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					      HOLT MCDOUGAL

  History Makers

                      • One or two-page
                        biographies of key
                        figures of Hmong

                      • Questions for
                        review and critical

                      • Answer key

  History Makers
Xay Vue Lor
Franklin Middle School
Green Bay, WI

Brenda Song © Fred Prouser/Reuters/Corbis; Tou Ger Xiong, courtesy
of the performer; State Senator Mee Moua, District 67, Minnesota;
Pao Vang © Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images; Ka Vang, courtesy of
the writer; State Representative Cy Thao, District 65A, Minnesota; Mai
Neng Moua, Tom Lynn/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; South East Asia
map, Chitose Suzuki/AP/Wide World Photos.

Copyright © Holt McDougal, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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ISBN 13: 978-0-547-24324-5
ISBN 10: 0-547-24324-3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9—xxx—12 11 10 09 08
Table of Contents

Chi You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Pa Chay Vue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Vang Pao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Pa Kao Her and Yong Youa Her . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Vue Mai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Cy Thao . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Mee Moua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Joe Bee Xiong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Ka Vang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Dia Cha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Vaughn Vang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Houa Vue Moua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Mai Neng Moua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Tou Ger Xiong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Brenda Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Answer Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                                             iii                                                  Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                             Biography

Chi You
Hero and Ancestor
Chi You is a legendary hero and great leader of the Hmong people.

An Ancient Beginning The legends of Chi You began as many as
5,000 years ago. Stories tell that around that time, the early Hmong
lived in the Yellow River Valley in what is now China, near the
present-day city of Beijing. Legends say that the early Hmong first
became powerful and successful in the Yellow River Valley.
A Great Leader Arises Over time, ancestors of the Chinese came
to the area, but found the Hmong already living there. Things
went well between the two groups at first. However, the Han
leader, the mythical Yellow Emperor Huangdi, began to mistreat   t     Chi You is a significant
the Hmong. The Hmong nobleman, Chi You, pulled the Hmong         g     figure for both the Hmong
tribes together and created an army that defeated the Han military.    and the Chinese. He is
                                                                       considered to be one
Ancient Battles The Yellow Emperor fought many battles with            of China’s three great
Chi You and his Hmong followers, but Chi You defeated the              legendary ancestors, along
                                                                       with the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor’s Army in every battle. Legends say that Chi Youu       Huangdi and his relative,
brought forth great winds, huge clouds of smoke, mist, and rain        Yandi.
to blind and confuse the Yellow Emperor’s Army. Finally, the
Yellow Emperor withdrew in great distress.
Magic According to legend, the mystical deity the Queen Mother
then gave the Yellow Emperor a magical talisman inscribed with
the words:
          Great Unity just ahead!
          Heavenly Unity just behind!
          Obtain it and excel!
          Attack and overcome!
  With this magical piece and other secrets the deity shared with
                                                                h      The Yellow Emperor later
him, the Yellow Emperor defeated Chi You and killed him. The           fought against his relative,
Hmong people were forced to leave their fruitful lands in the          Yandi. After defeating him
Yellow River Valley. And so the Hmong began their continuing           as well, he consolidated
                                                                       the local tribes under his
journey that has spread their people across the globe.                 leadership.

 1. According to ancient stories, near what modern-day city did the early Hmong settle?

 2. Point of View The Chinese story of Chi You describes him as a barbarian who caused
    “frightful chaos” and the Yellow Emperor as “the Father of the Chinese Nation.” How are
    these differences examples of the concept of point of view?
Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  1                            Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                              Biography

Pa Chay Vue
Rebel Leader
Pa Chay Vue ( –1922) led a four year military campaign to free
the Hmong from French colonial domination.

An Orphan Leader Pa Chay Vue was born in a small village in
China near the Burmese border and was orphaned at an early age.
As a teenager, he traveled to the fortress city of Dien Bien Phu, in
northern Vietnam. At the time, many Hmong lived in Dien Bien
Phu, and a local clan chief, Song Tou Vue, adopted him.
A Fateful Dream Sometime in 1917 Pa Chay Vue had a dream
that he must lead the Hmong in Dien Bien Phu in a holy war
against the bad treatment and excessive taxes that had reduced          Accounts of Pa Chay Vue’s
them to near slavery. Some of his early followers reported that         life are often a mixture of
Vue used magic to convince them that he was the king and savior    or   history and legend. One
                                                                        story states that his uncle
they had long been waiting for. As his first act of rebellion, Vue      urged him to lead the
seized control of a road, ambushed French forces, and convinced    d    resistance movement after
many of the Hmong in the area to stop paying their taxes. As a          he witnessed Vue transform
                                                                        a cotton ball into a grenade.
result, French colonial leaders sent troops to the area, but they
were unable to capture Vue or to put down the rebellion.
A Larger Uprising Over the next several years, Vue managed to
outsmart and outgun the French authorities. The uprising grew
to encompass 25,000 square miles of rugged mountain territory
in Laos as well as large areas of Vietnam. They trapped French
troops in narrow passes and set off rock slides against them. Vue
and his troops were fed and supplied by local Hmong. Chinese
merchants sold them guns, and Vue’s troops made cannons from
hollowed out logs tied with metal bands.
A Deadly Ending The war continued into the fall of 1921. By
that time, the French had brought in troops who were better-
trained and well-supplied. Vue, his wife, and three children fled
and went into hiding. In November, he was assassinated by some
followers who were tempted by the large bounty the French had
put on his head.

