Oral History Project

01 Oct

Photo caption: Year 2 Oral Histories Interviewees

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society enter into our third year of collecting oral histories from Minnesota diverse Asian American and Pacific Islanders populations.  The Minnesota Historical Society has always endeavored to collect oral histories of the AAPI community as evidenced by their projects with the Chinese, Khmer, Hmong, Tibetans, and Asian Indians to name but a few.  This fall will be the fourth year of the Council’s and MHS joint efforts to make a focused commitment to reach out to and collect the oral histories of the 42 different Asian ethnic groups represented in Minnesota. Additionally, the Council made a commitment to collect oral histories of the AAPI community in rural communities.

The journey to collecting those stories have been difficult at times as we searched for people and stories to collect, but overall the journey has been enlightening and rewarding. As we crisscrossed Minnesota, the people we have worked with and collected stories from have all been wonderful and so giving of their time and personal selves. The Council is indebted to them and we appreciate so much their generosity.

The Asian American Pacific Islander story is a Minnesota story and as such belongs in the annuals of collected Minnesota history. The Oral History project is about the AAPI community telling their stories, in their own words, collected, transcribed, and printed to share with all of Minnesota and America, now and into the future. Hundreds of years from now, prosperity will look back and know what motivated us to come to America and forge the American dream.  They will know of our spirit, fight, and courage to be among the first generations to make this place our home.

2010 Oral histories of 4 enthic groups: Lao, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean.
2011 Oral histories included Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian, Tongan, Samoan) and Karen ethic groups and residents of St. Cloud, Rochester, Baudette, and Warroad,
2012 Oral histories include Indonesian and Malaysian ethnic groups, Hmong needle-workers, and residents of Worthington, Marshall, and Walnut Groove

The oral histories are available at under Immigrant Oral Histories.

article written by Ilean Her, Executive Director of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans

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