Philosophy Instructor Wes Jorde Presents on Nordic Cultures

October talk included lunch with traditional Nordic foods

Wes Jorde, a philosophy instructor at Dakota County Technical College, gave a talk about Nordic cultures on campus in October 2014. Wes explained how Minnesota’s diversity includes people of Nordic ancestry and how geography has affected Nordic languages over the centuries. Lancer Hospitality provided Swedish meatballs and lefse for a traditional Nordic lunch.

Wes learned about Nordic cultures while living in Bergen, Norway, in 1996. There he attended the local university and studied languages, literature and politics. In 2013, he spent more time in Bergen, frequenting coffee shops, hiking in the mountains and writing about his experience.

Wes also spoke about Nordic cultures in Adam Rachuy’s Environmental Issues course in the Dakota County Area Learning School (DCALS) in Intermediate School District 917.  “A great connection between DCTC and DCALS,” Wes said

The Nordic Cultures talk was one in a series sponsored by both the DCTC Diversity Council and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA).

Wes Jorde gives Nordic Cultures talk at DCTC | Photo courtesy of Keesha Winfrey, DCTC student Traditional Nordic lunch | Photo courtesy of Keesha Winfrey, DCTC student

In the photo above, student Zach Anderson (front right) was excited for Swedish meatballs and lefse, each a traditional Nordic food. Associate Dean of Design and Technology Randy Olson (far left) whispered “Ja, sure, you betcha” as he filled his plate. “Ja, sure, you betcha“ is a Scandinavian-American phrase that means the same as “You are right!” Or, as in Dean Olson’s case, “I’m excited to eat this food!”

Building Utilities Mechanic Ryan Becker was disappointed no lutefisk was served. “Ryan is known for driving as long as two hours for lutefisk dinner,” Wes reported.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 10 percent of Minnesotans claim Swedish ancestry, 17 percent Norwegian and 37 percent German
  • Norwegian Lutherans and Swedish Lutherans were sometimes unfriendly toward each other in the past in the U.S.
  • People having Nordic ancestry have not consistently supported either liberal or conservative political movements in the U.S.
  • The Nordic countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden
    • Also considered Nordic are the autonomous regions of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands
  • The Scandinavian countries only include Denmark, Norway and Sweden
  • Icelandic and Faroese are the living languages most closely resembling Old Norse, the language spoken by the Vikings
  • Sami and Finnish are on a different branch of the language tree from that of other traditional Nordic languages
  • The Sami are an indigenous people originally living in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia
  • The first European country to introduce women’s suffrage (women’s right to vote) was Finland, 1906. Norway was second, 1907
Librarian Michael Kirby | Photo courtesy of Keesha Winfrey, DCTC student

Also presenting was Librarian Michael Kirby, who introduced the Mango Languages, an online site where you can engage in assisted language learning. Sixty-three languages are available, including Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swedish. The site can be accessed from the DCTC Library’s main page. From there, click “Articles and Databases.” Then open the drop-down menu under “Top Resources” and select “Mango Languages.”

For more information about Mango Languages, contact:

Michael Kirby
DCTC Library

For more information about Nordic cultures, contact:

Wes Jorde
Philosophy Instructor

For more information about the Diversity Council or MSLA, contact:

Harold Torrence
Diversity Council Chair and MSLA Club Faculty Advisor