Somali Poetry in Minnesota

Somali poetry is a unique art form with an ancient history and a living legacy. Since 1991, it has connected Somali and Somali American refugees living in the United States with those who remain in their East African homeland. In the twenty-first century, Somali Minnesotans have kept their poetic traditions alive by forming arts groups, organizing public performances in the Twin Cities, and encouraging young people to become poets.

Worthwhile 4-H Club members, 1949.

Worthwhile 4-H Club members

The cast of the one-act play Henry’s Mail-Order Wife, 1949: Glen Torkelson, Ron Peterson, Toni Tofely, Phyllis Ristau, Alvin Torbi, and Leo Wold (at front). All were members of the Worthwile 4-H Club.

Color image of loom woven garters that originated in the area around Selkirk, Manitoba, and are possibly Ojibwe, Métis, or Cree, ca. 1820s.

Loom-woven bead work and yarn garters

Loom woven garters that originated in the area around Selkirk, Manitoba, and are possibly Ojibwe, Métis, or Cree, ca. 1820s.

Color image of a French-Canadian finger-woven wool sash in ceinture flechee or “arrow sash" pattern, ca. 1750–1800.

Finger-woven sash

French-Canadian finger-woven wool sash in ceinture flechee or “arrow sash" pattern, ca. 1750–1800. This type of sash is associated with the Pembina, North Dakota, and L'Assomption, Quebec, area and is possibly Métis.

Color image of a Quilled coat, ca. 1851.

Quilled coat

This style of coat was popular with the Métis of the Red River Valley. This particular coat belonged to Alexander Ramsey and may have been brought back by him from an 1851 treaty signing. The coat is possibly Cree, Métis, or Ojibwe in origin.

Métis dance at Devil’s Lake, Dakota Territory, ca. 1870. Drawing by Corporal Louis Voelkerer, Company A, Thirty-first United States Infantry.

Métis dance, Devil’s Lake, Dakota Territory

Métis dance at Devil’s Lake, Dakota Territory, ca. 1870. Drawing by Corporal Louis Voelkerer, Company A, Thirty-first United States Infantry.

Color image of Shaman (Jennifer Weir) and Chwibari Dancer (Kaori Kenmatsu) in the Mu Performing Arts production of <em>Walleye Kid</em>, written by R. A. Shiomi and Sundraya Kase, directed by Rick Shiomi, 1998. Photographed by Charissa Uemara.

Mu Performing Arts production of "Walleye Kid"

Shaman (Jennifer Weir) and Chwibari Dancer (Kaori Kenmatsu) in the Mu Performing Arts production of Walleye Kid, written by R. A. Shiomi and Sundraya Kase, directed by Rick Shiomi, 1998. Photographed by Charissa Uemara.

Color image of Gabe (Michael Sung-Ho) and Billy (Eric Sharp) in the Mu Performing Arts production of Middle Brother, written by Eric Sharp and directed by Robert Rosen, 2014. Michal Daniel, photographer.

Mu Performing Arts production of "Middle Brother"

Gabe (Michael Sung-Ho) and Billy (Eric Sharp) in the Mu Performing Arts production of Middle Brother, written by Eric Sharp and directed by Robert Rosen, 2014. Photograph by Michal Daniel.

Colorized postcard of Minneopa Falls, Minnesota State Park, Mankato, Minnesota, ca. 1915.

Minneopa Falls postcard

Postcard of Minneopa Falls, Minnesota State Park, Mankato, Minnesota, ca. 1915.

Colorized postcard depicting the Pillsbury milling complex, including the Pillsbury "A" Mill, ca. 1920.

Pillsbury milling complex

Postcard depicting the Pillsbury milling complex, including the Pillsbury "A" Mill, ca. 1920.

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