The Kven/Finn indigenous people do not want a Kven/Finn Parliament

A Kven/Finn Editorial

  • Lederartikkel
  • Kveeni Suomi Parliament

Kven Finn Association notices that someone is advocating for a Kven/Finn Parliament on an equal footing with the Saami Parliament. Secretary General Rune Bjerkli here in Kokkola outside a courthouse (not a legal assembly) is sceptical about this for several reasons.

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Ethnic parliaments are dubious in legal terms. Creating ethnic parliament must at least take place in a debate where all ethnicities are considered. In Norway, we have not done this. In addition, ethnic parliament have been created where ethnicity is given an apparently higher legal rank than all others. There are also other factors that make ethnic parliament unfortunate. And especially in relation to cultural history, social development and resource use.

There are Kvens/Finns all over Fennoscandia. The Forest Finns in the south were Norwegianized earlier than the Kvens/Sea Finns and other Finno-Ugric peoples in the north. Due to the geography and climate, the northern areas were and are sparsely populated. It was more difficult to govern.

For long periods, the northern parts of Fennoscandia have been taxed by three kingdoms. The Danish/Norwegian, Swedish/Finnish and Russian. The taxation was geopolitical. The tax that was collected was not that which financed the kingdoms. The individual had to hand over a squirrel skin or two or something else as tax settlement.

Around the Reformation in 1520, there was a change. When Gustav Vasa pulled Sweden/Finland out of the Nordic Kalmar Union, a process of setting national borders and collecting taxes/fees/indulgences under one king started. Right up until 1751 when the borders between Denmark/Norway and Sweden/Finland were set and 100 years after this, the northern areas were still free areas compared to the southern parts of Fennoscandia.

In 1826, the Norwegian (Swedish) and Russian (Finnish) border was determined. Only after this did the authorities begin to regulate the border crossings so that it affected people’s daily lives. For example, Kvens/Finns could not freely participate in the profitable Finnmark-fishery from the Finnish part of Kveenimaa (Northern Finland, Sweden and Norway) as they had always done. The Kautokeino rebellion in 1852 was a milestone in relation to border management after 1826.

But there are still few areas where national borders are as physically open as in the north. Even the borders with Russia have been open to the border residents in Kirkenes and the surrounding area.

It is the factual and the feeling of living in a free area that separates the northern areas from the rest of Fennoscandia.

  • The municipalities promote the free and mighty nature to new employee prospects.
  • Every Man’s right to move freely in the outdoors is strong.
  • Large open fields are still the prerequisite for those engaged in grazing and agriculture.

The feeling of independence has been important for Arctic culture.

More parliaments, more chaos

In the area north of the Arctic Circle, there is less need for governing. It is then a great paradox that some believe that we should initiate more bureaucracy than other areas.

And a bureaucracy based on ethnicity. One of the things that separate people the least from each other.

Kven Finn Association believes that the Stortinget (Norwegian parliament) is good enough as a superior body for people in Northern Norway. We refuse to create a Kvens/Finn Parliament on the same level as the Saami Parliament.

Solving the challenges with funding and other things must be organized in a different way than creating a Kvens/Finn Parliament. Formal specific advisory and/or decision-making bodies are the way to go on the few topics where this is relevant. And these must answer to the Stortinget, county councils and municipalities where relevant. The formal decision-making democratic bodies.

Kvens/Finns, Saami, and the rest live side by side, the children go to the same schools, and houses are not built in ethnic ghettos. We cannot have an administrative body or administration that sees things from one ethnic perspective when the decisions affect other ethnicities.

Administrative bodies must be geographical because within geographical areas there is a diversity of ethnicities. The main challenge for many municipalities is too few people. We do not get good social development by having three administrative bodies:

  • Kven/Finn
  • Saami
  • Norwegian

in the least populated areas of Europe. More parliaments, more chaos.

It has become a trend to create value and economic production through more administration and public employment. In some places, the ratio between public administration and private business has become too large.

It is expensive to spend tax money on a bloated administrative body. It throws spanners in the work of ordinary people. It also takes expertise and resources away from where value creation and cultural practice should take place.

More administration in the north hits the culture particularly hard. Our culture is not to sit in an office, our culture is to be out in the field.

At the very least, we must ensure that the fisherman/farmer culture can use our natural prerequisites in the future. It was common in the north to have multiple skills and occupations, fisherman and farmer, because there was not a large enough market for one occupation. Many people in arctic areas still have two occupations. Someone sits in an office and is out in the field.

