the form doesn't mean that he understood them in the cultural and legal backdrop of the Hmong. Its not that he is "non compos mentis" but rather, "non compos culturalis"! (Yes, I invented that one.)

    Frankly, it will be a challenge to our legal system to try this case; there is more here than meets the eye. If I may be of any service to you in this situation, feel free to call upon me.

  39. From a former Minnesotan, Sept. 2005:
  40. I was outraged by the massacre of land owners in Minnesota by the Hmong poacher. I am originally from Minnesota and remember the state as one of the most tolerant in the country regarding race. More tolerant than the state I now call home, New York.

    I was even more outraged as I read articles blaming this on the "racism" the Hmong in general feel they live under. This is a typical blame the victim attitude.

    The fact we welcomed these people into our country as our guest, nay equals, makes it incumbent upon them to learn and obey our rules. Rules we developed by a hard process of trial and error to prevent conflicts such as this. It is the Hmongs general lack of understanding of these rules that is the proximate cause of these killings.

    I do not think it is enough for a few Hmong leaders or even all Hmong to be "outraged and sickened" by this crime. They have to take decisive action to make sure this doesn't happen again and to gain trust in the community. One way they can do this is to show that hunting privileges are less important to them than the human lives loss due to their lack of respect for US hunting laws and property rights.

    Only actions and not words can show that they truly believe this. I suggest that they organize a voluntary cessation of hunting for one season by all Hmong within the US. During this season all Hmong hunters would pay the registration fees they normally would for hunting, collect those moneys and give them to the families of those who were brutally massacred. They should also take a public vow to obey US hunting regulations and to not trespass on private property.

    They should also refrain from using the "race card" in their interactions with other citizens. It is an ugly method to gain economic advantage. Many ethnic groups have settled in the United States only to do better economically than the current residents. As an example, West Indians, the ancestors of slaves, and blacker than any other American minority, now have higher incomes than the average American because of their exemplary work ethic.

    Racial animus is not a barrier to success in a free society, because it is in the interest of even the most racist employer to hire a minority if their pay scale is suppressed. If a racist employer did not do so he would soon be put out of business by those willing to recognize the true value of the work output of the minority worker.

    Until such a gesture is done there will be a stain on the Hmong community similar to that haunting the Islamic community for not responding to the events of 9/11 except with celebration here and abroad. Claiming outrage is not enough. These communities must purge themselves of the attitudes that lead them to trespass against others. They must stop teaching that nonbelievers are evil and deserve to be killed. This requires a rejection of some of the most central teachings of the Koran, so it will not be easy. Many Christian sects have accomplished the rejection of parts of the Bible so it is not an impossible task. It is however a task that needs to be done and not one that is the responsibility of the nonbelieving victims to accomplish.

    I do not know if the Hmong have similar customs and beliefs but if they do they need to purge themselves of them to live in a modern pluralistic society. I certainly hope they do not has as long a journey as the Muslims require.

  41. From a Hmong woman writing on Dec. 12, 2004:
  42. Hi. I just recently graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and am so intrigued by my race and by this site. I am amazed to have read all these stories, those that my heart goes out to and those that just made me cry because I couldn't understand why there are people in the country that could HATE so much! My heart sank when I saw that there are people out there who really understands and cares for the wellbeing of my people. It's so hard to find someone who understand all that we have gone through. What troubles me is the fact that my people are looked at as a bunch of nonsense, no hearted people, who just takes this countries money. I believe that we have more heart and more sense than those in this country who doesn't even give us a chance but is willing to give other races a chance. Us taking your money, has it ever occurred to you that they earned every last penny of that money. There are more Anglos on welfare than there are Hmong people.

    It's difficult to accept something that is unfamiliar, but we all know about the saying "never judge a book by it's cover." If we all know this to be true, Why? Why do we have people who HATE, who have HATE in their hearts? I believe that I am brought in this direction to find out why we have hate inside of us. I want to find out where this comes from and why does it evolve. I believe that my going into Criminal Psychology, will make things clear for my people and for all those who does not understand, the meaning of freedom and of life earned.

