Spirit Car

Spirit Car

Spirit Car


Spirit Car is a memoir that blends fiction and carefully researched history. This book retraces NCR-SARE grantee, Diane Wilson, family’s Dakota heritage across five generations.

Growing up in the 1950s in suburban Minneapolis, NCR-SARE grantee, Diane Wilson, had a family like everybody else’s. Her Swedish American father was a salesman at Sears and her mother drove her brothers to baseball practice and went to parent-teacher conferences. But in her thirties, Diane began to wonder why her mother didn’t speak of her past. So she traveled to South Dakota and Nebraska, searching out records of her relatives through six generations, hungering to know their stories. She began to write a haunting account of the lives of her Dakota Indian family, based on research, to recreate their oral history that was lost, or repressed, or simply set aside as gritty issues of survival demanded attention. 

Spirit Car is an exquisite counterpoint of memoir and carefully researched fiction, a remarkable narrative that ties modern Minnesotans to the trauma of the Dakota War. Wilson found her family’s love and humor—and she discovered just how deeply our identities are shaped by the forces of history.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) FNC10-803, Mobile Farmers Markets .

Product specs
Year: 2006
Length: 224 Pages
Author(s): Diane Wilson
Location: Minnesota | North Central
How to order

Only available online

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.