University of Wisconsin–Madison

Upcoming Events

MAY 3, 2018

“The Origin & Creation of Hmong American Memories of Blood Sacrifice on Behalf
of the United States During the Secret War”
5:00 p | Thursday, May 3, 2018 | Room 206, Ingraham Hall

Since the new millennium, there has been a surge of commemorations and monument dedications to the secret war dead as well as legislational changes that impact Hmong veterans and the Hmong American community. The phenomenon is so prevailing that there seems to be little question left as to why and how the secret war in Laos occurred. According to Hmong political activists who demand recognition, during the secret war, the Hmong made huge sacrifices, suffering untold numbers of death on behalf of the United States. For this reason, they were allowed to immigrate to the U.S. after the conclusion of the war in Laos. This talk examines the origin and development of Hmong efforts to proclaim their services to the U.S. by highlighting the very first commemoration in July 1995 that has been followed by monument dedications in Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, and elsewhere. Analyzing how the memories of blood sacrifice by Hmong first emerged, this talk argues that this thesis, which is proudly proclaimed by Hmong American political activists today, actually originates externally from Americans such as Edgar “Pop” Buel and Jerry Daniels who had worked closely with the Hmong in Laos. These Americans, especially Jerry Daniels, the last Central Intelligence Agency operative to work with the Hmong, felt that the Hmong, after sacrificing much, were abandoned by U.S. immigration policies in Southeast Asia. The Hmong was excluded from immigration status. Disillusionment with their own government’s policies toward the Hmong drove these Americans and their former Hmong liaisons to educate the public about the plight of the Hmong, resulting forty years later in the US in the raising of monuments for those who fought in the secret war.