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Old 12-26-2008, 03:53 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,193 times
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I've been reading on the history of the ethnic groups that arose out of the Germanic tribes whose decedents have settled in Minnesota. It has been very interesting to me ever since I did a report on Nordic Vikings in college (and very confusing learning the difference between West Germans, North Germans, Frisians, and Franks etc) . Now more than ever, I want to understand the culture so that I can be able to relate to the people who will be my neighbors, co-workers and new friends etc. Moving to Minnesota will be a far cry from my SE Texan/French Creole/African-American/Native-American background. I know there is rich Native american history in Minnesota but I don't think the Cherokee lived that far north. Correct me if I'm wrong. After doing some research on the culture of Minnesotans, I'm assuming that the days of my eating gumbo, chili and every part of the pig is officially over. (I stopped eating that way years ago anyway for obvious health reasons but I miss it every now and then). All my friends are telling me I will have to learn how to polka dance. I'm not sure if they are teasing me or if that's the truth. I love learning about the origins of cultures and of different ethnic groups so please...any information on the food, customs, celebrations, music etc would be great. I am so excited about moving...I just don't want to be culturally ignorant.

Last edited by texantennessean; 12-26-2008 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
256 posts, read 628,192 times
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In Minnesota, many are of German and Scandinavian descent, but also African American and Latin American. No, you don't need to learn how to polka, unless you want to go to a German festival like Oktoberfest in New Ulm or something, and even then, you don't need to know how.
When you move up here and are interested in cultures, you should try taking a weekend trip in an area of greater MN, which is pretty much anywhere other than the Twin Cities. In Western Minnesota, like in Kandiyohi and Yellow Medicine Counties, there is a rich history about the Indian Wars and all kinds of interesting things. A lot of the Native Americans were Dakota, I think the Sioux (but I could be wrong) and Ojibwe. Granite Falls and Mankato have great pow wows. Pipestone has a great Native American museum and play in the summer, and there is a Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant in Walnut Grove. New Ulm is a great place to learn about German culture. Duluth is a gorgeous place. So many great places to visit.
Hot dishes are pretty popular. SPAM is from Minnesota. Hockey is practically a religion. The majority of people in this state seem to hate the movie FARGO. There is nothing better than a nice warm bowl of chili on a cold winter day. A lot of great festivals during all seasons in the Twin Cities. Lefse is a holiday staple, lutefisk not so much. I believe it has a large amount of theatre and such, second only to New York City. Summer tends to be at the lake or up at the cabin, and you either love everything about winter or are dreaming of someplace warm in January. Snowmobiles also from Minnesota.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there...
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I am surprised that you are doing research to move here. Just move here. I have not seen a "polka" since I was a kid. That was in the years of the disco. We eat pork and chili and I am sure you can find some gumbo at one of our fine restaurants. We have a very large variety of ethnic restaurants. I would stop doing research if I were you. Preconceived notions could actually do more harm than good.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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I agree, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Minnesota has the largest urban population of American Indians in the country, but American Indians here are mostly Ojibwa or Sioux. The only people who polka are collecting on Social Security. I think Fargo is the Coen Bros. second-best film, but it should have never left the state.
I have always thought that Minnesota is no less culturally unique than New Orleans, we just haven't based a tourist industry on it. For this reason, it is particularly hard to explain the culture here. It comes from a very northern European mindset. It is family-centric and yields a system of clean, progressive politics. On the whole, Minnesota is more conservative than its voting record would indicate, but that is paired with a live-and-let-live attitude. We are kinda reclusive, industrious and care about our communities and education. There is a sense that we all must live together, and it is reflected in our social structure and lack of ostentation.
I would advise maintaining the traditions that you are familiar with. It is important to understand us, but assisimilation beyond a certain point is ill-advised...few people can pull it off and failure will look like mockery.
The best way to see Minnesota culture is to leave the metro (the Cities).
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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The Ojibwa nation is also known as Chippewa, just to add to the confusion, they are in the North and East and also in Northern Wisconsin. The Sioux are in the South and and Western parts of the state.

The Iron Range (Northeastern Minnesota) has a large Slovak heritage as well as Scandinavian. Lots of Fins. Duluth held the International Finn Festival last summer and had over 8000 Finns in attendance including the President of Finland. Duluth, the North Shore, and Cloquet area also have a small French/ French Canadian heritage. Lots of names like Cartier, Labrasseure, Chartier, Carbanneau etc.

