The memorial was part of the Scandinavian American community’s efforts to credit their ancestors — not Christopher Columbus — with the “discovery” of the Americas.
Tyler Taylor is a Gale Fellow at the Minnesota Historical Society. Her research examines relationships between Native American and immigrant communities in and around Minnesota in the nineteenth century. Dr. Taylor holds a PhD in American Studies from the College of William & Mary.
The image of himself that Nelson cultivated — both fully Norwegian and fully American, a promoter of Norewegians as a desirable immigrant population — is reflected in the history of the Knute Nelson Memorial.