Not to be confused with ”Afro-Finns”…..
The story of Finns’ distant cousins
TEXT SILJA MASSAPHOTOGRAPHY MEERI KOUTANIEMI
Part Finnish, part Native American
In the Great Lakes region there are people with roots in Finland and among indigenous North American peoples. It’s impossible to know how exactly many of these so-called ‘Findians’ exist, but their numbers are estimated in the hundreds. Author Katja Kettu, journalist Maria Seppälä and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi documented their lives over the course of three years. Their experiences form the basis for their book, ‘Findian country’.
Descendants of immigrants
Between 1860 and 1924 some 370,000 people left Finland for North America to seek a better life. The main reasons to emigrate were unemployment, social problems and the period of ‘Russification’ before Independence–but a desire for adventure was also a factor. In America Finns worked in the forests and the mines. While out in the woods and at trade union meetings they met Native Americans and even married some of them. The majority of marriages were with members of the Ojibwa tribe, the largest in the region. Finns tended to have less knowledge about their new home country–and therefore also fewer prejudices about the people native to the land.