In Touch with Prairie Living

January 2011

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

As I write this January column, I want to express my appreciation for the kind words shared in person and with email messages regarding the 2010 Heritage Profile Honor Award. I received it at the 22nd Annual Governor’s Conference on North Dakota History in October 2010 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.

Also receiving the 2010 Heritage Profile Award was colleague Dr. Tom Isern, NDSU distinguished professor of history, who was nominated by Prairie Public Broadcasting for the historical contributions of his Plains Folk column on the radio. My nomination was from the State Historical Society of North Dakota for my work preserving the German-Russian culture and heritage in North Dakota and the Northern Plains.

The Heritage Profile Honor Award is given in recognition of those individuals who have made a lasting or significant contribution in preserving, interpreting, promoting, researching, or otherwise extending the knowledge and understanding of the history of North Dakota.

Marie Delizonna, San Jose, Calif., a member of the 2006 Journey to the Homeland Tour, writes: “Congratulations! A great honor that is justly deserved. Thanks for all you do in promoting not just Germans from Russia but preserving the history of North Dakota.”

Marge Jergenetz Stout, Livermore, Calif., a member of the 1996 Journey to the Homeland tour shares: “I’m sure your parents are smiling down on you. This is so well earned, you’ve done so much for all of our German people that came from Russia, through so many struggles, sacrificing and suffering. Your legacy will live forever.”

Merv Weiss of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, writes: “A well-deserved recognition that this has been, and continues to be, your life’s work.”

We are pleased to announce the second Dakota Memories Heritage Tour for September 15-18, 2011. Experience the rich history of North Dakota and take a three-day bus tour through some of the state’s most treasured sites. The tour will focus on German-Russian sites in south-central North Dakota as well as the importance of heritage tourism in general. The Dakota Memories Heritage Tour mission is to organize educational tours in North Dakota in order to provide participants with direct cultural heritage and learning experiences.

The first bus tour in September 2009 was very popular. The 2011 tour includes these visits to south central North Dakota: National Buffalo Museum, Jamestown; NDSU Central Grasslands Research Center, Streeter; Logan County Historical Society Museum, Napoleon; Welk Homestead, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Little German House and Blueroom, Strasburg; St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Cemetery, Hague; McIntosh County Historical Society Museum, Ashley; St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, rural Zeeland and the Lehr Tabernacle. The tour also includes musical entertainment, dinner and presentation by Ronald J. Vossler at the Wishek Civic Center on September 17.

For further information and to register for the Dakota Memories Heritage Tour, contact Acacia Jonas Stuckle at 701-231-6596 or The webpage is

Shirley Wegner Nitschke, Jamestown, N.D., who grew up on a farm near Alfred, N.D., has written her second novel, “HEIMAT II: Steppe of Russia.” Part One covers Life in Siberia, and Part Two shares Life in America. “HEIMAT II” shares the story about Carolyn’s parents, Heidi and Heinrich, who were abducted by the Russians in the middle of the night. Carolyn had been warned by her parents, if she awoke to a disturbance during the night, to take her sister, Christine and hide in the tall cupboard upstairs. This new book is available from GRHC.

Limited reservations are available for the 17th Journey to the Homeland Tour is scheduled for May 18-28, 2011 for Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany.

For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, the Friends of the GRHC, the Dakota Memories Heritage Tour (September 15-18, 2011), the Journey to the Homeland Tour and donations to the GRHC (such as family histories), contact Michael M. Miller, The Libraries, NDSU Dept. #2080, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 (Telephone: 701-231-8416 ; Email:; the GRHC website:

January 2011 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller