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Kazakhnomad’s Blog: A Westerner’s View of Kazakhstan

Kiehle muralsExcept for those of my students whose parents or grandparents attended the place where I teach which ended in 1966, few know about the early background of this institution which started in 1906 as an agricultural high school. I would venture to add that most of these same students and many faculty know very little if anything about the Old Treaty Crossing, only 13 miles away just across the border of our county.

This was not always so. In his autobiography, Conrad Selvig includes a photo and describes the Huot Park monument that commemorates the treaty signed by the Chippewa Indians in 1855. And, Old Treaty Crossing is featured most prominently in the top right side of the historical 16 x 22 foot mural located at the front of the campus’ auditorium.

The murals in our auditorium are artwork. Art is exactly what they were meant to be. History shows that all of us, regardless of our origins, have many things in our past of which we are not proud. Most people claim that the study of history is to teach us not to repeat our mistakes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA However, the murals are not meant to be a lesson in history, but rather they are an irreplaceable artistic expression of the Red River Valley’s agricultural heritage.

Because of the passage of time (and as an introduction about farming!), I believe it is worth giving some background to these murals. The murals do not represent a precise work of history – they do not depict the Indian wars for instance – but they are art, or if you like, poetry emphasizing, in part, new beginnings. The left mural represents Scandinavian arrival in North America, fur trapping, and cooperation with the Native Americans. The right hand panel depicts the events at Old Treaty Crossing, and then subsequent development of agriculture, last of these, a (perhaps little noticed) farmer on a tractor with a few other farmers.

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