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The 1970s were more than big hair, mirror balls, and leisure suits. These were the years that bridged the chasm between the anti-establishment tumult of the 1960s and the morning-in-America conservatism of the 1980s. In Minnesota, this evolution unfolded in ways that defied expectations. No longer was Minnesota merely a vague, snow-covered outpost in the American consciousness. It was a place of note and consequence—a state of presidential candidates, grassroots activism, civic engagement, environmental awareness, and Mary Tyler Moore. Its governor appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Its city skylines shot up with uncharacteristic immodesty. Its farmers enjoyed some of their best years ever. Minnesota forged an identity during the 1970s that would persist, rightly or wrongly, for decades to come. This book tells the stories of people, places, and events that defined the state: colorful individuals, including Allan Spear, Arlene Lehto, Wendell Anderson, and Herb Brooks; significant groups like the Willmar 8, American Indian Movement, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and Save the Met; and news-making events, including the first Earth Day, the Dayton’s bombing, school desegregation battles, and highway construction protests. Richly illustrated with evocative photos, cartoons, and ephemera, this book helps bring the 1970s back to life.
The Land of the Dakota
Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile. “Minnesota” is derived from the Dakota phrase Mni Sota Makoce, Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds—and the people’s roots here remain strong. Authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White examine narratives of the people’s origins, their associations with the land, and the seasonal round through key players and place names. They consider Dakota interactions with Europeans and offer an in-depth “reading between the lines” of historical documents—some of them virtually unknown—and treaties made with the United States, uncovering misunderstandings and outright deceptions that helped lead to war in 1862. Dakota history did not begin with the U.S.– Dakota War of 1862—nor did it end there. Mni Sota Makoce is, more than anything, a celebration of the Dakota people through their undisputed connection to this place, Minnesota, in the past, present, and future.
Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation, 1900-1940
When Ojibwe historian Brenda Child uncovered the Bureau of Indian Affairs file on her grandparents, it was an eye-opening experience. The correspondence, full of incendiary comments on their morals and character, demonstrated the breathtakingly intrusive power of federal agents in the early twentieth century. While telling her own family’s stories from the Red Lake Reservation, as well as stories of Ojibwe people around the Great Lakes, Child examines the disruptions and the continuities in daily work, family life, and culture faced by Ojibwe people of Child’s grandparents’ generation—a generation raised with traditional lifeways in that remote area. The challenges were great: there were few opportunities for work. Government employees and programs controlled reservation economies and opposed traditional practices. Nevertheless, Ojibwe men and women—fully modern workers who carried with them rich traditions of culture and work—patched together sources of income and took on new roles as labor demands changed through World War I and the Depression. Child writes of men knocking rice at wild rice camps, work customarily done by women; a woman who turns to fishing and bootlegging when her husband is unable to work; and women who carry out traditional healing ceremonies. All of them, faced with dispossession and pressure to adopt new ways, managed to retain and pass on their Ojibwe identity and culture to their children.
“. . . the memory of my mother came to me like a drifting scent in the breeze, swirling through the branches of a nearby cedar tree. I was drawn back [35 years] to the day I learned she had passed on. But that autumn day of 1973 did not grip me with deep sadness, the burden of never seeing her again. I was looking at that day from a new angle, a distant view that seemed to suggest a new, untold story. I was suddenly more than curious about who my mother truly was in this life and beyond.” Uprooted from family and community in Milwaukee by her husband, a French and Irish construction worker with a drinking problem, Corrine Rolo struggles to raise their seven children on a remote farm near Big Falls, Minnesota. She longs to move back to Milwaukee, or to visit her relatives on the Bad River Ojibwe reservation, at one point threatening to leave the older kids behind and return to her home in the city. Mark Anthony Rolo sifts through potent dreams and childhood memories to recreate a picture of his often conflicted mother during the last three years of her life. She told him a few warm stories of her life on the reservation, but she participated in the family’s casually derogatory banter about their Ojibwe heritage. She spent little time helping Rolo with his schoolwork, even as she wrote voluminous, detailed letters to her family in Milwaukee. She could treat her children harshly and yet also display the fiercest love. With an innocent and sometimes brutal child’s view, Rolo recounts stories of a woman who battles poverty, depression, her abusive husband, and isolation through the long northern Minnesota winters, and of himself, her son, who struggles at school, wrestles with his Ojibwe identity, and copes with violence. But he also shows, with eloquence and compassion, his adult understanding of his mother’s fight to live with dignity, not despair.
