Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Interviewing David Zander, folklorist, anthropologist

Recently, I interviewed folklorist and anthropologist David Zander for Little Laos on the Prairie. A longtime friend of mine and the Lao community, David has been an enduring and positive figure driven by a keen sense of justice and a love of the story.

I first met him while I was working for Hmong National Development and he was working with the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. Over the course of nearly twenty years, he and I have worked together in various capacities to make sure that all of the diverse voices of our community are heard.

Recently, he's been trying to get some traction going on his chapbook, Wolf and the Moon, and other Lao Folktales that he composed with Sunny Chanthanouvong, the award-winning executive director of the Lao Assistance Center in Minnesota. The collection consists of eleven folktales and a few retellings of the journey stories of Lao Minnesotans regarding how they came to America.

I'm very excited for him and his next projects, and strongly recommend Wolf and the Moon. While it's formatted in a very simple, brief style, it includes a number of tales that have not been previously recorded in any of the well-known collections I've seen. So that makes it a particularly good find, for me.

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