From the colourful supermercados of St Paul's West Side to the rural communities of the Red River Valley, Mexican Americans have left an indelible mark on Minnesota's landscape. As one of the state's fastest-growing ethnic groups, Mexican Americans have been part of Minnesota's history since the early years of the last century. Author Dionicio Valdes discusses the struggles that these immigrants -- particularly migrant workers -- have faced in making Minnesota their home. Railroad work, meat-packing, and sugarbeet production all offered jobs for Mexicans who first came to the region t in search of a better life and permanent homes, but to work. Mexican Americans have sustained a wide range of community, religious, and cultural institutions and introduced traditional foods and conjunto music to their new communities. Valdes highlights an unprecedented feature of the last twentieth century, the growth of barrios and colonias in communities outside the metropolitan area.
Dionicio Valdes teaches history at Michigan State University.