US Planned "New Finland" for Refugees in Alaska.
In 1940, the United States considered the possibility of settling Finnish refugees from the Winter War in Alaska, according to Lecturer Henry Oinas-Kukkonen of the University of Oulu.
Addressing a historical research conference in Jyväskylä on Friday, Oinas-Kukkonen said that the proposal was intended to be carried out if the Soviet Union had conquered Finland.
In early 1940, he says, US officials were preparing to set up an "American Finland" in the northernmost state. The US Department of the Interior drew up several proposals to create a Finnish colony in Alaska during the late winter and early spring of 1940.
The plan was presented to Former President Herbert Hoover, who chaired the Finnish Relief Fund.
"New Finland" would have been established in Central Alaska around the Tanana River, a tributary of the Yukon. US authorities considered conditions in the Alaskan wilderness to be suitable for the Finns. Central Alaska is at roughly the same latitude as central Finland.
Birches and Midnight Sun.
"The area has a northern terrain of rolling hills, birch and spruce trees and midnight sun. It was considered the closest replica of their homeland that could be offered to the Finns," Oinas-Kukkonen says.
However the plan became bogged down because of opposition from Alaskans in Congress. The biggest obstacle was the idea of a large national group speaking a language that many considered completely incomprehensible.
"The Finnish language was seen as a factor that would have caused problems for the naturalization of Finns living in Alaska," he explains. According to an analysis at the time, it would have taken 100 years for the Finnish settlement to become truly American.
While the proposal became deadlocked in Congress, Finland signed the Moscow Peace Treaty on March 12, 1940. The pact ended the three-and-a-half month long Winter War and forced Finland to hand over more than 10 percent of its territory. The evacuees, mostly from Karelia, were resettled in other parts of Finland. In the spring of 1940, the US Congress appropriated 30 million dollars to help Finland recover from the war.
Maija Kauhanen, combines modern beats with folklore elements and powerful singing.
In her live shows she invites people to join her musical universe for a while.
Maija is a composer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist as well as a charismatic performer with an entrancing stage presence.
“Kantele isn’t a typical band instrument, and at some point I realized that there’s no point in waiting for others to ask me to join their bands. So I formed my own”, Maija Kauhanen recalls the start of her solo career.
Maija Kauhanen is a Finnish one-woman band, singer, songwriter and player of kantele, the Finnish traditional chord instrument.
The Finns have a special bond to the sound of kantele: it’s in our DNA, and most of us have played the instrument in pre-school. But outside of Finland the sound is less familiar. After touring the world with her music, Kauhanen has found that after concerts people often want to take photos and touch the instrument. When asked to describe the instrument, Kauhanen often describes kantele as a mix of harp, guitar and sitra.
Maija Kauhanen’s songs require concentration from the audience as they can last up to ten of fifteen minutes.
“People are used to hearing songs that are around three minutes and are constructed in a certain way”, Kauhanen says.
“My songs are not like that, and if you’re in a very hectic state of mind you might have a hard time focusing on my music. But you just have to embrace the fact that this might take a while and let your spirit run free.”