Faceoff: West River South Dakota

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

Okay, so I can’t say as many really good things about South Dakota as my fellow staff member can say about being from Minnesota. I come from a land of seas of yellow grass, which is only green during the first couple weeks of spring when the snows melt and we actually have an adequate amount of moisture. I come from a land of rolling hills, many of which we were made to run up in order to get in shape during track season in high school. (My legs still hurt thinking about it.) I come from a place with, well, basically no trees.

I was raised in South Dakota-more importantly, West River, S.D. (as in west of the Missouri River. For those of you who have never heard of the distinction-and I have participated in arguments about this-there is a difference between people on either side of that winding river.) I know that South Dakota may seem like a backwards state, and a lot of times I join in in making fun of it, but it does have some good things about it. We have Mount Rushmore (though some people-such as one blonde woman during a segment of “Jaywalking” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno-think the national monument is in Idaho) and the Sturgis Rally, which people come from all over the country to participate. We are also friendly people, but we do not believe that Minnesota is right in all aspects or has as much to teach us as they think. For one thing, they say a lot of strange things compared to South Dakota (and most of the rest of the country).

Besides their rounded o’s-which I have sadly picked up a little because of dating a Minnesotan (thanks, hon)-there is the whole hotdish thing. To me, a hotdish is just that: a hot dish. For example, a warm plate with hot food on it would be a hot dish. To me, a casserole is a lot of things. Yes, many contain a starch, a protein, a cream-of-something-soup and veggies, but that’s not all it can be. Green bean casserole is one good example. Anything made in a casserole dish-as many “hotdishes” are-and put in the oven to bake is considered a casserole, in my book.

I’m not sure where the whole “gray duck” came from. I have always played it as “duck, duck, goose!” It was a popular game in my elementary school. We weren’t drones, either. I know of children who would say, “duck, pheasant, swan, (insert other fowl), GOOSE!” Or maybe they used other animals besides birds. Maybe the kids in Minnesota didn’t know there was no such thing as a polka-dot duck or a banana duck.

As for a tavern, I think calling a confection of ground beef, ketchup, barbeque sauce and maybe a few other things a tavern is either a North Dakotan or Iowan thing. To me, a tavern is a place you go to have some food, a beer or other drink and have a good time. I had never heard it called a tavern until I came to Brookings for college.

There are probably other ways that Minnesotans differ from South Dakotans or other states in the U.S., but at the same time there are many ways in which we are similar. After all, we do share a border, and the people intermix quite frequently. Many South Dakotans, including me, have been to Minnesota a few times to visit “The Cities,” but at the same time, many Minnesotans visit South Dakota, some for longer than others. If you want some examples, look at the enrollment at SDSU.

#1.883006:313289181.jpg:westerberg,brittany.jpg:Brittany Westerberg, West River: