Del Valle a Wilmar: Settling Out of the Migrant Stream in a Rural Minnesota Community


Susan Green

Document Id: WP-19

The phenomenon of Chicanos/Latinos settling out of the migrant stream in Minnesota is not a new one. St. Paul's West Side and Minneapolis' North Side were built by Chicanos/Mexicanos who settled out during the off-season or came to find jobs in the rail or meatpacking industries. Although the process is not new, the places migrants now settle are. The fastest growing Chicano/ Latino population in Minnesota is no longer in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; it is in rural Minnesota. Willmar Minnesota is now the home to the third largest Chicano/Latino community in Minnesota. The Chicano/Latino population has grown 750% over the past 10 years. The vast majority of these new residents are migrants who have put down roots in Willmar and in the larger community of Kandiyohi County, located in West Central Minnesota. Ninety percent of Willmar's Chicano/Latino population consists of Tejanos, or of people who migrated directly from Texas. The majority of residents came from the Rio Grand Valley. Green conducts a case study on Willmar, Wisconsin, in order to better understand the settlement patterns of Chicano/Latino migrants. The author discusses major economic and social conditions that encouraged this settlement. Also addressed are changes that this settlement necessitated as well as the issues it raised and continues to raise.

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