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Minneapolis Tours Offer Vivid Look at “Community: Resistance, Reclamation and Re-creation”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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2017 Annual Meeting participants can explore the meeting theme in two local tours that engage with some of the many ways displaced or immigrant communities have preserved their cultural traditions in Minneapolis.

Preregistration required before August 31.

Tour: Markets and Communities
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 10:30 am--3:00 pm

Peter Harle (University of Minnesota), leader

Immigrants and refugees in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area have long created and been sustained by marketplaces. Rich with traditional foods, clothing, music, art, and materials for magic, healing, and religion, these are key social spaces, and are vital sources for culturally significant goods. This tour will visit several such markets.

  • Mercado Central, a cooperative, formed in part to protect Mexican and Central American small-scale merchants from increasing rent on Lake Street. 
  • Ingebretsen's, a 96-year-old Twin Cities favorite, began as a family-run grocery, and soon became a much-loved source for household goods, gifts, and treats connected with Scandinavian heritage.  
  • Karmel Square is home to the largest concentration of Somali businesses outside of Somalia. It also houses a mosque and school to meet the needs of its vendors and customers. 
  • Hmongtown Marketplace, a sprawling indoor/outdoor complex, was formed when a massive construction project threatened many Hmong-run stores in Saint Paul's Frogtown neighborhood.  

Get out of the downtown zone, and experience the rich diversity of this region! Whether you simply enjoy strolling through these markets, or fill your bags with textiles, amulets and dvds of traditional performers, this is a great chance to get to know the Twin Cities better. Lunch will not be provided, but there will be many opportunities to purchase food along the way.  


Tour: Community Cultural Anchors: Neighborhood Foodways
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 9:45 am--12:00 pm

Scott Pollock (American Swedish Institute), leader

Minnesota has been, and continues to be among the top immigrant resettlement states in this country and viewed by many as a model for how resettlement can succeed. The vitality of cultures and traditions, born out of their origin countries and sustained in communities and neighborhoods these cultures settle, is evidenced in the culturally diverse and vibrant Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis. Waves of immigration have shaped the storefronts, streetscapes and cultural expressions, starting with German and Irish, later Swedish and Norwegian and now Mexican, Hmong, Somali and Ojibwe and Dakota nations migrating from rural areas of the state to Minneapolis’ city center. Our cafes and markets are filled with creative, entrepreneurial newcomers, many who learn from each other, live side by side, and support each other.

This tour offers an opportunity to experience three cultural anchors in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis through an exploration of foodways and cultural centers that support the ongoing continuity of cultural traditions and expression.

  • The tour will start at the American Swedish Institute, a vibrant arts and cultural center that has been the epicenter of the Nordic-American community since it was founded in 1929. Participants will enjoy fika, the culturally appropriated daily break (both a noun and verb), traditionally involving coffee, pastries and conversation, as expressed in a 21st century New Nordic café.
  • Participants will then bus a few blocks away to the original home of the Somali Museum of Minnesota, the Bright Moon Café, where they’ll enjoy shaah (Somali tea) and hear stories from the Museum’s passionate founder, Osman Ali, who has made the Somali museum a household name in both Minneapolis’ vibrant arts and cultural sector, as well as a community staple for the East African community.
  • Participants will then drive to All My Relations Gallery and café, Pow Wow Grounds, a cultural fixture in Minneapolis’ American Indian Cultural Corridor and home to the Native American Community Development Institute.

Each stop will include unique coffee/tea and pastry favorites and a short overview of how these cultural anchors continue to serve their communities. Participants will discover how foodway traditions have been sustained, traditions adapted, and cultural expressions have been shaped by the movement of cultural groups in and out of this Minneapolis neighborhood. The Minnesota Transportation Museum will provide transportation on vintage city buses that once operated in Minneapolis.

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