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MPR News

1980: Laotian immigrants arrive in Minnesota

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Original broadcast date: May 2, 1980

MPR News reporter Tom Meersman reports the arrival of 60 Laotian refugees in Minnesota from San Francisco the day before. 

"The people were too exhausted for high spirits and joy. There were some tears, and Minnesota's newest residents were undobtedly glad to be at the end of their travel," Meersman reported.

The group was sponsored by local groups, such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and U.S. Catholic Charities.

Some members of the group continued their journey on to Fargo, N.D., while others planned to remain in the Twin Cities area.

Hmong in Minnesota

The year 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Hmong people's arrival in Minnesota. At that time, the number of Hmong could be counted in the dozens.

Now the Twin Cities metro area is home to 64,000 Hmong people, making it the largest urban population of Hmong in the country. This story is one of many, culled from the MPR News radio archives, as we look back at the history of the Hmong people, both in Southeast Asia and Minnesota.