To go to the hospital we had to be really, really sick.: Becoming Minnesotan

Anna Amaya in her new home, Moorhead, Minnesota, July 2, 2000.
  • Name - Anna Amaya
  • Age at interview - 53
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - Second Generation American
  • Date of Interview - 01.01.2010
  • Cecilia Lugo, Anna Amaya’s mother, working in a sugar beet field near Glyndon.
    Elijio Amaya Jr. and Armando Amaya in Lockney, TX at the cotton gin, August 1973

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    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Traditions & Values: What makes up “culture”?

    Background Information

    Many Mexicans and Mexican Americans originally came to Minnesota as braceros. These migrant farm workers travelled through Texas and into other states to work planting, harvesting, and processing crops. Whole families would travel and work together through the entire season. Most of these workers returned to Texas at the end of the season. However, some workers and families stayed over the winter in the rural communities where they worked, and others moved to St. Paul for the winter. Many of the families struggled to make ends meet, and had to forego luxuries like continuous schooling or medical care.

    To learn more about Latino history and culture, visit our Latino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Anna Amaya (AA)

    Interviewer: Abner Arauza (AbA)

    AA: I remember when we lived out on the farm, there was a couple times that my brother would be running all over and if he got hurt… I remember one time my mom said that my older brother was chopping wood and when he chopped the wood, he ran back so when the wood flew up, he ran back and that wood came and hit him in the head. And it just sunk his skull in. He ran in and his head was bleeding and everything. My mom goes, “Let’s take him to the hospital.” The closest hospital was Ada, either Ada or Moorhead, because we lived out on the farm. My dad said, “No.” He grabbed some pinzas [pliers] and he just lifted up his skull.

    AbA: Oh!

    AA: I mean, that’s the way it was. And he just, “OK. Dame alcohol,” and just put a rag around it, and that was it.

    AbA: Wow.

    AA: Uh-huh.

    AbA: So just cleaned it out with alcohol and put a bandage on it?

    AA: Uh-huh. To go to the hospital we, literally, had to be really, really sick.

    AbA: That would have been sick.

    AA: Back in the days, it was like, “Oh, drink this tea or esta [unclear], or take some aspirins.”


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2161