    My heart goes out to everyone no matter your race or gender, because I believe that we are all the same, no matter slight skin pigmentation, eye color, eye shape. Life is so hard, but it's harder when you try not to accept what is there in front of you. It's sad that this country called Freedom is so ignorant and so naive. The country called Freedom, won't even accept those who have helped and saved so many lives when it counted on it, and yet STABBED in the back by false promises. Life as we know it, only exists in our minds because there, we are free, trapped in our own way, yet free to live what is called FREEDOM!.

    Thank you for such a site. Thank you for helping make things clear. Life is a precious commodity that we all cherish and love, you opened the door, but it's up to those people who won't accept and won't understand walk through that door. Our mind is our secret place, our hearts is what needs to be told to everyone because then, we can really say that we are a Country of Freedom, Hope and Dreams.

    Thank you from the very bottom of my Heart and Soul.

  43. Here is a from one of America's finest, a female Hmong soldier serving in the US military. Her insightful email was sent from Iraq in Dec. 2008.
  44. To Mr. Lindsay:

    I was just surfing the Internet on my heritage when I came across your site. It really intrigued me. Both that I am from the Appleton area and is Hmong. My family was so very kindly sponsored by a Catholic Church back in 1980. I was born in Appleton and raised in Kaukauna. I was there for 17 years. Needless to say, I no longer live there.

    It was nice seeing all the people that I haven't seen in 10 years. I made the mistake of getting married early to please my parents and culture. I was just doing the right thing because I was the eldest in my family. I was trying to preserve traditions. As you can guess, I'm no longer married. I did make that marriage legal and the divorce was also legal.

    I now serve in the Army after graduating from Penn State University with a BS in Finance. I did hear about the shooting in Wisconsin when I was serving on my first deployment to Iraq. I was asked about the shooting and how I felt about it. Being a Hmong, and fully aware of my heritage and culture and how I grew up, I said that the hunters probably provoked him. Being in the military, I shoot to kill. That's what I have been trained to do. It's instilled that it's their life or trade it for your own. I am an sharpshooter. I don't miss my targets, even being a small Hmong girl.

    I'm currently on my second tour in Iraq when I found your site. I want to thank you for everything you do for the Hmong people. I don't condone the actions that Chai took but I also empathize with him because I too, had that training. Although, I didn't live in the times back in Laos, my parents did and they do not let me forget where they came from. I'm proud to be Hmong. Always have. But I'm also proud to be American. That is why I serve this great country. I tell everyone I meet that. I'm proud to tell everyone about my family.

    To see so many comments that were so negative after the shootings on your site was very discouraging to me; as an Hmong-American and a combat veteran. I wonder what my soldiers and I fight for over here when I see such hateful things still going around. This is a time for change. We have for the first time, an African American President. We are a melting pot of a races. We need to start learning the differences between us and try to reach a compromise. This is why we have so much terrorism going on. It's ignorant people imposing their views on a culture they have no clue about and don't want to know because We think we are superior than them. WE AREN'T! This is why I'm fighting a civil religious war that we have no clue about.

    My grandparents and father fought with the Americans in the Vietnam War. Both sets of grandparents died fighting with the Americans in that secret war in Laos. My father still have bullets in his leg from the war and will remain there until the day he dies. All of them were not recognized as Vietnam Veterans. And now I serve in the United States Army. I am a Iraq Combat Veteran and very educated.

    Growing up in Wisconsin, I got told alot to go back to my country. That I didn't belong here. I was a straight A student. I was smart and quick-witted. I told them to go to theirs first. I'm thick-skinned. Had to be, growing up in Wisconsin.

    I just want to thank you for reaching out to us, when alot of others wouldn't. You can post my email but please refrain from using my rank. Due to the fact that I am still actively serving the military and this country for a long while.

    Wow, thank you!

  45. Here is a spirited comment from a Hmong woman, Dec. 2004:
  46. I would just like to say something about the comments made about the hunting rampage. Nobody knows what really happened out there that day. Whether it was self defense or not, he will be punished. So let it be. People commit other hateful crimes all over this country and just this once, a Hmong man kills white people and he's on the front page of every newspaper. The thing that irritates me, as a HMONG, is that he is always labeled the "the HMONG IMMIGRANT" from St. Paul, MN. You don't hear the D.C. snipers labeled as black, or Jeffrey Dahmer as white.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with our Hmongs coming to America. Wasn't that what was promised to our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, cousins and others such a long time ago? And now, some 20-30 something years later, it's finally fulfilled? Please, spare us your comments. Learn the history. Appreciate what was sacrificed to save the American asses and understand that our Hmong are still being killed to this very day since the war. Only because of high hopes that America will come to their aid, like the Hmong were for them.

