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Mai Na Lee (2008), posing besides the stone structure of the house of Kaitong Lo Blia Yao in Phak Lak village, Nong Het, Laos.
Image of Lo Blia Yao’s grave,  located in front of the door of the house (second from left).
Me (2008), posing besides the stone structure of the house of Kaitong Lo Blia Yao in Phak Lak village, Nong Het, Laos.
Lo Blia Yao’s grave is located in front of the door of the house (second from left). Chinese geomancers chose this auspicious sight for his house in 1920. They also advised him to instruct his family to bury him right in front of the door so that his spirit could guard the entrance and ensure that his descendants would continue to be leaders of the Hmong in perpetuity.

Mai Na Lee

Department of History, and
Asian American Studies Program
University of Minnesota
mainalee@umn.edu

      Mai Na M. Lee was born in the village of Pha Nok Kok, in the sub-district of Muang Pha, Xieng Khouang, Laos. In 1979, she trekked through the jungle for 28 days with her family to the Mekong River and swam across it to Thailand to become a permanent exile. She came to the United States in 1980, attended Carleton College as a Cowling Scholar and graduated in 1994 with a major in East Asian History and a Women’s Studies Concentration in US Women’s History. She obtained as PhD from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, specializing in Southeast Asian History. She is author of, Dreams of the Hmong Kingdom (UW Press, 2015), which explores how the Hmong, infused with “dreams” and aspirations of their own, negotiates for autonomy within various empires and states during the colonial era. She is currently Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She teaches courses on Southeast Asia, the Vietnam Wars, Hmong global history, and on Hmong Americans. She continues to collect the oral histories of the Hmong around the globe, exploring topics about gender and cultural changes, Christian conversion, nationalist movements and aspirations, politics in the Lao state pre and post 1975, and transnational contacts between Hmong Americans and Hmong in Asia.

 

 

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Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room 207 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
phone: 608-263-1755
fax: 608-263-3735
email: seasia@intl-institute.wisc.edu