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The Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited : a Finnish-Canadian millenarian movement in British.. Salo, Allan Henry 1978

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THE KALEVAN KANSA COLONIZATION COMPANY, LIMITED:  A FINNISH-CANADIAN MILLENARIAN  MOVEMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA  ALLAN HENRY SALO B. A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1972  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Anthropology)  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1978 (c)  A l l a n Henry Salo, 1978  In presenting this thesis in partial  fulfilment of the requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I a g r e e that the Library  shall make it freely available f o r r e f e r e n c e and study.  I further agree that permission for extensive copying o f this thesis f o r scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by his representatives.  It  is understood that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n  o f this thesis f o r financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of  Anthropology  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V 6 T 1W5  Date 6 October  1978  Abstract T h i s t h e s i s i s p r i m a r i l y concerned o f a group o f Finnish-Canadians attempted  t o found  b e t w e e n 1901  and  w i t h the  i n British  activities  Columbia.  a n U t o p i a n community on M a l c o l m  1905•  The  activities  the Kalevan Kansa or descendants  of these  They Island  people,  o f Kaleva, an a n c i e n t  F i n n i s h m y t h o l o g i c a l f i g u r e , were m i l l e n a r i a n i n n a t u r e . D u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d t h e r e were d i s t i n c t s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s and arrival  t h e i r new  changes i n t h e i r  undertakings p r e d i c t e d the  o f a d i f f e r e n t and more i d e a l f o r m  organization.  The  j o i n t - s t o c k company t h e b a s i s o f t h e new  The  subsequent  s e t t l e m e n t scheme was  K a n s a C o l o n i z a t i o n Company, L i m i t e d . a s p i r a t i o n s , K u r i k k a and  revealed  proposed  t o make  community.  known a s t h e Indicative  Kalevan of  h i s f o l l o w e r s named t h e i r  community S o i n t u l a , t h e p l a c e o f harmony. e x p l o r e more f u l l y  social  c o n t e n t o f t h a t o r g a n i z a t i o n was  t o them b y t h e i r l e a d e r , M a t t i K u r i k k a , who a  of  their new  In order to  the m i l l e n a r i a n a c t i v i t i e s  this  thesis  a l s o i n v e s t i g a t e s t h e i r r o o t s i n the h i s t o r i c a l  development  o f F i n n i s h i d e n t i t y and  fulfill  t h o s e p e r c e p t i o n s i n day  the a b i l i t y  of Finns to  t o day a c t i v i t i e s .  t h e t h e s i s f o c u s e s on t h e r e l a t e d p r o b l e m s i d e n t i t y encountered  In  addition,  concerning  i n the aftermath of the Kalevan  C o l o n i z a t i o n Company by t h o s e Sointula. ii  s e t t l e r s who  remained  Kansa at  iii The  a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h were u n d e r t a k e n i n t h e  b r i e f period coalescing  b e t w e e n 1901  of  Among t h e  i d e a s and  and  1905  aspirations  Vancouver I s l a n d new  o t h e r s who  came f r o m v a r i o u s  Canada and  Europe the  parts  As  Company p r o v i d e s a n of the  From i t s d e s c r i p t i o n and s u g g e s t i o n s about the K u r i k k a and  o f the  aims i t i s p o s s i b l e  a b o u t some o f t h e  the  by  first  chapter of the  introduction  Kansa d u r i n g  this period.  accountable  t o make  charismatic  appeal  aspirations  of  the  fundamental nature  Utopian v i s i o n l a r g e l y  to  thesis presents a b r i e f the  activities  In a d d i t i o n ,  methodological considerations of m i l l e n a r i a n  influence  company  inferred.  ethnographic  content  States,  K a l e v a n K a n s a movement.  o f the  relevant  to  K a l e v a n Kansa  empirically  However, t h e  The  United  such the  p a r t i c i p a n t s themselves.  r e m a i n s t o be  them and  joint-stock  i n t e l l e c t u a l and  energy r e l e a s e d  To  coal  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f a more i d e a l  form o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n .  