The Most Important Source of Support for Finnish Culture in the United States
Photo property of Finnish National Gallery
Did You Know...

...that T-Bone Slim, a legendary figure in the U.S. labor movement of the 1920s until his death in 1942, was of Finnish descent?

Matti V. Huhta was born in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1882 (or so). Around 1910 he left his wife and children and lived the life of a hobo, wandering and working as needed. He became a contributor to the Industrial Workers of the World union press, and had quite a following for his articles, poems, songs and hobo philosophy.

In May of 1942, T-Bone's body was found in the Hudson (or East) River in New York City. His life and death are full of mystery.

North Carolina musician John Holma Westmoreland (above) discovered that he was related to T-Bone, and he's been working on material about his great-grandmother's brother. In 2020, John received a grant from FFN to aid his project; click here to learn more and hear his music.


It's so good to hear from Finlandia Foundation chapters that they are opening up and having in-person gatherings again. In addition to Vappu events, we know of pulla baking sessions in Connecticut, the reopening of museum buildings in Ashtabula and Oregon, and a book talk in Maine by Deep River author Karl Marlantes, to name a few.

We are hopeful that we may be able to resume in-person FFN Lecturer of the Year and Performer of the Year programs in 2021. In the meantime, please do enjoy Finnposium, the virtual symposium events at the FFN YouTube channel (including a Deep River book talk with author Marlantes).

We are pleased to add another dimension of programming, thanks to an initiative of the new FFN Young Leaders Board. Check out the chat on YouTube by YLB's Lauren Tuiskula with Finnish basketball sensation Awak Kuier, who just began her career with the Dallas Wings.

Additionally, we proudly provide grants for a variety of Finnish and Finnish-American activities. A sampling described here includes the Astoria Nordic Heritage Park on the Oregon coast, the wonderful Finnish National Gallery art exhibit at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, and a musician's tribute to an ancestor known as T-Bone Slim.

It is your continued support that makes it possible.

Thank you.

Anne-Mari Paster
ampaster @ rcn. com
Mark Your Calendar for Finlandia Foundation Events
May 20: Interview with Awak Kuier by Lauren Tuiskula @ YouTube
May 22: Bowery Trio Concert @ YouTube
May 27: My American Dream @ YouTube
May 31: Soiva Music Virtual Class Registration Deadline; click here
May 31: Salolampi Scholarship Application Deadline; click here
June 10: In Conversation @ YouTube
June 19: Juhannus Coffee Concert @ YouTube
Vappu, North Texas Style
Contributed by Vesa Jaamuru
Finnish Language School of North Texas

The Finnish Language School of North Texas (a chapter of FFN in the Greater Dallas area) has a tradition of inviting all area Finns to celebrate the Finnish holidays together, including Vappu.

Motorcycle club Hakkapeliitat, the Finnish Business Guild and Dallasin Naiset-club responded and joined the Finnish Language School in helping to create a May 1 gathering in Murrell Park at Grapevine Lake, which would resemble a traditional Finnish spring celebration as much as possible.

While families were invited to join and have fun in the park, the event was also the last school class of the spring semester for the children. The task was to craft vappuviuhka, which together with balloons have traditionally made the proper Vappu carnival atmosphere for the kids.

In addition, a demonstration of camping activities---like setting up a tent and lighting a campfire---was given by young Leo Nikkanen. Boiling of water on a campfire seemed like a routine task for Leo, who enjoys outdoor activities and often sleeps in his backyard tent at home.
Vappu would not be Vappu without traditional sima beverage and munkki donuts, prepared by Dallasin Naiset-club. Everyone in Finland also loves muurinpohjaletut (Finnish crepes), and in Texas there is nothing better than those cooked to golden brown by Hakkapeliitat motorcycle club. The bikers also gave an exciting opportunity for short motorcycle rides for everyone interested.

Grilled sausages belong to any outdoor event in Finland, and Vappu sausage grill masters came from the Finnish Business Guild.

Although it was a cloudy day after several days of rain, a total of 70 people participated in the midday event. It clearly shows that these Finns appreciate Vappu traditions and want to celebrate together, just like in Finland---except that in this event there was no alcohol served.
A Troll Stroll in Oregon
Astoria Nordic Heritage Park (ANHP) Vice Chair Janet Bowler reports that on May 1 a festive group paraded "Bjert" the troll from the waterfront site to the FinnWare shop, where he will be on display until the park opens in late 2021.

Pictured with the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Court, Bjert is one of six trolls that will be hidden in the park for children to find. ANHP is a 2021 FFN grant recipient.
Through your generous donations, Finlandia Foundation is able to offer grants to support a variety of programs, including the exhibition Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish Gallery (photo at top) at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle through October 17, 2021. Your gift is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Paloheimo Foundation (up to $100,000 annually). FFN is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Thank You! Kiitos!

Music, Books, Food, Discussions & More

Finnposium is Finlandia Foundation National's virtual symposium featuring a variety of online chats, webinars, and cooking, musical and other presentations related to Finland and Finnish culture in the U.S.

Find the entertaining and informative programs at the FFN YouTube channel.