 1. As a teenager, Vue moved to what fortress city in Vietnam?

 2. Analyzing Facts What trait helped Vue and his troops continue their rebellion as long as
    they did?
Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  2                            Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                           Biography

Vang Pao
Vang Pao (1931– ) was a general in the Royal Lao Army who led
Hmong troops against the Northern Vietnamese Army in Laos dur-
ing the Vietnam War.

Perhaps the most celebrated and controversial figure in Hmong
history, General Vang Pao is famous as a war hero and com-
munity leader. His leadership during the Vietnam conflict was
crucial in sustaining American operations in Laos and saved
thousands of lives.
Vang Pao was born in central Laos in 1931. As a young boy, he
fought against the Japanese incursion in Indochina during World
War II. During the First Indochina War, he was recruited by
the French to fight the Viet Minh and by the age of 18, he was
successfully leading missions. He so impressed the French that
they sent him to an officer training academy in southern Laos.
Despite being the only Hmong in the class and having a limited
formal education, he graduated seventh in his class. After the
French forces were defeated, Pao stayed on to join the army as an
officer of the newly created Kingdom of Laos.
In 1959, the North Vietnamese army began to cut the Ho Chi
Minh Trail through the jungles of Laos. Vang Pao was recruited        American involvement in
by the C.I.A. the following year to lead a paramilitary force to      the Vietnam conflict began
fight the North Vietnamese forces in Laos. Because of the clas-       in the 1950s when President
sified nature of the American operations in Laos, the fighting        Dwight D. Eisenhower
                                                                      sent U.S. military advisors
there became known as the Secret War. With the U.S. providing         to assist the pro-U.S.
him with supplies and weapons, he quickly organized a force           South Vietnamese against
of around 9,000 Hmong. By 1969 he was commanding almost               the communist North
   Named a general in the Royal Lao Army in 1964, Vang Pao
became known for his tactical genius when it came to guerilla
warfare as well as his willingness to put his people first. His
troops fought on the ground as American fighter pilots fought
overhead. Pao and his followers saved the lives of many downed
American pilots.
   Beyond being a great military leader, Pao was also a skilled
politician. The provisions from the C.I.A. allowed him to pay his
soldiers, which inspired loyalty and a willingness to volunteer.
Rumors abounded then and now that Pao funded his operations
Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  3                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Vang Pao, continued                                                                      Biography

in part through the opium trade, but the validity of these rumors
continues to be debated. Villages that cooperated with him were
well taken care of while villages that refused him were left to the
mercy of the Viet Cong. If a village interfered with Pao’s attempts
to recruit their sons, Pao would cut off their food and supplies,
leaving the village in danger of starvation. Pao also married
many times to unite various Hmong clans and twice suppressed
attempted coups.
By 1975, the war in Vietnam was collapsing. Vang Pao was
secretly airlifted by the U.S. out of Laos. Those that could follow
him settled in the United States. He quickly became a commu-           The United States
nity leader, establishing the Lao Family Community to provide          government did not officially
services to Hmong communities around the country. He also co-      -   recognize the Hmong
                                                                       involvement in the Secret
founded the United Lao National Liberation Front (Neo Hom), a          War in Laos until 1997, when
political organization designed to draw attention to the violence      a memorial was dedicated
against the Hmong in Laos.                                             in the Arlington National
   Recent controversy has surrounded his arrest in June of             Cemetery to recognize the
                                                                       sacrifice of Hmong soldiers.
2007. According to federal investigation, Pao and his associates
attempted to purchase arms as part of a plot to initiate attacks
within the Laotian capital, Vientiane. He was released on bail and
his trial is still pending.
   Despite certain controversies surrounding his past and present nt   Pao’s service for the U.S.
activities, Vang Pao remains an important figure in the United         paved the way for many
States Hmong community and a significant person in contem-             Hmong to immigrate to the
porary Hmong history. His courage and tactical genius saved            United States after the war.

countless lives of both Hmongs and Americans in the Secret War    ar
in Laos.

 1. What was the first war in which Vang Pao fought?
 2. Why did Pao marry several times?

 3. Evaluating What qualities of a great leader does Vang Pao embody?
 4. Forming and Supporting Opinions Do the controversies surrounding Vang Pao affect
    whether or not he qualifies as a hero?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  4                           Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                           Biography

Pa Kao Her and Yong Youa Her
Resistance Leaders
Pa Kao Her (?–2002) and Yong Youa Her (?– ) both served as
leaders of armed resistance to the communist government of Laos.

Pa Kao Her and Yong Youa Her led the Chao Fa resistance move-
ment for decades until Pa Kao’s assassination in 2002. Since that
time, Yong Youa has led the Chao Fa movement.