of Matti  were p r i m a r i l y  v i s i o n of the  d i s t i n c t i v e aspect  rapid  activities.  s o c i e t y a p p e a r e d immanent.  encompassed r e c o g n i z a b l e  and  into  F i n n s who  miners the  Colonization  represented a  relatively  the  situations.  d i r e c t i o n and  content  of the  Kalevan  i t p r o p o s e s some r e f l e c t i v e of  the  These  considerations  o f the  following  chapters.  The  a p p r o a c h w h i c h i s t a k e n r e m a i n s open ended i n a s m u c h  as  the  activities  a  o f the  K a l e v a n Kansa are  seen as  part  of  much b r o a d e r h i s t o r i c a l p r o c e s s w h i c h i s r e f l e c t i v e o f ethnographic  s i t u a t i o n as  w e l l as  o f c e r t a i n more  the  universal  iv anthropological problems.  The method adopted cannot provide  an e x p l i c i t account of why  the a c t i v i t i e s took the d i r e c t i o n  they did nor why  they occurred at a p a r t i c u l a r time.  However, i t does focus on the dynamics inherent within a continuing set of problems and contradictions to be resolved. As such i t has permitted a form of discussion which has not been t o t a l l y bound to the contingencies of the  situation.  Yet, the character of the Utopian a c t i v i t y of the Kalevan Kansa remains s i g n i f i c a n t  i n terms of i t s a l l consuming  nature and i t s attempt to i n s t i t u t e an i d e a l i s t i c order.  As such, i t was c l e a r l y r e l i g i o u s  social  i n nature and  represented a s o c i e t a l r i t e of passage. The second chapter i s primarily h i s t o r i c a l .  By taking  into account the h i s t o r i c a l background of the Kalevan Kansa, further l i g h t i s shed onto the goals and a c t i v i t i e s of the group.  The past has provided only a p a r t i a l answer to  questions of o r i g i n since the movement i n many aspects remained independent of i t s h i s t o r i c a l legacy. i t provided a point of departure.  However,  Inasmuch as the method  employed and suggested by the content and focus of t h i s chapter remains applicable to other situations i t i s anthropological. The t h i r d chapter explores the Utopian a c t i v i t i e s i n detail.  Chronologically, the discussion moves from a  point where the Finns were regarded as being morally and materially i n f e r i o r to others.  From there the chapter moves  to a discussion about the r e d e f i n i t i o n  of power and the  V  nature of i n d i v i d u a l obligations a r t i c u l a t e d by the chosen leader, to the eventual attempt to r e a l i z e the new way of being i n terms of appropriate  social relationships.  Progressively i t was apparent among the Kalevan Kansa that the v i s i o n of the joint-stock company could not provide the emotional and i n t e l l e c t u a l unity which could overcome i n d i v i d u a l and i d e o l o g i c a l differences.  As increasing  numbers of the participants began to ignore t h e i r obligations without sanction the energy of the movement was consumed by c o n f l i c t i n g i n t e r e s t s .  The a c t i v i t i e s of the  Kalevan Kansa can, however, be d i f f e r e n t i a t e d from the more mundane forms of p o l i t i c a l and economic unrest among disparate groups by the sudden emergence of emotional and moral passion focused and activated by t h e i r leader, Kurikka. The f i n a l chapter looks at Sointula during an active period of s o c i a l i s t p o l i t i c s a f t e r the f a i l u r e of the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited.  In conjunction with  these a c t i v i t i e s which were l a r g e l y group-oriented, the chapter also focuses on the content of i n d i v i d u a l experiences among a p a r t i c u l a r group within the community.  Insights  are derived from fieldwork interviews and from a thematic and s t r u c t u r a l analysis of a corpus of narrative songs. Throughout the thesis the focus remains on the c e n t r a l issues of i d e n t i t y and the moral implications that i t s varying d e f i n i t i o n s have implied.  The ethnographic d e t a i l  provides an i n d i c a t i o n of how a p a r t i c u l a r group of people  vi chose  to confront  the problem  and  o f how  i t s constituents  were r e f o r m u l a t e d t h r o u g h a s e r i e s o f e n c o u n t e r s i n a historical ivities  time  span.  