November brought news of two losses in Finland. We are saying goodbye to knowledge holders – Sakari Luisenniemi from lake Kuivasjärvi in Parkano and Jorma Sonninen, originally from Outokumpu, North Karelia.
Sakari Luisenniemi from lake Kuivasjärvi in Parkano lived to be 99 years old. He lived next to the lake and mastered the oral histories, traditional knowledge and life in this small village. His shared oral histories contributed to scientific research on how the Finnish boreal communities thought about their relations with the forest and the lake. Of special importance were the specific ways to relate to the Kuivasjärvi that he shared with Snowchange in 2010s. After the Second World War he established a family with his wife Sirkka. Three daughters were born on the Luisenniemi farm next to the lake. Sakari was a recognized oral historian and kept his sharp memory to the last days of his life.
Jorma Sonninen, a Frontier Marine Guard and a descendant of the Karelians was born in Outokumpu, North Karelia in 1952. Never afraid of anything he went on to a life filled with adventure in the high seas, fisherman on the Baltic Islands as a part of his duties with the Border Patrol of Finland and sailor. After early retirement from the state duties Jorma shared his life between North Karelia and Helsinki region. Inna, his daughter was the joy in Jorma’s life. In early 2010s Jorma and Snowchange, following his unfortunate accident, worked on a book of oral histories that conveyed Karelian traditions, life on the Baltic, fisheries and all in all unique view of 20th Century. Of special importance were the memories of the moose.
Keeping a positive outlook on life, Jorma would phone in every month to ask about the Snowchange fisheries, ice conditions in the winter and outlook for the catches in seining.
Both of these exceptional people are severely missed.