This week Joy and I are met with Kevin Wulf in the “Community Relations and Education” department at Riverview, LLP to discuss the Apostolic family history of Riverview and also to better understand Riverview’s role in the history of local Mexican migration. It was a great meeting, but I think both Joy and I walked away anxious to start storyboarding. We have been gathering information from all over and now it is time to review that information and decide what we are going to do with it and look at what information is still lacking.
Our plan has been to look at both migration stories and do a side by side profile. We continue to process how this will look and function and what specifically we want to showcase. I feel that it is important to acknowledge that in comparing the stories and cultures of these two groups we are not equating their experiences. I think to do so would be dishonoring to both sides. In each migration history there have been hardships and success, however, I believe it is fair to say that the Apostolics have never had to endure the prejudice and discrimination felt by people of Mexican heritage in the United States. It is an experience I would not want to belittle or deemphasize in any way. With that being said… I think back to our meeting with the University’s archivist. He said, “We’re (Minnesotans) people that work hard and honor our families .” This quote really stood out to me this week as I contemplated boh this week’s reading, “Challenges and Strengths of Immigrant Latino Families in the Rural Midwest” and our Riverview interview.
In the reading, authors Raffaelli and Wiley assessed the challenges and strengths experienced by Latin American immigrant mothers in rural Illinois communities. I came across this study for another research project but I thought parts of it are helpful in our understanding Mexican migration in our rural area. For me, the most interesting findings was that the interviewees identified “personal support networks (family warmth and cohesion, unity in the Latino community, and support provided by network members) ” as one of their greatest assets and resources in the Latino community. Also high on the assets and resources list was “personal or internal resources (strong work ethic and the ability to overcome challenges).”
How do these findings fit into our “Minnesota moto”?
1 Gross, Stephen, interview by Amy Schmidgall, & Joy Stephansen. The Archives (September 06, 2017).
2 Rffaelli, Marcela, and Angela R. Wiley. “Challenges and Strengths of Immigrant Latino Families in the Rural Midwest.” Journal of Family Issues, 2012: 347-372.
Well — you end with a good question for sure. Overall, the focus on the family can be very fruitful it would seem — but perhaps to the point of ‘leveling’ the experiences, i.e., finding a fundamentally human common ground. I say that because I have read similar ‘takes’ on Mexican and Central American migration to the American South (where the traditional populations also claim to be “all about extended family”). I only point this out because it seems to be the sort of thing that an awareness of should be taken into account. Nice work.