ABOUT THIS COLLECTION
The Hmong Chronicles series which launched in July 2016, focuses on the revival of Hmong oral traditions through intergenerational collaborations between Hmong elders and contemporary Hmong artists. The concept is simple: How can Hmong elders pass on oral stories in the traditional way, while encouraging contemporary artists / the next generation learn and be inspired to re-tell those stories in their own artistic way?
This collection consists of live performances and edited film versions.
This film captures, the story of a family’s experience living at a refugee camp after the Vietnam War. Shoua Lee, a writer from the Twin Cities, reads her story as a refugee child. Her mother, Tsai Lee, shares her stories in Hmong about life in Laos and then life in the cramped and desolate camps where they lived for four years.
Hmong Museum partnered with spoken word artist Tou Saiko Lee to create a unique performance reviving traditional oral storytelling.
In this video Russ Ly choreographs a modern dance to the story. He performs the dance with Kao Nou Moua.
The story is narrated by Long Lee and Chy Lee.
The Hmong practice an oral culture, passing down their history, knowledge, stories, and art from one generation to the next through oral teachings and storytelling. Traditionally, Hmong elders would gather their children and friends to share folklore or life experiences. Up until the 19th century, the Hmong people had no written language and relied on oral traditions.
A young girl, for example, learned how to sew by watching and listening to her mother. A young man learns the songs of the dead and poetry from an elder, through listening and continuously repeating the songs. The stories of their ancestors, like that of why the Hmong have 18 clans were told from one generation to the next.
Data of the Hmong population shows that the Hmong elder’s numbers are shrinking, while the Hmong youth (ages up to 25 years old,) make most of the Hmong population. There are less and less elders to pass on their knowledge of folk stories and histories. There is a need and some urgency to begin providing authentic storytelling experiences by elders to the next generation.
The Hmong Chronicles series hopes to inspire the next generation to listen and re-tell these folk stories and life of the Hmong before America, in their own modern way.
THANK YOU TO THE SPONSORS OF THE COLLECTION
This collection is funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Asian Pacific Endowment Fund, and donations from over 800 individuals and businesses in the community. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.