Minnesota, Land of Many Cultures

by Peggy R. Garrett

As I read the theme for the 2016 ACB convention, “Land of 10,000 Dreams” in a state whose nickname is “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” it got me thinking about the history of the state and its various cultures.  Although I have visited both Rochester and Minneapolis, Minn. several times, I realized that I don’t know very much about the state!
Here are some interesting facts I learned about Minnesota’s diverse culture:

  • Minnesota became the 32nd state in the United States on May 11, 1858.
  • United States Census Bureau counted Minnesota’s population at 308,745,538 in the 2010 census and estimated the 2015 population at 321,418,820. (Source: www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00).
  • Approximately 60% of the state’s population lives within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and 40% in the remainder of the state.
  • The original inhabitants of Minnesota were Native Americans who call themselves the Anishinabe Tribe or Ojibwe Tribes and included the Dakota tribe.

Minnesota culture and Minnesota history are closely tied to that of their first residents, the Minnesota Native American tribes. The earliest European settlers were from France and were Canadian/French explorers who also influenced Minnesota’s culture. 
The population of Minneapolis /St. Paul is diverse and offers programs and services designed to spotlight various cultures and to meet their specific needs. Some of these include The Italian Cultural Center, Multicultural Health Services, Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center, Ukrainian Event Center and Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence.
As our Minnesota members already know, the state is culturally diverse, as is ACB! Hopefully many of you will have some time to explore some of these cultural sites and take home some revelations about the diverse cultures of the area.
As always, the Multicultural Affairs Committee will hold programs and activities that provide opportunities for interaction with diverse populations.  Join MCAC for lunch on Monday and celebrate July 4th! Our keynote speaker will be international guest Charles Mossop, president of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union; he will talk about the life of people who are blind or visually impaired in Canada.
On Wednesday, July 6th from 4:45 to 6 p.m., MCAC will host the mid-week social. This is an opportunity to meet old friends as well as make new ones.  There will be music, food and door prizes.  Join us for a fun time as the convention begins to wind down!  Come one, come all and relax before taking off for the auction or other evening activities!