Sandy Yang was born in Thailand and came to the USA when she was 3.5 years old in November 1979. Her ethnicity is Hmong. Her family immigrated to the USA because the USA promised to save the Hmong after pulling out of the Vietnam War. The Hmong had been recruited by the CIA to fight in the Vietnam War and were known as the “Secret Army.” Their participation was called the Secret War and was meant to denote the Laotian Civil War (1960-1975).
Sandy grew up in a very traditional shaman Hmong household and close-knit Hmong community in Portland, Oregon. Her grandfather was a head Shaman Master. Her family still practices Shamanism. Shamanism is the belief that the shaman, a healer, serves as an intermediary between the physical and spiritual worlds to diagnose and treat an illness thought to be caused by spiritual forces.
Ms. Yang married and became a Christian and still carries on the non-religious aspects of Hmong culture, such as aftercare from giving birth, menstrual cycle, and more.