We are All Refugees in North Dakota

On Friday I had a good day (and I know it’s politically problematic to admit to that kind of thing these days). I spent an hour serving on the State Historic Preservation Review Board where I listened to a presentation for the Sons of Jacob Jewish Cemetery in Ramsey County. This was an immigrant cemetery  serving the Jewish community around the town of Garske for the first decades of the 20th century. The application for its enrollment on the National Register of Historic Places was a remarkable document that spoke to the hardships and history of the Jewish community as much as the dedication to the site by its largely gentile neighbors in the decades since. It was beautiful reminder that we are all immigrants and refugees in North Dakota, and we look out for one another here in the present and the past.

I then stopped by my favorite stereo shop in Fargo, Arctic Audio, where I listened to some remarkable stereo gear and watched the proprietor chat with a man about the famous Akihabara audio market in Tokyo, Japan. We live in a global world.

I then headed north and picked up my refugee dog (and his pal, Milo) at their local club and drove past our local Somali restaurant, Steer’s, before stopping at another business founded by a refugee, L&M Meats, where I got a fantastic steak that my immigrant wife and I enjoyed on a Friday night.

With all this talk about the dangers of immigrants and refugees, it’s pleasing to know that North Dakota always has done and will do better.


  1. How many refugees are moving next door to you, O Elitist One?


    1. I don’t know the numbers, but quite a few judging from my walks around town.

      And don’t kid yourself. I’m not an elitist in this situation. I’m the lunch pail guy who is here for the long haul. My community needs new people who will spend money here to keep local businesses going and will work hard to fortify the future tax base. It is simply a matter of demographics. ND is getting older and working less. We need younger folks who work more. I don’t care whether they’re refugees or shaggy haired college students who decide to stick around.

      I’m not one of these fat-cat elites who’s polishing his nest egg and more worried about current tax rates, property values, and retirement incomes so I can make payments on my place in Arizona or get a new jet ski for the lake. I take my lunch to work in a Hugo’s bag, pay my student loans, and drive a 12 year old F-150.

      When you make a place home, you look out for its future.


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