U.S. Ambassador to Finland visits U.P.

HANCOCK — The U.S. Ambassador to Finland is in the Copper Country this weekend for to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the country’s independence and the summer solstice.

Finns from around the Copper Country gathered at the Finnish American Heritage Center to greet Finnish Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi. Kauppi’s visit honors this year’s centennial anniversary of Finnish independence. She expressed her appreciation for what the area is doing to keep Finnish heritage alive.

Kauppi said “I’m so proud about these people. I’m so proud that they value the Finnish heritage and Finnish ancestry here. It’s just wonderful to see what is being done here to preserve the heritage and to study Finland, Finnish history and the history of this community.”

Kauppi said the celebration of Finnish heritage is what keeps it present in today’s society and emphasizes why Finland has become such a success in the past 100 years. The spirit of Finland has spread across the nation and brought people to the Copper Country to study the culture. Finnish author Frank Eld is on a three-month expedition from his home in Idaho to Canada to document Finnish log construction.

“As Finns, our legacy is the sauna and Finnish log construction. A lot of times, they’re the same thing. Finnish log saunas. That’s what I’m trying to preserve: the pictures of and, of course, I’ve worked on preserving them also literally in a museum in Idaho,” said Eld.

Eld’s and Kauppi’s visits to the U.P. signify the start of Juhannas, a Finnish festival celebrating the summer solstice, happening this weekend.