Wherever we go there's 'R' written on our forehead – 'Refugee'.: Becoming Minnesotan

Tenzin Chodon, c.2005.
  • Name - Tenzin Chodon
  • Age at interview - 51
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 09.05.2005
  • Teenagers at Theodore Wirth Park to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama.
    Defaced murals, Tibet.  Photo courtesy Wangyal Ritzekura.

    We Are Here

    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Cultural Preservation: How does a person weave his or her traditional culture into a new American identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Tibetans are now a people without a homeland.  After the Chinese invaded in the 1950s many Tibetans fled to neighboring countries of Nepal and India, and some immigrated to the U.S. and other countries around the world.  They also face the challenges of refugees who cannot go home, but are officially categorized as immigrants by many countries around the world who officially recognize Tibet as part of China.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Tenzin Chodon 3
    0:49 Minutes | 0.79Mb


    Narrator: Tenzin Chodon (TC)

    TC:  But now, although everything is settled down and all this, I still feel empty, very sad sometimes. The easiest thing is to shed tears, which I do seldom. I still feel, oh, my goodness. When are we going to get this freedom? Although we are out here, still wherever we go there’s "R" written on our forehead – "Refugee", you know?

    We came to America. Still we have no country. We don’t see our country. Go to India. That’s somebody else’s country. We never see it. So where is our country? What are we going to show these children? And children’s children.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A person forced to leave his or her own country and seek refuge in a foreign country out of fear of persecution or violence or because of poverty or natural disaster.


    Adverb:  Infrequently, rarely.


    Verb:  To allow to flow or fall.  (sheds, shedding, shed)


    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
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