January 2009 Archives

A Culture in Peril: Hmong Grave Desecration in Thailand

Professor Mai Na Lee - January 8, 2009 - Since 1976, the Twin Cities has been home to the largest urban Hmong population in the nation. It is a population for whom the fear of cultural extinction is so strong it is almost tangible. So it is increasingly significant that last month, a U.N. human rights expert visited the U to hear testimony regarding the mass exhumation of graves near a Buddhist temple in Thailand where thousands of Hmong refugees lived for more than 20 years. This testimony was the culmination of three years of effort to recognize the violations, reclaim the bodies, and compensate the victims. In this lecture, U of M Assistant Professor of History and Asian American Studies, Mai Na Lee, placed the situation at Wat Thamkrabok, Thailand, within the context of Hmong cultural history.

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