Rani-Henrik Andersson and Janne LahtiJun 20, 2023
Finnish Settler Colonialism in North America
Rethinking Finnish Experiences in Transnational Spaces
Helsinki University Press 2022
Finns tell a story about themselves as a people exempt from European colonialism. Not so, argue the contributors to Finnish Settler Colonialism in North America: Rethinking Finnish Experiences in Transnational Spaces (Helsinki University Press, 2022). In this volume edited by Finnish scholars Rani-Henrik Andersson and Janne Lahti, both scholars of North America at the University of Helsinki, interdisciplinary and transnational experts argue that Finns, though small in number compared to other immigrant groups, nonetheless took part in settler colonial practices across North America. From the Great Lakes to the forests of the Canadian/American borderlands, and all across the American West, Finnish immigrants acquired land, dispossessed Native people, and told stories about themselves naturalizing their presence on stolen land. Yet, this is also a story of complications, and Finnish settler colonial experiences often defy expectations and simple morality tales. Andersson and Lahti's book is only the beginning of a younger movement of scholars to use settler colonial frameworks to take a fresh look at old stories.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.