Letter to the Editor

The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, June 3, 2016.  Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer.  All submissions must include the author's name and location.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Errors in Article on Minnesota Culture

I was totally dismayed to read in “The ACB Braille Forum” the population figures given for Minnesota in the article “Minnesota, Land of Many Cultures,” which stated that Minnesota’s population is 321.4 million. The source given for this fact was www.census.gov/quickfacts/table. This figure actually was for the entire U.S. population. The estimated 2015 population for Minnesota is just under 5.5 million. 
 
Also, in talking about the cultural makeup of Minnesota the writer totally ignored the very strong presence of the Scandinavian and German cultures which, combined, make up 47 percent of the population of Minnesota. According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census, in 2009, there were 868,361 self-described Norwegians, making up 12 percent of the state’s population, and about 500,000 people who identified as Swedish, 7 percent of Minnesotans. Combined that’s 1.3 million or 19 percent of the population who are Scandinavian. In addition, 28 percent or 1,987,491 Minnesotans said they were German. Some 600,000 Minnesotans (about 9 percent) described themselves as Irish and about 4 percent or 262,000 said they are Polish-Minnesotans.
 
Norwegians first came to the United States in the mid-1800s, because of a combination of poor farming conditions and overpopulation. After the potato famine had the Irish fleeing to America, the farming crisis had Norwegians fleeing in droves, too. They first settled in Illinois and Wisconsin, and before long they moved to Minnesota, seeking cheap, available land. Not only have the Norwegians given us lefse, lutefisk, and dried mutton, they’ve also given us Walter Mondale, Robert Bly, and “uff-da.”
 
— Larry Johnson, San Antonio, Texas