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Minnesota has always been a land of immigrants. Successive waves have each made their own way, found their place, and made it their home. The Hmong are one of the most recent immigrant groups, and their remarkable and moving story is told in Hmong in Minnesota. Chia Youyee Vang reveals the colorful, intricate history of Hmong Minnesotans, many of whom were forced to flee their homeland of Laos when the communists seized power during the Vietnam War. Having assisted U.S. troops in the “Secret War,” Hmong soldiers and civilians were eligible to settle in the United States. Vang offers a unique window into the lives of the Minnesota Hmong through the stories of individuals who represent the experiences of many. One voice is that of Mao Heu Thao, one of the first refugees to come to Minnesota, sponsored by Catholic Charities in 1976. She tells of the unexpectedly cold weather, the strange food, and the kindness of her hosts. By introducing readers to the immigrants themselves, Hmong in Minnesota conveys a population’s struggle to adjust to new environments, build communities, maintain cultural practices, and make its mark on government policies and programs.
Dakota and Lakota Women Tell Their Stories
In this poignant collection of oral histories, four Indian elders recount their life stories in their own quiet but uncompromising words. Growing up and living in Minnesota and the Dakotas, Stella Pretty Sounding Flute and Iola Columbus (Dakota) and Celane Not Help Him and Cecelia Hernandez Montgomery (Lakota) share recollections of early family life interrupted by years at government boarding schools designed to eradicate tribal culture. Recounting their complex lives, the grandmothers reveal how they survived difficult circumstances to become activists in Indian politics, reconciling urban with reservation life and Christianity with native spirituality. Particularly memorable is one grandmother’s detailed family account of the tragic events and consequences of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. Defying stereotypes, these clear and forthright voices are unforgettable. As the traditional teachers and bearers of culture, the grandmothers also share their concern for future generations.
Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson
Near the end of her life, Mina Anderson penned a lively memoir that helped Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg create "Kristina," the central female character of his beloved emigrant novels, a woman who constantly yearns for her homeland. But Mina's story was quite different. Showcasing her previously untranslated memoir, "I Go To America" traces Mina's trip across the Atlantic to Wisconsin and then the Twin Cities, where she worked as a domestic servant, and her move to rural Mille Lacs County, where she and her husband worked a farm, raised seven children, and contributed to rural Swedish community life. Mina herself writes about how grateful she was for the opportunity to be in America, where the pay was better, class differences were unconfining, and children--girls included--had the chance for a good education. In her own words, "I have never regretted that I left Sweden. I have had it better here."Author Joy Lintelman greatly expands upon Mina's memoir, detailing the social, cultural, and economic realities experienced by countless Swedish women of her station. Lintelman offers readers both an intimate portrait of Mina Anderson and a window into the lives of the nearly 250,000 young, single Swedish women who immigrated to America from 1881 to 1920 and whose courage, hard work, and pragmatism embody the American dream.
Making Minnesota Our Home
A boardinghouse keeper finds her kitchen in a mess after Saturday-night revelry and refuses to cook on Sunday. An iron miner pries frozen ore from a car in 40-below temperatures. A grocer makes sausage, brews wine, and forages for mushrooms and dandelion greens. In Italian Voices, Minnesota’s Italian Americans share rich stories of everyday life in communities in the Iron Range, Duluth, and the Twin Cities between 1900 and 1960. Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich, a native of the Iron Range, had unequaled access to the state’s immigrant generation during the twenty years she spent documenting the lives of these Minnesotans, in their own words.
A Case for Rethinking Family History
Joseph A. Amato follows his own poor, obscure, and truly "mongrel" family through seven generations, revealing their place in the key events of America's past. Using powerful family traditions to clarify his personal connection to the larger stories of our nation, Amato advocates for the power of the history closest at hand in building personal identity and resisting mass culture.
A History of Jazz in Twin Cities
Jazz first churned its way into the Twin Cities on the Mississippi river excursion boats, which brought the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong to listeners on the levee—and it never left. When Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and other jazz greats toured the clubs and concert halls of the Cities, young musicians listened in the alleys outside, bought records, and learned more of this exciting new music. The local scene began to nurture players like Lester Young and Oscar Pettiford, who went on to bigger things, as well as those who remained close to home to ply their craft, like Rook Ganz, Percy Hughes, Doc Evans, and Dave Karr.Using an invaluable set of interviews taped with jazz personalities that were broadcast by Dave Sletten and Kent Hazen in the 1990s and rare photographs spanning the entire era, author Jay Goetting recounts the lore and explores the social aspects of the story: racism, the gangster era, unionization and strip joints, and the ever-evolving music itself.
