Makes my family and I happy to know that
the Hmong people are being learned about and that they are
getting more exciting.
I’m appreciative of many Hmong communities
around our state, and of MCM, efforts of teachers in the Randall
community (especially Mr. Wagler). I’ve been changed
by the HCT because I now know more about another culture causing
me to know more about my culture, and helping me learn about
another culture other than my own.
I think, again, understanding why the Hmong
people came to America, and that there are many families left
in Thailand, has made us more interested in the plight of
the Hmong families and other refugees as well. There is still
a lot of suffering in the world, and we can only help those
within our sphere of influence. Part of helping those refugees
is understanding their cultural differences and accepting
I think we all know something more about
Hmong culture and its importance for our community. It still
feels foreign, but not alien. When I had a university student
as an honors student and found out (belatedly) that she was
Hmong (and not Vietnamese- or Chinese-American, as I’d
assumed), I suddenly felt like I had a better sense for the
challenges she and her family faced, and I was even more impressed
by her successes. –Tim’s parent
We changed a lot by doing lots of ceremonies
because Tria Thao just passed away and our sister Annie got
married at a very young age. Our family has been changed by
losing other family members.
Focusing in on one culture for a long
period of time has allowed a greater understanding for Erika
and our family. She also has exposed a further understanding
of the ramifications of the Vietnam war (partly from her father
who was in the draft in the later years of what was the war.
He did not serve though).
I echo Nate’s dad’s responses
about the Hmong learning experience. At times, Nate seemed
like it was too much – that he wanted to move on to
learn about another culture. It’s a good lesson, I think,
to have the children learn that culture is deep and thick
– and can’t be learned in just an hour or a day.
Thank you for providing this opportunity.
Units like the Hmong cultural tour seem
to ask, even if not directly, that the children think more
deeply about their own cultural background. How do we celebrate
significant events in our lives and shy? How do these rituals
give meaning to our experience? It is my hope that in observing
the role of culture in the lives of her classmates and neighbors
that my daughter will begin to think about her own cultural
I think the lesson that culture can be
inquired about, discussed, and studied has been an eye-opener
and will have further meaning for our family as the children
have the opportunity to meet and learn from people of various
ethnic backgrounds and other countries. My husband does field
work overseas, and respect for and understanding of local
culture is important to us as we look forward to the opportunity
to travel there with our children in the future. Their understanding
of Hmong culture and the specific practices they’ve
learned about give us a helpful model for talking about any
culture – its foods, clothing, medicines, religious
I did feel that some modifications could have made it easier
and more inviting for families to make the connection to the
Hmong Cultural Tour experiences. More notice in scheduling
events would have made it easier for busy families to attend.
The two- and three-day field trips went such great distances
that I found it very challenging to participate in any portion
of the trips, although I generally put a very high priority
on such participation. For instance, my daughters were quite
interested in the possibility of a homestay, but as hard as
we tried to make that happen, there was no way my husband
or I could drive to Wausau on the evening indicated, sleep
there in a Hmong home, and return the next day in time to
meet work and other commitments.
I would have been willing to see some of the length and distance
of these trips curtailed in favor of events which would allow
greater parent involvement and more parent assistance. I felt
these trips were longer than ideal for the age of the children
and much time was spent on the bus.
–Abigail and Maggie’s parent
I think it’s almost too soon for
us to say precisely how we’ve been changed by this year
and Hmong culture, since it is part of an extraordinary event
for us involving our family. Except that the changes have
been exciting and profound. Each “tour” is now
an indelible part of an entire thrilling year for Sarah –
her first full year in Madison, our trip to Vietnam, the adoption
of a Vietnamese sister – and we can’t say for
sure how it has changed her, except to know that it has. As
for us, I think the simplest thing to say – for each
context – is that it has made us newly conscious of
both the wonder and variation that is life. Hmong people have
it hard – in both places (the accounts of the teenagers
in La Crosse were striking) – and we won’t and
shouldn’t forget that. But nor will we forget their
spirit, determination, and embrace of life.
Nico reports that the Hmong experience
has changed him because now he wants to be a blacksmith, he
likes their candy and eggrolls. I have an increased respect
for the difficulty that people have in trying to maintain
a different culture in the United States or any Western culture.
I feel so lucky and honored to have been
allowed to experience this unique educational opportunity
with Dylan. I have received more than I have given and will
always be grateful for how my family has benefited.