Immigration

Scandinavian Traditions | Music and Tradition

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Traditional music and dance is one way that North Dakotans celebrate their Scandinavian heritage and find part of their own identity in their ethnic background. “No tree grows strong by cutting off its roots.” Understanding where we come from helps us know who we are. North Dakota’s largest demographic is people of Scandinavian descent. Many people in North Dakota are aware of their roots, know who they are, and take an active role in keeping those traditions alive.

Elisa Korenne: Mail Order Bride

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Singer songwriter Elisa Korenne of New York Mills, MN writes original songs about historical people and events of the northern plains. One such figure is Rachel Calof. She traveled from Russia to North Dakota in 1894 as an immigrant homesteader and a mail order bride. Her story is a riveting and candid look at the hardships of life on the prairie.

Elisa Korenne: Who was I

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Susan Frenier Brown was a mixed-blood Dakota Indian, and although she was surrounded by influential people who had an impact on politics in the mid and late 1800’s, her own identity and story has been somewhat lost to history. Minnesota musician Elisa Korenne explores this shadowy figure in her original song "Who Was I?"

Prairie Churches | Count Berthold von Imhoff (Part 1 of 2)

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Learn about a German immigrant artist, Berthold von Imhof, who began in eastern Pennsylvania, then moved to Saskatchewan, his base for work that spread to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Prairie Churches | Count Berthold von Imhoff (Part 2 of 2)

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Learn about a Roman Catholic, Berthold von Imhoff who painted for churches of many denominations, often donating his work and making each unique. 

Prairie Churches | Buildings are Total Sensory Experiences

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Hear how NDSU Architectural Historian Ronald L. M. Ramsay explains that some prairie churches are lean and spare, some ornate, but all are influenced by their immigrant congregations’ old country traditions. The story of St. Joachim Catholic Church, La Broquerie, Manitoba, illustrates the point.

Prairie Churches | Hope and Prayer

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Learn about the Viking Lutheran Church in Maddock, North Dakota. Dedicated in 1909 it was at that time the largest Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church between the Twin Cities and Seattle.

Lubin Photos | History Detectives

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History Detectives examines century old photos that may have captured the dawn of American movie-making--nearly 3000 miles from Hollywood. One of the books holds many Western scenes, including a cowboy character captioned, "Herbert Lubin." Other captions refer to the Siegmund Lubin Studios. Who was Siegmund Lubin? And was Herbie Lubin a movie star? History Detective Tukufu Zuberi goes on an excursion through an early movie mogul’s dramatic rise and fall.

A Photographer’s View of Iceland | Emotional Ties to Iceland and North Dakota

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The study of North Dakota’s Icelandic poet K. N. Julius led Wayne Gudmundson to travel to Iceland and find his roots as well. Travel to Iceland, where the beautiful landscape and friendly people have inspired countless artists, including Wayne Gudmundson, to capture the sights and explore its volcanic majesty.

Prairie Churches | Immigrant Church Artist

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Berthold von Imhoff graced more than 90 churches with his art, but St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Reading, Pennsylvania, may be his finest work. The prairie is dotted with unique and picturesque churches, many of which are in danger of being lost forever. Prairie Public’s documentary Prairie Churches preserves images of this priceless heritage and tells the story of Count Berthold von Imhoff, a painter whose artwork lends a unique beauty to 18 churches. Often the first community structure built, these landmarks represent the dreams of settlers who sought to forge future for their families. Prairie Churches explores the role churches played in sustaining the history and culture of the vanishing rural landscape. 

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