Get outside of the Cities and see a bit of the state it is very different from region to region. The Minnesota River valley (South East-Winona, LaCrosse) is beautiful. Many Scenic Drives alongold Hwy 61 up the North Shore is stunning. Try the state fair too-anything you can eat on a stick!
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:08 AM
 
Location: Casa Grande, AZ
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Hmmmmm!!! if you get too far from Mpls/St. Paul, at any wedding....polka may be required....Where I grew up, many years ago in St. Michael, in gym class in elementary school, we had dance...waltz, square dancing,...polka, could I do one now...not....would I want to...not.....
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:54 AM
 
6,735 posts, read 8,920,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grannysroost View Post
Hmmmmm!!! if you get too far from Mpls/St. Paul, at any wedding....polka may be required....Where I grew up, many years ago in St. Michael, in gym class in elementary school, we had dance...waltz, square dancing,...polka, could I do one now...not....would I want to...not.....
Polka is still alive in Mpls/StP Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit & Mario's Keller Bar Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter--Stillwater, MN
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:49 AM
 
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i was reading on some girls blog from northern, rural MN (grand rapids) and she said that at weddings when everyone is drunk they polka. And people say Uff da lol. She said the major religions are Catholicsm and Lutheranism, and that people "go up north" in the summer
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland, IL USA, Earth
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I did the reverse out of college - moved from northern MN to Texas. In July. In a car without air conditioning. Lasted about two years, and then got someplace cooler. I never could understand why people wanted to live where they needed air-conditioning for 7 months of the year and three months are brown and dead, but no snow.

Sorry, back to topic: yes it is cold in the winter. Summer is nice, but it can get into the 90's, depending on what part of MN you're moving to. (Duluth has a giant air conditioner next to it called Lake Superior).

I never polkaed, but I did square dance maybe two times. There might be more polka in Wisconsin. Cherokees never lived in MN, but the Ojibwe (also called Chippewa) do, in northern and eastern MN. They pushed out the Dakota Indians (who they called the Sioux, kind of a negative term originally I think) to the west. For the Caucasions (and there are very few non-whites outside of metropolitan areas), it's mostly Germans and Scandinavians. A lot of Catholics in central and southern MN, Norwegians and Poles are scattered all over (both the subject of jokes, some in good taste, some not), on the Iron Range there are more Finns and Russians. Every now and then there's somebody with Irish or Italian ancestry. Many of the northern Ojibwe will have French last names, since they married into the French fur trappers way back. The Kensington Runestone can still bring up a debate.

You can get fried pig skin at some convenience stores, but we generally don't eat the feet or other odd parts. The Norwegians have some foods you need to get familiar with: lefse and lutefisk. Rhubarb can be found in some restaurants and many gardens. If you order a 'coke', you'll get a Coke, but the waitress may ask if Pepsi is okay. If you want something else, it's either pop or soda, and there's some debate over which term is correct, but you can't go wrong with pop. Dr. Pepper isn't as common in MN as in TX. There is no chicken-fried-steak or chicken-fried-chicken. Barbecue has a different meaning, and will vary somewhat depending on the part of the state you're in (either anything cooked on a grill, generally with BBQ sauce added, or more of a pulled-pork kind of thing).

Deer hunting and fishing are the major outdoor sports, then comes various bird hunting. We don't have "snow skiing", we have "water skiing", "downhill" and "cross country" (the word "skiing" is assumed and often left off). Hockey is big, but for most small high schools, football is bigger and there may not be a hockey team.

Last edited by nerfer; 01-01-2009 at 08:42 PM..
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland, IL USA, Earth
42 posts, read 137,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicken.or.the.nugget View Post
i was reading on some girls blog from northern, rural MN (grand rapids) and she said that at weddings when everyone is drunk they polka. And people say Uff da lol. She said the major religions are Catholicsm and Lutheranism, and that people "go up north" in the summer
Nice regurgitation.
I've been at a few weddings in MN, and only at one did people drink. That was the one where nobody danced, ironically enough. I haven't seen the polka other than by a club at a parade or something, and I'm pretty confident it will stay that way. There may be a few retirees who still enjoy it on a rare occasion. Yes, uff da is a common phrase. People only "go up north" if they're from the cities (Twin Cities) or other southern/central MN location. If you're in Grand Rapids, you don't go up north because you're already there.
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