18 February 2013

SOFIA JANNOCK - a Sami Yoiker / Song Writer

Áššogáttis (By The Embers)

Sofia Jannok was born September 1982 in Gällivare in northern Sweden. Sofia began singing at just eleven years old, and turned 30 this past year. This young woman inspires me with her music and her views on society. Recently I heard her express this sentiment:

"I dream of a world where earth is as beautiful where nature can be.

"I dream of a world where Sami people and all our sisters and brothers all around the world are free and independent."

I first learned of Sofia Jannok at the Bjug A Harstad Memorial Lecture (February 6, 2013) given by Professor Harald Gaski, professor of Sami literature at the University of Tromsø, Norway. He played a brief segment of her 2008 CD titled Áššogáttis (By The Embers). I was not prepared for how deeply the music moved me. When I returned home, I immediately went in search of her CD's. 
White / Čeaskat released in 2007 by DATCD, Kautokeino
By The Embers / Áššogáttis released in 2008 by Caprice Records, Stockholm
I wanted to 'buy local' so I tried the two Scandinavian stores in my neighborhood: Scandinavian Specialties and the gift shop at Nordic Heritage museum. To my dismay, neither of them carried the CD. So next I went to iTunes and found that I could purchase it if I lived in Sweden, but it's not available for sale via iTunes in the United States. I'm determined to locate my own copy of this CD, but in the mean time I will have to make do with the few video clips that I've found online. 
[Yoik is a traditional Sami, form of song. Yoik is one of the longest living music traditions in Europe, and is considered the folk music of the Sami people. To my ear, it sounds similar to the traditional chanting of some Native American cultures. Each yoik is intended to reflect or depict a person or place.]

Have you seen the movie Avatar, the science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron? Sofia saw this movie, and she said "It hit me like an arrow towards my chest." She goes on to say, 'It is a painful documentary about present life - my life. This is how it is for my people, if not for all indigenous people all over the world."  The video above is her story about 'our rights to earth and freedom.'

Here is another amazing video, which I found on vimeo.com:
October 29, 2012

About Kont, Umeå    "I don't know too much about Umea, but it is very far from the mountain world, and sometime I have to see a bigger space, and then I go out here and you have the same kind of space, and you get the feeling that you are small on the earth: it is nice to remember, sometimes."

About the song 'Dangerous'
"At the end of the video, Sofia shares this about the song: "Dangerous was written in a frustration that we do not take care of our earth, you just squeeze more and more out of the earth, and it feels especially relevant now with all the mining exploration around the Sampi Norr--and Vasterbotten, so it is more relevant than ever."

Like most people, Ms. Jannock doesn't want to be 'labeled' in the traditional sense, as being all about snow, traditional costume, reindeer and so on.  She recently was profiled in the blog  Scandinavian Moments - News & Projects from Moment Agency Seeing the Exotic Other (February 5, 2013), where the blogger wrote about a photo session with the Sami artist:
"We decided to do something really plain. Studio and black and white. She chose a white leather jacket and some of her impressive silver jewelry. During the shoot we tried some pictures without the jacket and at one point I took some shots in profile.  Suddenly she said she felt like her ancestors, those who were forced to pose nude in profile in front of the cameras of the race biologists. Oh god that’s terrible, I said, let's do something else!"
On the blog and in the magazine is a beautiful profile in side view. I love this photo, its elegant and tasteful.

You can 'follow' Sofia on Facebook, but be forewarned that most of the information there is written in Swedish or Sami. You can also learn more on her web site: www.SofiaJannock.com.

I hope to have her CD's yoiking in my home soon.

17 February 2013

Norway's [unofficial] National Song

I recently was reviewing back issues of the Seattle Daily Times and came across a clipping that I thought fit nicely with the blog posting of February 9, 2013: "Emblem of Freedom", a song about Patriotism.

Thomas O. Stine had a dual sense of patriotism, both for his new country -- the United States of America -- and for his old country -- Norway. The story in this clipping ran just two days before the 17th of May, Norwegian Constitution Day.

SEATTLE DAILY TIMES: May 15, 1901, page 11
"For Norge, Kiempers Fødeland"

"To Norway, Mother of the Brave", written by Johan Nordahl Brun*, is one of the oldest of the Norwegian [unofficial] national songs. It was the air which lay close to the heart of the old Vikings and lifted them into patriotic spirit. We give below two English versions of it, one by [William Sidney] Walker, the English writer, the other by Thomas Ostenson Stine, of this city.

"To Norway, mother of the brave,
We crown the cup of pleasure,
And dream our freedom come again,
And grasp the vanished treasure.
When once the mighty task's begun
The glorious race swift to run.
 To Norway, mother of the brave,
We crown the cup of pleasure.

"Then drink to Norway's hills sublime,
Rocks, snow and glens profound;
Success her thousand echoes cry,
And thank us with the sound.
Olod Dovre mingles with our glee,
And joins out shouts with three times three.
Then drink to Norway's hills sublime,
Rocks, snow and glens profound."

                        WILLIAM SIDNEY WALKER

"To Norway, mother of the brave,
We crown the cup and hail thee;
And dream of joy that freedom gave
On battlefield with glory.
When once our hearts to action rise,
We'll break the shackles, bonds and ties.
To Norway, mother of the brave,
We crown the cup and hail thee.

"Then drink to Norway's mountains high.
To cliff, and snow, and valley.
Then echoes life its thrilling cry
With gratitude in Dovre.
Yes, every cliff shall shout with glee
For sons of Norway three times three.
Then drink to Norway's mountains high,
To cliff, and snow, and valley."

                       THOMAS OSTENSON STINE

*Johan Nordahl Brun: Poet, Priest, Patriot. Brun was the son of a farmer and educated in Trondheim.  He was an active member of the Church of the Cross, and was a parish minister from 1777 until 1804, when he became the Bishop in Bergen (1804-1816). He was also a politician who contributed significantly to the growth of National Romanticism in Norway.

09 February 2013

MOHAI Resource Center in GEORGETOWN

MOHAI Resource Center: 5933 6th Avenue South (Georgetown)

Nearby Norwegians take a field trip to the new MOHAI Resource Center ... in Georgetown!

Part of being a good historian and writer is keeping current with changes in the field. So the Nearby Norwegians felt it important to see, up close and personal, the new location for the Sophie Frye Bass Library, the research facility for Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

Most Seattleites are aware that MOHAI has relocated to Lake Union Park. Saturday December 29, 2012 marked the ribbon-cutting for the beautifully restored Naval Reserve Armory as the new home for this valuable community resource. The massive signage and superb grand opening has been the talk about town. You can watch the Q13 news release here: Q13 News.

But did you know that MOHAI also has a second new location!? As Knute Berger from Crosscut.com put it in his January 24, 2013 article titled The Other MOHAI, "...Let's not forget the "other" new MOHAI. Tucked in a non-cool part of Georgetown, south of the Seattle Design Center in the warehouse and showroom ghetto of the Industrial District, is the heart of the museum's behind-the-scenes operation: the "MOHAI Resource Center."
Knute "Skip" (Mossback) goes on to say, "But the old Armory building didn't leave much room for the guts of the museum operation, the stuff the public doesn't see: administrative offices, the research library and the expansive collection."  

In his article, Mossback provided readers with a wonderful insight into the 'expansive collection' side of the new facility. The Nearby Norwegians were curious to see what was new and exciting in the research library - the Sophia Frye Bass Library.  According to the MOHAI website, "The museum's Sophie Frye Bass Library preserves and provides access to over 3 million historic photographs, as well as manuscripts and archival holdings, maps, books, posters, motion pictures and printed ephemera. Our collections cover the Seattle metropolitan area, and certain subjects of the rest of Washington State and Alaska. Archival holdings include business and organization records, personal papers, photographers' collections, and historical research documents."
Who was Sophia Frye Bass, you might wonder?   Sophia Frye Bass (1866-1947), known as "Aunt Opie" to her nieces and nephews, was the third child of George Frederick and Louisa Catherine (Denny) Frye. She married Daniel Waldo Bass on December 14, 1908. Sophia wrote two children's books about early Seattle history: "When Seattle Was A Village," (Seattle: Lowman and Hanford, 1947) and "Pigtail Days in Old Seattle" (Portland: Metropolitan Press, 1937). She died July 28, 1947 and was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery. She left her valuable collection of rare Northwest books, papers, pamphlets and maps to the Historical Society of Seattle and King County*. 
*Seattle Historic Society was incorporated on January 8, 1914, with founding trustees being Judge George Donworth, Judge C. H. Hanford, Judge R. B. Albertson, Lawrence J. Colman, University of Washington Professor Edmond S. Meany, and Margaret Lenora Denny. These members and many other Seattleites worked hard for the next fifty years to open a museum that would tell the history of their city. These efforts led to Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), which opened on February 15, 1952 in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood.
On Friday, February 1, 2013, this blog's five 'Nearby Norwegians' visited the MOHAI Resource Center.  Carolyn Marr, Librarian for the Sophia Frye Bass Library, greeted us at the door. I had emailed her the week before, asking if our group could come for a visit to the new facility. Carolyn had agreed, and she surprised us with a more personalized look at the collection than we had expected.  She had prepared a table for our visit, with several archival boxes from the library whose contents other Puget-Sound-area Norwegian-Americans may also find interesting. These are some of the items she showed us:
  • A file folder of the planning documents for MOHAI's 1975 exhibit titled "Norwegian Immigrant Exhibit of Puget Sound and Alaska". 
  • A file folder of documents pertaining to the Visit of His Majesty Olav King of Norway October 4 - 29, 1975, which commemorated the 150th Anniversary of Norwegian Immigration to the United States, 1825 - 1975. 
  • An archival box titled Ephemera Collection: Norwegian-American that we all will want to spend more time with.

