Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories

India Association of Minnesota Oral History Project (Phase 3)


DATE: 1998 – 2000

INTERVIEWERS: Diana Kenney and Polly Sonifer

The third phase of the India Association of Minnesota Oral History Project continues an oral history research project initiated by the India Association of Minnesota to preserve the history of immigrants of Asian Indian heritage.

For Phase 3, nine immigrants of Asian Indian descent were interviewed. These interviews tell a somewhat different story than previous ones. The narrators represent some of the disparate elements within the Indian community. While many Indians first come to the United States as college students and then accept employment, others come through sponsorship, adoption, or for short-term employment. Many come to the Twin Cities, but some choose to settle in outstate areas. Most come from India, but others come from other areas of the former British Empire. All the narrators share a common Indian ancestry and stories of adjustment to Western culture.

The goal of this joint oral history project between the India Association of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society was to record the experiences of Asian Indian immigrants in Minnesota. Each immigrant briefly describes his or her family of origin, the social context in which he or she was raised and the decision to immigrate to the United States. The interviews focus heavily on values and attitudes, comparing and contrasting the "Indian way" with the "American way," especially as they relate to family, marriage, parenting, work and community life. Narrators also speak about their association with Indian social groups or religious organizations in the United States.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 17 hours 39 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 379 pages