These seven gentle tales set in Minnesota and North Dakota and all written during the 1970s treat fans of novelist Hassler (A Green Journey; Jemmy) to the earliest fruits of his talent. Some are folksy portraits of small-town characters, while others are drier and more plot driven. Both the title story and "Resident Priest" feature crusty, 74-year-old Father Fogarty, a pastor who's leaving his parish after 23 years. In "Chief Larson," a seven-year-old Indian boy, known (rather improbably) only as "chief" on the reservation, rebels in a small but telling way against his white adoptive family.""Good News in Culver Bend" tracks two city reporters who travel to a small town and discover "the heart of Christmas." "Chase" and "Christopher, Moony, and the Birds" show how frustrated residents of small towns seek solace. The former, so brief it's nearly a prose poem, hints at Hassler's own adolescent discovery of his talent for fiction; the latter follows a lonely 50-year-old college professor as he goes on a consolatory walk with a student's awkward wife and child, watching "birds on family outings, hopping and halting on the grass." The cleverest story, ""Yesterday's Garbage," follows a "garbologist" who finds the truth about a murder in a trash bin, and is then led to commit one himself. The publisher plans to issue Hassler's later short fiction in three more volumes, starting in the year 2000.""--Publishers Weekly
Life Among the Lake Superior Ojibway
Johann Georg Kohl’s classic work about the Ojibway of Lake Superior is a fascinating study in contrasts and similarities. An urbane, well-traveled European, a trained ethnologist, and an accomplished popular writer, Kohl (1808-1878) visited the Ojibway in 1855 and turned his sensitive powers of observation on a nation of people he found not unlike his own. He describes daily life, detailing religious practices, legends, foods, games, medicines, homes, clothing, and methods to travel, hunting, and fishing. Kohl’s respect for the Ojibway makes his writing especially appealing to the modern reader.
A Lively Story of Women Homesteaders On The South Dakota Frontier
Among the hordes of homesteaders who settled the American West were thousands of single women who hoped to gain for themselves a piece of land and the money and satisfaction that came along with it. The memoirs of many of these self-described “girl homesteaders,” long ignored by historians, show the significant impact these women had on their communities.Land of the Burnt Thigh, first published in 1938, is one of the best of these accounts. Edith Eudora Ammons and her sister Ida Mary moved to central South Dakota in 1907 to try homesteading near the “Land of the Burnt Thigh”—the Lower Brule Indian Reservation. These two young women, both in their twenties and “timid as mice,” found a community of homesteaders (including several other single women) who were eager to help them succeed at what looked to be impossible: living in a tiny tarpaper shack on 160 waterless, sunbaked, and snowblasted acres for eight months until they could “prove up” the claim.Within as few weeks Edith was running a newspaper, Ida Mary was teaching school, and the two were helping others who had come to settle. In the months to come, they battled prairie fires, rattlesnakes, and a blizzard; they observed two great land rushes; they stakes a new claim, founded their own newspaper, opened a post office and a general store, and overcame their fear of the Indians who came to trade with them.In her introduction, historian Glenda Riley discusses the Ammons sisters’ adventures and those of many other women homesteaders.Praise for Land of the Burnt Thigh“Their story is genuinely stirring in its events, as it is interesting in its spirit and atmosphere, and it is told simply and well…This is an unusual record, well worth reading.”—New York Times“Mrs. Kohl has told this story of South Dakota with a simplicity, a directness, and an understanding of its quietly heroic element which make her book an appealing as well as a significant contribution to the latter-day history of the pioneers.”—Saturday Review
The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers
Since its publication, Richard Moe's The Last Full Measure has garnered a reputation as the definitive history of the First Minnesota Regiment and one of a handful of classic regimental histories of the Civil War. The First Minnesota Volunteers, the first regiment offered to President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter, served in virtually every major battle fought in the eastern theater during the first three years of the Civil War. This is the story of the Army of the Potomac during that period: the initial enthusiasm dashed by sudden defeat at Bull Run; the pride at being shaped into an army by George McClellan and the frustration with his--and his successors'--inability to defeat Robert E. Lee; and, finally, the costly battle of Gettysburg, the decisive battle in which the First Minnesota played a crucial, and tragic, role. Drawing on a wide array of letters, diaries, and personal reminiscences, Moe tells the story anew through the experiences of the men who lived it. As James MacGregor Burns notes in his foreword, "Like Tolstoy's War and Peace, this work sticks close to the men in battle, and hence, like Tolstoy, the author keeps close to the human size of war."