The decline of Finnish ethnic islands in rural Thunder Bay

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Abstract

As the Finns settled around the shores of Lake Superior, they established small, isolated communities ("ethnic islands") where Finnish was generally the only language spoken and where Finnish culture dominated. Today, however, in Northwestern Ontario, the Finnish character of these villages has nearly vanished. Based on field interviews with Finnish-Canadian community members and leaders, and with the interpretive aid of some prominent geolinguistic theories of language maintenance and language shift, the decline of Ontario s Finnish culture and settlements is examined. Likewise, this paper establishes an approximate time frame and reveals many of the major external reasons, as observed by the local Finns, for the marked decline of their once-thriving ethnic communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGreat Lakes Geographer
Volume2
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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