Integrated into our wider community.: Becoming Minnesotan

Lisa Gada Norton, c.1999.
  • Name - Lisa Gada Norton
  • Age at interview - 28
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - Second Generation American
  • Date of Interview - 11.07.1997
  • Hindi level 3 class, SILC, Como High School, St. Paul, April 13, 2002.


    Asian Indian, Bi-Cultural

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Second generation Indian-Americans can feel more “American” than “Indian”.  They grow up surrounded by friends and classmates who are not Indian, and become influenced by these different cultures.  They feel less guilty about living independently of their family in India, and are eager to pursue the additional opportunities in the U.S. that they may not have had in India.  Some see it as a positive that they are able to have two cultures!  They can continue the Indian cultural practices of their parents, but also operate like any other American in this society.  However, these second generation children often clash with their parents when they decide to forego certain Indian traditions. All immigrants face the tough challenge of finding balance between maintaining their home culture and adopting certain aspects of American culture that will allow them to be more successful in the U.S.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

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    Narrator: Lisa Gada Norton (LG)

    LG:  I think kids who've grown up here are very Westernized, especially in Minnesota, our Indian culture has very much embraced our Minnesotaness as well. We don't live in pockets of people. We don't just hang with each other. We're very integrated into our wider community. And so we're very Westernized. I'm an American, and if you were to talk to me on the phone or see me dressed, you would have no doubt that I'm American. Yes, the hair color and the skin color's different, but I don't have an accent or whatever. But even just by appearance alone, they don't look like they've grown up in the Western world. The fashion's a little bit different. The hairstyle's a little bit different. I just can tell. I can tell who's from here and who's not.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Verb:  To accept fully.  (embraces, embracing, embraced)


    Verb:  To blend in; to desegregate.  (integrates, integrating, integrated)


    Adjective:  Of, relating to, or characteristic of the West, that is, the noncommunist countries of Europe, the Americas and Australia.


    Adjective:  Imbued with characteristics associated with the Western world, that is, the noncommunist countries of Europe and America.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 612