Sámi-American author Ellen Marie Jensen is coming back to the Pacific Northwest for three events. If you haven’t met Ellen yet, don’t miss this opportunity! Her book events last summer were not only informative and fun, but sparked lively Q&A sessions and several friendships. On this tour, Ellen will be presenting her book, We Stopped Forgetting: Stories of Sámi Americans (now available in softcover), as well as the new English translation of Johan Turi’s An Account of the Sámi.
Both books are must-haves. They are also popular, so get them while you can. Ellen sold out of We Stopped Forgetting on her last tour, and Thomas DuBois (the translator of Turi’s book) sold out of An Account of the Sámi on his last visit to Seattle.
Ellen’s events are:
- Tuesday, Jan. 8th, 11:30 pm, Poulsbo Historical Society, Poulsbo www.poulsbohistory.org
- Thursday, Jan. 10th, at 6:00 pm, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma http://www.plu.edu/scan/
- Friday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 pm, Portland State University, Portland, sponsored by www.scanheritage.org
(Find more information at the We Stopped Forgetting Facebook Page.)
From the publisher’s press release (thank you, Rosalie Sundin!), below is further information about the books:
Johan Turi’s book “An Account of the Sámi,” is a hardcover, “coffee table format” book laden with history, treasures, memories (both poignant and whimsical), and knowledge of the Sámi people’s culture and language – returned to us thanks to ČálliidLágádus/ Authors’Publisher, and this new translation provided by Thomas A. DuBois. This new edition also includes Turi’s original artwork, portraying the day-to-day life in Sápmi during the late 19th century, and the experiences unique to the Sámi culture.
Those of Sámi descent, both in Scandinavia and North-America, will find this book a critical addition to their family history research and personal libraries. Turi vividly describes the experiences and events of our great-grandparent’s lives – what they would have seen, and tasted, and touched more than a hundred years ago! We are all fortunate that ČálliidLágádus/Authors’Publisher has invested in reproducing this priceless work of historic Sámi culture.
As Ellen describes in the early pages of “We Stopped Forgetting,” her motivation to write her book followed a visit to the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration, where she found herself face-to-face with a stunning, (early 1900s) photographic portrait of a nameless Sámi immigrant woman. The woman’s proud visage, tinged perhaps with apprehension and fear, compelled Ellen Marie Jensen to begin searching for the woman’s identity — and whatever evidence might exist about her home place – and how the photo came to be there. Searching for that Sámi woman’s story and her own (previous) Master’s thesis research, led Jensen to compile the long-lost stories and experiences of a number of Sámi immigrants scattered across North America, retold through the voices of their 21st century descendants.
Time, and again, Ellen encountered the same stories of immigrant ancestors who quickly assimilated into their new lives as Americans (or Canadians), leaving much of their culture and traditions behind them as they discarded their oftentimes-stigmatized Sámi identities. With the passing of time, the arts, traditions, and religions of their ancestral heritage crumbled like dried flowers. Yet many Sámi immigrants clung to the memory of their homelands in far-northern Norway, Finland, Sweden or Russia (the areas defined as Sápmi), by adopting identities as Scandinavian-Americans (of various flavors), and participating in groups and organizations such as the Sons of Norway, the Finnish-American Society and the American Swedish Institute. It was only when their descendants began to explore their family trees and ask questions, that the silenced Sámi heritage of their immigrant ancestors was uncovered. Fortunately, a few first-generation Americans (and Canadians) lived long enough to answer questions about their ancestor’s arrivals in North-America, and to recite the stories once shared with them, about life in Scandinavia. However, many (if not most) newly found Sámi-Americans have had to define for themselves cultures and identities through groups such as the Sámi Siida of North America.