I’m a settler American of Norwegian ancestry. My family left Norway five generations ago in search of land. These were impoverished but proud peasant farmers rooted in the soil of their homeland who saw no future in an overpopulated country scattered with rocks unfit for their age-old agrarian culture.
My family built a prosperous new life in the Red River Valley, a region cradled between North Dakota and Minnesota, filled with the most fertile soil in the world. I grew up where my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Olson, homesteaded in 1877. It took us five generations to admit we live on stolen land.
When the Treaty of Old Crossing was signed in 1863, it forced the Ojibwe and Dakota peoples from their ancestral homelands where my family later settled. The Natives that signed the treaty never intended to sell what was, even then, an exceptionally bountiful land filled with buffalo and other game upon which they depended.