In t h i s s e r i e s the m i l l e n a r i a n  o f t h e K a l e v a n K a n s a were t h e most u n i q u e  p r o f o u n d i n t h e i r i n t e n s i t y and A comprehensive  The is  my  thesis also  contains  t r a n s l a t i o n of Matti  of the U t o p i a n a c t i v i t i e s The  next  four  the  appendixes  appendix  at Sointula  in  of relevant  s i x appendixes.  Halminen's  first  The  hand  first  account  a t S o i n t u l a and h i s r o l e i n them. contain  copies  o f documents  Company, L i m i t e d .  i s a c o l l e c t i o n of Finnish 1973.  sources i n  text.  t o the Kalevan Kansa C o l o n i z a t i o n last  and  appeal.  bibliography  E n g l i s h and F i n n i s h f o l l o w s  act-  song  relevant The  texts recorded  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  i i  L i s t of Tables  ix  L i s t of Diagrams  x  Acknowledgement  xi  Chapter 1  Introduction  Chapter 2  The Accumulation of Traditions and Experience:  1  The Legacy of Finnish  Society on i t s Emigrants, 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 0 3 Chapter 3  31  Traditions, Experience and Circumstance Combined i n the Quest of an Utopian Community: Bffatti Kurikka and the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited, 1880-1904  Chapter k  72  Expectations Modified:  Sointula  After the Collapse of the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited, 190^-19^0  160  218  Selected Bibliography Appendix I Matti Halminen, Sointula:  Kalevan  Kansan .ia Kanadan Suomalaisten H i s t o r i a [Sointula:  The History of  the Kalevan Kansa and Finnish  vn  Canadians!] trans. A l l a n H. Salo Appendix II  231  This Agreement made the twentyninth day of November, A. D. 1901, Between HIS MAJESTY THE KING, represented by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, of the f i r s t part, and "THE KALEVAN KANSA COLONIZATION COMPANY, LIMITED," hereinafter c a l l e d ?the Company," of the second part.  400  Appendix I I I A r t i c l e s of Association of "Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited." Appendix IV  402  Memorandum of "Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited."  Appendix V  405  Agreement between the "Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited" and "the s e t t l e r " .  Appendix VI  406  Finnish-Canadian Songs Collected at Sointula, B. C , 15 August 1973 by A l l a n H. Salo.  Transcribed i n  197^ by A l l a n H. Salo.  408  L I S T OF  Table  I  List  TABLES  o f D r a m a t i s P e r s o n a e and  Concordance o f T h e i r  ix  a  Attributes  19^  L I S T OP  Diagram 1  DIAGRAMS  A Representation Categories  o f the Semantic  and t h e R e l a t i o n s h i p s  Between Them Diagram 2  198  Thematic S t r u c t u r e  x  o f the Corpus  200  Acknowledgement  For the support and encouragement which a s s i s t e d me i n the completion of t h i s thesis I am indebted.  Primarily,  I would l i k e to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. K. 0 . L. Burridge.  His continued interest i n students and  i n t h i s project i n p a r t i c u l a r , has been u n f a l t e r i n g . Throughout the various facets of t h i s research his provocative questioning, considered c r i t i c i s m and d i r e c t i o n has proven to be invaluable.  Thank you.  I would also l i k e to thank the other members of my committee who have contributed t h e i r time and resources. S p e c i f i c a l l y , I would l i k e to acknowledge Dr. J . Powell f o r his  spontaneous commentary and enthusiasm and Dr. Michael  Kew for h i s support and discussion at a time when they were most needed.  I would l i k e to recognize the i n i t i a l  contribution made by Dr. E l l i Kongas Maranda. Assistance was also given to me by the University of B r i t i s h Columbia and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology i n the form of scholarships and a s s i s t a n t s h i p s j by the p r o v i n c i a l government of B r i t i s h Columbia through grants f o r fieldwork and t r a n s l a t i o n and by the National Museum of Man for an i n i t i a l opportunity to undertake fieldwork.  The a r c h i v i s t s at the B r i t i s h Columbia P r o v i n c i a l  Archives assisted me i n f i n d i n g obscure yet relevant xi  xii materials as did the s t a f f of the Special Collections D i v i s i o n of the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Library. The support of fieldwork informants who gave of t h e i r time and of themselves has been fundamental. The debt to my colleague and f r i e n d , Linda Hale, remains immeasurable  i n a l l ways.  To everyone who has given me assistance, including my parents, John and Bertha Salo, and my great grandfather, Oscar Johnson, who recognized the importance of learning and of t h e i r heritage and my f r i e n d , Reg Raby, with whom I have shared talks and ideas, I offer my sincere thanks. The e f f o r t s of everyone concerned have enriched t h i s thesis, while i t s shortcomings are, of course, attributable to me.  Chapter 1  Introduction  In the f i v e years between 1900 and 1905 a group of Finnish-Canadians set about creating an i d e a l i s t i c community on Malcolm Island on the coast of B r i t i s h  Columbia.  1  During t h i s period they thought of themselves as the Kalevan Kansa. a people descended from Kaleva, an ancient mythological f i g u r e associated with the genesis of Finnish culture.  The settlement they started under the guidance  of t h e i r charismatic leader, Matti Kurikka, was Sointula or place of harmony.  called  Although the community was  formally organized on the p r i n c i p l e of a joint-stock company, registered as the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited; i t s character was determined more by elements drawn from Finnish t r a d i t i o n , C h r i s t i a n i t y and the experience of immigrant l i f e i n early B r i t i s h Columbia. This thesis attempts to focus not only on the scope of the Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t y but also on the accumulated legacy of Finnish h i s t o r y which formed the early experience of Finnish immigrants and determined to a degree the goals of the movement.  In addition, the f i n a l chapter i s concerned  with how the legacy of experience including the Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t y was reconciled with the necessities of obtaining a l i v e l i h o o d a f t e r the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited collapsed. 1  2 The Kalevan Kansa movement brought together a c o l l e c t i o n of ideas about the nature of society and these were translated into a c t i v i t i e s intended to bring about and eventually define an Utopian community.  The goals as well as the means  proposed to obtain them stood apart from the pursuits of Finnish immigrants elsewhere  Under the v i s i o n a r y leadership  of Matti Kurikka the Kalevan Kansa undertook to redefine the basis of t h e i r ethnic character by p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the formation of an i d e a l i s t i c community.  In t h e i r  enthus-  iasm to create a more equitable s o c i a l order they simultaneously advocated a way of l i f e which would require the refashioning of i n d i v i d u a l p e r s o n a l i t i e s . It remains d i f f i c u l t to a r t i c u l a t e with certainty a l l the origins of the strength and i d e a l s of the movement. However, i t can be suggested that, while the a c t i v i t i e s which occurred during the four years appeared enigmatic, they were uniquely drawn from "the experiences of being Finnish and of being an ethnic minority.  In the mining  camps at Wellington, Extension, Ladysmith and Nanaimo, and l a t e r i n the new settlement on Malcolm Island, the Kalevan Kansa set out to form a society whose p r i n c i p l e s were engendered by the legacy of t h e i r indigenous  culture, t h e i r  recent f a m i l i a r i t y with r e v i v a l i s t forms of C h r i s t i a n i t y , the stress on education, nationalism and socialism i n Finland, and the d i f f i c u l t i e s of immigrant and f r o n t i e r l i f e i n western B r i t i s h Columbia.  The popularity of the v i s i o n  of a better society into which these elements were combined  3 attracted participants from Finland, A u s t r a l i a and United States.  the  From these reservoirs of content the  Kalevan Kansa proposed to e s t a b l i s h the moral guideposts f o r a society which could exploit the natural wealth of the environment to the s p i r i t u a l and material advantage of i t s members. It i s u n l i k e l y that single t h e o r e t i c a l explicans  can  account f o r a l l the varying features the the Kalevan Kansa activity.-^  Rather than dogmatically r e l y i n g on the  structures of s p e c i f i c explanatory more f r u i t f u l to concentrate selves.  paradigms i t appears  f i r s t on the a c t i v i t i e s them-  In t h i s context a relevant discussion encompasses  some consideration of events p r i o r to the r i s e of the Kalevan Kansa movement and subsequent to i t s collapse.  