Pa Kao Her rose to prominence in the Laotian Hmong com-
munity as a teacher in a movement begun by Shong Lue Yang.
Yang claimed to have developed a Hmong written language that
he had learned from the gods. Yang claimed that the Hmong
would have a nation of their own, to be ruled by a king. He soon  n
                                                                      Chao Fa was a little known
developed a sizable following. After his death in 1971, Yang’s        group before the mid-1970s.
movement lived on as Chao Fa (“Lords of the Sky” or “God’s            The quasi-religious group
                                                                      probably dates back to
Disciples”). Followers of the movement preached that the way
                                                                      the early 1900s when the
to salvation, or a Hmong nation, was for the Hmong to preserve    e   Hmong leader Paj Chai
their ancient traditions. They also believed that they, rather than   fought against French
                                                                      colonial rule.
the Hmong led by General Vang Pao, were building the founda-
tion for a true Hmong nation.

After communists took control of Laos in 1975, the government
stepped up its attacks against the Hmong. Reports of deadly
chemical-weapon attacks began to emerge. One Hmong fighter
recalled such an attack: “We felt stunned. Everyone falls down.
We are all numb. We can speak but not clearly. Some of us vomit
blood; bleeding from the nose.” With such attacks increasing, and
with Vang Pao’s departure, the Chao Fa took the lead in resist-
ing the communist forces. Pa Kao, along with Yong Youa led this
force. Attacks by the Vietnamese and Laotian governments had
sent thousands of Hmong fleeing into Thailand, many of whom
never made it out of the country alive. With their forces reduced,
Pa Kao was chosen to leave Laos in 1978 to find support and new
recruits for the movement.

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  5                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Pa Kao Her and Yong Youa Her, continued                                                    Biography

Many Chao Fa members, along with thousands of other fleeing
Hmong, retreated to the Phou Bai Mountain region. There, they    y      Since supplies were not
struggled to survive as they suffered attacks from communist            readily available, Chao Fa
forces. Many Chao Fa fighters were women because so many                fighters would avoid direct
                                                                        assaults on communist
men had been killed. The Chao Fa—which is also known as the             forces, instead firing rocket-
Ethnic Liberation Organization of Laos—struggled to replace             propelled grenades and
fallen soldiers and locate adequate supplies to continue the fight.     mortars from nearby hills,
By the mid-1990s, the strength of the Chao Fa was estimated at          then falling back into the
around 2,000. Pa Kao Her was assassinated in Thailand in 2002.
Yong Youa Her continues to lead the Chao Fa in Laos.

 1. What incident in 1975 led to increased attacks against the Hmong?
 2. Why is Pa Kao Her no longer a leader of the Chao Fa?

 3. Drawing Inferences What might conditions have been like for the Hmong in the Phou Bia
    Mountain region?
 4. Forming and Supporting Opinions With supplies and fighters in such short supply, should
    the Chao Fa continue to resist communist forces in Laos?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  6                             Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                             Biography

Vue Mai
Refugee Leader
Vue Mai (1937–1993?) was the controversial leader of Hmong
refugees in a Thai refugee camp and those who returned to Laos.

An Anti-Communist Fighter Vue Mai fought on the side of
the United States in the Vietnam War. In fact, he attained the
rank of major in the anti-communist army that was backed by
the Central Intelligence Agency. After the U.S. withdrew from
Southeast Asia, Mai and his family fled Laos in 1975 for the safe-
ty of a refugee camp in Thailand. Mai became commander of the    e     The Ban Vinai camp, the
Ban Vinai camp. From there, he continued the fight against the         largest of all the refugee
communists for another decade. Mai’s wife and children moved           camps in Thailand, was
                                                                       situated in the northeastern
to the United States, but Mai remained in Thailand to continue         region of the country,
to lead the Hmong efforts there.                                       just across the Mekong
                                                                       River from Laos. It had
Pressure to Return By the early 1990s, the United Nations, the         no electricity, sewage, or
U.S., and Thailand were pressuring Hmong refugees to return            running water. The Thai
                                                                       government closed Ban
to Laos. Vue Mai was assured that returning Hmong would be
                                                                       Vinai in 1992.
well treated. In 1992 the U.S. and Laos established diplomatic
relations. Finally, Mai agreed to lead a large group of Hmong to
resettle in Laos. However, many prominent Hmong in the U.S.
were furious with his decision and wanted him to continue the
fight against the communist government in Laos. Hmong exiles
refused to speak to others of Vue Mai’s clan.
A Troubled Return On November 10, 1992, Vue Mai went back
to Laos. The Laotian government had promised him a house of
his own and some land, but he received neither. The Hmong who
had followed him also received very little. Many Hmong became
bitter, feeling that once again, the U.S. had betrayed them.
   In September, 1993, Vue Mai told relatives he was going
out for a while. Instead, he disappeared. U.S. and UN officials
blamed Hmong resistance leaders. Vue Mai’s family blamed the
communist government of Laos. He is now presumed dead.

 1. What early experiences shaped Vue Mai’s ability to lead?

 2. Supporting Opinions Which group—the Laotian government or Hmong resistance
    fighters—do you believe was responsible for Vue Mai’s disappearance? Cite evidence to
    support your opinion.

