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.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has announced the premiere airing
early in March, 2000, of the new documentary, "Schmeckfest: Food
Traditions of the Germans from Russia." Date and time will be announced
The Germans from Russia foodways documentary is part of Prairie
Public's Heritage Series. In 1999, PPTV produced the award-winning
program, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children
of the Prairie."
In September, 1999, at St. Louis Park, MN, Evelyn Ziegler Tonra
was filmed by Prairie Public Television for the Germans from Russia
foodways videotape documentary. Evelyn has been a longtime member
of the Minnesota North Star Chapter. She has been an active participant
and mentor in the German-Russian women's group in the Twin Cities
area, known as the "Verrueckte Frauen." A Beulah, ND, native, she
has lived in many places, but remains connected to her German-Russian
ancestry by her creative writing, ethnic cooking skills and as a
talented woodworker. Her lovely poem, "Dakota Ballad" appears at
the GRHC website at the section "Poems & Songs." We are pleased
to have Evelyn as a colleague and friend of GRHC.
On Saturday, March 4, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Scottsdale
Public Library Theater (lower level), 3839 Civic Center Blvd., Scottsdale,
AZ, the new documentary, "Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans
from Russia," will premiere. Local contact person is Larry Haas,
Sun City (Tel: 623-583-2040; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The program is sponsored by the Arizona Sun Chapter of the American
Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Prairie Public Broadcasting,
Fargo, and the NDSU Libraries, Fargo.
The North Dakota Picnic will be on Sunday, March 5, from 10 am
to 3 pm at Pioneer Park, Main Street, Mesa, Arizona. The NDSU Libraries
will sponsor information tables at the picnic where books and the
Germans from Russia videotapes will be available.
The "Teachers Guide" to the documentary, "The Germans from Russia,"
is available by viewing at Prairie Public's website:
guide is valuable for use with students and at home, including classroom
activities and website activities.
"Tracing Your Dakota Roots: A Guide to Genealogical Research in
the Dakotas" by Jo Ann Winistorfer & Cathy Langemo has recently
been published. I highly recommend the book for various ethnic groups
in the Dakotas. Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, native of Rugby, ND, writes:
"The writers have teamed together to use their many years of professional
writing, editing, research, publishing, art and graphics experiences
to produce a real gem for those whose roots are in the Dakotas.
From cover to cover, researchers or just browsers of all ages will
find eye-catching tidbits, paragraphs, or in-depth pages of useful
Dakota history, maps, time-lines, and ethnic group history and settlement
areas." Ron Vossler, UND, Grand Forks, Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo,
and I assisted with the section in this book on the Germans from
Russia. For a detailed review, go to http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/winistorfer.html.
GRHC has published the new book, "Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp."
In a book review, Fr. Jonathan Fischer, St. Paul, MN, a native of
Strasburg, ND, writes: "Fr. Kopp's description of his family's trip
to America and their getting situated in North Dakota was most revealing.
He not only mentions sod houses but describes how they cut and laid
the sod and how they formed the roofs. Fr. Kopp details the effort
of having to 'homestead' on this vast prairie, how families had
to live isolated and apart from each other instead of in a friendly
'Dorf' or village, as was the case in the old country. His description
of the long abandoned harvesting technique of 'heading' reminded
me of one of my first farm jobs as a young boy. I too had to drive
the `header box' and worry about its proper positions alongside
the header machine."
For further information about donation of family histories to
the collection, German-Russian heritage and culture, new books,
"Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp" & "Tracing Your Dakota Roots,"
"Teachers Guide" to the Germans from Russia video documentary, Schmeckfest
videotape, March events in Arizona, Journey to the Homeland tours
to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany for June 6-19, 2000 &
May, 2001, 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).