Minnesota Immigrants: Preserving Culture

Cultural Heritage

When people came to Minnesota, they carried more than their physical property. They also brought their cultural heritage. What does that mean?

Cultural heritage is a mix of history, values, and traditions shared by a community. It can include meaningful objects, like artwork, as well as traditional knowledge passed down through families.

Cultural heritage implies a shared bond, our belonging to a community. It represents our history and our identity; our bond to the past, to our present, and the future.

– Elena Franchi, What Is Cultural Heritage?

Cultural heritage is important to many people, from those who have been in Minnesota for generations to those who arrived recently. Preserving cultural traditions helps immigrants and their families remember and honor where they came from, even while living in their new home.

Maria Esther Diaz was born in Mexico and originally lived in Los Angeles. She moved from California to Minnesota with her daughter in 1992. In this interview she talks about the many cultural differences between Minnesota and Mexico, and even Minnesota and California, as well as her Latino-Hispanic cultural traditions and holidays.

Q: What do you consider Latino-Hispanic cultural traditions? How would you define them?
A: I think they vary, they differ from culture to culture. I think you can understand me, where you and I probably have different traditions. And I think it depends on what you come from. Even in Mexico, traditions will probably be different than someone from Honduras or El Salvador or Chile. I think that they come from whatever you were raised with. But I can describe mine. I would consider cultural traditions are my language, my food, my beliefs.

– Maria Esther Diaz

Interview with Maria Esther Diaz, 2010

Maryan Del came to the United States from Somalia in 1992. At the time of her interview, she worked for the Confederation for the Somali Community. When Maryan Del was asked: "What are the ways that Somali people in Minnesota are keeping cultural traditions?" she answered:

Interview with Maryan Del, 2004


To see how immigrants preserved their culture in the form of food, traditional clothing, and music, use the page links below.