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Great Partnerships: MNHS and tpt!

Posted byAlison Aten on 15 Nov 2013 | Tagged as: Asian American, Civil War, History, Immigration, Videos

Starting at 7 pm this Sunday,  November 19th on tpt’s Minnesota Channel,
a night of great programming featuring MNHS co-productions with tpt!

tpt logo MNHS

7:00 pm Broadcast premiere of Minnesota in the ’70s

7:30 pm Special rebroadcast of Emmy-winning film, Asian Flavors

8:00 pm Broadcast premier of Minnesota & the Civil War Showcase

Where to Watch tpt MN:
Over the Air-Channel 2-2
Comcast-Channel 202 (Mpls)/Channel 243 (St. Paul)
Mediacom- Channel 102
Midcontinent Comm- Channel 15
DirectTV-Channel 17-2

“Asian Flavors” wins Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award

Posted byAlison Aten on 01 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Arts, Asian American, Awards, Cooking, Food, History, Immigration, MHS press

Regional Emmy® Award Courtesy of Twin Cities Public Television Raghavan Iyer with Regional Emmy® Award Asian Flavors documentary team

Our Asian Flavors documentary, co-produced with tptMN, won the 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) in the Cultural Documentary category.

Inspired by the book Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, this thirty-minute documentary celebrates Asian immigrants who have left an indelible and flavorful mark on Minnesota’s culinary, cultural, and economic history.

Congratulations to a winning team!

The Asian Flavors team:

Daniel Pierce Bergin, Producer/Director
Angela Barrett, Production Assistant
Fanique Weeks-Kelley, Production Manager
Jim Kron, Director of Photography
Jerry Lakso, Online Editor
Bob Tracy, Executive in Charge
Pamela McClanahan, Project Consultant
Phyllis Louise Harris, Co-writer/Project Consultant
Raghavan Iyer, Presenter
Shari Lamke, Senior Director-Supervising Producer
Lucy Swift, Vice President, MN Productions & Partnerships
Terry O’Reilly, Chief Content Officer

Minneapolis Somali Independence Day Festival June 30

Posted byAlison Aten on 25 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: Event, Immigration, Uncategorized

Celebrating Somali Independence Day (from Somalis in Minnesota, photo by Bill Jolitz) Dancing to a popular Somali traditional beat, young Somalis celebrate Independence Day (from Somalis in Minnesota, photo by Bill Jolitz)

You know it’s summer in the Twin Cities when there is at least one street festival somewhere in town. Head on over to Lake Street between Blaisdell and Pleasant in Minneapolis to experience the Somali Independence Day Festival this Sunday, June 30, from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Here is Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of Somalis in Minnesota, on Somali Independence Day:

“Other than the religious holidays, Somalis gather for one major event: Somali Independence Day. The date celebrates Somalia’s independence from colonial British and Italian rule and the founding of the Republic of Somalia in 1960. Though Djibouti commemorates the event on May 27, northern Somalia on June 26, and southern Somalia on July 1, in Minnesota Somalis from Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and beyond join others from the mainland to celebrate on the weekends between June 20 and July 1. They gather together, dance, and compete in soccer games to honor the memory of their motherland and her independence.

“On June 26, 1960, the first Somali flag was hoisted to float and flap in the air. Then on July 1, it was raised in the south of Somalia, and Somalis everywhere sang, danced, and composed ceremonial poems for the occasion.”

Asian Flavors Documentary

Posted byAlison Aten on 13 May 2013 | Tagged as: Asian American, Cooking, History, Immigration, Videos

Asian Flavors Asian Flavors

Food, tradition, and culture make a home. Inspired by the book Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, a new thirty minute documentary co-produced by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships (tpt MN) celebrates Asian immigrants who have left an indelible and flavorful mark on Minnesota’s culinary, cultural, and economic history.

It’s hard to believe there was a time when you couldn’t go out for Chinese food in Minnesota, but there was—until brothers and entrepreneurs Woo Yee Sing and Woo Du Sing opened their Canton restaurant (later called “John’s Place”) in Minneapolis in 1883.

Culinary educator, chef, author, consultant and co-founder with Phyllis Louise Harris of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes, Ltd., Raghavan Iyer narrates this documentary highlighting the exciting history and array of Asian food in Minnesota.

