Being a Yooper means something different to everyone. It’s so much more than just being from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We were curious what people thought, so we asked our Facebook and Instagram followers their opinion.

We received a variety of responses, a lot of which included having respect for the Great Lakes, a love for the nature we live amidst, working hard, and the pure beauty of the UP, often referred to as “God’s Country.”

hammocking by the water

Dave sums it up well with the simple Finnish concept “Sisu!” It is described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. There isn’t a literal equivalent in English, so Yoopers, with their strong Finnish heritage adopted it to describe a Yooper’s character.

Dawn covers a lot stating “A true love for the Great Lakes. The ability to drive through a blinding snowstorm on unplowed roads. Feeling that tear-inducing feeling of ‘ahhhh, I’m home’ as you drive north over the Mackinac Bridge. Owning at least one black fly net head cover. Knowing what goes into both summer and winter emergency kits (because they ARE different). Knowing how to pronounce and spell Sault Ste. Marie, Keweenaw, Tahquamenon Falls, L’Anse. And so much more!”

Our follower Margaret chimes in, “It means you were born in Gods country.”

Keith covers all those typical winter Yooper things, “Loves hockey, snowmobiling, skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, shoveling snow, and jump-starting cars.” Grant adds “20° F is a heatwave.”

Snowshoeing in Sault Ste. Marie

Dennis says “It’s a sense of pride, self-sufficiency, roll up your sleeves attitude, love of nature, appreciation of nature, good neighbors, rich history, and saunas!”
Bill sums everything up with one of the single most important things to a Yooper “And you know the correct pronunciation of pastie!”

The biggest debate in the comments was about location in reference to being a Yooper. Leah says “[you have to be] born, raised, and still living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.” Whereas Mavene meets more in the middle saying “Born a Yooper always a Yooper!” Others don’t think it’s about where you are born or living, but the feeling you have about the UP. Kathy says “True Yooper is at heart. There is a beauty and quiet in the UP only found there.” If we can’t agree on anything else, we can all admit that the beauty of the UP is truly one of-a-kind.