Chai Soua Vang (b. 1968) is a Hmong refugee who migrated to the United States in 1980. On November 21, 2004, while deer hunting in Wisconsin, Vang was confronted by Terry Willers and other white hunters for trespassing on private land. Details of the incident that followed are heavily disputed based on conflicting witness testimony – Vang claims to have been acting in self defense against a racist mob; however, surviving hunters claim they were attacked first. Regardless, the altercation took a violent turn as Vang fired his rifle upon the hunters after being bombarded by racial slurs, killing six and injuring two. Vang was arrested and held in prison awaiting trial.
Following the killings, Asian Americans criticized the media coverage of the incident as being riddled with anti-Asian biases. Hmong families across the region also claimed that the media portrayal of the case increased racial tensions and violence directed towards their communities. Anti-Hmong bumper stickers such as “Save a deer, Kill a Hmong” and “Save a hunter, Shoot a Mung [sic]” began to circulate in the region. In response to the increased violence being directed toward Hmong communities, the A/P/A Institute at NYU invited Senator Mee Moua, Ka Vang, Dr. Patrick Clarkin, and Dr. Frank Wu, to speak at a forum called “A Deeper Look at the Hmong Hunter Incident” on February 18, 2005. A/P/A Institute’s objective was to demonstrate support for the Hmong community, and provide a forum to discuss important historical and social context.
Vang’s trial began on September 10, 2005. On November 8, 2005, he was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide, three charges of attempted homicide, and sentenced to serve six consecutive life terms plus seventy years in prison.
The A/P/A Institute at NYU’s Chai Soua Vang Trial Collection contains: court transcripts, a racial bias report conducted by Coalition for Community Relations (CCR), a DVD recording of the A/P/A Institute’s “A Deeper Look at the Hmong Hunter Incident” event, and Court TV (now TruTV) DVDs containing media coverage of the Chai Soua Vang trial.
The Chai Soua Vang Trail collection is housed on site at the A/P/A Institute, located at 20 Cooper Square, third floor, New York, New York 10003. To access the collection please contact us at email@example.com.