  47. From a Hmong woman, Dec. 2004:
  48. I am a 27 year old Hmong American (born in America), and it just makes me so angry to hear the racist comments that some White people have made over the deer hunting shooting. Why do people refer to it as the "Hmong" deer hunting shooting? It's so racist. It just makes me so sick to know that we have racist people out there in the world, that would turn a tragic incident like this one into something more negative by making ignorant remarks. I was reading an article from the Internet and someone had made a stupid remark saying that they didn't know why America let all these foreigners come in here just to walk all over their land and private property. Umm, hello??? What do they think America is doing right this minute in Iraq? Also, some White people make comments about having to support all these immigrants or foreigners, or whatever they wanna call it, but the majority of the people that are on Welfare are Whites. I know this because my sister is a social worker, and she knows all that because she helps out with many non-profit organizations for needy people. I'm sorry if I sound a little mad. It just makes me sad that all people can't live together in a peaceful united nation. Well I just want to let you know that we, the Hmong people, appreciate what you and many people like you do for us, especially during a time like this. Thank you.

  49. From a Hmong college student, Feb. 2005:
  50. I just check your website about the hunting incident in WIS, and I'm sad to hear such disturbing news. again I'm a 21 yr old Hmong college student at Washington State University. upon seeing what other white folks had to say about the Hmong people because of this incident sadden and disturbed me greatly.....It's because of that same mentality these white folks have that may have cause such a huge unnecessary tragic. Now I understand that Mr. Vang has been in the U.S. for quite some time so it should be no excuse that he doesn't know the laws, but if you will just try to see why I might think he acted the way he did,(even though I don't agree with his actions personally).

    I feel Mr. Vang did what he did, because he feels that if he didn't' deceased these people then they'll probably kill him and get away with, because White folks hate Hmong hunters. Although killing 6 people won't help at all in our goal to eliminate racism, he probably felt he had to do it to save his own life. I know that this is hard for many White Americans to accept, but I've seen many elder Hmong people getting taken advantage of because of the lack of understand of the Law of the land. There were a couple people who email you saying that this land belongs to Americans (as if it belongs to white males only) but if you really break it down The word American does not generate one specific race or ethnicity at all. So how do you justify a true American? Because The way i see it, the only true Americans are the veterans of this country and people who overcame great obstacles to have a better life. Most of these ignorant so call Americans that are using Mr. Vang's action to describe my people (the Hmong people) do not personally contribute any thing to the way America is today. Sorry this email is very lengthy, but those email responses you got disturbed me a lot. I am an educated young Hmong and I just want those racist (both Hmong and white folks) to understand that these ongoing prejudice finger pointing will only encourage sides to continue being more and more racist.

  51. From a Hmong woman in Florida, Feb. 2005:
  52. I read most of the emails you post in your website. I don't know why the Hmong man killed these 8 eight innocent people. This man committed the horrible crime. He should be put to death. I want all of the white American to understand that only this man is bad, the rest of the Hmong are good people. I pray that God creates everyone so he will come to judge at then end. This county is not just belong to white, Asian and any other races, but it's belong to the Indian and it's belong to God. Please consider this terrible crime as an individual case, not a group "Hmong". American and Hmong were best friend in Laos during the Vietnam War and we will continue to be best friend in the future. I share the sorrow, and anger with our American family who lost their love one in this horrible crime. I pray to God that we, the Hmong and our American friends will continue strengthening our friendship, condemn the person who committed the crime and move on.

    I am very sad and angry when I heard about this terrible thing happened to 8 people. This man will pay for the cost. Thank you.

