This is the story of Karen Munson, an American woman originally from Norway. It will be your story during this activity.

My name is Karen Munson. I live in Minnesota, U.S.A., with my husband Matthew and our children Peter, 12; Ole, 10; Nels, 8; Laura, 6 and Ina. She's 3. Both Matthew and I are now 34 years old. We arrived in Minnesota from Norway when Peter and Ole were little-9 years ago. We joined a large farming community here, built our pioneer home and farm and worked hard growing wheat, barley, oats and beans. We were hopeful that life for our family would be good here in America. Then, America was the land of promise. Now, we're starting to feel that our future doesn't look bright.

Let me explain.

Our farm isn't large enough to support our family. We have 160 acres here (64 hectares), but we just can't make a decent living, no matter how hard we work. Matthew has had to borrow money from the bank to buy seed. When it comes time to sell the grain, the selling price is too low. We just can't get out of debt. And the interest rates are too high. Last year we had drought to worry about, too. Grain can't grow without rain. Matthew wants our children to have a better life, and so do I. We don't think we should stay here.

The school is fine, and our community here is friendly. We enjoy visiting our neighbours and going to our Lutheran church together. But we just can't earn enough to survive. And land here costs too much. We can't afford to buy any. What choices do we have? Should we sell our farm?

Last week Matthew was in the general store. He saw a wonderful poster showing the Canadian West. There's lots of free land there and jobs logging in the woods, building railway lines and even building homes. We know there are many Norwegian communities in Canada's West. My sister and her husband moved to Outlook, Saskatchewan, last year. Maybe we should move our family north, too.

I wonder?