Ox Cart Angel’s main character, Claire Dumont, comes from the town of
, now part of Pembina . In 1862 when the novel takes place, however, North Dakota was part of North Dakota Dakota Territory, which took up South and , as well as much of what are now the states of North Dakota and Montana . The Wyoming Dakota Territory was formed in 1861, only a year before the events in the novel take place, so for most of Claire’s life, Pembina was part of the . It’s a bit confusing, I know. However, despite which country, territory or state Pembina used to belong to ( Minnesota Territory once even thought it belonged to them in the early 1800s) it is still in the same place it always was; hugging the Canada Red River and snug right up against the present-day border on its eastern side, and almost touching Minnesota on its northern side. In fact, the Canada Pembina State Museum has an observation tower from which you can see . Canada
It’s a small town, its population under 600 in 2010, but what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in its importance to our country’s history. I hope to make it up there this next summer. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find it. If I get lost on the way, I can always listen for and follow the ghostly squeaking of ox cart wheels that once plied the area. Surely they can still be heard if you listen hard enough.
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