  53. Here is a touching story from an American woman, Jan. 2006:
  54. I woke up this morning expecting to go online and get recipes for my family of 6, but, through the will of God, I ended up reading about the shootings in Rice Lake. Throughout the article, the term "Hmong" was used. I had to find out, what is a "Hmong". I came to your site, and I was changed. One of the teachings of my church is that you can be converted by the words that you see, hear, and understand. I was converted by your site. I heard the voices of the people who sent in letters and anecdotes. I saw the country that these people came from, and the perils that they have gone through and continue to experience. I realized that I had had the opportunity to meet some of these people, growing up in Nashville Tennessee. As an elementary school student I was intrigued because they were different and I cannot ever forget the cultural presentation that they made one day in their native clothes doing native dances. I wish that I had known more. Maybe I would have made more of an effort to reach out. After reading your site, I went to talk to my 11 year old daughter, who is homeschooled, about what I had learned. I tried to explain to her why it is important not to look at people and assume that you know who they are. I had never heard the word "Hmong". I told her that their story probably wasn't in a history book that I had ever read, but that their existence affects our existence and vice versa. I believe that there are no coincidences in this world, only God who moves people who are willing to be moved. The story of the Hmong people and how they came to this country, is the story of many people who have come to enjoy the blessings of living in the United States of America. We must embrace them as us, because we all make up a body, which only functions correctly when every part is healthy. Thank you. Compassion only comes through empathy, which only comes from knowledge.

  55. From a Hmong woman, Feb. 2005:
  56. I don't remember how I stumbled into your site but its informative. i just wanted to thank you for your support & time with the Hmongs. I love reading and writing. I am currently working on a non-fictional book, nothing related to the political world, of course. I 'm just not a political person but I understand I am in America now so I am a register voter. I'm a Hmong-American , Christian 28-year old born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I'm so thankful for America to have received my family so early during the Vietnam War. It took me a long time to want to be Hmong too. My husband now is the only Hmong I've ever really dated and then married. My parents were worried. They didn't want me to be with any other race. Being in high school was the hardest. I had boyfriends that not Hmong. My outside "non-Hmong" friends were not allowed in the house. So I never invited anyone over. Sometimes, I think my high school years still scar me but I forgave my parents. I use to think my parents were devils and the meanest parents ever. I've ran away from home twice but they never gave up on me. After I got out of high school, for some reason, they seemed to have become more open-minded. I think the best way to do is give the old folks time. Yes, they are stubborn but its all in matter of time.

    I just want people to understand, we do appreciate being here and some of us are very loyal to nature. Sooner or later, I knew it was going to come to a situation like Chai Vang. It would become a racial issue when it should not have to be. But every race will sacrifice sometime. I know even the Anglos did too. The blacks did for hundreds of years...didn't they? The Muslims just did recently after 9/11 and I'm sure before that too. It's human nature..even I am guilty of this kind of sin. I'm just praying the this time will pass and I believe the lord will do the real judging. I am not afraid of no one but him..and him only. Thanks again and may God be with you.

  57. From a Hmong man, Kou, received Feb. 2005:
  58. I was always told as a young boy that the struggles that we faced in order to come to America were very hard. It's not like, we just got on a plane in Laos to come safely over here. We had to cross the dangerous rivers and dangerous lands in order to reach Thailand and then, that was where we got to where we got the chance to come to America. Hmong People didn't get it easy. We had to sacrifice everything and everyone we loved. Thousands and thousands of my people died. I've lost my grandfather and many other loved ones. And to say that were useless trash, that shouldn't even be brought up.

    I understand that a lot of my people have broken the laws, but that doesn't make it right to judge all the rest. No one's perfect. Caucasians had broken the laws thousands of time, so had every other cultures. You can't expect the world to be a perfect place. There are obstacles that we all have to faced every day of our lives. A lot of people might not like us but we are here to stay and we're not going anywhere else. This is our country, too, and we have done right to it. We've earned everything that we have. So, what if a lot of Hmong People are on Welfare. Our People are not the only ones.

    Last but not least, despite what others have said about the Hmong People, that's their own opinion....Try to live a day in a Hmong Person shoes and see how it feels. I'm happy and glad to say that,"I'M PROUD TO BE HMONG." Thank you.

