Iron Range

©John Krumm

John Doberstein says he cringes when the conversation becomes "What's better?  Good mining jobs or tourism jobs paying minimum wage?"

In fact, the Duluth for Clean Water organizer has gone on the record more than once saying he rejects the ideas that it's "jobs v. the environment" or "the Iron Range v. the Cities."

Doberstein isn't afraid of tough conversations - he just wants them to start - and focus on - what brings people together, and one of those things, he believes, are good-paying jobs that allow people to live, work and raise families in the Northland.

This summer, Minnesota Reads is bringing you books about the Northland, from the Northland and by Northland authors.  The Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) were established in 1988 to recognize books that "substantially represent northeastern Minnesota in the areas of history, culture, heritage, or lifestyle."  Our guest is Victoria Richards whose first novel, Once Were Mountains (Beaver's Pond Press), won the NEMBA award in the Fiction category

Vance Gellert

 One new show up this summer at UMD's Tweed Museum of Art, Iron Country: Photographs of People and Landscapes of the Iron Range is the work of storyteller Vance Gellert. A St. Paul based photographer, Gellert began his journey north in 2013, learning about the range communities with his camera in hand.  This project shares the face of a community, the rich mining history and the people in Northern Minnesota.  His work is rich, insightful and beautiful.

Jack Norton

 

It wasn't until he'd had years of telling stories about his childhood and being met with laughter and disbelief that Gary Barfknecht began to suspect his upbringing on the Iron Range wasn't typical of Minnesota kids who grew up elsewhere. 

Author and Hibbing native Pat McGauley's work as an historian at the Discovery Center years ago led to (so far) nine books about the fictional Moran family - and there's another book on the way.

"I got to know the family so well, I had to keep going with them," says McGauley.

Transguyjay/Flickr

Doug Luthanen grew up in Ely, the town "at the end of the road."

He says that isolation, combined with a different kind of mining than that in the rest of the Range, created a unique culture of mines, miners and regular folks.