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
as an important part of the northern plains culture.
The website of GRHC has an attractive new design and format: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc.
May I invite you to review the web pages.
An excellent new book on the Dakotas has been published: Dakota
Circle: Excursions on the True Plains, by Tom Isern, a history
professor at North Dakota State University, Fargo. John E. Miller
of South Dakota State University writes: Confident in the
regional future, historian and traveler Tom Isern is free to explore
the delights of regional life from fiberglass pheasants to
Montana caviar and to invite readers of Dakota Circle
along for some excursions on the true plains. The book informs us
about our regional culture and does it in an engaging way. It is
This book includes a story of the Christkindl and Belzenickel traditions
of the Germans from Russia. Ernie Zahn, Velva, ND, is featured.
Isern writes: Ernie was born in 1915 to a German-Russian farm
family in Dickey County, ND, the twelfth of thirteen children, and
his father died when he was just three. So he and his brothers did
all sorts of things to make a little money and carry the family
through. The book is available at the GRHC website.
Prairie Public Broadcasting is sponsoring the Cultural Heritage
Tour: Capitols of Eastern Europe for September 26 - October
7, 2001, including Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Leipzig,
and Berlin. For further information, visit Prairie Publics
website at http://www.prairiepublic.org
or call 1-800-359-6900. The tour is sponsored by Prairie Public
and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation.
The GRHC has recently 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.
Sandi Dewald states in the introduction: This book is a tribute
and thank you to all the people who have shared their ideas, insight
and love with us. Without the help of each and every one, this book
would not be possible. The stories and advice in this book are true-life
experiences with the credit given to the individual whenever possible.
The NDSU Library, Fargo, features, the exhibit until June 1, 2001,
Germans from Russia Wedding Traditions: From the Steppe of
South Russia & Bessarabia to the Dakota Prairies at the
new Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room. The exhibit will
be on display at the Old Post Office Museum, Devils Lake, ND, 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. To
secure the videotapes, contact Prairie Public at 1-800-359-6900.
The videotapes can also be secured by going to this GRHC website
at Videotape Documentary & Other Projects. The videotapes
include 20 minutes of 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 22 to June 4, 2001 and May 21-June 3,
2002) for Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany; German-Russian
cookbooks; GRHCs publications including recent books, Gazing
Forward...; Couldnt Be Better: The Russian Farm
Community Project, 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, and the new book, Dakota Circle,
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).