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Roots and Relationships: Influences on Every Norwegian American

The Hougen Heritage Society invites you to a Symposium celebrating the 165th anniversary of Jens and Kirsten Hougen’s immigration from Norway.

Sponsored by the Hougen Heritage Society; University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+; and the Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library.

Discovering your roots as a Norwegian American goes beyond your immediate genealogical chart. You must consider the deeper roots of who you are, your values and ethics. What were the values and culture of Norway that the immigrants brought with them and how did they change once they came to America and impacted us as Norwegian Americans? How did Norway inspire us during WWII and shape our concept of courage as Norwegian Americans?

The Friday morning Symposium explores aspects of the Norwegian American experience from basic concepts of what is the fascination and importance of finding your heritage; to the experience of indigenous the Sami in America and Norway, popularized in the movie Frozen; to the major influence of intellectual and church leaders that created values of Norwegian Americans.

8:30 – coffee and lefse, 9:00 — program

  • “Family Roots and Relationships: Why Family History Matters.” Dana Kelly, Executive Director of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center
  • “What Does It Mean to Be Indigenous? Sami in Norway and America.” Tom DuBois, Professor of Scandinavian Folklore, Folklore, and Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of German, Nordic and Slavic.
  • “Rasmus B. Anderson: The Hub of Norwegian-American Cultural Life” Susan Brantly, Professor of Scandinavian Studies

The Symposium is dedicated to Professor Olaf Andreas Hougen — and his close friends and UW colleagues, Dr. Gerhard Naeseth and Professor Harold Naess. These three giants in the Norwegian American community impacted Madison, the U.S and Norway with their life-long commitment to disseminating knowledge, culture and appreciation of Norway and Norwegian Americans.


Jul 29
8:30 am - 12:00 pm
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Pyle Center
702 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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