Ystävämme Sue Tanner Sointulasta oli Yle Aamu-TV:n
haastateltavana perjantaina 7.6. (http://areena.yle.fi/tv/1941070
yhdessä Tuomo Aitan ja Tero Leskisen kanssa.
Seuraavassa Sue kertoo omin sanoin, kuka hän on, mitä
Sointula on nykyisin ja miksi he haluavat meidän esiintyvän siellä.
Welcome to Sointula!
I am Susan
(Tanner) Ness and I returned to live in Sointula six years ago when I retired
from a career in teaching. The year after I retired I was asked to take
on the role of Chairperson of the Sointula Museum Committee. It is
through the Sointula Museum that you contacted me asking for information about
Matti Kurikka and the utopian commune that he established in Sointula in 1901.
I am on
the right, my brother, Murray, is in the middle and my sister, Barbara, is on
the left. We are beside the grave
markers for Teodor and Amanda Tanner and our parents.
of our museum committee were delighted to share as much information with you as
we could. The idea that our little town of Sointula on an island off the
west coast of Canada was still interesting to Finns after more than a hundred
years amazed us.
many of us who followed the progress of the Masalan nuorisoteatteri production
of Sointula. You sent us links to articles in Finnish newspapers
and Ray Myrtle, a cousin of Sointula resident, Loretta (Myntti) Rihtamo,
attended the play in Finland and wrote an article for our local online
printed up the poster of the play and displayed it in public locations
around town. I shared links about the play on Facebook. The word
definitely spread around Sointula and to Finnish Canadians.
stepfather, Teodor Tanner, was in the first group of Finnish settlers who came
with Kurikka in late 1901 and early 1902. My Mummu, Amanda, arrived in
1905 as a young widow with three children after the death of her first husband
in a coal mine explosion in Washington state, USA. Her brother, Matti
Riksman, and his wife, Katri, had come to Sointula in 1902.
Here's a picture from early Sointula years. Teodor Tanner is the man on
married Teodor Tanner and raised her family here. My father, Art (Arto),
became a logger and fisherman. He married my English Canadian mother in
1945 and she moved to Sointula. Our family lived in Sointula until 1965
when we moved to a suburb of Vancouver.
I lived away from Sointula for over forty years I visited frequently and when I
had children I brought them here to experience the unique lifestyle and the
Finnish culture that I missed in the city. Even today, the spirit of the
early Finns can be felt here. That is why I returned as a retiree. It has
always been home.
As I said
before the spirit of the early Finns can still be felt. We are in need of
our sisu now as much as ever as we are a community in transition.
For many years the people of Sointula made a very good living from the
rich resources of the sea and the forests. Salmon fishing has declined
seriously over the last few decades and there are not as many jobs in logging.
of the new residents are retirees like myself and many of the homes are only
occupied in the summer by people who use them as vacation homes.
Descendants of the early Finnish settlers still live here and many of the
non Finns who have arrived over the years are people of many talents, artists,
writers and musicians.
We all love
our community and want it to thrive. The area around us is wild and beautiful.
Tourists who visit, often return year after year. There is no doubt
that Sointula will endure but change is inevitable.
same time you contacted me, Dr. Ed Dutton from the University of Oulu contacted
the museum as well. He was researching, Kalervo Oberg, a noted American
anthropologist who is known for developing a model of "culture shock"
that explains the stages individuals go through when they experience life in a
had discovered that Kalervo had spent the first years of his life in Sointula
as his father, August Oberg, was the treasurer for the Kalevan Kansa and
a staunch Kurikka supporter. Dr. Dutton felt that Kalervo Oberg's ideas
were strongly influenced by his family's experience in Sointula and Dr. Dutton
has since published a book, Culture Shock and Multiculturalism (2012).
for the conference was generated by our discovery of Oberg's connection to
Sointula and Dr. Dutton's work. It is titled, Culture Shock, Utopian
Dreams, Hard Realities. Dr. Dutton will be the keynote speaker and
the other speakers will talk on varying aspects of the theme. Here is a
link to the conference website: www.sointulan.com.
think of a better way to entertain Sointula residents and our conference
visitors with your production of Sointula on the stage in the old
Finnish Organization Hall where so many Finnish plays and musical events
were performed over the years. Everyone is interested and excited.
for your efforts to bring this wonderful opportunity to Sointula.
picture of the Finnish Organization Hall on the hill on the left and the
Athletic Hall on the right.