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.
In September, I joined Prairie Public Television videographers
and Dr. Timothy Kloberdanz traveling to the central Dakotas for
filming and interviews of the wrought-iron crosses. We visited locations
at Fort Yates, Hague, Lefor, Richardton, Selfridge and Zeeland in
North Dakota and Timber Lake and Glencross in South Dakota. Dr.
Kloberdanz of the NDSU Department of Anthropology/Sociology, works
with PPTV in the production of the documentary on the iron crosses
expected to be featured on PPTV in the fall of 2001. In July, PPTV
videographers were in Saskatchewan filming for the documentary.
In late September, I had the pleasure to join the Cultural Heritage
Tour: Austria, Germany & Switzerland, sponsored by Prairie Public
Broadcasting and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation.
Then I spent days in Alsace, France, and Baden, Germany, where many
of my ancestors once lived before immigrating to South Russia (today
near Odessa, Ukraine). It was a pleasure to see longtime colleague
Professor Jean Schweitzer of Strasbourg, France. He has visited
North Dakota in 1989 and 1990. Prairie Public has announced the
Cultural Heritage Tour: Capitols of Eastern Europe for September
2 to October , 2001. For further information, contact Prairie Public
at 1-800-359-6900 or view their website: http://www.prairiepublic.org.
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection has published "Fond
252: Odessa Office for Foreign Settlers in Southern Russia (1806,
1807, 1814-1834, 1843, 1850) Guide" compiled by Lilia Belousova,
State Archives, Odessa, Ukraine. Not only does the new publication
help interested researchers locate valuable files but also the detailed
descriptions of each of the file's contents will give the reader
a better sense of the lives and events that concerned the German
settlers in South Russia (today southern Ukraine). For further information
go to the web page: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/general/fond252.html.
The Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU Libraries, Fargo, has
available the "North Dakota Biography Index" (NDBI), the best place
to begin for information about North Dakotans, both living and deceased.
Searching the index will enable you to quickly determine which publication
to consult for biographical information. The total number of biographical
sketches indexed is currently more than 138,000 found in some 540
publications. For further information about the "North Dakota Biography
Index," go the Institute website: http://dp3.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndbi/,
or contact the Institute staff: Tel: 1-701-231-8914; E-mail: email@example.com.
The NDSU Library, Fargo, features, the exhibit, "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 Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Endowment
has been established for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.
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.
Because of more interest developed from the "Schmeckfest" documentary,
additional cookbooks including German-Russian recipes have been
added to the GRHC web at the section, "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) for Odessa, Ukraine
and Stuttgart, Germany; North Dakota Biography Index"; German-Russian
cookbooks; GRHC's publications including recent books, "Fond 252,"
"Marienberg: Fate of a Village," "Open Wound," and "The Dark Abyss
of Exile: A Story of Survival"; and German-Russian heritage, contact
Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599
(Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu; GRHC