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By |2024-06-04T06:26:08+02:00June 4th, 2024|Editorial|0 Comments

Half stories – Kven Finn Association

A Kven/Finn Editorial

  • Lederartikkel
  • Leder halve historien

General secretary Rune Bjerkli of the Kven Finn Association registers that many people do not like that the association wants to improve the flawed history of the Kvens/Finns. People feel threatened, they realize the story is half complete.

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Man differs from all other creatures in many ways. The biggest is our big brain and intelligence. It gives us cognitive abilities that compensate for weaker physics. It is the one that gives us the ability to create stories. Half stories.

We have never been as informed as we are now. We can now make decisions on intricate challenges with a large factual base.

Two half-truths today

But never have we been so polarized as now, on the smallest thing. This is a paradox. There is no doubt that social media has contributed to this trend.

As soon as you show interest in something on an electronic device, you are bombarded with similar material. We are not exposed to multiple views. We only get confirmation of our original view. The opposite will experience the same.

We get a one-track story. We base our lives on half a story.

A half-truth before and now

Before and independently of social media, the understanding of the world was created by storytelling. Civilizations started with people having a common history in an area.

To build a society, you create common norms, rules and culture that have their starting point in, for example, the Bible.

Professor Yuval Noah Harari who wrote Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) cites this as a key role in gaining power. Many nations have created a strong unity by centring their history around a god, a ruler. In the past, there was only one social media: The account of the ruler. We were assigned half a story.

Our democratically elected leaders have this role today. The fight for history is also important for today’s leaders. Julian Assange, who established WikiLeaks and published classified information about the USA’s warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 00s, says it quite clearly. Our leaders all too often tell a (false) story to get people to join a war.

  • Hitler attacked Poland in 1939 because “the Poles had shot at Germans”.
  • In 2003, US Secretary of State Powell justified a war against Iraq with “Iraq was in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons”.
  • Putin explained the war against Ukraine in 2022 to his countrymen with “Ukrainian Nazis persecuting Russian minorities in Ukraine”.

The stories of the leaders tell what is right and wrong. It matters less whether it is correct or not. Norway is not such a unique country that it doesn’t happen here too.

A half-Kven/Finnish story

Kven Finn Association has a big spotlight on history. The Kven/Finnish story is also only half complete.

The Saami say that those we called Finns were what we now call Saami. The Norwegian authorities want the Kvens/Finns to be a group of people who came to Norway in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Norwegian Kven’s Association believes that Kvens/Finns’ original language was Kveeni.

We have several solid sources that the Finns in the north were Finnish-speaking Finns. The apostle of the Finns and Lapps, Thomas von Westen, received Finnish Bibles from Sweden to spread Christianity along the Norwegian coast in the early 18th century.

Norway’s most important study determined in 1751 the 2336 km long border between Norway and Sweden/Finland. The work was led by Major Peter Schnitler. They documented that the Sea Finns and the Kvens spoke the same language and had common customs.

Other sources show that finns were probably along the Norwegian coast even earlier. In the 890s, Ottar reports to King Alfred in England about “finnas” in the far north of Norway and like-speaking Bjarmers further east.

Then there is good reason for a story that opens up the possibility that sea finns and finnas may have been Finns and/or lapplanders (Saami).

In Meänraatio a few weeks ago, professor emeritus Lars Elenius and researcher Curt Persson admitted that the storytelling in the northern Fennoskandia has taken place in a Saami tunnel vision (11:00).

A half professor

One of those who attack our work with history is professor emeritus Einar Niemi in Alta on The Day of the Kven People (March 16th). He claims that Kven Finn Association confuses history with legends and myths.

He himself sat on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and claims that the Kven language, which has been standardized in the last 20 years, is the language of the Kven.

Kvensk is called the secret language. It has been so secret that not even the Kvens/Finns themselves knew about the language until a short time ago. Legend or myth?

Niemi denies that Kvens/Finns have used the Finnish Bible as their written reference point since before the 18th century. Læstadius’ postils were written in Finnish. To this day, a large majority of Kvens/Norwegian Finns choose Finnish as their language in primary school.

Niemi did not want any Finnish language measures for these Kvens/Norwegian Finns in the “truth work”.

The commission was only supposed to investigate the “wrong” not the “right” doings of the government. Again, we will make history based on half a story and new anti-Finnish injustices.


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By |2024-05-27T22:56:27+02:00May 27th, 2024|Editorial|0 Comments
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