In the Land of Findians

USA/FINLAND. Writer Katja Kettu, journalist Maria Seppälä and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi have made a very interesting book Fintiaanien mailla (WSOY 2016). Finns emigrated to Northern parts of USA – like upper Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota – from 1860´s on. Many of the first settlers were from Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway and even Murman coast, Russia. In USA they now and then lived next to indigenous people of the area: the Ojibwes. There have been mixed marriages and sometimes people born from them are called Finndians, fintiaanit in Finnish.

Dancing during a pow wow, a social gathering to honouring the participants´s ancestors. Photo Meeri Koutaniemi.

Many other European nations – like Swedes and Norwegians – got better farmlands, because they had come a bit earlier. Finns got poorer parts near the areas Native Americans had been pushed to. But then Finns were used to big forests and knew how to fish, hunt and use berries. Many other European nations were afraid of woods. Finns had also other things in common with Ojibwes: sauna/sweathut, using wood and birchbark, sense of humour, quietness and heavy drinking habits. Nowadays Indian casinos have made many Ojibwes life better. Maybe the indigenous peoples of Barents Region – Sami, Nenets, Veps and Komi – should have the same right?

Sauna culture is widespread in the Findian country. Photo Meeri Koutaniemi.

Katja Kettu (born 1978 in Muhos near Oulu) grew up in Rovaniemi. She is one of the most translated writer in Finland nowadays. Her novels have been translated at least to Estonian, Russian, Swedish, German, Norwegian, Danish, Italy and Spanish. Antti J. Jokinen has made a film based on Kettu´s most famous book Kätilö that takes place in Lapland during wartime. Kettu herself has made animated films and music-videos. She has been influected by Lapland writers Timo K. Mukka and Rosa Liksom. Meeri Koutaniemi (born 1987 in Kuusamo, Oulu Province) has photographed all around the world and got many awards too.

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