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Duncan, Larry

Oral history interview with previous Tacoma resident Larry Duncan conducted by dindria barrow on November 29, 2022. In this interview, Larry shares his experience in one of Tacoma’s East Side neighborhoods, Salishan. Larry illustrates how his racial identity has been a mystery and how he has tried to piece it together like a complex puzzle. An intriguing person that appeared in his life twice showed up first as a person who made kites. Could this be a person who is somehow related to his birth parents? As he continues to learn about himself, Larry's dream is to be the best dad and husband possible for his family.

Elder Pham and Elder Wetzer

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.


Back of Photo: Elder Pham and Elder Wetzer + Chamman (sp?) and Sarath and Paula and you Vanna; Love Paula Bear Paul Prom

Growing up in Salishan

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Lister Elementary Grade 1, 2002

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Lister Elementary was a generational school. My first grade teacher was my daughter's first grade teacher.
Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Salishan Story Fest

Salishan Story Fest was held on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at the Family Investment Center (1744 E 44th Street). The event was hosted by the Community Archives Center with support from Tacoma Housing Authority, Salishan Association, Metro Parks Tacoma, Grit City Magazine, UW iSchool, School's Out Washington, the Tacoma Arts Commission, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. At the event, attendees were invited to record their story, digitize family photos, hear stories from Salishan residents, and watch short films about the neighborhood.

Spiritual Healing

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Two Children with Water Balloons

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Two Community Members Sit Outdoors

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Vanna Sing Childhood Portrait

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Vanna Sing Childhood Portrait

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Vanna Sing with Group

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.

Vanna Sing with Hands in Prayer

Photo description from Vanna Sing:

When taken: 1980s and 2000s
Where taken: Eastside, Salishan
What memory is contained in these photos? Vanna Sing's childhood in Salishan and Eastside; Growing up in Salishan, spiritual healing. 43 year old survivor from the country of Cambodia. Roots are from SE Asia, Cambodia, Thai, and Laos. Our family escaped the Khmer Rouge in 1978 In July 1979, we entered United States. Our sponsors were from Mineral Wells, Texas. Trying to adapt to the American culture was a struggle. Through the word of mouth, Tacoma, Washington was the place to be. 15 families migrated to Tacoma, WA. We first arrived in Hilltop, Tacoma, around St. Joseph hospital area. We spent a year here. Tacoma Housing Authority supported refugees by providing rental assistance. Department of Social and Healthy Services gave us TANF, food stamp, and medical.