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International Falls is the center of a string of survivor communities. International Falls proper is located along the border of the former U.S. state of Minnesota and former Canadian province of Ontario, and extends along the highways in both directions beyond that. The communities were discovered by a group of civilian explorers from Superior exploring near Duluth in late November, 2009.
Network television and radio, a loss of electricity and subsequent failure of many electrical devices provided the only news to local residents of the seriousness of the events of September 25, 1983.
The International Falls civic government worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen to establish order in the U.S. side of the region right after Doomsday; similar efforts on the Canadian side of the border were centered in nearby Fort Frances. International Falls scouts eventually met up with their counterparts in Red Lake, Minnesota in October; scouts from both cities went south to Duluth, returning with news of the destruction of Duluth and Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the probably destruction of the rest of the United States. Other scouts, sent northwards out of Fort Frances, met up with other scouts from the towns of Kenora and Dryden, after moving through other settlements west of the dual town as far as Baudette-Rainy River.
Over the next few years the International Falls, Red Lake, Kenora, Dryden, and Fort Frances governments were able to keep order in their respective regions, but at times barely, as raids from survivalists and criminals affected the cities' already meager food supplies. International Falls and Fort Frances signed a joint trade and defense agreement (acting as agents of their respective governments) in 1986. Red Lake, Kenora, and Dryden signed the agreement two months later, and most of the towns and villages west of Fort Frances followed their lead.
Conflict over food and medical supplies, and defense of U.S. 71 and State Road 1 between Red Lake and International Falls, led to Red Lake breaking off relations with the International Falls/Fort Frances alliance in late 1986. Red Lake set up its own alliance with nearby Bemidji in 1987.
Even as farming stabilized and predicted high radiation in the area failed to materialize, all six towns had to deal with a small, but significant population drain, by locals who heard rumors of a Michigan state government in the upper peninsula of the state, and of a more stable government in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The first contact with outsiders came in an encounter with scouts from the newly declared nation of Assinboia (centered in former Manitoba) in 1993, outside of former Karlstad. Transportation issues made regular trade and travel between the two regions impractical, but Assinboia and the International Falls/Fort Frances alliance agreed to maintain good relations.
The same issues applied to the region's relations with Thunder Bay. The alliance's initial good relations with the city-state turned cool after refugees came into the region in 1994, telling of the fascist government that had taken control and turned its minority citizens into slaves. The alliance decided to denounce the Thunder Bay regimes' stance and conditionally suspend relations with Thunder Bay.
The International Falls/Fort Frances alliance was formalized into the Minnesota/Ontario Mutual Defense Treaty Organization (MOMDTO) in 1995. Kenora and Dryden both agreed to sign on as well, and many of the villages and hamlets in the region, though not as many as in 1986, followed.
The late 1990s were highlighted by momentum towards a unification of the "MOM" Group (as the MOMDTO was nicknamed locally) with Red Lake and Bemidji into a reborn Minnesota state government. Proponents, whom included many older town leaders from both regions, were never able to convince voters of the benefits of such a union. Sentimentalism for former Minnesota - and the U.S. - didn't convince voters in either region to approve the union. They however did approve proposals aimed at strengthening trade and cultural ties between the two regions.
International Falls also sent troops to support Red Lake during a conflict that town had with warriors from the Republic of Lakotah, which had years before taken over the Dakotas. Negotiators were able to work out peace between the two sides and issued an invitation to the warriors for diplomatic relations with their country; the warriors, seemingly interested only in leaving the area, declined the offer (which still stands).
On January 1, 2001, International Falls and Red Lake celebrated the official beginning of the 21st century, and the new millennium, by activating power plants rebuilt with the help of engineers from Assiniboia. This gesture of goodwill was much appreciated by both Red Lake and Bemidji, and hope of a renewed alliance emerged.
In 2003, another vote was held, and both of the communities agreed to sign onto the MOM group, though they reserved the right to leave whenever they chose to do so. However, the movement stopped short of becoming a reborn state government, like some had wanted. Other settlements that had originally declined to join the MOM, some having joined since 1995, others in or after 2003, followed the lead of the two towns. Even today, the area is a patchwork, with most settlements part of the MOM, but a fair number still existing outside of it.
A group of private explorers left to investigate central and southern Minnesota in 2005, and came back in October 2006 with news of the existence of a theocratic Christian survivor community in Olmstead County, just outside Rochester.
Private explorers from Superior arrived on the outskirts of International Falls on November 26, 2009. The MOMDTO appointed Red Lake attorney Martin Collyer as the region's ambassador, tasked with returning with the Superior group to their nation, where he would seek to establish relations with Superior and other survivor states in the region.
Thus far, official relations have been established with Superior, Wisconsin, and prior to its annexation by the Canadian government, Thunder Bay. Efforts to establish formal ties with the survivor community of Olmstead have stalled but diplomats hope relations can be established by the end of 2011.
With the "American Spring" impacting across the continent, there is debate in the area, given the dual nature of the alliance.
As with the former United States and state of Minnesota, power is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The executive branch is headed by a governor, elected to unlimited terms every four years. The single-house legislature consists of 20 wards, all with one representative apiece; ties in the legislature are broken by the Lieutenant Governor. The judicial branch begins with district court, then an appeals court and finally the supreme court.
Law Enforcement and Civil Defense
Law enforcement falls to the International Falls Police Department, which is responsible for law enforcement for the city and its surrounding environs.
The International Falls National Guard acts as the military for the region and is organized like the pre-Doomsday U.S. Army. Its commanding officers, which have been designated as generals, are answerable to the governor.
The economy is mostly barter, with most products coming from the immediate region. Recently, some products from Texas and Superior have come into the region as luxuries, though they would have been considered to be cheap and trashy before the events of Doomsday.
People are generally conservative or libertarian in their political views, more conservative regarding social norms. Many are also at least nominally Christian, and most churches are associated with one of three different Lutheran denominations.
Ice hockey is a very popular pastime in the region; the local amateur league is said followed as closely by locals as they would have followed the professional Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota North Stars sports teams pre-Doomsday. Football and baseball are also played, but are not considered to be as popular as hockey.
Rumor has it that Bemidji may soon be the location of a NAHL and/or a NHL team.
International Falls and the MOMDTO are in process of formalizing relations with Superior. The MOMDTO sent an ambassador, Martin Collyer, to Superior in January 2010. So far Collyer has met with his counterparts from all other nations at embassies in Superior.
Relations with Superior and Wisconsin are described as "polite" with some frustration that the relationship has not been as profitable for the MOMDTO as expected. Therefore, International Falls began reaching out to the other large known survivor states in its region: Assiniboia, Lakotah, Lincoln, and the Quad Cities Alliance. Through its association with Lakotah and Assiniboia, the MOMDTO became aware of the North American Union and of the formerly provisional United States government out west, and leaders are quietly exploring future political ties with the post-DD U.S., in whatever form it ultimately takes.
Some locals have began referring to the region not as International Falls or as "Mom-Ditto" (a less favored nickname for the region), but as Minnesota - as in the former U.S. state. This is considered a politically charged statement on the Canadian side of the community, and is sometimes met with hostility. Others have to use terms associated with the wooded nature of the region.
Tourists from Superior, Assiniboia, and Lincoln have been coming in recent years to enjoy outdoor activities at Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake.