It always seems like to everyone outside of the state, North Dakotans are a rare sighting that they have specific preconceptions about. To some it seems like we are as rare as unicorns, but we know there’s others of us out there. Regardless, people still have questions that many of us have heard all too often. These are some questions I personally have been asked that you may have been, too.
1. Does your state actually exist?
Yes, believe it or not, there is a state called North Dakota. No, it's not part of Canada. No, it's not the state with the mountain made to look like presidents. Trust us - if there was no North Dakota, the rest of the country would suffer a large shortage of many things - spring wheat, honey, soybeans, corn, and oil, just to name a few.
2. Do you get electricity/internet there?
Of course not, we live by candle light and send smoke signals to our neighbors to send messages. But really, yes, we do have electricity and internet. Some of our farmers have tractors that are self-driving via satellite that know the exact placement of every seed planted in each field...we're a little more advanced than the old timey days, we promise!
3. Does anyone else actually live in North Dakota?
Okay, maybe we aren't the most populous state- we are 47th in population ranking and I'm pretty sure my graduating high school class had less than 47 people in it- but you might be surprised to hear we have over 750,000 residents total, and rising! It's not just empty fields after all.
4. Isn't it cold all the time up there?
It does get pretty chilly in the winter sometimes. It isn't uncommon to have temperatures below zero, but it isn't a snowy wasteland all year contrary to popular belief. Our highest recorded temperature is one degree higher than that of Texas' highest. We do have real summers that are pretty hot!
5. You must live on a farm, right?
There are lots of us who happily reside on farms, myself included, but not everyone from North Dakota lives on a farm. Over 100,000 people live in the city of Fargo alone.
6. Does that mean you hunt?
A lot of North Dakotans are proud hunters but that certainly doesn't mean everyone here does. There are plenty of people who choose not to. Even so, we do have quite a variety of wildlife in North Dakota with populations kept healthy and thriving through hunting so a lot of us are happy to call ourselves hunters!
7. Isn't North Dakota just cornfields everywhere?
Not just corn! We grow a lot of things - soybeans, wheat, sugar beets, and there are plenty of pretty sunflower fields. Okay, so maybe there are a lot of fields here, but not JUST cornfields.
8. Do you even have a [NFL/MLB/NBA/Insert Sport League Here] team?
So maybe we don't have our own team for many major leagues of sports, but let's not forget that we have one of the best college football teams to ever exist - with 13 national titles total, and are the defending champions of FCS for the past five years in a row - the NDSU Bison!!
9. How accurate is the movie "Fargo"?
Those of us that have seen the movie can say with certainty that there's only one scene set in Fargo in the first place; the rest takes place in Minnesota. However, "Fargo Fest" in tribute of the movie was still held in Fargo, as shown here, with the real wood chipper from the movie. People who ask can probably figure out themselves if the accents were realistic or not, dontcha' know. Yah, you betcha!
Anything we missed that you’ve been asked about by non-North Dakotans? Tell us about them in the comments!