  59. From a Hmong man, Chai, received Feb. 2005:
  60. The Hmong people have done things that are not legal. But if you are just talking about the Hmong people its not fair. Yes, I am Hmong and I am proud of it. But just because that we are Hmong doesn't mean that we are savages. The newer generations are educated. Some of the older folks aren't. Just because of a few accidents doesn't mean that the whole group is like that. If anyone thinks that the Hmong people should return back to Laos and Thailand then, I think that whoever thinks that should return back to wherever they originated from. Not meaning any offense to anyone. The pain and sorrow of the Hmong will never be understood just by telling people about it. I think that having to go through the whole experience is more reasonable and it would open more eyes. Like one of the Hmong proverbs, "ten people telling you about something isn't like seeing it with your own eyes." If the Hmong people should be thought as stereotypes then the Americans should too. Just like the Americans some of them are good others aren't. If you see the Hmong as bad people cause of only a few people then the Americans are bad people too. If Hmong should go back to Thailand and Laos then Americans should go back to wherever they originated. None of the Americans can truly understand the pain and sorrow.

  61. From Kou Yang, received Dec. 2004:
  62. I am sorry to hear about the terrible tragedy. My sympathy goes to the victims and their family and as well as Mr. Vang and his family. I have read a couple of very rude and racist comments target to the Hmong as a whole and I am very disappointed that people are still ignorant and racist. One person doing evil does not count against the whole Hmong community. Think about what we did for the Americans during the Vietnam war. They did two very risky missions for the Americans. First, we set a blockade to the enemy supply line, and we helped rescue American pilots who where shot down and captured by the Communists. I am not writing that the Americans owe the Hmong something, but just to let you know that we "garbage people" once helped the Americans a great deal, and that is why we are here, living in the U.S. Also if some of you were educated, everyone came to the U.S. for a better living and outcast the Native America. This land was first lived in by the Native Americans and everyone else just settled in.

  63. From a reader in Boston, received April 2005:
  64. Thanks for providing such an informative resource on Hmong history. I moved here from Boston several years ago and knew nothing about the Hmong people or their contributions to our own history. I was also glad to see your comments regarding the "Hunter Murders." Coming from Boston, I know only too well how easy it is to judge an entire race on the actions of one individual. Any thinking man or woman can certainly see that the actions of one individual do not necessarily represent the will of any group to which that individual belongs. Yet when that "group" is one's race or ethnic origin, we seem to jump at the opportunity to use such actions as our excuse for forming an opinion of the entire group. Unfortunately this reaction only works when something negative has taken place such as these tragic murders. For some reason, we never form a positive opinion of a group based on the GOOD deeds of an individual member. The reason seems so much clearer, too. Just because one Hmong, one African American, one Caucasian or one Jew did something good, it certainly doesn't mean everyone in that group does good things.

  65. From a concerned Hmong reader, received Jan. 2005:
  66. I have read the e-mails that you received about the shooting in Wisconsin. I was very appalled by how people would jump to conclusions before even knowing the facts.

    Everyone is in pain for the lives lost in the shooting but people shouldn't judge a whole community on one person's wrong doing. When a white man or a black man commits a crime no one lashes out and judges the whole white or black community. But when a Hmong person or an Asian commits a crime, all of a sudden we have to go back to our country. Like it or not, this is our country too. The majority of Hmong people here in the U.S. are born here and we are "Americans" too. We have just as many rights as the next person to be here. We aided the U.S. during the Vietnam war. Our people are still struggling to this day, trying to survive. In Laos, Hmong people are killed left to right and no one is doing anything about it. Know the facts before you even think about judging us. So don't judge us just because one person committed a crime.

  67. From a Hmong student in North Carolina, Nov. 2005:
  68. I stumbled across your website and found it quiet interesting. I, too, am an immigrant. I was born in the refugee camp Ban Vinai in 85 and moved here in 90. I appreciate the volume of the information that you have collected on the Hmong people. Most of which I have heard from my families growing up and not paying much attention too, my as the last few months pass, i have begin to wonder about the hmong nation. Your site has given facts and backs up a lot of what my family has told me about the war. Like a story that still scares me today, one that my mother told us as kids. My grandfather and his brothers were with the Hmong army and they normally had to leave on missions. She told us that on the year when they moved, the Hmong commanders of the army saw what was to happen and told their troops that who ever had families to take care of, to go and take care of them. She goes on to say they farmed as usual that year and all of a sudden my grandfather came to told them to get ready to leave because it was unsafe. So since the rice wasn't ready they lived off of corn. . . . She told us that they were some of the last to leave and on their way to Thailand, they ran across roads where dead bodies of Hmong men, women and children were, those were the unlucky ones who ran into a patrol or something like that. They were killed like animals and my mother said that she could see the women trying to save their children, hovering over them even in death. She said that they moved from city to city in Laos, hoping to stay and resettle but the same thing would keep happening.

