We can’t see our family.: Becoming Minnesotan

Tendell Sangmo, c.2005.
  • Name - Tendell Sangmo
  • Age at interview - 50
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 07.27.2005
  • Tibetan American family in front of their first home purchased in the U.S.

    Culture Clash, Tibetan, Time

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

    Background Information

    Many Tibetans have lived for over 50 years in refugee camps or Tibetan communities in India or Nepal.  Even though they live outside of Tibet, they are surrounded by hundreds and sometimes thousands of other Tibetans.  In Minnesota, Tibetans are often scattered far from one another because of jobs and find it difficult to see other Tibetan family and friends.

    To learn more about Tibetan history and culture, visit our Tibetan Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Tendell Sangmo 1
    0:51 Minutes | 0.82Mb


    Narrator: Tendell Sangmo (TS)

    TS:  But we can’t do much like changing our life and we can’t help – this is not like India. In India we are – we live like one neighborhood. So in here we are one in North, one in South. We are mixed up with Americans. We are like American. We can’t see our family. I can’t see my daughter all the time. She works the evening. I work morning. I came in. My daughter left for job for the evening. When she comes I’m sleeping. When she get up I’m gone for the morning. So one time she is waiting me, waiting for me at twelve. I say, “Why didn’t you go back to bed?” She said, “I didn’t see you for four days. I wanted to see you and talk to you!”


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 144