Thursday, February 11, 2016

Prayers on the Prairie: Asian-Pacific Minnesotan Religious Practices

Minnesota is home to over 250,000 Asian-Pacific Americans, including the largest Tibetan, Karen, and urban Hmong communities in the United States, according to the 2010 US Census. In May 2009, the Minnesota State Legislature asked the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) to collaboratively create new programs that celebrate and preserve the artistic, historical, and cultural heritages of these Asian-Pacific communities. The Prayers on the Prairie: Asian-Pacific Minnesotan Religious Practices documentary grew out of this partnership.

The stories and histories of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans are woven into the story and history of Minnesota. Many Asian-Pacific Minnesotans utilize strong Christian traditions and worship as church communities; however, others practice different religious traditions that are not always understood by their fellow Minnesotans.

Prayers on the Prairie is an attempt at bridging this gap in knowledge and understanding. This project, created in partnership with the Humanities Center and CAPM, features an educational documentary video, informational booklet, and educator resources that examine five distinct religious traditions—Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, Chinese Ancestral Worship, Hmong Shamanism, and Islam—that are thriving among Minnesota’s Asian American communities. The documentary introduces and draws on the experience of practitioners and scholars who describe how differing religious communities are able to thrive, practice, and live out their religious tenets in the land of blue skies, prairie lands, and 10,000 lakes.

For more information about Prayers on the Prairie visit the Minnesota Humanities Center's Absent Narrative Resource Collection.

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