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  7                           Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                             Biography

Cy Thao
Artist and Legislator
Cy Thao (1972– ) grew up with a passion for art and politics and
became a multi-term state representative in Minnesota.

Cy Thao was born in war-torn Laos. While his father was serving
as a provincial governor, the communists paid two visits to the
family. Thao’s parents feared that a third visit would mean the
communists would take his father away, so they fled the country
when he was only three years old.
A Big Move After five years in a Thai refugee camp, the Thao
family settled in Minnesota where life quickly centered around
work and school. Thao’s parents held multiple jobs while they
also learned English and studied to gain their GEDs. By the
time he was in 8th grade, Cy Thao was essentially raising his six
younger brothers and sisters. However, he did find the time to be
a Boy Scout and to play sports in high school.
   Cy Thao lived at home while he worked his way through col-
lege, with an emphasis on political science. He also became an
intern in the Minnesota State Legislature. However, the back-
room deals and vote swapping that he saw going on discouraged
him. Rather than abandoning his political science major, Thao
decided to add studio arts as a second major. He quickly discov-
ered that the other artists he met were often very interested in
politics, too. A group of artists decided that one of them should
run for office, and Thao stepped up to the challenge.
Joining the Legislature Thao decided to use the political system
to pass legislation to improve life for the people of Minnesota.
He ran for a seat representing his neighborhood in St. Paul,
Minnesota, an area with a large Hmong population, and won.
His election made Thao the first Hmong person to serve in the          In the Green Book, the
Minnesota House of Representatives, where he has worked to             members directory of the
improve environmental, natural resource, and healthcare issues.        members of the Minnesota
Thao has been re-elected several times, and he continues to exhibit
                                                                 it    Legislature, Cy Thao’s
                                                                       occupation is listed as
his artwork that portrays the history of the Hmong people.             “Artist.” He is the only
                                                                       professional artist currently
REVIEW QUESTION                                                        serving.
 1. How long did Cy Thao and his family live in a refugee camp?

 2. Analyzing Events How did Thao’s internship change his college career and his view of the

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  8                            Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                            Biography

Mee Moua
State Senator
Mee Moua (1969– ) is the first Hmong to be elected a state sena-
tor in the United States.

Mee Moua was born in Laos in 1969. At the time, war was rag-
ing in the nation and its neighbors, North Vietnam and South
Vietnam. In the mid-1970s, the U.S. withdrew and communists
took over both South Vietnam and Laos. Soon the communists
vowed to “wipe out” the Hmong who had supported the United
States. When he was just 16 years old, Moua’s father, Chao Tao
Moua, was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
For the next 10 years, he served as a medic with U.S. forces in
Laos, setting up medical clinics in remote villages to treat Hmong
and injured American airmen. Once the communists took over, it
was far too dangerous for Chao Tao Moua and his family to stay.
They fled Laos for the safety of a refugee camp in Thailand.
After three years in the camp, the family managed to imigrate to
the United States. First they settled in Providence, Rhode Island.
Mee Moua later said that she was glad the family arrived in the
U.S. in the summertime, because the shock of Rhode Island
winters would have been very difficult for them. Seven months
later, they moved to Appleton, Wisconsin. Chao Tao Moua got a
job working in a factory that made TV parts. When the factory
closed, he worked odd jobs, including digging for worms to sell
as bait to people who wanted to fish. In fact, money was so short
that the whole family worked to collect worms. Mee Moua later
said, “It was hard and pretty yucky, but we were always looking
for ways to make a little cash.”
   When Mee Moua was 12 years old, a local Appleton boy pelted
her house with eggs. The young girl wanted to confront him, but   t
her parents stopped her. Her mother told her, “Stay inside, workk     Despite struggling with
hard, and make something with your life. Maybe someday that           English, Moua soon joined
boy will work for you and give you respect.” She took her moth-       the Girl Scouts, the debate
er’s words to heart.                                                  club, the basketball team,
                                                                      and a Catholic choir. She
   Mee Moua graduated from high school in Appleton and went      t    read her first complete
on to college at prestigious Brown University in Providence,          English paragraph out loud
Rhode Island. She intended to be a doctor, but she became             in sixth grade.
involved in local student protests and gained a feeling of empow-
erment. She said, “I learned a new language and for the first

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  9                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Mee Moua, continued                                                                      Biography

