Diversity in the ND Senate
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Ole and Lena jokes might make it seem like North Dakota
has nothing but Norwegians, but the state’s population represents
a very wide variety of cultural backgrounds.
Just 65 years ago, the WPA employed the ND Writers Project
to record personal histories of the state’s oldest settlers. At that
point, foreign-born citizens represented forty-two different countries,
and most still practiced old-world customs of speech, dress and social
Back in 1895, almost one-third of the State Senate’s
31 members were not born in this country. Six came from Canada, two from
Norway and one was born in Wales.
Of the 62 members of the House that year, exactly half
were born outside the United States. Twelve were Norwegian, eleven were
Canadian and two were Scottish. There was also a Brit, a Welshman, an
Icelander, a German, a Swede and a Dane.
Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm