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First Hmong family arrived in Minnesota 40 years ago on Nov. 5

Dang Her, his wife, Shoua Moua, and their son, Touvi, were the first; today there are 66,000 Hmong in Minnesota.

Shoua Moua, holding baby Bill, young Touvi and husband Dang Her in a 1977 photo.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first Hmong refugees to arrive in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Historical Society says that Dang Her, his pregnant wife, Shoua Moua, and their son, Touvi, were the first Hmong settlers here from Southeast Asia. Their son Bill was born soon after.

Dang Her is now retired; he and Shoua still live in the Twin Cities. They had seven children, said Jessica Kohen of the Historical Society.

Today there are 66,000 Hmong in Minnesota. The Historical Society has an exhibit, “Hmong in Minnesota,” which runs at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul through Jan. 3.

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The Hmong helped the U.S. fight in Laos during the Vietnam War. When American troops withdrew, many Hmong were forced into settlement camps in Thailand and eventually resettled here.

The Twin Cities area now has the largest concentration of Hmong in America, according to the Historical Society.