    Almost all my family had some part in the war or were victims of it. I thought that you might like to know that that I'm related to a lot of high rank officers from the war and have seen General Vang Pao several times, as I'm related to one of his best friends, who is an ace pilot from the war. I still have families that are in Laos and when we hear from them it saddens me to hear of all the hardship that they still go through.

    Aside from that, I'm touched that you would mention what the treatment of Hmongs in the camps were like. I know firsthand what it's like, as I spent the earlier part of my childhood there. It's truly a life of hardship and loneliness to those who were there and unknown to the outsiders.

    I'm also glad that you showed the negative emails from those racists. Those I think are the ones who haven't seen what the world is about. I also know firsthand, begin profiled and punished because i was Hmong. My junior year in high school, me and a few friends were in trouble for fighting a white student. We all got punished and suspended from school and the white student who started the fight got nothing. We all ended up with records but not him, and all because of a white racist asst. principal. He has since resigned for other racist comments he has made to minorities at the high school but our high school still hasn't changed much.

    And one more thing to those who would think that most Hmong are here to live of the government benefits. My grandparents are old, not sure how old, but know that when Vietnam happened they already had six kids and 3 of them were teens already. They still work for a living, doing things that none of us would do, and I mean they work on a farm during the harvesting season, and work in the Xmas tree farms during the winter, cutting and getting the trees ready to sale. They are not lazy people, who live off of Social Security, The old Hmong generation are used to hard labor and their lively hood depended on working hard. I would say that they are the ones who make the saying,"Those who don't work, don't eat" true. And not just them, almost all are like that.

    I thank you for such a wonderful site and to all the people who would visit this site in the future, Hmong and American alike, I would like to say that no one knows what the older generation of Hmong went through, our parents and grandparents have seen unspeakable things and if we look hard enough we can see the sadness in their eyes and know that in a heart beat they would go back to their lands and be truly happy and at peace with the world. But we, the younger generation knows that this is going to be impossible, for a certain death awaits them their.

    Sorry Mr. Lindsay for such a long letter, and sorry if it's not as organized as some of the others and the off topics but your site has made me really think about my life, the life of my parents, grandparents, and the Hmong people. I would be grateful if you could reply but would understand if you can't. Thank you so much.

  69. From a Hmong man in Minnesota, Dec. 2005:
  70. My name is Tou . . . from Minnesota and I just want to say thank you so much for what you have wrote on your web page about my people and our culture, we truly appreciate someone like you who understands us and the rough road that we've gone through. Each time I come and read about my people's story from your page, tears would come knowing that my family has gone through those hard times and that there are still many more going through it. Every time I read, I would dream and hope that someday my people will live peacefully again in the mountains like we use to. I've enjoyed every last word that you wrote here and that you will still keep it up in the future. Thank You!

  71. From a Hmong man, Dec. 2005:
  72. I was browsing on your website and found out that a lot of people out there pointing finger and bashing them from every corner of the earth to the Hmong for hunting fishing and trespassing violations. As a Hmong born, I have to admit that I am not a person who likes to go hunting and fishing. But I acknowledge that many Hmong did violate DNR outdoor sports regulations. At the same time, I also acknowledge that many Whites and other races out there have also violated the rules and laws. The only good things about them are that NO one cares or pay attentions to them, but HMONG. I have to admit and be honest to you that Whites are super racist.

    Here's link to proof that I am right, no one cares (Bashing) about Whites when they do something wrong or violate the laws: http://www.outdoorsweekly.com/coreport.html.

  73. From a Hmong woman, April 2006:
  74. After reading the hateful comments from around the world about us, the Hmong, from your website, being the uncivilized group, how trashy we are and that we are leeches, mass murderer and so forth. I couldn't disagree more. First of all, we are here in the U.S because we had to not we want to. Second thing of all, people around the world need to know, be realistic, and of course, get an education to be able to see and understand that all people of all colors commit some sort of a crime not necessarily murder someone. Being a liar is already a crime. I'm not suggesting or supporting crime, mass murder. My point is not to generalize us, the Hmong, as mass murderers and leeches. Whoever has done wrong let there be wrong with that person only. We are all leeches and cheat the government one way or the other; so why categorized the Hmong people as leeches or mass murderers? I lost several of my loved ones due to the Vietnam War the United States had caused so the American people can stay alive. Did I ever blame you, the United States? If I would to blame the United States for leaving us behind to suffer, United States would have more blood on their hands. But NO! I believe that my loved ones died for a reason, to free me. Just because one Hmong man killed other white men doesn't mean one can shove their madness and generalize us being such bad people. If you are not able to differentiate and still generalize the Hmong as mass murderers or leeches, whatever you want to call it, you are no different from a serial killer!

