TZIANENG VANG

Tzianeng Vang was born in the mountainous region of central Laos but his family was constantly moving due to the war.  When he was about five, tending the chickens and pigs in the summer pastures, his family had to abandon the village without him to avoid the invasion of the Communist soldiers.  They were reunited several weeks later.

Tzianeng was not even ten when he swam across the Mekong with his family to escape the Communists around 1978.  He lived in the refugee camps of Nong Khai and Ban Vinai in Thailand before coming to the US in 1980. 

The first time he returned to Laos, he had a profound emotional experience when he got to the Mekong River.  It was as though the great river spoke to him saying, “This is the place you ran away from.  You shouldn’t be here.”  Tzianeng realized how easily he and his family might have died that night 25 years earlier. 

Aside from his volunteer role with the Hmong Archives, other Hmongcentric and community efforts domestically and abroad, Tzianeng is employed as a Hmong Cultural and Language Specialist at Achieve Language Academy, a Hmong Charter School that has focused on teaching Hmong and Spanish since 1996. He lives in the Twin Cities (White Bear Lake, MN) with his wife, Ong Xiong, three children: Ki, Dej & Thi Xiong Vang and his mother, Joua Lee Vang.