Cover image for Mai Ya's long journey
Mai Ya's long journey
Publication Information:
Madison : Wisconsin Historical Society Press, c2005.
Physical Description:
xii, 80 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
Laos in the 1960s : a land of turmoil -- Thailand : safe, but not free -- A journey to another world, 1987 -- Straddling two worlds, 1993 -- An animist faith -- A journey not completed, 1994.
Personal Subject:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 XIONG 1 2

On Order



The story of Mai Ya Xiong and her family and their journey from the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand to a new life in Madison, Wisconsin, is extraordinary. Yet it is typical of the stories of the 200,000 Hmong people who now live in the United States and who struggle to adjust to American society while maintaining their own culture as a free people.

Mai Ya's Long Journey follows Mai Ya Xiong, a young Hmong woman, from her childhood in Thailand's Ban Vinai Refugee Camp to her current home in Wisconsin. Mai Ya's parents fled Laos during the Vietnam War and were refugees in Thailand for several years before reaching the United States. But the story does not end there. Students will read the challenges Mai Ya faces in balancing her Hmong heritage and her adopted American culture as she grows into adulthood.

Author Notes

Sheila Cohen has taught English as a Second Language in the Madison Metropolitan School District for twenty years. She is a freelance writer and has served on the Board of Directors of United Refugee Services. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Table of Contents

Meet Mai Yap. xi
1 Mai Ya's Parents Grow Up in Troubled Laosp. 1
2 The Xiong Family's Life in Thailandp. 12
3 Mai Ya and Her Family Come to Wisconsinp. 18
4 Mai Ya Grows Up in Two Worldsp. 22
5 Hmong Traditional Beliefsp. 39
6 Mai Ya Continues Her Journey in Two Worldsp. 46
Afterwordp. 58
Appendixp. 60
Hmong Time Linep. 62
Mai Ya's Time Linep. 64
Glossaryp. 66
Reading Group Guide and Activitiesp. 70
To Learn More about the Hmongp. 72
Acknowledgmentsp. 74
Author's Notep. 76
Indexp. 77