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Finn News: Finnish groups get ‘back to school’ with fall schedule

Finn News

By Kim Samuelson

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It's been a busy and event-filled summer. And now it is time to head into fall with its cooler days and crisp nights, colored leaves and harvested gardens.

September is typically regarded as the "back to school" month for students of all ages, children to adults. Even we adults should get "back to school" and get busy learning and sharing information about everything and anything regarding our Finnish heritage. To help you get "back to school," here is a partial list of what's happening in the area during September as local Finnish groups get back to their usual schedules of activities.

The Finnish Americans and Friends group in Hibbing welcome everyone back to the Fall schedule of events. Their Tuesday, Sept. 6, meeting will start at 2 p.m. with a presentation by Betsy Norgaard about Finland's beautiful archipelago, the Aland Islands. Besides a PowerPoint presentation of beautiful pictures of the islands, Betsy will discuss her Aland roots and Aland's special relationship with Finland. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Finlandia Foundation National and can provide information about the Foundation. The meeting will be held at the Hibbing Tourist and Senior Center, 1202 Howard St., and the public is welcome to attend. Coffee and refreshments will be available.

The next meeting of the Arrowhead Chapter of the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society (MFAHS) will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth. The guest speaker will be Jim Pellman from the Old Brule Heritage Society. He will show a PowerPoint program about the restoration they are doing of an old school. It will be a "back to school" program! Come and enjoy the program and coffee time as well as the meeting and fellowship.

The Sampo Beach Annual Mojakka Day fundraiser is just around the corner! The group is busy making final arrangements for good food and fellowship on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sampo Beach on Little Grand Lake, north of the junction of Highways 2 and 194 in Saginaw. The meal will include mojakka, bread, dessert and milk, buttermilk or coffee. The cost will be $8 for adults and $4 for children, and members will sell advance tickets in addition to tickets at the door. There will also be a quilt raffle, door prize drawings, bake sale, silent auction, and a small tori with crafts and used-a-bit items. Come and enjoy the sights of the lake and beautiful location, the tastes and smells of good Finnish food and the sounds of happy conversation!

The Knights and Ladies of Kaleva groups around the Northland are gearing up for their fall meetings and activities, too. The following is a list of the groups and when they will be meeting.

The Ladies of Kaleva Aallottaren Tupa #15, Duluth, will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth. Following a program by Pat Eilola, the group will enjoy a coffee time and their regular meeting. Prospective new members will be introduced and a committee formed to start planning the 2018 Kaleva Grand Lodge Convention which will be held in Duluth.

The Ladies of Kaleva Väinöttären Tupa #24, Cloquet, will meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Thomson Town Hall, located on Harney Road just north of Esko.

The Knights and Ladies of Kaleva Pohjolaisen Maja #25 and Soinnuttaren Tupa #32, Virginia, will hold their regular meetings at 6 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 8 and 22, at Kaleva Hall, 125 Third St. N., Virginia. The first meeting of each month is their regular meeting with the second meeting of the month featuring a program.

The Knights and Ladies of Kaleva Otavan Maja #7 and Valvottaren Tupa #20, Eveleth, will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Kaleva Island, located south of Eveleth on Highway 37 just west of Highway 53. Their program will include John and Kim Samuelson presenting the history and poems of the Kanteletar, the little-known sister book to the Kalevala, through special readings and music.

The Ladies of Kaleva, Vellamon Tupa #4, Ely, will meet Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Ely.

If you are interested in joining any of these groups, plan to attend one of their meetings to find out what they do and who they are. They'll welcome you as a guest and celebrate you as a member!

In keeping with the spirit of "back to school" month, I want to give a "shout out" to members of these and other groups who are spreading the excitement and knowledge of our Finnish heritage. I also especially want to recognize the following groups and person.

First, thanks to the members of the Sami Cultural Center, Duluth, who are assisting with the "Sami: Walking with Reindeer" and "Sami Reindeer People of Alaska" exhibitions and events in Portland, Ore., this fall. It is great to see a group extending their energy and experience to help teach and spread the word of our Finnish and Sami heritage to people all the way from Duluth to the West Coast!

Second, kiitos to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais for keeping alive and teaching some of the Finnish and Nordic traditions and crafts to people throughout the United States and beyond. I encourage everyone to regularly check out their website (www.northhouse.org) to see what classes and events they have scheduled. I'm sure you'll find a class that excites you! Among the things you can learn in September are how to make a Sami-inspired friendship bracelet, weave birch bark baskets, carve wooden spoons, and craft a Sami Tuomisalo hat. In addition, there are classes on weaving, making jewelry, crafting skis, smoking meats, harvesting wild rice, etc. These gifted and sharing people are helping others learn to perpetuate dying skills and to share them with families and friends, too. I can vouch for this school as I've taken classes there and intend to go back again soon.

Third, I commend and am really excited for Lyz Jaakola, a local Anishinaabe musician, educator and member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. Lyz spent much of August in Finland as part of the tour for the book, "Fintiaainien mallla," about the Finndians, the descendants of Native Americans and Finnish immigrants. I eagerly look forward to getting a copy of, and reading, this book as Lyz is one of the main characters! I also look forward to hearing about her experiences sometime in the next few months at an event somewhere.

In honor of "back to school" month, I encourage you to share your Finnish knowledge, experiences and skills and to learn more about your Finnish heritage. Have a wonderful "back to school" fall!

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Kim Samuelson is Carlton SWCD's elected supervisor for District 4. For more information, call 218-384-3891, visit www.carltonswcd.org, find them on Facebook page (Carlton SWCD), or stop by their office at 808 Third St., Carlton.

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