Spirit Car

Spirit Car

Journey to A Dakota Past

Book - 2006
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One day I realized that my entire back seat was filled with relatives who wondered why I wasn't paying more attention to their part of the family story. . . . Sooner or later they all come up to the front seat and whisper stories in my ear. Growing up in the 1950s in suburban Minneapolis, Diane Wilson had a family like everybody else's. Her Swedish American father was a salesman at Sears and her mother drove her brothers to baseball practice and went to parent-teacher conferences. But in her thirties, Diane began to wonder why her mother didn't speak of her past. So she traveled to South Dakota and Nebraska, searching out records of her relatives through six generations, hungering to know their stories. She began to write a haunting account of the lives of her Dakota Indian family, based on research, to recreate their oral history that was lost, or repressed, or simply set aside as gritty issues of survival demanded attention. Spirit Car is an exquisite counterpoint of memoir and carefully researched fiction, a remarkable narrative that ties modern Minnesotans to the trauma of the Dakota War. Wilson found her family's love and humor--and she discovered just how deeply our identities are shaped by the forces of history.
Publisher: St. Paul, MN :, Borealis Books,, [2006]
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9780873515702
Branch Call Number: 978.0049752 WI
Characteristics: xii, 218 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

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HCL_staff_reviews Sep 21, 2017

Intrigued by the story that her mother spent two years at an Indian boarding school without seeing her parents, Diane Wilson searches for clues to her family's Dakota past. While growing up in Golden Valley, Wilson identified herself as part Swedish like her Lutheran father. She searches records and explores places in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska where her ancestors had lived, and finds connections and stories that help heal the hidden past. — Linda B., Southdale Library

Dec 10, 2012

Plymouth Reads 2013.

Feb 11, 2011

Part memoir and part history, Wilson looks for her mother's family, one not talked about by her mother and siblings while Wilson was growing up.

My own family genealogy has a similar?though not quite so painful?past. It took my own mother many years to talk about her early life. I thought Wilson's book might help me write this story. She uses both context and fact to tell it; it's something genealogists sometimes need to do. She did it well, although I found parts repetitive.


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