Hmong culture shared in Central Wisconsin
often said that America is a melting pot with diversity in every nook and
cranny of the country. With many Hmong
Americans residing in Portage County, we have cultural opportunities here
locally as well. Select faculty, staff
and students on campus, with the help of many community members and other
professionals, have created a documentary tracing the Hmong community in
Stevens Point and spotlighting their diverse culture. “Finding the Middle Way”
explores cultural traditions, working life, intergenerational relations, and
Hmong and non-Hmong relationships in Portage County.
Anthropology lecturer Tori Jennings and Maysee Yang Herr,
an Assistant Professor of Education were two members of the documentary film
team. Jennings contributed her experience in ethnographic and fieldwork to
teach student project assistants ethical research practices, skills and
techniques required for ethnographic and qualitative data collection while
primarily working as the project producer. Herr served as the projects
humanities expert and cultural consultant.
Her Hmong background was useful in helping the team understand meaning of
content in interviews and events. She will present lectures and lead
discussions at public forums and showings of the documentary as the project is
Members of the UW-Stevens Point Hmong and Southeast Asian American Club
(HASEAAC) have also contributed with interviews and research. HASEAAC is a club
formed in the 1980s and consists of many Hmong American students who are active
on campus and in the community.
“Finding the Middle Way,” which will be included in Jennings and Herr’s
community lecture on May 6, 2014 at 6:30
p.m. at the Portage County Library, ties together two cultures that have become
one. While still holding true to tradition and core values, the Hmong Americans
in the documentary portray a people who are adaptable and accept new
surroundings, but loyal to where they came from. The work done by a team who
are integrated with different backgrounds, diverse cultures and professions is
a celebration of two communities joining together.
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