The  a c t i v i t i e s then appear as a process where ideas and experiences are accumulated, acted upon and  modified.  In t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n the event (the Kalevan Kansa movement 1900-1905) i s constituted not only by the a c t i v i t e s themselves but also by the discussions and about them.^  orations  That c o l l e c t i o n of information i s expanded by  placing i t into the more elaborate context of Finnish h i s t o r y and c u l t u r a l development.  S t i l l other facts are revealed  by  exploring the r e l a t i o n s h i p between conditions current i n B r i t i s h Columbia at the turn of the century and the Finnish immigrant's sense of t r a d i t i o n , h i s t o r y and i d e n t i t y .  The  i d e a l i s t i c projections of the Kalevan Kansa were r e f l e c t i o n s of how  that r e l a t i o n s h i p was perceived and  eventually  translated into a set of founding p r i n c i p l e s f o r ordering community l i f e .  The experiences of Sointula residents a f t e r  the f a i l u r e of the Utopian scheme not only highlight i t s shortcomings but they focus on the enduring aspects of some of t h e i r aspirations which continued to influence t h e i r relationships with contemporary society  elsewhere.  The members of the Kalevan Kansa did not i n h e r i t an understanding of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n and history which was unique from other Finns.  However, i t was among these  individuals that s p e c i f i c aspects of t h e i r heritage were discussed, re-evaluated and eventually incorporated into a v i s i o n of an i d e a l i s t i c society.  The majority of the early  participants who formed the core of the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited, r e a d i l y accepted the visionary ideas a r t i c u l a t e d by t h e i r leader, Kurikka.  Later, on the  basis of the ideas being expressed, the following grew to D include prospective s e t t l e r s from elsewhere.  The appeal of  Sointula was not bound s o l e l y to l o c a l economic disadvantages or even to the ethnic p e c u l i a r i t i e s which helped to generate it.  Instead, the impetus was lodged i n the question of  identity.  The Utopian ideals expressed a s o c i a l context i n  which i t appeared possible to recognize the moral delineations by which people could become individuals of worth.  9  Espousal of the new p r i n c i p l e s of order put f o r t h  by Kurikka i n h i s conception of an e g a l i t a r i a n community demanded the appraisal of contemporary notions of moral responsibility.  As such, the Kalevan Kansa movement shared  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s with other s o c i a l phenomena which attempt to question and a l t e r epistemological paradigms.  10  Despite i t s popular appeal, even among some non-Finns, the o r i g i n s of the Kalevan Kansa movement cannot be i s o l a t e d from the legacy of Finnish experience.  I t would be short-  sighted to discuss the energy and p r i o r i t i e s assumed by the Kalevan Kansa without reference to the h i s t o r i c a l growth of Finnish i d e n t i t y and sovereignty i n Europe.  11  Placed i n  t h i s context, the a c t i v i t i e s of the Kalevan Kansa f a l l into a broader category of concern.  In the b r i e f four year period  of Utopian a c t i v i t y on Malcolm Island the Kalevan Kansa attempted to consolidate a gamut of ideas about society and people into a coherent functioning community. question hinged on organization.  The r e s i d u a l  How could the desired  e g a l i t a r i a n relationships among i t s members be fostered within a s o c i a l s e t t i n g i n which the values of a h i e r a r c h i c a l society were increasingly intruding?  How could the s o c i a l i s t  aspirations of some of the participants be f u l f i l l e d within a c a p i t a l i s t framework l i k e the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited?  How might the i n d i v i d u a l obligations  which defined i t s organization be manipulated so that they would continue to express the i d e n t i t y of a l l the participants concerned i n a meaningful way? In the h i s t o r i c a l sequence outlined above the Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t y of 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 0 5 appeared as one of a series of attempts, a l b e i t unusual i n i t s strength and imagination, at 12  coming to terms with the question of i d e n t i t y .  