July 24 – 28, 2024

Nick Hockings, an Ojibwe Culture educator, works with a group of primarily elder Euro-American men to build an authentic birchbark wigwam using the materials of the Northwoods forests, Traditional hands-on techniques learned over centuries are fused with Ojibwe cultural teachings and woven into a practical, yet spiritual ecology of the northern hardwoods forest. In the film, the techniques are demonstrated.

Michael Loukinen is Professor Emeritus from Northern Michigan University, He earned his PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University (MSU); and he studied oral history and the cultural anthropology of aging at the University of Michigan on a Post-doctoral fellowship. Loukinen began his career publishing original research on Finnish Americans and on social support networks in rural communities. His documentary film work grew out of that interest, the first film, 1982, becoming, “Finnish American Lives,” 1982. Since then, he has completed thirteen documentaries, most on ethnic traditions in the Upper Midwest including Finnish Americans, Ojibwe, Menominee, Ottawa and Serbs. He has recorded the traditional occupational cultures of trappers, loggers and commercial fishers in the U.P. Up North Films is a non-profit documentary film production company at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.

Kisarit Finnish-American Folk Dancers were organized in 1972 to preserve and present Finnish folk music and dance. Based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the volunteer members of the group practice weekly with choreographed dances and traditional folk dances from all parts of Finland. Past members of the group have trained and studied with well-known Finnish and Scandinavian folk dance instructors, enabling Kisarit to teach folk dances from every region of Finland as well as other Scandinavian countries. The Kisarit dancers have delighted audiences throughout the United States, Canada and Finland with their performances. In 2022, the Kisarit Finnish-American FolkDancers celebrated 50 years of continuing to bring Finnish dance performances, music and culture for others to enjoy and experience.

Finland today can be a potential destination for Americans to work, study and spend retirement years. This session explains how this can happen. Questions about who is eligible, what the application process involves, and time limits will all be addressed by Consulate of Finland, NYC staff.

The film weaves a compelling narrative that captivates the world of Finnish oddity at Aalto University and beyond, where tradition meets rebellion.

In the 1970s, two Black American basketball players introduced multiculturalism to Finland, and their sons went on to launch a battle for equality.

William Durbin will share a series of archival slides that will help participants visualize the historical settings of his novels. In addition to conventional academic research, Durbin was privileged to interview dozens of people, who have provided him with invaluable first-person accounts of Finnish culture and history. He has not only spoken with numerous Finnish homesteaders and iron miners, but he has also had the rare opportunity to visit at length with several Winter War veterans (the youngest was 85 years old), and Karelian immigrants, who in the 1930s were fortunate to escape from Russia and return to America. Primary among the Karelian survivors was Mayme Sevander, a woman who helped Durbin see Karelia through her eyes.

Presenter Bio:
A two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, William Durbin has written fourteen historical novels, including four books that focus on Finnish-American culture and history: SONG OF SAMPO LAKE, a homestead story which is set in Northeastern Minnesota; THE JOURNAL OF OTTO PELTONEN, which explores underground iron mining on the Mesabi Range and the first strike against U.S. Steel, THE DARKEST EVENING, which focuses on the Finns who immigrated to Karelia, Russia during the 1930s; and THE WINTER WAR. Durbin’s latest novel, THE HIDDEN ROOM, is set in Ukraine during the final year of WWI, and it draws many parallels between Stalin’s invasion of Finland in 1939 and Putin’s current, unprovoked attack on Ukraine