    Thank you so much for your website, Mr. Lindsay.

  75. From a young American woman, March 2006:
  76. I'm interested in history, always have been, and so I make extensive use of my satellite TV. I watch such channels as the History and History International channels, and the many channels that Discovery Communications runs. So, unlike the average 21 year old American girl, I do know something of the Hmong people, and how they fought so bravely for us in Laos.

    Today I was watching a show on the Discovery Times Channel (A partnership of the New York Times and Discovery Communications) called "One Day at War" Let me explain the subject of the show. The BBC and TLC (Which is, of course, owned by Discovery Communications) Sent film crews into several different war zones to film a day in the lives of these people, be they Maoist rebels fighting in Nepal, Americans in Iraq, Militias in Somalia, or guerilla fighters in the Philippines. One of the people they went to film were the Hmong people.

    The narration to one of the clips that they showed of the Hmong village went something like this "The Hmong aren't really fighting a war...really, they are just trying to survive. Our film crew were the first foreigners that these Hmong villagers have seen in almost 30 years. They thought that the west had finally come back to help them." There followed several minutes of heart-rending footage of a Hmong village, the entire population of which had come out to see the film crew. Several Hmong broke down in tears. They asked if the film crew was there to help them. They have nothing to eat except leaves. They boil sawdust and eat beetles just to survive.

    This short section of the program couldn't have been more than 5 minutes long. However, as I said, I know about the Hmong and what they did for us, and what our government so cruelly didn't do for them. So I wasn't like "Well, who are the Hmong? Why should I care? There's lots of people starving in the world today." No, instead the footage brought tears to my eyes. I know my government has done a lot of bad things, but the way these people were....it broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

    So, naturally, I went to the Internet to find out more. A Google search on the Hmong brought me to your website. I was appalled to see the way some racists view the Hmong. It's awful. But the real reason I came to your site, the real reason I'm emailing you is because I want to know. I want to know what can I do to help the Hmong still stuck in Laos and other parts of southeast Asia?

    So Mr Lindsay, now you know the reason behind this insufferably long email. Can you tell me what I want to know? I really hope you can. I feel as though our government owes the Hmong, and if they won't do something, at least I can try to. I wrote to you because (a)you seem to have good connections to many Hmong communities, (b)you seem like the type of person who would know what I could do to help the Hmong that my government abandoned. So I'd appreciate it if you could find the time to email me back, and let me know what I could do to help.

    (My answer to this plea for help above was a recommendation to work with the Wisconsin Hmong-American partnership at (920)739-3192. They can probably suggest the best way to help financially. We've sometimes given money directly to Hmong people I trusted who were going to go back and try to help people there, but there are high risks in this - the money may never make it. For the people you saw, the problem is that people in such a remote area and in such bad shape are probably beyond the scope of most relief efforts, especially given the vicious political situation that has put those people in such desperate conditions to begin with. Sadly, I don't think the US government wants to be very involved - they don't want to upset our totalitarian "friends" running Laos. Relief efforts through the government will probably result in money and supplies going to the gangsters, not the afflicted.)

  77. In response to recent events regarding a 2006 hunting incident in Wisconsin, I received this note in Oct. 2006:
  78. Hi Jeff, you are a brave man and a kind of man that not often found. I strongly support your article you wrote about the Hmong hunter (Mr. Lor) in WI.

    Only if the media and every one else saw the angle you saw in your article. By the way, your website looks great. I read your article and decide to see who you are and why you had the Hmong mentality. If I can be a source for you in the future, do not hesitance to contact me. You have done a great job of expressing the right thing to the people. I am sure one day god will assure all human being to see what you saw in the law of rights and justice. Sorry for my English, hope you understand.

    Thank you! Ua tsaug.


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