All posts filed under: Refugee

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Lao Films and Films about Laos

This week kicks off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, so you can expect lots of Celebrasian puns in various news articles. Not to be confused with Celebraisin, which would be one of those dancing claymation raisins from the 80s. This year marks the 40th anniversary since the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was recognized by Congress and the White House in 1978. For those of you who were curious, the month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. And of course, everyone knows the significance of May to Lao because of the incredible lessons we all get about our journey to America in history class, right? Recently, community members have been asking Little Laos on the Prairie for movie recommendations involving Laos, especially in the aftermath of that Angelina Jolie movie about our …

Living Iu-Mien and Khmu: The Route Forward, Back Through Time

This is the first in a series from Janit von Saechao about discovering her Iu-Mien and Khmu roots. I haven’t always been open about my identity as a Khmu and Mien person. I remember as an elementary school student, when teachers and peers asked what my ethnicity was, my instinctive reaction was immediate deflection. This was a conversation I hated having. The comments of, “what are you?” and “where are you from?” drew feelings from my child self that I wasn’t equipped to handle. The person asking never knew what they were getting themselves into and I was never really ready to explain. So I resorted to replying with saying I was Lao or Thai, even as I knew that these were not my truths. There were various reasons I chose to misidentify. In honesty, some of it was intentional. I wanted to belong to something that was already understood, something that others could conceptualize without me having to scramble in search for words to communicate the complexity of my peoples’ stories. After all, how …