July 17, 2020 — Identifying the ethnic backgrounds of many of the state’s first Ukrainians has been confusing for researchers, because Eastern Ukrainians arriving from Russian areas were sometimes listed by census takers as Russians. Western Ukrainians, on the other hand, had lived in Hungary and Austria, which led to a faulty notion that there were large colonies of German speaking Austrians living in western and central North Dakota, rather than Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians. In turn, Austria had referred to its Ukrainians as Ruthenians – a term which also found its way into the early census – and historians have found the sorting-out process to be quite a challenge.

“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast, or buy the Dakota Datebook book at shopprairiepublic.org.

Load comments