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The Homeland Project

St. Paul has the largest urban Hmong population in the world. They traveled thousands of difficult miles to get here. Since then it's been a time of wrestling with questions about their culture and how to thrive in the larger one in which they live. Now, the children of these immigrants, many born in the United States, are learning about the homeland of their parents. Recently, five Hmong high school students from St. Paul embarked on a two-week trip to Thailand and Laos. They called the trip the Homeland project. The students hoped seeing their parents' homeland and meeting relatives they had only heard about would help them understand the deep cultural gap that separates them from their parents.

A Homeland Diary

Document "We have done so much and finally when we get to Thailand, find out that we have to fly back immediately. That really sucks." Read the journal of the trip.
Audio Back Home Again
MPR's Greta Cunningham talked with three members of the group, Soua Yang, Cindy Xiong and adult chaperone Gunnar Liden after they returned to the United States. The first first day of the trip didn't go exactly as planned. Two of the girls were immediately detained when they arrived at the Bangkok airport.


Document Crossing a deep cultural divide (MPR News)

Document This Is Home: The Hmong in Minnesota (MPR News)

Document Lao Family Community of Minnesota

Document Hmong Cultural Center

Soua Yang's Photo Slideshow

Slideshow Soua Yang's Photo Slideshow
Soua Yang is one of the St. Paul students who travelled to Laos and Thailand, to visit the homeland of their ancestors. We gave her a digital camera and asked her to chronicle her journey with a diary and this slideshow.

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From Thailand to Laos

Slideshow From Thailand to Laos
Gunnar Lars Liden, the West Side Program Director of the Youth Farm and Market Project, was the adult companion for the students who travelled from St. Paul to Thailand and Laos as part of The Homeland Project. He chronicled portions of the trip.

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This project was produced by Minnesota Public Radio in February 2003 under the direction of All Things Considered producer Annie Feidt and online news director Bob Collins, in conjunction with Soua Yang and Gunnar Lars Liden of The Homeland Project. Online material also provided by Michael Wells, web production supervisor, and Ben Tesch, art director.

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