time, I was able to identify racism and I learned about pluralism.”
Moua majored in public policy and did so well academically
that she became a Junior Fellow at Princeton University in New
Jersey. After graduating from Brown, Moua received a Woodrow
Wilson Fellowship to get a master’s degree in public policy at
the University of Texas in Austin. Moua then headed back to the
Midwest and went to law school at the University of Minnesota,
where she graduated in 1997.
Soon Moua’s uncle decided to run for a place on the St. Paul,
Minnesota school board. Moua worked on his campaign and
learned the nuts and bolts of such an effort. She met candidates
in other races, and many of them encouraged her to enter poli-
tics, too. In 2002, a senate seat became vacant in the Minnesota
State Legislature. Moua ran and won, thus becoming the first
Hmong to be elected to a state office in the entire United States.
   Moua was eventually elected whip of the Democratic Farmer-    -    Mee Moua is the chair
Labor (DFL) Party there. Besides being a state senator, Moua          of the Senate Judiciary
works to help Hmong across the country and frequently travels         Committee, and sits on
to meet with Hmong groups. She also continues to be a success-        various other committees
                                                                      related to finance, taxes,
ful attorney. She lives in Minnesota with her mother, husband,        and transportation. She
and two children.                                                     recently co-authored a bill
                                                                      to provide funding for the St.
                                                                      Paul Asian Pacific Cultural
REVIEW QUESTIONS                                                      Center.
 1. What four universities did Moua attend?
 2. Why did Mee Moua and her family leave Laos?

 3. Making Inferences What can we infer from the text about Chao Tao Moua’s reasons for
    working for the CIA?
 4. Making Inferences What can we infer from the election of Mee Moua as DFL party whip
    about the feelings of the other party members towards her?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  10                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                             Biography

Joe Bee Xiong
Community Activist
Joe Bee Xiong (1961–2007) was a Hmong immigrant who became
a community activist and local official in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Early Years As a boy in Laos, Joe Bee Xiong began to show the
traits of bravery, diligence, and perseverance that he exhibited
later in life. At just 14, he fought in the Vietnam War on the side
of the United States. He also became an excellent player of qeej       The qeej is made of six
(pronounced “gheng”), a traditional Hmong musical instrument.     t.   curved shafts of bamboo
In the mid-1970s, communists overthrew the government of Laos     s    and it utilizes vibrating
and Xiong led 3,000 of his neighbors and family members across         reeds to create sounds,
                                                                       much like a harmonica.
the dangerous Mekong River into Thailand. Xiong and his family         Dancing is part of the qeej
lived in a Thai refugee camp for several years before they came to     art form, and the style of
the United States, eventually settling in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.       dance mimics an ancient
                                                                       form of martial arts.
A New Life Xiong entered 10th grade in Eau Claire, but at the
time he barely knew any English at all. However, his diligence
and perseverance paid off once again. He graduated from high
school and then from Chippewa Valley Technical College with a
degree in computer science. He later received a bachelors degree
in criminal justice from Mount Senario College.
Serving the People Xiong became a community leader in Eau
Claire and a spokesman for the local Hmong community. He
also became executive director of the Eau Claire Hmong Mutual
Assistance Association and a reserve officer of the local police
force. Eventually, he was elected to the Eau Claire city council.
   In 2004 Xiong decided to run for the Wisconsin State
Legislature. With his typical diligence, he would get up at 5 a.m.
to talk to dairy farmers before they milked their cows. Xiong
did not think he would win this first attempt at state office, and
he turned out to be correct. However, his efforts exemplified the
qualities of Xiong’s character.
   By 2007 Xiong returned to Laos to visit his ailing mother.
While there, he died suddenly at the age of 45. As a memorial,
the Wisconsin legislature honored him with a special joint reso-
lution describing his accomplishments.

 1. What two major subjects did Xiong study in college?

 2. Analyzing Issues What are some obstacles that might have stood in the way of Xiong’s
    election to the Wisconsin legislature?
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                                                  11                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                            Biography

Ka Vang
Ka Vang (1975– ) is a writer, playwright, and poet who is com-
mitted to preserving Hmong folktales.

Ka Vang is a journalist, fiction writer, playwright and poet who
has devoted much of her professional life to capturing traditional
Hmong folktales on paper.
Early Years Ka Vang was born in Laos in 1975, but spent her
early years in a refugee camp in Thailand. Vang’s family even-
tually settled in Minnesota. In 1997, Vang graduated from the
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with a degree in political
Becoming a Writer After additional study in literature at Xavier
University in New Orleans and King’s College London, Vang
became the first Hmong news reporter in the United States. She
worked as a journalist for several newspapers in the Midwest.
After working for some time as a journalist, Vang began to write
fiction to examine her own experiences as a Hmong American:
“Torn between two cultures prompted me to write to better
understand my own feelings and needs.” Her work has been
included in anthologies of Asian American writers. She has also
written plays, such as “Dead Calling,” and poetry.
Capturing Hmong Folktales Vang travels widely to inform her
writing and to gather Hmong folktales. In 2007, for example,
Vang traveled to Australia to interview members of the Hmong
Australian community. Vang hopes to preserve the tales that           Vang’s poems are noted
make up the Hmong oral tradition. “The elders are passing away   y    for their strong sense of
. . . There’s so much trauma from the war, and they’re not talking.   the Hmong oral tradition of
                                                                      poetry and storytelling.
The work I’m doing is going to be passed on to my children and  d
to the community.”

 1. Why did Vang begin to write fiction?

 2. Making Predictions What might happen to many Hmong folktales without the efforts of
    Ka Vang and other Hmong writers?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  12                         Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                           Biography

Dia Cha
Professor and Community Activist
Dia Cha (1962?– ) is a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud
State University in Minnesota.

