The Minnesota Historical Society recently launched a wonderfully informative website featuring oral histories of the state’s recent immigrants. The site, “Becoming Minnesotan,” features excerpts from interviews with members of the Asian-Indian, Hmong, Khmer, Tibetan and Somali communities.
The site also includes added information about the narrators, their communities and the issue of immigration as well as links to resources for students and teachers.
Particularly nifty is an interactive immigration time line that explains significant events in the histories of these communities.
Offering hospitality and support to immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves and their families is a key component of Catholic social teaching. This website offers a great opportunity to learn about these more recent arrivals to our state and dispel misconceptions and stereotypes fed by our unfamiliarity.
Parents should consider looking at the website with their children and talking about their own family histories and how their ancestors first came to America.
Families might also consider putting together some of their own oral histories. A series of podcasts accessible on the website offers advice ranging from getting started and preparing for interviews to writing questions and conducting the interviews.