  • Two archival boxes of Anders Beer Wilse Photographs.
  • An archival box of Carl H. Moen Photographs: modern prints and cassette tapes.
Ms. Marr answered our flood of questions, then gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the library stacks. She showed us how best to access the over 100 finding aids that are available online, and coached us on 'suggested verbiage' to use when seeking an appointment to visit this magnificent library for research.

Nearly three hours later, we were on our way, with a better appreciation for how to access this resource library and its contents. It was well worth the trip to Georgetown, and we will definitely be returning to the library for research visits.

We extend our gratitude to Carolyn Marr, librarian, and also to Lorraine McConaghy, MOHAI's public historian, who has been an important role model for nearby historians like us.
You can explore many of these items through the library's digitized photo archive and online research collections. Additional items can be viewed at the library, located at the MOHAI Resource Center (5933 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108). The library is open to the public by appointment from 1-4 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To make an appointment email library@seattlehistory.org or phone 206-324-1126 ext. 137 or ext. 138.

"Emblem of Freedom", a song about Patrotism

Patriotism was of the utmost importance to many new immigrants. 

One such immigrant was Thomas Ostenson Stine who was born in Vestre Slidre, Oppland, Norway on November 11, 1865. He was baptized Tollef Ostensen Steine on February 4, 1866. He emigrated to America in 1882, at the age 17.

In an brief autobiography published in the forward to a book of poetry: Heaven on Earth (Seattle, Pigott Pr., 1920), Stine writes,    "In 1890 I took out my final citizenship paper in the circuit court of Brookings [South Dakota]. The question then arose regarding the Americanization of the spelling of my name without losing the identity of the Valders farm -- Steine. ... Some time later I conferred with Dr. George Lilley [at South Dakota Agricultural College and now president of the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science], my good, old teacher, regarding the spelling of my name. He stated that Steine looked better to him than Staine, but suggested that it be spelled -- STINE."

Mr. Stine traveled to the Pacific Coast via the Canadian Pacific, landing in Seattle in the early part of March, 1891. He became well known in the Pacific Northwest as a teacher, newspaper correspondent, author, and poet.

Within ten years of his arrival in the Puget Sound, Mr. Stine was seen as a prolific writer. In February 1903 the Seattle Daily Times published the following:

A New Patriotic Song
Seattle Daily Times, February 23, 1902
A new patriotic song entitled "Emblem of Freedom," has just been published. It is in every sense expressive of true American spirit, and will undoubtedly be met with warm sympathy by the public. The words are written by Mr. Thos. O. Stine, the first graduate of the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, who is well known to the people on the Sound as a teacher and newspaper correspondent. The melody is by Mr. C. Blom, a noted composer. Both the words and the music are strong and spirited and bear marked indications of literary and musical power.

Emblem of Freedom
Emblem of freedom how dearly I hail thee, 
Gleaming with spangles of victory won; 
Smiling with hope, which with longing has filled me,
      Courage and love that our fathers have shown.
Firm in protection,
Pure in affections,

Pride of our country, the flag of the brave!
       Spirit awakens with fond recollection
Deeds of our fathers that sleep in the grave.

Tyranny rallied with fury despairing,
       Presents to battle for liberty flee.
Washington leading and firmly declaring,
       "Yankees forever unconquered and free."
      Land in commotion,
  War on the ocean,

Never shall ruffle the flag on our shore,
     Flag that our fathers with blood and devotion
Gallantly hoisted as onward they bore.  

