Welcoming Week is a global campaign that connects neighbors of all backgrounds in their communities, and we are excited to participate. Here on the Iron Range, a community rich in immigration history, we celebrate the values that unite us as immigrants and non-immigrants.
Like many Rangers, my great grandparents were immigrants to the area–specifically, Finnish immigrants.
Tens of thousands of immigrants moved to the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Finland, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and many other European countries as well as Chinese immigrant men who ran restaurants and laundry services (Bahnemann, ND). Prior to this influx, the Ojibwe people resided on “the 130-mile earthen iron formation in the north Missabe, or “Big Man Hills,” or “sleeping giant” (Brown, 2013).
The ancestral stories of living in mining towns are not unlike the experience of current day immigrants. Finnish folks lived in Finnish neighborhoods, Italians lived in Italian neighborhoods… and over these last three generations we became what we are today. As the face of our nation continues to evolve, what will our region look like tomorrow?
Sept 8-17 we will be blogging about the role of civic engagement, connected communities, economic development, education, equitable access, leadership and kindness in building a more inclusive and welcoming region. Data shows our population is aging and declining. But history shows us that this country, this region, continue to develop. We on the Iron Range are survivors. Let’s explore the components that make us welcoming–and will help us flourish into the future.
Bahnemann, G. (n.d.). Mining on the iron range. Mining on the Iron Range | Minnesota Digital Library. https://mndigital.org/projects/primary-source-sets/mining-iron-range
Brown, A. J. (2013, September 16). Mesabi range: Land of the sleeping giant. The Daily Yonder. https://dailyyonder.com/missabe-land-sleeping-giant/2013/09/16/