The only holiday we really celebrated was Christmas

Ms. Minkel talks about celebrating Christmas with her family growing up.

Audio Chapters

DL: Do you remember how your family celebrated the holidays when you were younger? What your grandma did?

RM: The only holiday we really celebrated was Christmas. But we never had anything, so my grandma and grandpa could never buy us anything, because they would just get enough money to feed us, and that was about it. But we would have a tree at the hall, or the church, and then we would get gifts through some foundation or something, I’m sure. We always had a tree and a bunch of gifts under there. But otherwise I can’t recall ever getting – you know, Christmas was Christmas and we were lucky to get anything. But it was still a great holiday for us. It wasn’t the gifts anyway, I guess, it was the tree. Grandma always had a big tree. We always cut our own.

DL: And decorated it?

RM: Yes.

DL: What do you remember her decorating it with?

RM: Oh, we had bulbs, and then we’d make little rings that attached together, and then we’d put that on there. I don’t ever remember seeing any gifts under it. But that wasn’t – it was more or less the spirit of Christmas. And Grandma, she – you know what, I never knew what Grandma was until I was, oh I bet 13 or 14. She was always Kushi, everybody called her Grandma Kushi. Nobody ever said Grandma.

DL: You called her Kushi. Is that a Dakota word?

RM: Yes. That’s “grandma” in Dakota. Unkana, that’s Grandpa. But we never called them Grandma and Grandpa; they were always Kushi and Unkana, that’s what they were.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Ruby Minkel Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Morton, Lower Sioux Community, MN | Thursday, February 24, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. The only holiday we really celebrated was Christmas May 21, 2024.

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