Still celebrated as the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie, Walnut Grove has evolved its identity to become the home for more than 250 Hmong people. Many of the Hmong in Walnut Grove today can trace their ancestors’ roots back to mountainous farms in Laos. After the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Hmong fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Because they had been friendly to the U.S. during the war, many were relocated to Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Seeking affordable housing, honest work and safe streets, some members of the Twin Cities Hmong community began moving to Walnut Grove between 2001 and 2006.
The episode features the art, food, music, language and dance of the Hmong culture. Among others interviewed, Hmong leader Sean Yang and Terry Tongger Yang, owner of the town’s grocery store Bubai Foods, tell the story of how their community has worked to keep cultural traditions intact since their arrival in the region.
“Seeing these young children still using their traditional skills to promote their culture and at the same time have fun, brings my vision to life,” Sean said.
Postcards is produced by Dana Conroy (nee Dana Johnson) with videography and editing by Kristofor Gieske and Ben Dempcy. The program is made possible by contributions from the voters of Minnesota through a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Production sponsors for the program include the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Shalom Hill Farm, Explore Alexandria Tourism and the Tristate Brain and Spine Institute.
About Pioneer Public Television
Established in 1966, Pioneer Public TV is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world. For more information visit: www.pioneer.org.