Dia Cha has long been active in the Hmong community as a
writer, community activist, teacher, and researcher.
Early Years Cha was born in Laos, near the Vietnam border. She
does not know exactly when she was born. Cha’s brother guessed
her age when filling out Cha’s immigration form. Her father
fought against communist forces in the Secret War, and as a
result, Cha’s family had to move frequently from place to place to
escape communist forces. Her family finally escaped to Thailand
in 1975. There, they lived in a refugee camp until immigrating to
the United States in 1979.
Helping Hmong Women From an early age, Cha believed that
women were not treated fairly in Hmong society. She noticed
that many Hmong women were not allowed to receive formal
educations. Cha’s father, for instance, did not allow her to go
to school in Laos, thinking it a waste of time. But once in the
refugee camp in Thailand, Cha began to take part-time classes.        Succeeding at school in
Always eager to learn, Cha began her formal education in the          a new country and new
ninth grade after moving to the United States.                        language was challenging,
                                                                      but Cha soon mastered the
Professional Career Cha later earned bachelors and masters            new language and received
                                                                       her high school diploma.
degrees in anthropology. She began to provide support services
to Asian students in public schools. In 1992 she returned to
Southeast Asia to work with Hmong and Lao women in refugee
camps in Thailand. Cha later earned a doctorate in anthropol-
ogy and accepted a faculty position in ethnic studies at St. Cloud
University in Minnesota. She is now widely published and is con-
sidered an expert in her field. Cha has appeared before Congress
twice to share her expertise about issues of concern to the
Hmong community.

 1. How has Cha used her experiences and skills to help the Asian community?

 2. Drawing Conclusions Why does Cha believe that Hmong women should pursue formal

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  13                        Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                           Biography

Vaughn Vang
Counselor and Community Activist
Vaughn Vang (?– ) is a leading voice in the effort to bring atten-
tion to the plight of the Hmong of Laos and Thailand.

As the director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council,
Vaughn Vang strives to promote awareness and understanding of
the difficult lives faced by many Hmong overseas.
Early Years Growing up in Laos, Vaughn Vang came to know
violence at an early age. Communist forces took over the country
when Vang was a teenager. Vang was forced to flee to stay alive.
“I ran through the jungle for two years,” Vang later recalled. He
eventually escaped to Thailand.
Moving to the United States After immigrating to the United
States, Vang earned a master’s degree in guidance and career
counseling from the University of Wisconsin. He now works as a
school counselor in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Vang has also served
as an adjunct instructor of Hmong language and culture at the
University of Wisconsin.
A Voice for the Hmong As director of the Hmong Lao Human
Rights Council, Vang is a leader in the effort to bring attention
to the circumstances of the Hmong in Laos and in refugee camps
in Thailand. Vang has testified before Congress and has spoken
with many media outlets in an effort to increase awareness of the e   Vang has also worked to
suffering of the Hmong overseas. As Vang noted in a recent arti-  -   help the Hmong community
cle, “the [Laotian] Communists accuse the Hmong of bringing           in the United States. He
                                                                      has used his experience as
American bombs to Laos. This country used the Hmong. They
                                                                      a counselor to train non-
trained them how to fight. Now the Hmong are dying because            Hmong professionals to
they were allies of the United States.”                               better serve their Hmong
 1. According to Vang, why are the Hmong subjected to violence from the Laotian

 2. Making Predictions What might happen to the Hmong in Thailand’s refugee camps
    without the efforts of Vaughn Vang and others?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  14                         Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                             Biography

Houa Vue Moua
Author and Community Leader
Houa Vue Moua (1954– ) spent more than three decades helping
other Hmong immigrants improve their lives in the United States.

Like many Hmong in the United States, Houa Vue Moua was
born in Laos but left in 1975 when communists took over the
government. After months in a refugee camp in Thailand, Moua
and her family arrived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on April 9,
1976. They’ve been there ever since. Like many other Hmong              The Lutheran Church
immigrants, Moua and her family were sponsored by the local             made significant efforts
Lutheran church.                                                        to assist Hmong refugees
                                                                        and immigrants, making it a
A Story to Tell In the early 1980s, Moua enrolled at the                popular church for Hmong
                                                                        that have converted to
University of Wisconsin. Soon after, an English professor namedd        Christianity.
Barbara J. Rolland realized that Moua had an amazing story to
tell and encouraged her to write a book. Moua felt she needed
help, so she asked Rolland to be her co-author. Writing the book
took several years since both women already had full time jobs,
but in 1994 Trails Through the Mists was finally published. In
1999 the two authors began work on a second book that was
nearing completion in 2008.
Helping Others Besides being an author, Moua was a bilingual
interpreter for the local health department. After 24 years, Moua
retired in 2004. During these years, she was also a public speaker
on Hmong American issues.
   Moua and her husband also devoted untold hours to helping
the Eau Claire Hmong community. They have taught English,
driving skills, parenting classes, and citizenship classes. They also
helped new Hmong immigrants learn how to sell their crops at
the local farmers’ market. Despite this heavy load, Moua and her
husband have raised three children of their own as well as four
foster children. In 1990, the national Points of Light Institute
recognized Moua for her extraordinary work. In addition, she
has also received awards from the Girl Scouts of America and the
University of Wisconsin.

