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What Does It Mean to Be Nordic?

Cultural Intersections and Identity


July 19, 2022 - October 16, 2022

Untitled design (11)

Participants with Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Sámi, and Swedish roots discuss Nordic cultural emphases on openness, social justice, innovation, and a connection to nature. In the Nordic America gallery upstairs, a second video examines how those values are upheld among Americans with Nordic ancestry.

The Museum’s curatorial team has revisited the question, "What does it mean to be Nordic?" with six interviewees to create a complementary video that explores the melding of Nordic with African, Asian, European Jewish, and Indigenous cultures to shape identity. According to the Nordic Council of Ministers, 3.5 million immigrants reside in the Nordic countries today. The United States Census Bureau estimates that 10.9 million Americans report single ancestry from the Nordic countries, and that number increases markedly with those who claim multiple ancestries. Our globalized world fosters the blending of customs and values of both an individual’s heritage and receiving cultures. This display of interviews, from which the new Nordic Journeys Orientation Gallery video was created, celebrates cultural intersections in the Nordic countries and Nordic America.

Do you identify with multiple cultures? How have these cultures shaped your lived experience?

Interviewees (Videos Below):

Chenoa Egawa (Hawaiian, Japanese, Lummi, S'Klallam, Norwegian, Swedish American)

Sven Haakanson Jr. pictured, above, top (Sugpiaq, Danish, Norwegian, Russian American)

Camara Lundestad Joof, pictured, thumbnail (Gambian, Norwegian) 

Leslie Mickel, pictured, main image (European Jewish, Danish American)

Indie O’Sidhe, pictured, above, bottom (Anishinaabe, French, Sámi, Scottish American). See note below.*

Troy Storfjell (Sámi American)

Project Team:

Alison DeRiemer (Irish, Scottish, and German American)

Archivist and Oral History Specialist

Leslie Anne Anderson (Cuban and Danish American)

Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs

*Note: Narrator Indie O’Sidhe (speaker five) wishes to issue the correction that her grandmother was of Inari and Kola Sámi ancestry, not South and Kola Sámi.


The National Nordic Museum would like to thank the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe for their generous funding of this exhibition.

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Mary Ann N.

7/28/2022 | ★★★★★

Absolutely fascinating and thought provoking.

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