Profiles and interviews with chefs, restaurant owners, business owners, and culinary professionals include Supenn Harrison, founder of Sawatdee; Reiko Weston of Fuji Ya; Mhonpaj Lee and her mother May Yia Lee, operators of Mhonpaj’s Garden; Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola; Thom Pham; and Harry Singh.

Food connects homes left behind with where we live today. Asian Flavors is the story of adventurous people who made the arduous journey halfway around the world to live in Minnesota, fleeing oppression and persecution or in search of jobs and education, and who created new homes through food. Many cooks sought not only to make a living but also to preserve the memory of their homeland through the dishes set before family and patrons alike, to the great benefit of diners in the Twin Cities metro area.

Asian flavors have changed Minnesota’s tastes, just as the many, wide-ranging Asian cultural groups have reshaped the state’s history, culture, and communities.

The tpt broadcast schedule is as follows:

Premiere: Sunday May 26, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. on tpt’s Minnesota Channel (tpt MN)

Encore Broadcasts: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 1:00 AM, 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM on tpt MN

About tpt’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships

TPT’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships (tpt MN) is the local production division of Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul.  TPT MN partners with local non-profit, educational, governmental, and public service organizations to reach broader audiences throughout Minnesota. These partnership programs educate and inspire Minnesotans on important issues using tpt’s distinctive storytelling skills, television and multimedia resources.  Since its inception in 2003, tpt MN has created nearly 700 television programs and over 200 multimedia projects in partnership with over 235 non-profit and public service organizations. To view past tpt productions, visit www.mnvideovault.org.

To learn more about tpt MN, connect with them on Twitter and Facebook, or visit their website at www.tptMN.org.

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Ka Vang’s “The Good Hmong Girl Eats Raw Laab”

Posted byAlison Aten on 28 Feb 2013 | Tagged as: Asian American, Authors, Immigration, Literary, Videos

Ka Vang The Good Hmong Girl Eats Raw Laab Ka Vang is a poet, spoken word artist, playwright, and community activist. We are pleased to release her provocative essay The Good Hmong Girl Eats Raw Laab, available as an e-book short for just 99 cents. The e-short is one of our new MHS Express titles.

The piece examines the social and cultural implications of “a good Hmong girl” by addressing these issues: “What does it mean to be a good Hmong girl? Who defines the good Hmong girl? Who practices it and enforces the rules? What are the rewards and consequences for the Hmong girl and her family if she is not a good Hmong girl? Would Hmong culture be diminished if there were no more good Hmong girls left?”

Ka has been busy! She was recently featured on MNOriginal, Twin Cities Public Television’s award-winning weekly arts series celebrating Minnesota’s creative community, and her new book, Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon, produced with the Minnesota Humanities Council and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, is now available.

Somalis in Minnesota by Ahmed Ismail Yusuf

Posted byAlison Aten on 08 Jan 2013 | Tagged as: Book Excerpt, Event, History, Immigration

SOMALIS_cover for poster.inddAhmed Yusuf We are pleased to announce the newest book in our People of Minnesota series, Somalis in Minnesota by Ahmed Ismail Yusuf.

Please join us on Thursday January 24th from 6-8 pm at the African Development Center (1931 South 5th Street, Minneapolis) for a book talk and signing with Ahmed. Refreshments from Afro Deli, a Somali business profiled in the book will be provided.  The ADC’s art gallery will also be open during the event.

From the book:

“In the early 1990s, many Minnesota citizens noticed a trickle of conspicuously dressed Africans, especially women in colorful attire, some veiled and some with simple headscarves, arriving at schools, grocery stores, supermarkets, and shopping centers, sharing both resources and space. As their numbers began to grow, questions about them arose: Who are these people? Where are they from? To what religious faith do they belong?

The basic answers came quickly. They are from an East African tropical nation called Somalia, the people are called Somalis, their language is Somali, and their distinctive women’s attire is in accordance with their faith, Islam. Then new questions replaced the old: What was their past like? What brought them to the United States? Why did Somalis choose Minnesota, an icy, arctic-like state with its acclimatized Scandinavian and German populations? These three questions, in various tones, have persisted tenaciously. This book will attempt to answer them, briefly touching on Somalis’ cultural affiliation, economic aspirations, political participation, religious faith, and educational opportunities.”