Of t h i s  6 series at least three instances warrant discussion.  The  f i r s t predates the Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t i e s i n B r i t i s h Columbia and centres around Lonnrot's p u b l i c a t i o n of the Kalevala. a series of narratives about Finland's  mythical  13 past. -'The  second encompasses the a c t i v i t i e s of Matti Kurikka  and the Kalevan Kansa on Vancouver Island and l a t e r at Sointula.  The t h i r d arises from the content of a corpus of  song texts c o l l e c t e d from a Sointula singer which r e f l e c t the experiences of some of the members of the community a f t e r the demise of the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company, Limited. **" 1  In the following discussion of the Kalevan Kansa's Utopian ideals  and t h e i r a t t e m p t e d i m p l e m e n t a t i o n into a  viable form of s o c i a l organization,: the terms e g a l i t a r i a n and h i e r a r c h i c a l correspond to the categories of oppositions which Burridge has categorized under the headings of subsistence and complex. -* 1  He argues that i n s i t u a t i o n s  where one s e r i e s i s dominant factors w i l l a r i s e which evoke consideration of the other.  The a p p l i c a b i l i t y of t h i s i s  c l e a r l y evident i n the <aspirations and undertakings of the Kalevan Kansa since they were concerned with i n s t i t u t i n g the primacy of e g a l i t a r i a n values within a s u b s t a n t i a l l y h i e r a r c h i c a l ambiance.  Consideration of these oppositions  within the period i n question provides a point of  departure.  From there i t i s possible to suggest that the Kalevan Kansa was predominantly interested i n i n s t i t u t i n g new kinds of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s which they f e l t could better define  7 i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y and worth.  As Burridge has suggested,  sueh a movement from one form of being to another r e s u l t s when there i s an "engagement of one or more of the series of oppositions." ^ 1  This then "constitutes the 'mise en scene*  of a millenarian movement." ^ 1  In New  Heaven New  Earth Burridge further suggests that  "there i s no human a c t i v i t y which cannot assume r e l i g i o u s importance" and that "when i t does so i t has an overriding importance. a whole way  I t points to that which permeates and informs of l i f e , and, more c r u c i a l l y , i t indicates  sources or p r i n c i p l e s of power which are regarded as p a r t i c u l a r l y creative or destructive."  In such instances,  as an awareness grows among a p a r t i c u l a r group, some communal truths which demand consensus give way  to  new  assumptions which w i l l form the basic truths of the following generations. which men  From these are derived the r u l e s of conduct to  i n community are bound.  The process i s continuous  and t h i s thesis focuses primarily on t h i s aspect of the h i s t o r i c a l sequence of which the Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t y i s a part.  Existence  i n community e n t a i l s existence  i n a network  of obligations and the process by which i n d i v i d u a l s attempt to discharge t h e i r obligations i n r e l a t i o n to the moral rules 19 of the community i s the redemptive process.  7  When  assumptions about power and the rules governing i t s use  and  control can no longer guarantee i n d i v i d u a l s the t r u t h about things, the kinds of a c t i v i t y represented i n the Kalevan Kansa movement are generated.  This a c t i v i t y attains  8  r e l i g i o u s importance because i t i s of o v e r a l l importance and concerns the ordering of power.  At the centre of the  Kalevan Kansa a c t i v i t i e s was a concern f o r f i n d i n g a more adequate way of gaining prestige and of defining the c r i t e r i a by which the content of manhood could be measured.  20  In t h i s context i t i s important to consider aspects of the physical s i t u a t i o n as well as the a c t i v i t i e s themselves. In the two decades p r i o r to 1900 many Finnish immigrants to B r i t i s h Columbia sought and found work i n the coal mines on Vancouver Island.  The work was heavy and hazardous,  accidents occurred with r e g u l a r i t y and the wages were low. The only accommodation f o r the miners and t h e i r families was to be found i n the camps around the mines.  