By June 1903 the song had spread throughout the country.  On June 14, 1903, the Seattle Daily Times reported the following:
 "Emblem of Freedom" is gaining recognition among the prominent educators in the East. The Missouri School Journal, a leading educational magazine, published the whole song in the April number and also gave considerable editorial space to it. Among other things the Journal said: "Teach your children to sing 'Emblem of Freedom,' the words and music of which are found on another page of this issue, furnished us by the author Mr. Thomas O. Stine of Seattle, Wash., that our readers may have an opportunity to become acquainted with this delightful piece of music." 
       According to present indications the the song will be adopted for use in the public schools throughout the entire United States. The majority of the state superintendents of public instruction have offered to introduce it into the public schools. Even the State of California, which is one of the most independent states in the union, has given the song recognition. Prof. Thomas J. Kirk, state superintendent of public instruction of the Golden State, wrote the author of the song, in part, as follows, February 21, 1903: "I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 21st inst., together with copies of your song, "Emblem of Freedom." It will give me pleasure to recommend it as one appropriate to be sung in public schools." 
       State superintendents of instruction of other states have expressed themselves equally pleased with the new patriotic song, which has already been adopted for use in public schools of a number of cities. 
In 1917 the song got a resurgence.  After war was declared between the United States and Germany, Mr Stine's patriotism and love of country cropped out to a remarkable degree. He printed thousands of copies of his song "Emblem of Freedom" and his poem "Heaven on Earth", and placed them on sale for the benefit of the [American] Red Cross. (source: Heaven on Earth, 1920)

In 1917 Mr. Stine dedicated the song to President Woodrow Wilson. The piece was republished at least four times.  (Source: Pacific Northwest Sheet Music, from the Ashford Collection, University of Washington)

04 February 2013

Johan Turi - An Account of the Sámi

Source: www.arkivverket.no

Johan Turi

Johan Turi  is a familiar name to most anyone who has heard stories or read about the Sámi. Sámi are the indigenous people who inhabitate the Arctic area of Sámpi, which today encompasses parts of the far north in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

Source: www.arkivverket.no
Johan Turi (a.k.a. Johannes Olsen Thuri) was born in Kautokeino, Norway in March of 1854. Kautokeino is in the northernmost fylke (county) in Norway and shares a border with Finland. The community is straight north of Sweden.

Johan Turi was a wolf-hunter, a bear-hunter, an artist, and a bachelor with a dream. His dream was to publish a book that told the story of his people, the Sámi life. In 1908 this dream was about to come to fruition. He hand-wrote a manuscript into several bound notebooks. He included 14 hand-drawn illustrations. This all took place during a two-month stay in a hut at Duortnojávri; Torneträsk.

Emilie Demant Hatt, a Danish artist (and later ethnographer), encouraged Turi to write down his stories. She took these notebooks back to her home in Denmark, transcribed them, and translated them with the help of Anders Pederson and Vilheim Thomsen, two philologists.The final publication was an innovative bilingual edition written in both Danish and Sámi. This unique piece of literature was soon translated from Danish into German, English, and several other languages.

The year 2010 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the first publication of Johan Turi's Muitalus samiid birra (An Account of the Sámi), the first secular book ever published in the Sámi language.
Turi's book is a classic of Sámi literature and cultural history. It provides fascinating insights into Sámi traditional practices, from reindeer husbandry to hunting and trapping, to childbirth, healing, courtship and song. Turi's account provides a unique glimpse of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Sámi life.

Now a direct translation from the Sámi language into English is available. Thomas A. DuBois, professor in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, reviewed the original notebooks written in Turi's handwriting, and translated them directly into English. Illustrated with examples of Turi's artwork, this new English translation has been published in a 221-page hardcover book, by ČálliidLágádus (authors' publisher), located in Deatnu/Tana, Norway.

Last week I wrote about the The Sámi-Americans of Poulsbo. In that post I mentioned meeting author Ellen Marie Jensen at the Poulsbo Historical Society (Tuesday, January 8, 2013). She was there to share this exquisite publication with the Poulsbo community. The story is well worth reading, and the black-and-white and color pictures are magnificent. Currently, the book can only be purchased from the publisher (for US $75).  I was able to purchase my copy of the book -- a valuable keepsake -- following Ms. Jensen's talk, however.

For a sneak peek at what is contained within the pages of the new book, Johan Turi - An Account of the Sámi, I recommend this wonderful slide show. (It's all in Sámi, but the pictures are fabulous.)

Also of note:  Barbara Sjohoim, a Pacific Northwest author, has posted insights into the Johan Turi story on her blog Lapponia: a northern state of mind, including analysis of rumors about Johan Turi and Emilie Demant Hatt that have circulated over the years. Ms. Sjohoim is in the final stages of writing a book about Emilie Demant Hatt's life.  Titled With the Lapps in the High Mountains, it will be published in May 2013.