An Ojibway Narrative
With the art of a practiced storyteller, Ignatia Broker recounts the life of her great-great-grandmother, Night Flying Woman, who was born in the mid-19th century and lived during a chaotic time of enormous change, uprootings, and loss for the Minnesota Ojibway. But this story also tells of her people's great strength and continuity.Praise for Night Flying Woman“One of my favorite books.”—Louise Erdrich“This remarkable book deserves to be read aloud for generations to come.”—Minneapolis Star tribune“A book everyone should read. It lights a fire of warmth within me.”—Marge Dalve, White Earth Band Ojibway“This beautiful book is a blessing, a gift, an antidote for all the poisonous lies about our past that we have had to endure. It is full of courage and love. This is how it really was.”—Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale, Books Without Bias: Through Indian Eyes“Ignatia Brloker writes with the beauty of Ojibway female oral style…a poignant tale.”—Choice
Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry
Throughout most of the twentieth century, thousands of Mexicans traveled north to work the sugar beet fields of the Minnesota–North Dakota Red River Valley. North for the Harvest examines the evolution of the relationships between American Crystal Sugar Company, the sugar beet growers, and the migrant workers. Though popular convention holds that corporations and landowners invariably exploited migrant workers, Norris reveals that these relationships were more complex. The company often clashed with growers, sometimes while advocating for workers. And many growers developed personal ties with their migrant workers, while workers themselves often found ways to leverage better pay and working conditions from the company.Ultimately, the lot of workers improved as the years went by. As one worker explained, something historic occurred for his family while working in the Red River Valley: “We broke the chain there.”“North for the Harvest is beautifully conceived, very well written, and nuanced and original in its arguments. Norris demonstrates that labor relations in the Red River Valley beet industry was a ‘three-corner game’ that cannot be fully understood without examining all the players.” David Vaught, author of Cultivating California: Growers, Specialty Crops, and Labor, 1875–1920“This story of the long-established and productive contributions of Latinos to Minnesota and North Dakota needs to be heard. It has never been told in such depth and with such style.” Jeffrey Kolnick, Associate Professor of History, Southwest Minnesota State University
A Minnesota History Reader
Two hundred years of Minnesota history spring to life in this lively and captivating collection of essays. The North Star State encompasses the wide range of Minnesota's unique past--from the Civil War to the World Wars, from frontier life to the age of technological innovation, from Dakota and Ojibwe history to the story of St. Paul's black sleeping-car porters, from lumber workers and truckers' strikes to the women's suffrage movement. In addition to investigative articles by the state's top historians, editor Anne Aby has assembled captivating first-person accounts from key moments in Minnesota history, including George Nelson's reminiscences of his years in the early nineteenth-century fur trade; the diary of Emily Goodridge Grey, an early African American settler; and Jasper N. Searles's letters home from the Battle of First Bull Run.
On March 7, 1986, the seven men and one woman of the Steger International Polar Expedition set out by dogsled to reach the North Pole. Their spectacular feat of daring, courage, and commitment was deemed by National Geographic to be a “landmark in polar exploration.” The melting of the polar ice cap makes it unlikely that anyone will repeat their achievement.
Migration, Communities, and Identities
The history of Norwegian settlement in the United States has often been told through the eyes of prominent men, while the women are imagined in the formof O. E. Rølvaag’s fictionalized heroine Beret Holm, who made the best of life on the frontier but whose gaze seemed ever fixed on her long-lost home. Thetrue picture is more complex. In an area spanning the Midwest and rural West and urban areas such as Seattle, Chicago, and Brooklyn, Norwegian Americanwomen found themselves in varied circumstances, ranging from factory worker to domestic, impoverished to leisured. Offering a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach, Norwegian American Women: Migration, Communities, and Identities considers the stories of this immigrant group through a gendered lens.Nine noted scholars situate these women in the history, literature, politics, and culture of both their ancestral home and the new land, interpreting their multifarious lives and the communities they helped build. pieces on wide-ranging topics by Betty A. Bergland, Laurann Gilbertson, Karen v. Hansen, Lori Ann Lahlum, Ann M. Legreid, Odd S. Lovoll, Elisabeth Lønnå, David C.Mauk, and Ingrid K. Urberg are bookended by Elizabeth Jameson’s lively foreword and Dina Tolfsby’s detailed bibliography, comprising a collection that enlightens at the same time that it inspires further investigations into the lives of women in Norwegian America.
Connecting Norway and the New Land
In the nineteenth century, the United States, “the land of newspapers,” was also fast becoming the land of immigrants, with increasing numbers of Norwegians arriving amid the European influx. Already Skandinaven, published out of Chicago, kept newcomers and their Old World friends and family informed of political, religious, and social matters discussed in burgeoning Norwegian American communities.From 1847 to today, more than 280 Norwegian-language papers were launched in cities ranging from Minneapolis to Fargo, Boston to Seattle. Some lasted just a few months; others continued for decades; all contributed to a developing Norwegian- American perspective. Odd Lovoll traces newspaper ventures both successful and short lived to offer a comprehensive look at America’s Norwegian-language press. Highlightingdiligent editors and analyzing topics of interest to readers through the years, Norwegian Newspapers in America demonstrates how newspapers pursued a twofold goal: forging a bridge to the homeland while nurturing cultural practices in the New World.