Listening to neglected voices: Hmong and public lands in Minnesota and Wisconsin

David Bengston, Michele Schermann, Maikia Moua, Tou Thai Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Natural resource managers need to understand the cultures and concerns of ethnic minority communities in order to serve them effectively. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group that is heavily involved in natural resource-related activities but has been largely overlooked by social scientists. We conducted a series of five focus groups with Hmong Americans in Minnesota and Wisconsin, exploring their experiences and perspectives on public lands. Our participants revealed deep cultural and personal connections with the natural world and the importance of public lands to many Hmong. But we also heard about profound problems and concerns. Perceptions of racism, discrimination, and harassment from public land managers and other agency personnel, recreationists, and private landowners are common. Participants had many suggestions for improvement and insights regarding the special needs of new refugees who arrived in the United States in recent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-890
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Environmental racism
  • Focus groups
  • Hmong
  • Minnesota
  • Public lands
  • Wisconsin


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