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Asian American Heritage

Introduction: Asian Americans in Lowell and Beyond

“Living here gave me a freedom of speech in sharing my opinion. Second, we can believe in different religions, freedom of belief in religion. Freedom of sharing opinion, and freedom of speech.”
Immigrant man of Cambodian origin, 77 (translated from Khmer) posted by Pew Research Center as part of a focus group study.

The U.S. Asian population is diverse. A record 22 million Asian Americans trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, each with unique histories, cultures, languages and other characteristics.

-Budiman and Ruiz, Key Facts About Asian Americans, Pew Research Center, April 29, 2021. 


"Asian Americans number more than 12.5 million (in 2001) in the United States and represent more than thirty different nationalities and ethnic groups, including Samoan, Tongan, Guamanian, and native Hawai'ian from the Pacific Islands; Lao, Hmong, Mien, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Burmese, Malay, and Filipinos from Southeast Asia; Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Sri Lankan from South Asia; Afghani and Iranian from Central Asia; and Korean, Japanese, and Chinese from East Asia. In 2000, the three largest Asian nationalities in the United States were Chinese, Filipinos, and Asian Indians. The diversity of Asian Americans, in terms of their various languages, cultures, and histories is remarkable."

-by Peter N. Kiang, published in Asia Society, "Understanding our Perceptions of Asian Americans"

UMass Lowell's Southeast Asian Digital Archive

Lowell has the second largest Cambodian community in the United States, which is over 20% of our cities population.

The Southeast Asian Digital Archive (SEADA) was established "to collect, preserve, and share historical materials related to Southeast Asians in the Greater Lowell area, with particular focus on refugee resettlement and community building from the 1970s to the present. Our goal is to highlight Southeast Asian voices and viewpoints, and to educate the public about the resilience and diversity of Southeast Asian Americans.

At SEADA, we believe that it is important to preserve the histories of Southeast Asian communities in their own voices. By collecting, preserving, and sharing these stories, SEADA seeks to contribute to the understanding of Southeast Asians in the US."

From the Southeast Asian Digital Archive Webpage at