The housing  had formerly been occupied by Chinese workers who had l e f t i t i n a state of squalor.  To many of the Finnish miners i t  appeared pointless to repair the houses since they were continually moved from one mine s i t e to another according to the demand f o r labourers.  Within the settlements there were  no r e a d i l y perceptible norms by which i n d i v i d u a l behaviour and a c t i v i t y could be judged.  Drunkenness, f i g h t i n g and  f a c t i o n a l r i v a l r i e s were common among the Finns and a large proportion o f i t h e i r wages was channeled into these pursuits. In turn, the mine owners eagerly extended c r e d i t i n order to maintain a constant source of cheap white labour.  In an  ambiance characterized by a m u l t i p l i c i t y of races, ethnic backgrounds, languages, customs and interests i t was impossible to win benefits from the employers which would  9 promote the well-being of the miners generally. The s i t u a t i o n was p a r t i c u l a r l y acute f o r the Finnish workers since most of them had a d i r e c t l i n k with the agrarian l i f e s t y l e current i n the subsistence communities of Finland.  There the character of d a i l y a f f a i r s had been  judged more by q u a l i t a t i v e standards than was the case i n the moneyed ambiance of Vancouver Island.  Participation i n  a society where s o c i a l worth was determined by the a b i l i t y to acquire and use money was foreign to most of them.  The  continued focus on money increased the d i s t i n c t i o n s they perceived between the comparatively simpler l i f e i n r u r a l Finland and the present s i t u a t i o n of chaos.  Since money and  i t s control i s capable of creating, breaking, ennobling and enforcing relationships, virtue appeared to be a matter of 21  choice exercised by those i n control, the employers.  Self  worth and community status reckoned by the old values of t h e i r agrarian background appeared worthless.  Hard  conscientious work brought minimal returns and i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y was often rewarded by an extension of c r e d i t .  Many  Finnish miners thought of themselves as i n f e r i o r to those other workers and employers who prospered better under the system.  Since there appeared to be l i t t l e l i k e l i h o o d of  finding common objectives i t appeared that the Finnish settlements were embarked on a path  leading to the  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of personal relationships and values. However, i n the 1890s changes began to occur among a small group of the miners.  After a series of informal  10 meetings and discussions they organized a temperance society, l i b r a r y and a Finnish marching hand.  These associations  were c l e a r l y r e f l e c t i v e of changing perspectives concerning the circumstances of camp l i f e .  As a group these miners  became more persistent i n t h e i r desire to change the conditions they construed as being responsible f o r the oppression.  Their s p i r i t e d discussions during the meetings  reaffirmed t h e i r willingness to participate i n new kinds of relationships which could e f f e c t i v e l y change t h e i r s i t u a t i o n and guarantee them access to what Burridge has referred to as the redemptive process. In the course of events which l e d to the formation of the temperance s o c i e t i e s and the band, the stressed values encompassed notions of brotherhood and independence, q u a l i t i e s denied to them i n t h e i r present existence.  In  order to carry these sentiments further into actual a c t i v i t i e s they encouraged Matti Kurikka, a contemporary Finnish reformer, s o c i a l i s t and author, to j o i n them on Vancouver Island.  After receiving passage money Kurikka  eagerly l e f t A u s t r a l i a , where he had t r i e d to form a Finnish colony, and arrived i n Nanaimo i n the late summer of 1900. Kurikka immediately undertook a series of lecture tours i n the nearby as well as the more distant Finnish settlements. In a l l h i s a f f a i r s with Finns and non-Finns a l i k e he appeared capable of judging correct avenues of a c t i v i t y from the wrong.  His undertakings with the public, businessmen and  p o l i t i c i a n s met with considerable success.  The c i r c l e of  11 ardent supporters which had gathered around him recognized i n him q u a l i t i e s of a superior pe