Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/1/2015 (2401 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
"Sometimes it feels like we are going back to Sweden, but then I remember we’re going the other way… over this huge ocean with our loved ones, full of hope to start a new life in a promising new land. There have been serious famines that have totally destroyed our crops… the government has made the farms smaller so that village life is totally changed.
"There are so many of us without our own land… we’ve tried to find work in the cities but there still aren’t enough jobs for all of us. So — we’re here on this ship now, doing what a lot of our landsmän have done … we’re making a go of it and we’re going to have something way better in Canada, we just know it!"
This quote from the stoftdustofourbeing.com website is the inspiration for the Swedish Cultural Association’s study group.
About 20 people of Swedish descent come together once a month to share and record projects which explore personal stories of the immigrants of their Swedish ancestors to North America.
They aim to learn more of the incredible conditions in which their grandparents began their new lives, as young hopefuls — in places such as Mulvihill, Spearhill, Arborg, Meadows, Red Lake, Eriksdale, Sanford, Red Sucker Lake, Swan River, Lilyfield, Sprague, Hilltop and more.
According to the website, the purpose of the course is "to enrich the group members’ collective knowledge of their Swedish roots; to expand their understanding of Swedish immigration in relation to the history of the times in Sweden and North America; and, to consider their community and themselves in relation to their families’ past experiences and dreams."
They are also going to be sharing their information with Umeå University in Sweden, because, of course, part of their hearts are in Sweden, where their loved ones came from — places such as Lappland, Norbotten, Västergötland, Småland, Skåne, Varmland, and Blekinge.
Participants will be exploring questions such as:
"Why did they come here? What were conditions like in their homeland? What were they seeking? How did they come? When? Where did they land? What did they first work at in the new land? What did the women do? How did they get through the hard times? Did the children go to school? Were they effected by disease? Where are they buried? What did their offspring work at? How were conditions different? Were the language and customs retained? Is our generation different from or similar to the second one or to our grandparents’?
The next meeting of the group is Fri., Jan. 9, at noon at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre, 764 Erin St. The public is welcome to attend.
Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End.
West End community correspondent
Arny Hjaltadottir was a community correspondent for the West End.