 1. Who was Houa Vue Moua’s co-author?

 2. Making Comparisons When interviewed, Moua said that she has had a “beautiful life.”
    What are some of the ways she gave that “beautiful life” to other Hmong in America?
Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  15                           Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                            Biography

Mai Neng Moua
Mai Neng Moua (1974– ) is a writer and poet who edited the
first anthology of Hmong American literature.

As a Hmong American writer, Mai Neng Moua has been instru-
mental in sharing Hmong experiences and perspectives with the
wider English-speaking audience in the United States.
Fleeing War Mai Neng Moua was born in 1974 to a farming
family in Laos. When Moua was three years old, communist
forces captured and shot her father during the Secret War. Three
years later, Moua and her mother and two brothers fled Laos.
Moua crossed the Mekong River to Thailand by clinging to her
uncle’s neck. Her family came to the United States in 1981.
Becoming a Writer Moua and her family eventually settled in
St. Paul, Minnesota. The children went to school while Moua’s
mother struggled to make ends meet by farming. At school,
Moua soon developed an interest in writing. By the time she
entered the 7th grade Moua was determined to write about her
mother’s struggle to raise her and her brothers alone.
Describing Hmong Experiences Before her final year in college,
Moua became seriously ill and required a kidney transplant.
During her recovery she looked for guidance and inspiration
                                                                      The lack of Hmong
from other Hmong writers. To her surprise and dismay, she             American writings can be
could not find any, even in collections of Asian American litera--    traced to Hmong culture’s
ture. Moua realized that without an outlet for Hmong American   n     roots in oral tradition. The
                                                                      Hmong had no written
literature, many stories crucial to the Hmong would be lost for-      language until the 1950s.
ever. This motivated her to launch Paj Ntaub Voice, a journal
devoted to the Hmong experience in the United States. She later r
edited the first-ever anthology of Hmong American writing,
Bamboo Among the Oaks. According to Moua, “It is essential for
the Hmong . . . to write our stories in our own voices and to cre-
ate our own images of ourselves.”

 1. Why did Moua launch Paj Ntaub Voice?

 2. Drawing Conclusions How can the late development of a sizable body of Hmong literature
    in the United States be linked to traditional Hmong culture?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  16                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                            Biography

Tou Ger Xiong
Tou Ger Xiong (1973– ) is a leading Hmong American entertainer.

Tou Ger Xiong has appeared before thousands of Americans,
bringing with him laughter, music, and insight into the Hmong
American experience.
Early Life Tou Ger Xiong was born in Laos in 1973. Two years
later, his family was forced to flee to Thailand after the com-
munist takeover of Laos. After several years in a refugee camp,
Xiong’s family immigrated to the United States in 1979.
Becoming an Entertainer In 1992, Xiong graduated valedic-
torian from his high school, winning a scholarship to Carlton
College in Northfield, Minnesota. It was in college that he
developed a passion for performance. At Carlton, Xiong cre-            When appearing before
ated “Project Respectism,” a service project that mixes comedy,        audiences of Hmong
storytelling, and rap music in an effort to bridge cultures and        speakers and English
                                                                       speakers, Xiong switches
generations. For Xiong, the project formed the basis for a rapidlyy
                                                                       between the two languages.
developing career as an entertainer and educator. Xiong has per-  -    He might begin a joke in
formed before hundreds of audiences in almost every state. “I use se   one language, and finish
my craft to build bridges between cultures. . . . If we can laugh      it in the other, translating
                                                                       as necessary to make sure
together, we can talk about anything.”                                 everyone shares in the
Reflecting the Hmong Community Xiong is proud of the way
the Hmong have progressed in American society. “We’re moving    g
beyond refugee [status] and . . . into this new American commu-
nity. I’ve met Hmong doctors, business owners, police officers,
inventors, musicians, artists. . . . We’ve come a long way.”

 1. Why did Xiong create “Project Respectism?”

 2. Making Inferences Why does Xiong use humor in his performances?

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  17                          Hmong History Makers
Name _____________________________________ Class ___________________ Date __________________

Hmong History Makers                                                                   Biography

Brenda Song
Brenda Song (1988–              ) is a prominent actor, model, and singer.

Brenda Song’s career as a performer began when she was only
six years old, and she has been performing to increasingly wider
audiences since then.
Early Years Brenda Song was born in California to a Thai-
American mother and a Hmong-American father. Her parents
were both born in Asia, but they met in California after immi-
grating to the United States in 1976. Her mother was born
Thai and was adopted into a Hmong family. Song’s father is an
elementary school teacher and her mother is a homemaker. Song
lives with her family in a suburb of Los Angeles.
Growing up in the Spotlight Song began acting at the age of
six. Her career began with a number of appearances in television
commercials. Song soon began to win small roles in a variety of
television shows and movies. She has starred in several Disney
television movies. In 2005, Song landed a leading role in the pop-
ular Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Wendy Wu In 2006, Song starred in the made-for-television
movie, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. In that role, Song
played a Chinese American teenager whose life was changed
forever when a Chinese monk appears and tells her that she is
the reincarnation of a powerful woman warrior. According to                  Song earned a black belt
the monk, Song’s character is the only person who can stop an                in tae kwan do at the age of
evil spirit from destroying the world. The film also explored the            14. This training served her
challenges that Asian Americans face in trying to preserve their             well for her leading role in
                                                                             Wendy Wu.
cultural heritage while living in the United States. The movie
attracted millions of viewers and Song will soon star in a sequel.

