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When I began my fieldwork training among the Paiute Indians in Yerington Nevada, I discovered that the supposedly "exotic" Paiute reservation wasn't half as exotic as my hometown, Youngstown. Trickster tells the story.  Here's an introduction, and some web sites. You can click on "Youngstown today" for my take on the current situation.

 

Some facts and websites:

 

Youngstown was named for John Young, who, in 1797, bought about 15,000 acres from the US Government through the Connecticut Western Reserve Land Company. Within a few decades, both migrant and immigrant workers and their families flocked to the new town to work on the short-lived Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal, on the railroads, and in industries associated first with iron production and then with steel. The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor houses an exhibit, By the Sweat of Their Brow: Forging the Steel Valley, which presents the history and impact of steel on the community.

 

A 2007 US Census estimates the population at 73,818  (http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2007-04-39.csv), a drop of nearly 100,000 since its peak in 1930. In that year, nearly 20% of the residents were foreign born; today almost none are. The closure of the steel mills, beginning with Black Monday in 1977, accounts for most of the decline; subsequently, Youngstown's national reputation (until recently) of being a crime-ridden Mafia-run town contributed to its difficulties in attracting new ventures.

 

The "Acknowledgements" section of Trickster lists several books about Youngstown from diverse points of view. For more facts about Youngstown and its current activities, see http://www.cityofyoungstownoh.org/index.aspx or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youngstown,_Ohio and for current local news, see http://www.vindy.com/.

 

You can also find an impressive site that presents first-person accounts of local people, representing various ethnic and other groups, and containing stories, letters, documents, photographs, and other materials at http://steelvalleyvoices.ysu.edu/about/. Steel Valley Voices is coordinated by Dr. Sherry Linkon, and is a collaboration among the Center for Working-Class Studies, the University Archives of Maag Library, the Center for Applied History, and the History Department at Youngstown State University, and its stories are particularly interesting for anthropologists, historians and those interested in labor and cultural studies.