Asian Flavors Profile: Scratch Food Truck

Posted byAlison Aten on 08 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Asian American, Food, Immigration

Chicken Adobo from Asian Flavors Scratch Food Truck

Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota Since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer is a culinary tour of the cuisines of Asia as they have appeared on Minnesota tables over the decades, the distinctive flavors of faraway homes with a midwestern twist.

The book includes interviews with chefs, farmers, and food business owners, and of course treasured recipes. Here’s an excerpt from the book and a recipe from Geoff King of Scratch Food Truck.  King was a sous chef at the short-lived Filipino restaurant Subo, in Minneapolis.

“The sous chef at Subo also had a Filipino background and did not want his favorite food to die with the restaurant. So in August 2011, Geoff King opened Scratch, one of the growing number of food trucks in the Twin Cities offering a variety of street food. Trained in classic cooking at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, Geoff wanted to find a way to offer Minnesotans some of the wonderful food he grew up with—his mom’s home cooking. He and wife Aimee developed a small menu of lunch items drawing on Filipino classics and incorporating some of the ingredients from the islands. Pork egg rolls, tofu lettuce wraps, coconut braised chicken, pork and shrimp sandwiches, and sesame beef sandwiches fill the short menu with foods that celebrate the islands and offer just a taste of Geoff’s favorite cooking. The tofu lettuce wraps won Geoff an award for best Food Truck Food in 2011, even though his was the newest food truck in the competition.”

Chicken Adobo/Adobong Manok

Geoff King

Serves 4–6

Marinade:

1 1/2 cups sugar cane vinegar

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup soy sauce

10 cloves garlic, peeled

3 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 whole star anise

*****

1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken, quartered and cut into pieces

cooked rice

1. In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.

2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the chicken and marinade over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer on low until the chicken is tender and sauce is reduced by about half, 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaves and star anise, and serve hot with rice.

Somali Soccer Tournament-Displaying Athleticism with a Purpose

Posted byreyescarlosa on 30 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: African American, Event, Immigration, Sports

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Somali American Independence Day Sports Tournament

The 8th Annual Somali American Independence Day Tournament began this past weekend at St. Paul Central High School and will come to a close when a champion is crowned on July 4th. The tournament celebrates both the Independence Day of Somalia, which is July 1st, and the Independence Day of the United States, the Somali community’s new home.

We are not coming here to play the best players in the world or the best in the United States, we are coming here to play with people that have a common identity with us. We are Somalia, and we are American now,” says Guled Dalmar, 27, of Dallas, TX, in an interview by Andy Gerder in the Pioneer Press. The tournament not only unites Somali refugees from all over the country to share the sport they all love, but it also creates an open forum for the players and spectators to share their stories of hardship and triumph with their fellow countrymen.

As Guled Dalmar mentions, a shared Somali American identity unites the participants. But as we discover through Minnesota Historical Society’s Becoming Minnesotan: Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories  Project, the topic of identity is difficult for all recent immigrants, including the Somali population.

Throughout this series of wonderful interviews, the issues of cultural preservation and identity, assimilation into American culture, and the difficulties navigating the transition are especially difficult given the deep traditions within Somali culture.  For example, Maryan Del, a participant in the oral histories project, discusses the importance of the Hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by devout Muslim women for the sake of modesty, and tells how women make a decision whether or not to wear it.

To hear more Somali oral histories and learn more about the Somali community in the Twin Cities, follow this link and click “Somali Stories.”

Norwegian American Women

Posted byAlison Aten on 11 May 2011 | Tagged as: Book Excerpt, Event, Immigration, MHS press

Norwegian community picnic, WI, ca. 1873. Used with permission from Wisconsin Historical SocietyNorwegian American Women: Migration, Communities, and Identities, a new book edited by Betty A. Bergland and Lori Ann Lahlum, explores the vital role of women in the creation of Norwegian American communities–from farm to factory and as caregivers, educators, and writers.

Meet Betty and Lori at The Best of Times Bookstore in Red Wing this Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. as they share their research into the lives of women in Norwegian America.

They will also be the keynote speakers at Norwegian Heritage Day at St. Olaf this Friday May 13th.

