From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis

From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis

by Hudda Ibrahim


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From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis gives readers an invaluable insider’s look into the lives and culture of our Somali neighbors and the important challenges they face. Designed with a diverse audience in mind, this book is a must-read for students, health-care professionals, business owners, social service agencies, and anyone who wants to better understand the Somali people.

In providing a great understanding of Somali culture, tradition, religion, and issues of integration and assimilation, this book also focuses on why thousands of Somali refugees came to live in this cold, snowy area with people of predominantly European descent. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592987788
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/30/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 638,667
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Hudda Ibrahim is a faculty member at Saint Cloud Technical and Community College and president of Filsan Consulting LLC, a company founded on the principles of cultural integration. Hudda is a community bridge builder, mentor, proponent of women's empowerment, peace activist, author, aspiring entrepreneur, and source of inspiration to students. She hopes this book will help Minnesota build a stronger, more inclusive community in which we all can flourish.

Table of Contents

Chronology of Events in Somalia xvii

Transliteration xxi

Foreword xxiii

Preface xxvii

Organization xxix

Acknowledgments xxxiii

Chapter 1 Overview of Somali History 1

The Arrival of the Colonial Power 4

The Birth of the First Somali Administration 5

Chapter 2 Immigrants, Refugees, and Identities 9

History of Somali Immigration 12

The Journey of Somali Refugees 14

Coming to America 19

Path to Citizenship 22

Why Minnesota? 26

Why Did Somalis Come to Saint Cloud? 28

Secondary Migration 33

In Search of Economic Opportunities 34

Housing 36

Religious Schools 40

Family Reunion 42

Robust Refugee Resettlement Agencies 43

New Arrivals 44

Clan and Relatives 45

Education 48

Challenges New Somali Refugees Face in Central Minnesota 49

The Possibility of Going Home 51

Chapter 3 Culture and Religion 53

Somali People in Saint Cloud 54

Etiquette and Customs 55

Food Etiquette 55

Celebrating over a Big Meal 58

Why No Menus 60

Somalis Love Tea 62

Generosity and Hospitality 62

Greeting 65

Hind Gestures 67

Communication 69

Eye Contact 69

Aversion to Drawing 70

Aversion to Celebrating Birthdays 71

Superstitious Beliefs 72

Hair Dyeing 74

Naming 75

Marriage, Conception, and Pregnancy 78

Legal Age of Marriage 79

What Docs 'Dowry Mean? 80

Polygamy 81

Arranged Marriage 82

Pregnancy 85

Family Structure 88

Respect for the Elderly 89

Clan and Clannism 91

What Somalis Like about Their Culture 95

Death and Dying 97

Festivals and Holidays 101

Islamic Calendar 102

Language, Art, and Music 103

Somali Oral Tradition 107

Music 108

Religion 109

Pillars of Islam 111

What is Wudu? 115

What is Sharia? 119

What is Jihad? 121

What is Hijab? 122

Chapter 4 Integration and Assimilation 125

Melting Pot and Salad Bowl 127

Assimilation and Integration Defined 128

Somalis' Perceptions of Assimilation and Integration 133

What Does It Mean to be American? 137

Barriers of the First-Gene ration Somalis 140

Language and Culture Barriers 140

Residential Concentration 142

Length of Time in Residence 144

Racism and Nativism 146

Social and Economic Inequalities 149

Bonding and Bridging 152

Generation Gap 157

Nostalgia 164

Second Generation 165

Civic Integration 167

What Does Saint Cloud Do for You? 168

Can Somalis Vote? 171

Conclusion 177

Chapter 5 Business 179

Somali-Owned Businesses 181

Types of Businesses 182

Why Do Somalis Open New Businesses? 183

What and to Whom They Cater 184

Barriers to Somali-Owned Business 188

Language and Cultural Barriers 188

Poor Prior Research and Planning 190

Lack of Access to Funding for Growth 195

Religion Restricts Loan Taking 197

Selling the Same Stuff 199

Lack of Business Networking, Mentoring, and Connections 201

Women Business Owners 203

Conclusion 209

Recommendation 210

Chapter 6 New Immigrants' Health Challenge 211

Cultural Beliefs 212

Definition of Health and Illness 213

No Tradition of Preventative Medicine 214

Medication Suspicion 214

Understanding Religious and Cultural Practices 216

Cultural Practices Differ from Prevailing American Culture 218

Doctor Preference 219

Contraception and Cesarean Section 220

Diabetes 222

Dental Health 225

Traditional Medicine 226

Affordability of Care 227

Language and Cultural Barriers 230

Interpretation 232

Reluctance to Recognize and Address Mental Health 236

Definition 237

Transportation 249

Constant Mobility 252

Conclusion 252

Conclusion 255

Postscript 259

Glossary of Key Non-English Terms 265

For Further Reading 271

Endnotes 273

About the Author 281

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