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Q & A ON THE NEWS

December 14, 2000, Thursday

Q. Articles about the Hmong community mention a Council of Elders who are willing to help settle conflict. Do women sit on the council? Dorothy Scanlan, St. Paul.

A. Yes, the 18 clans of the Hmong people living in the Twin Cities area have modified the 

ancient tradition to include women in resolving disputes, said Mee Vang, executive director for the Council of Elders or Hmong 18 Council.

It helps resolve conflict within families, among the 18 clans and with individuals or groups outside the group. Most of the cases, 50 out of 70, have been brought by women before the four-year-old metro area council.

Vang explains that they proudly cling to the tradition of an all-male council. "Our culture has practiced this for thousands of years. To question it would be to question another's culture entirely," she said. "In the Hmong culture when a woman marries, she becomes a member of her husband's clan, but represents both her and her husband's clan."

However, the local council has a women's mediation committee, which attends board meetings and runs the office. The five female members sit at sentencing circles and they have a vote and advise the council about the welfare of families and general issues.

The decision of the council has to be unanimous among the 18 men and five women. Vang said.

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Q. Years ago, we sang a patriotic tune about Pearl Harbor, but I can't remember how it goes. Can you refresh my memory? From the New York Times and Cox News Service

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A. If you mean the Don Reid-Sammy Kaye song "Remember Pearl Harbor," it went like this: "Let's remember Pearl Harbor as we go to meet the foe. Let's remember Pearl Harbor as we did the Alamo. We will always remember how they died

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) December 14, 2000, Thursday, Metro Editio for liberty. Let's remember Pearl Harbor and go on to victory."