 1. How did Song begin her career as a performer?

 2. Analyzing Why might Song’s story be important for other young Hmong Americans to

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                         18                         Hmong History Makers
Answer Key

Answers may vary.

Chi You (p. 1)
 1. Ancient Hmong settled near the modern-day city of Beijing, China.
 2. The differences between the Chinese and Hmong views of Chi You show point of view because for
    the Hmong, Chi You was leading and supporting them, while for the Chinese, Chi You was leading
    military uprisings against them.

Pa Chay Vue (p. 2)
 1. Dien Bien Phu
 2. Vue and his troops showed ingenuity with the little resources they had. A good example is how they
    used their knowledge of the terrain and forest products to trap their enemies and attack them.

Vang Pao (p. 3)
 1. World War II
 2. He used the marriages to unite various Hmong clans.
 3. Vang Pao was excellent at recruiting followers, he was resourceful, he was courageous, and he
    exhibited a unique ability to manage political situations.
 4. A hero is not someone who never makes mistakes. Vang Pao’s actions during the war saved many
    lives and he did much to strengthen the Hmong community in America.

Pa Kao Her and Yong Youa Her (p. 5)
 1. Communist forces took control of the government.
 2. He was assassinated in 2002.
 3. Students will probably say that conditions were very harsh.
 4. Students should offer reasons to support their answers.

Vue Mai (p. 7)
 1. Vue Mai was a major in the army and was the leader for the largest refugee camp in Thailand.

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                  19                               Hmong History Makers
Answer Key, continued

 2. Accept answers that identify either the Laotian government or angry Hmong as being responsible
    for Vue Mai’s disappearance. For the opinion that the Laotian government is responsible, it should
    be cited that both Vue Mai and the Hmong returnees were not given what they were promised.
    For the opinion that angry anti-communist Hmong were responsible, it should be cited that Vue
    Mai’s clan members were ostracized by other Hmong and many Hmong exiles wanted Vue Mai to
    continue the anti-communist fight.

Cy Thao (p. 8)
 1. The Thao family spent five years in a Thai refugee camp.
 2. Thao’s internship brought him a close-up look at the realities of politics that he found hard to
    accept. So, he added an art studio major to his college focus, but later in life Thao was able to see
    that he could use the realities of politics in a way that could still help people.

Mee Moua (p. 9)
 1. Mee Moua attended Brown University, the University of Texas, and the University of Minnesota,
    and was a Junior Fellow at Princeton University.
 2. The Moua family left Laos because Chao Tao Moua had worked with the Americans against the
    communists, and the communists vowed to “wipe out” everyone who had worked with the U.S.
 3. Chao Tao Moua may have agreed to work as a medic for the CIA because it would enable him to
    provide much-needed medical attention to other Hmong in remote villages.
 4. We can infer from Mee Moua’s election as DFL party whip that other party members knew her well
    and respected her abilities.

Joe Bee Xiong (p.11)
 1. Xiong studied computer science and criminal justice in college.
 2. Xiong may have suffered from a lack of campaign funds, little awareness of his campaign by many
    voters, and a strong opponent.

Ka Vang (p. 12)
 1. to examine her own experiences as a Hmong American
 2. They might vanish if the Hmong oral tradition fades over time.

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                    20                                  Hmong History Makers
Answer Key, continued

Dia Cha (p. 13)
 1. She has helped Asian students, worked with Hmong and Lao women in refugee camps, and testified
    before Congress about issues of concern to the Hmong community
 2. She sees education as a way to improve their status in Hmong society.

Vaughn Vang (p. 14)
 1. Laotian communists blame the Hmong for U.S. attacks in Laos.
 2. The Hmong might be forced to return to Laos or remain forever in the camps.

Houa Vue Moua (p. 15)
 1. Moua’s co-author is Barbara J. Rolland.
 2. Moua has given other Hmong “a beautiful life” by helping them integrate into American life with
    language skills, driving ability, and the knowledge needed to become citizens. At the same time,
    Moua has helped other Americans learn about the Hmong people through lectures and other cross-
    cultural work.

Mai Neng Moua (p. 16)
 1. to provide an outlet for the telling of Hmong experiences
 2. Hmong culture has traditionally been oral rather than written.

Tou Ger Xiong (p. 17)
 1. to try to bridge cultures and generations in an entertaining way
 2. Xiong believes that humor helps him reach his audiences more effectively.

Brenda Song (p. 18)
 1. acting in television commercials
 2. Young Hmong Americans might find Song’s life inspirational.

Copyright © Holt McDougal. All rights reserved.
                                                   21                             Hmong History Makers

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