Below is an excerpt from the chapter “Women, Work, and Community in Rural Norwegian America, 1840-1920″ by Lori Ann Lahlum.

In addition to their work in the Ladies Aid, Norwegian American women participated in other community activities, and in many ways gender framed the nature of their participation. Indeed, it  was often women’s domestic skills that made community activities and events possible. When Norwegian Americans gathered socially to celebrate events, especially weddings, women  cooked, cleaned, brewed beer, and sewed in preparation for the event. In times like these, the exchange of labor and the sharing of resources became important. Weddings also represent efforts to retain  Norwegian cultural traditions as well as the acculturation of Norwegian Americans. Some Norwegian immigrants held to the tradition of hosting large wedding parties like those celebrated by well-to-do farmers in Norway. Other couples opted for small weddings at home with few guests or a ceremony before a justice of the peace.

The large weddings depended on the abilities of women. In 1880, Johanna Wroolie married Chris Weholt in southern Minnesota. As in Norway, the wedding was announced three times in church. Wroolie’s mother baked, cooked, and brewed beer, and guests danced “all night.” When Ane Vatne married near Cooperstown, North Dakota, in 1889, more than a hundred “Norwegians” attended the celebration. Vatne served veal for dinner and cold cuts for supper. Although the meal consisted of a variety of foods, they were foods unfamiliar to her family in Norway and Vatne did not know how to describe them. She also emphasized that guests feasted on grapes between dinner and supper, again, something not common in rural, Norwegian, peasant communities. A few years later, Vatne’s brother, Ole Lima, married. Vatne did the cooking and baking, and the meal consisted largely of American foods. According to Martha Lima (Ole’s bride), “To be sure we had neither ‘lefse’ nor ‘gome,’ but many fine cakes, fruit, and baked spare ribs, and mutton, and many other things.” At the time, Martha and Ole lived with the Vatnes, and Vatne also sewed Martha’s dress. Christine Dahl estimated that 350 people attended her daughter Martha’s 1880 wedding dinner in Texas, many of them staying for festivities in the evening and the following day. In Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, wedding guests attended a morning ceremony followed by dinner and lunch. Whether a wedding included a dance varied, but when the celebration did so, guests frequently “danced till morning.” In some Norwegian American communities, hosts served alcohol to guests, adding to the festivities, and interestingly, in North Dakota this custom continued in some locales even after the state became dry in 1890.

. . .

Norwegian Americans also took part in more organized social activities. In 1884, Scandinavians in the Waco, Texas, area celebrated the new year with a masquerade ball. Because it was a leap year, the young women paid for the tickets. Such festivities were not common in all Norwegian American communities because some Norwegian immigrants objected to such behavior. Dancing was a popular but also a contested activity in Norwegian American communities. Members of the High Prairie Lutheran Church (LaMoure County, North Dakota), for example, opposed drinking, dancing, and gambling. Particularly pious Norwegian Americans objected to dancing, placing it in the same category as drinking excessively. Some ministers used the pulpit to preach against the twin evils of drink and dance. Thurine Oleson recalled that in one Wisconsin community, the church actually split over these issues. Those who objected to the minister’s position on drinking and dancing left and formed a new congregation so close that members of the two congregations could “hear each other singing.”

–excerpt from Norwegian American Women (source notes omitted), published by Minnesota Historical Society Press

A Refugee’s Powerful Story

Posted byregana on 03 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Asian American, History, Immigration

Born into WarThe current issue of Asian American Press features an article about a fine and important Minnesota book: Born into War: One Man’s Journey from War-Torn Vietnam to Make a Home in Minnesota, by Connie Fortin as told by Trong Nguyen.

Several years ago in a Hamel, Minnesota, restaurant, Nguyen asked a customer whom he barely knew to take on the task of turning his memories into a book—and Connie Fortin agreed, much to her own surprise. The resulting story features drama, pain, suspense, hard work, luck, love, and success, all told in Trong’s voice and illustrated with family photos from Vietnam and America. It also offers readers a chance to share the experiences of a refugee, to marvel at his accomplishments, and to follow his return to Vietnam to seek out the remains of his father, who was killed by the Viet Cong in a jungle camp.

The book, published by North Star Press of St. Cloud, is available online and at the Minnesota History Center Museum Store.

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