In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia
is an important part of the northern plains culture.
The website of GRHC has an attractive new design and format: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc.
I invite you to review the web pages.
The Institute for Regional Studies has published an outstanding
new book, Unwanted Bread: The Challenge of Farming and Ranching,
by Sheldon Green and James Coomber. In the Fargo Forum,
editor Jack Zaleski writes: The book is a remarkable compilation
of portraits and voices from the farm, ranch, ag research and agribusiness.
The books power comes from the insights of people who live
on the land. Each story helps complete the sometimes dark, panorama
of agriculture on the Northern Plains. This book is a catalogue
of the lives of real people as told by those people. The book
includes beautiful color photographs. The GRHC website for the book
The new book, Loons in the Kitchen: Humorous & Poignant
Short Stories from the Dakotas, by Tony Bender, Ashley, ND,
is a wonderful addition to our Dakota heritage. Allan Burke, editor
of the Emmons County Record writes: Tonys
stories, his original style, are a distinct reflection of life on
the prairie. Call him a humorist, a philosopher if you will. He
is both. Tony Bender is a powerful new voice of the Dakotas.
The GRHC website for the book is: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/tbender.html.
GRHC has published Not Until the Combine Is Paid and Other
Jokes: From the Oral Traditions of the Germans from Russia in the
Dakotas, by Ronald J. Vossler, illustrated by his son, Josh
Vossler, a UND graduate student. In the Introduction, Vossler writes:
This collection has been culled from twenty years of my own
personal journals and small pocket notebooks. My hope is that readers
will not only laugh, or a least smile, at some of these, but that
they also come away from this small collection with a better sense
of Germans from Russia, and their descendants. Someone once told
me that members of this ethnic group had both a hard nature, and
a strong faith in God. To those two attributes, I hope readers of
this collection might add one other attribute - the strength of
GRHC has published, Gazing Forward, Glancing Back, Remembering
Always: Memories Retold and Relived by the Community of Streeter,
North Dakota by Sandi Dewald. She shares a wonderful story
of special memories from many longtime Streeter families.
The Old Post Office Museum, Devils Lake, ND, features the exhibit
Germans from Russia Wedding Traditions: From the Steppe of
South Russia & Bessarabia to the Dakota Prairies from
June 17 to September 15, 2001. The Grand Opening Program
takes place on Sunday, June 17, at St. Josephs Parish Hall,
Devils Lake. Speakers are Jay Gage, Kempf Family exhibits curator,
and Michael M. Miller, Bibliographer.
The award-winning documentary videotapes The Germans from
Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie (1999),
and Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia
(2000), continue to be well received throughout North America. Schmeckfest
was shown in March on many PBS stations. To secure the videotapes,
contact Prairie Public at 1-800-359-6900. The videotapes include
20-minute bonus video footage, not shown in the one-hour documentary.
See many interesting pages about the documentary at the Prairie
Public Broadcasting website: http://www.prairiepublic.org.
Because of the interest developed from the Schmeckfest
documentary, additional cookbooks including German-Russian recipes
have been added to the GRHC web at the section, Order,
and then Cookbooks.
For further information about donations to the collection, including
family histories, outreach programs, videotape documentaries, Journey
to the Homeland Tour (May 21-June 3, 2002) for Odessa, Ukraine and
Stuttgart, Germany; German-Russian cookbooks; GRHCs publications
including recent books, Ron Vosslers new book; Gazing
Forward...; The Germans by the Black Sea Between Bug
and Dniester Rivers, Marienberg: Fate of a Village,
and The Dark Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival; and
German-Russian heritage, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries,
PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu;
GRHC website: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc).