The giant Missabe visits the Daily Yonder

yondercake275Today I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be writing occasional contributions to The Daily Yonder, an online publication dedicated to rural improvement. Published by the Kentucky-based Center for Rural Strategies, The Daily Yonder explores life and policy in the many different kinds of non-metro areas found in the United States.

My first article is entitled “Missabe Range: Land of the Sleeping Giant,” and I’ll be writing occasionally from here on out. As a longtime follower and fan of the Yonder, this is an honor, albeit one that is only best understood by regional writers, thinkers and nerds (ie: “my kind of people.”).

Here’s a taste from my first story in the Daily Yonder:

mine2The story of northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range may be neatly summarized as a human struggle of digging holes in rare earth with increasingly complicated shovels. The shovels still turn, now pitting the region deep into a political and cultural rut, and perhaps one day back out again. But Mesabi, or Missabe, or other variations of the name for this place all refer to the area’s role as a sleeping giant, one that could be awoken.

The long version of the story scrolls back billions of years to the explosion of a distant star, casting out the iron that formed in our nascent planet, a substantial portion of which settled at what would become a rare three-way watershed dead center of the North American continent in northern Minnesota. This unique formation of land, its surrounding waters, timbers and animals have attracted human settlement since people first flowed south over the continent as the glaciers receded north 10,000 years ago.

It’s actually a good companion piece to the major piece I published over the weekend “No hope for the Iron Range, but for the hope we create.” Between the two, you have a pretty good impression of where I think the state of the Range is today.


  1. Good for you! I will be bookmarking a new website!

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