2018 Biographies


Saturday, July 28, 2:30-3:45 pm, room 203 Researching US/Canadian Finnish Log Construction and the Anomaly I Discovered in New Finland, Canada

Frank is Founder of the Long Valley Preservation Society, Roseberry, Idaho, a historic townsite with 25 buildings.  Nine of these were constructed by the Finnish immigrants who homesteaded in the area around 1900.  Six are made of hand hewn logs.  Frank has been the coordinator for this project since he helped found it over forty years ago.

Frank has documented  log construction throughout the United States and Canada, focusing on the Finnish.  He was born and raised in a Finnish community in Idaho, where his father and maternal grandparents homesteaded. Upon graduation from Columbia University, New York, he became an educator in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before returning to Idaho. An avid historian and preservationist, Frank began his historical passion as a boy of 12, restoring an old family pump organ.  The year he graduated from college, he purchased the old Roseberry General Store building and helped establish the Museum.

Frank was a teacher, business owner, and county commissioner before retiring in 2010. He wrote Finnish Log Construction, The Art.

Frank is a lecturer and a 2009 recipient of Preservation Idaho’s Orchid Award, recognizing over forty years in preservation.

Frank’s recent research has focused on the New Sweden Colony area of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey where the first Finns & Swedes arrived in 1638.  He recently designed a permanent exhibit on log construction for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s new visitor center in Wilmington, Delaware.

Frank’s latest project is designing a display for the Finnish Classroom at the U of Pittsburgh. He’s completed a model of the proposed room which is displayed here in room 106. His Finnabego is displayed in the Courtyard.

Frank is Finlandia Foundation National’s Lecturer of the Year.



Saturday, July 28, 2:30-3:45 pm, room 204         The Kalevala in Modern Day Finland. The Use of Kalevala in Popular Culture, Arts and Business Life

Ph.D. Tuomas Hovi works as a postdoctoral researcher in folkloristics at the University of Turku, Finland. Hovi received his Ph.D. in 2014 and his dissertation dealt with the use of tradition, history, heritage and popular culture in Dracula tourism in Romania. His areas of expertise and research interests include folklore, heritage, tradition, tourism, popular culture, authenticity, identity politics, ethnicity and cultural identity. Hovi has written several articles and given several presentations about tourism, the use of tradition and Finnish American traditions. He has also done fieldwork in Romania and in the United States. His current research, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2016-2019), focuses on the cultural and ethnic identity and heritage of Finnish Americans currently living in the United States.



Ellen Marie Jensen is Norwegian Sámi from west Finnmark Province in Norway and American from Minnesota. She moved from Minneapolis MN to Romsa/Tromsø in 2003 where she has studied literature and cultural studies, Norwegian and Sámi. She recently submitted her PhD dissertation on Sámi women and immigration and is the author of We Stopped Forgetting: Stories from Sámi Americans (2012).

Friday, July 27, 2:50-4:00 pm,room 204          Stories of Early Twentieth Century Sámi Immigrant Women

Author, editor, and scholar Ellen Marie Jensen will present her research on stories of five Sami immigrant women who came to America in the early 1900’s. Of special interest in the story of Anna Mortensdatter Nilima from Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino who first moved to Alaska and then moved to the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, July 27, 12:00-1:10 pm, room 204      Sámi beliefs from the 16th century to the Present

Based on the book she edited What We Believe In: Sámi Religious Experience and Beliefs from 1593 to the Present, Ellen Marie Jensen will give an account of the spiritual life of the Sámi people from the time of the Sámi shaman, to the Laestadian movement, and to their continuities in contemporary local Sámi communities.



Friday, July 27, 1:35-2:45 pm, room 203   Finnish 101

Saturday, July 28, 12:00-1:10 pm, room 203   Finnish 101

Note that Saturday’s session is NOT a continuation of Friday’s session. These are beginning Finnish language classes, but those who want to brush up on their Finnish are welcome. All ages are welcome.

Daniel Karvonen is Senior Lecturer in Finnish and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota where he has taught since 2002. In the fall of 2018 he will take a position as a lecturer in Kven and Finnish at the University of Tromsø in Norway. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics with a specialization in phonology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his research and publications are in word prosody, metrical theory, and the phonology of loanwords with an empirical focus on Finnish. Daniel is a fourth-generation Finnish-American who first learned Finnish while a Rotary exchange student in Finland during high school. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Helsinki in 1999-2000. In his spare time he is an avid marathoner and language enthusiast.



Friday, July 27, 1:35-2:45 pm, room 204

Irene Martin was born in England, raised in Canada, and has been a forty year resident of the United States.  She is a writer, fisher, and retired Episcopal priest.  Her numerous books include Legacy and Testament:  The Story of Columbia River Gillnetters, The Beach of Heaven which is a history of Wahkiakum County, Lewis and Clark in the Land of the Wahkiakums, and Sea Fire, Tales of Jesus and Fishing.  Irene is also the author of the video, “Work is Our Joy:  A History of Columbia River Gillnetters,” produced by an Oregon Sea Grant.  Her History of the Columbia River Packers Association and the Bumble Bee Seafoods was published in 2011 by the Chinook Observer Publishing Company.

