Moving Lives Minnesota
Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment
Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment

An Initiative by the PBS Stations OF Minnesota


Moving Lives Minnesota: Stories of Origin & Immigration (MLMN) explores the histories of the many communities who have moved through and to Minnesota.

MLMN brings Minnesotans together to recognize and honor our similar and different backgrounds and experiences. We hope through this statewide initiative by the PBS stations of Minnesota, story-sharing will build empathy and understanding across our communities.

Share Your Story Today
Native American scene

Activities Across

Dear Minnesota

Dear Minnesota is a multimedia letter-writing project designed for sharing stories of origin and immigration. Minnesotans are invited to write and submit letters, along with pictures, audio and video about their experiences moving through or to Minnesota.

The letters will be shared on online, contributing to our growing understanding of each other and our history.

Contact Us

Kevin Yang
Digital Engagement Specialist
[email protected]

Our Purpose

More than ever, we are reflecting and talking about our past and what matters to us. Our history is important and guiding us toward who we will become as Minnesotans.

Moving from isolation to togetherness.
Moving from indifference to empathy.
Moving from not knowing to deep understanding. We will be changed.

Moving Lives Minnesota: Stories of Origin & Immigration (MLMN) explores our cultural heritage and the histories of many communities who have called Minnesota home. MLMN brings us together to recognize and honor our similar and different backgrounds. This initiative by the PBS stations of Minnesota with its virtual and broadcast experiences can be transformative.

PBS Stations across Minnesota are producing programs, commissioning artists, contracting local media makers to lead letter-writing and story-sharing in their communities, and growing a statewide letter-writing project for all Minnesotans to engage.

portraits of 3 people in spotlights

Our Goal

MLMN is designed to deepen understanding of our state’s origins and immigration history, increase empathy by learning about each other’s heritage, backgrounds and experiences, and strengthen connections between communities throughout Minnesota.

History & Context

The area we know today as Minnesota is the center of Dakota origin stories. The Dakota and the Ojibwe were among the Native people forced from these ancestral lands.

For centuries, immigrants from around the world and within North America have been drawn here by the promise of opportunity or greater freedom. Others have come seeking refuge from famine, political repression, religious intolerance and war. 

French explorers were among the first to arrive, followed by large groups of settlers from Sweden, Ireland, Germany, England and other European countries. Enslaved and free African Americans moved north to Minnesota. Latinos migrated from Mexico and Texas. Refugees from Southeast Asia began to resettle here in the 1970s and later, East and West Africans began emigrating to Minnesota. Today, the majority of Minnesota’s immigrants arrive from Mexico, Somalia, India, Laos and Ethiopia.

Immigrants have always been vital to Minnesota’s economic, cultural and civic life. By creating a space for Minnesotans to examine and discuss tensions and disruption as a result of migration and resettlement, we will recognize our shared human experiences throughout Minnesota’s history, moving us toward solidarity.

MLMN explores Minnesota stories of origin, migration and immigration including refugees, asylees, adoptees and others, as well as their descendants.

homestead with horses and carts
group of early 1900's miners
early 1900's field workers
Immigrants have always been vital to
Minnesota’s economic, cultural and civic life.

In the late nineteenth century, nearly 40% of Minnesotans were either foreign-born or had at least one parent born outside of the United States. Today, while less than 10% of our state’s population are immigrants, most Minnesotans are only one or two generations away from a migration story.

How have our stories shaped and reshaped our history?

What can we learn from each other?

Share Your Story Today
See an example story
Ashleigh V. Rowe | Managing Director, Moving Lives Minnesota | [email protected]

Photo Credits: Children of Swedish Immigrant, Minnesota's Governor Adolph Eberhart, Minnesota Historical Society 1911; View of Mendota, where treaty negotiations began on July 29, 1851. Painting by Seth Eastman. Minnesota Historical Society C1848; "Coming to America" Monico S. Ancheta and family departing from Manila Airport, Manila, Philippines. Jocelyn Ancheta 1966; Essma Imady, Ifrah Mansour, and Leila Awadallah in Art Is... Awakening, Twin Cities PBS 2018; Swedish immigrant-founded enclave, Goodhue County, Minnesota Historical Society C1880; Immigrant miners in the pit of the Tower-Soudan mine, St. Louis County, Minnesota Historical Society 1890; Migrant beet field workers, Renville County, Minnesota Historical Society C1920