I had been living in Minnesota for just about a year when the Vikings played the Falcons in the playoffs that one time.
I was living, as it happens, in the city of Falcon Heights. You know about Falcon Heights, very likely, even if you don’t know you do. Ever heard of the Great Minnesota Get Together, a.k.a., the Minnesota State Fair? It is held in Falcon Heights. Ever hear of the University of Minnesota? The smaller of the two Twin Cities campuses, the one with the ecology and organismic biology, and agriculture and forestry and stuff, is in Falcon Heights. Ever hear of the police killing of Philandro Castile, the one where the cop was ascared of the scary black man so he pumped him full of bullets in front of his girlfriend and a small child? That was in Falcon Heights too.
Tourists visiting Bemidji this summer may pick up a few words of a “foreign” language.
That’s because the first city on the Mississippi River way north in Minnesota may be the only town off a reservation trying to incorporate the area’s indigenous Ojibwe language into daily life.
All over town Ojibwe language signs are posted right alongside English language labels, and for a just cause. The signage is part of a broader effort to preserve the language spoken by an estimated 60,000 persons across areas of the northern United States and into Canada as well as to bridge cultural divides between whites and American Indians.
Words such as “boozhoo,’’ an Ojibwe word for “welcome” and many other Native American terms crop up around town, in an appliance store, the local hospital, the convention center, a local coffee shop, and this spring in the public schools. …