  She is the recipient of several awards, including the James B. Castles award in 1998 and the Washington Governor’s Heritage Award in 2000. Irene lives in Skamokawa, WA, with her husband, Kent.



Saturday, July 28, 1:15-2:25 pm, room 204       The Finnish Revolution   (Reds vs. Whites)

Petteri Mökkönen was one of the last Finnish children born in Viipuri before it was occupied by the Soviet Union 74 years ago in June 1944. After High school he entered The Finnish armed forces. He was honorably discharged as Second Lieutenant. He received a Pilot license and decided to immigrate to Canada. After living in Toronto for a year, he was ready to move to Vancouver. Studies at British Columbia Institute of Technology helped him to provide for the Family of four. Petteri founded Karelia Association and was elected a chairman. In order to have better understanding of his Karelian roots and Orthodox religion, Petteri studied Icon painting. He joined The Finnish War Veterans Forty five years ago and is vice chairman of Veterans Canadian region and secretary of Vancouver chapter. Petteri is active member of The Military History Society of Finland. Since retiring he has studied Political science at Simon Fraser University. He is also assistant training officer of Vancouver Power Squadron. This year it has been 100 years since the end of civil War in Finland and after spending considerable time in Finnish and Russian archives he has produced a multi media presentation about The Finnish Civil war. His grandfather was executed in Viipuri, in the spring of 1918.



Saturday, July 28, 1:35-2:45 pm, room 304 Documentary – Cooperatively Yours

Kristin Ojaniemi is a Finnish-American documentary filmmaker and video producer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “Co-operatively Yours” is Kristin’s second feature length documentary and has inspired her to explore her own Finnish-ness through a blog titled “My Finnish-American Life” with videos about Finnish-American culture, history, events and people. Storytelling has always been Kristin’s biggest passion. Kristin also enjoys the outdoors; hiking, fishing, hunting, riding her ATV, golfing and spending time with family and friends at the cabin.  More information can be found at www.myfinnishamericanlife.com, www.upariver.net and www.ojamedia.com.

For a century, Settlers Co-op in Bruce Crossing has been the hub of a very Finnish-American community, serving patrons and passers-through at the crossroads of Highways 45 and 28 in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“Co-operatively Yours,” produced in conjunction with the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University, explores the history of the Finnish-American cooperative movement in North America, using historic photos, memories of the employees and members of the Co-op, and archival research to tell the story of the co-operative system the Finns brought to America when they immigrated over a century ago. Filmmaker Kristin Ojaniemi explores this national movement by exemplifying the history of Settlers Co-op in Bruce Crossing, which is one of less than 10 remaining Finnish-founded co-operatives in the  United States, and which celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2017.

“Co-operatively Yours” was awarded Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 Eclipse Awards in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Saturday, July 28, 1:15-2-25 pm, room 102 Naselle 101

Bryan Penttila is a life-long resident of Naselle, where his family has resided since the 1880s. His working career has been spent in the logging industry and he is currently employed by Weyerhaeuser as a forest engineering specialist.  He has had his works published in several historical quarterlies and written Columbia River:  The Astoria Odyssey, contributed to When Logging Was Logging published by the Appelo Archives Center, and collaborated with Peter Brix to write The Brix Logging Story, In the Woods of Washington and Oregon.



Friday, July 27, 2:50-4:00, room 203 Finnish Persistence & Creativity Versus Latitude

The talk will feature a wonderful visit to Finland last month, especially the tour hosted by the Finnish Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.  Following an initial review of Finland’s physical geography, I’ll share some photographic evidence of many decades of work by scientists, plant breeders, and other garden enthusiasts to create new hybrid rhododendrons that are more cold-hardy and have better flowers and foliage that would otherwise be expected at Finland’s latitude (mostly above 60° North Latitude).  These new hybrids take names such as:  Kullervo, Haaga, Elviira, Mikkeli, Hellikki, Helsinki University, etc.  The tour spanned the southern coastal area along the Gulf of Finland from Kotka in the East, continuing thru Elimäki, Porvoo, Haaga, Helsinki, Salo, and extending to Turku and the Finnish archipelago in the West.  We witnessed rhododendrons in bloom, as well as daily temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s, throughout the four-day tour.  We’ll look at scenes from the Arboretum Mustila near Elimäki, where these efforts all began in 1902.

John has a nice 4-gallon specimen of Rhododendron ‘Haaga’—a cold-hardy and floriferous cultivar hybridized in Finland that he give away as a door-prize to one of the session’s attendees.