Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: Ethnicity

DNA study in BC

A groundbreaking genetic study led by a team of U.S. and Canadian anthropologists has traced a direct DNA link between the 5,500-year-old remains of an aboriginal woman found on a British Columbia island, a second set of ancient female... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 07/07/2013 | 8 comments
themes: Anthropology, Canada and BC, Ethnicity, History


dying languages & technology

I've written before about my interest in the loss of minority languages around the world. The dominance of the English language on the internet and in popular entertainment is just one factor that is blamed, but here is a... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 30/07/2011 | 24 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, Linguistics


a midsummer fest

Up with the early light, though the sun is obscured with cloud, I remember it is Juhannus and ... the summer solstice, (or properly June solstice for it's winter in the southern hemisphere). Memories of magical midsummer nights in Finland,... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 21/06/2009 | 18 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


dying languages

Image credit: Enduring Voices Project Finnish was my first language. I was five years old when my family emigrated to Canada. Arriving in Winnipeg, I was promptly placed in school, not knowing a word of English. Now that was... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 20/09/2007 | 6 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, History, Linguistics



I've recently come across some great links on a couple of interesting subjects - the first an important environmental story and the second a fascinating linguistic and ethnological one. 1. At Biodynamic Farming and Gardening I found out about a... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 10/04/2007 | 4 comments
themes: Culture, Current Events, Environment, Ethnicity, Linguistics


Sami & Inuit Art exhibition

If you are anywhere near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, you may be interested in this upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. I wish I could see it because, as some readers know, I'm interested in the northern indigenous... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 04/01/2006 | 3 comments
themes: Art Exhibitions, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric


Land of the Saame

Photo by Pekka Antikainen, in "Land of the Saame" As my dear readers know, I'm fascinated by the northern indigenous cultures, in particular the Saami people of northern Europe who are a branch of the Finno-Ugric family. Some time... [Continue Reading...]

peaceful societies

Last week I made one of my visits to Via Negativa and found a very interesting series of posts that grabbed my own interest in "primitive" cultures. Dave Bonta announces: "Today marks the inauguration of a new website on Peaceful... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 24/01/2005 | 4 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity


about Báiki

Cover of issue 25 of Báiki, with image of sculpture: "NAA", © 2003 Rose-Marie Huuva, reindeer hide and sealskin I recently received a copy of Báiki: the North American Sámi Journal, which 'is a major English-language source of information... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 12/12/2004 | 3 comments
themes: Culture, Ethnicity, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, History


Rare Sami Music CD

This is very interesting - "Sámi singer releases CD in waning language"- from Helsingin Sanomat. Here are some excerpts, but do read the whole fascinating article. "Pálgáh, a new CD by Inari Sámi singer Aune Kuuva, contains what is... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 28/10/2004 | be the first to comment
themes: Ethnicity, Music


Shamans & Storytellers

Back in February, I posted about an event presented by the Vancouver Society of Storytellers. One of these storytellers was Kira Van Deusen, who "brings to professional storytelling and music a background which includes a BA in Russian Language... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 26/09/2004 | 4 comments
themes: Ethnicity, Folk Legends & Myths


new native museum

National Geographic News has some interesting pages about the new National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Native by design, it incorporated suggestions from Native Americans throughout North, Central, and South America. Most people said they wanted... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 16/09/2004 | be the first to comment
themes: Art Exhibitions, Culture, Ethnicity


World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples

"Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, will host the Fourth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples from 15-19 August 2004. The theme of the congress is "The Youth Is Our Future" and it will bring together approximately seven hundred delegates, observers and... [Continue Reading...]

Karelia's Rock Art & History

Andrew Heninen is a Karelian (Finnish-Russian) programmer with a keen interest in the history of lost Finnish territories. Karelia (or Karjala in Finnish) is a territory which straddles the present-day border between Finland and Russia, and is home to... [Continue Reading...]

the Sami and Siida

Part of my ongoing research into my Finnish ethnology has been learning more about the other groups in the Finno-Ugrian family of people. The Sami (formerly called Lapps) of Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway and Northwest Russia are one group and... [Continue Reading...]

visiting Karelia

Going through some of my old bookmarked links, I came across a favourite saved sometime around the year 2000, The Karelian Journal. It is a fascinating real-life story about an international group that travels to the northwestern region of... [Continue Reading...]

The Ainu

Feeding my fascination for ancient as well as the indigenous cultures of the world, I was excited to find at the rich Mysterium** a post about the Ainu: "A beautiful audio-visual presentation on Japan's Indigenous Ainu people, their origins,... [Continue Reading...]

The Spell of Rock Art

A prize possession of mine is the 2003 Finno-Ugric Calendar published by the Estonian Society of Prehistoric Art and the Fenno-Ugria Foundation. The photo work was done by society member Loit Joekalda, whom I met in Tallinn in 2002. It... [Continue Reading...]

preserving languages

Recently NewScientist published an interview of linguist Alexandra Aikhenvald. Here are some excerpts : "Imagine how different politics would be if debates were conducted in Tariana, an Amazonian language in which it is a grammatical error to report something... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 16/03/2004 | 2 comments
themes: Ethnicity, Folk Legends & Myths, Linguistics


Whale Rider

I saw Whale Rider for the first time this weekend, on DVD. Though I do not intend to be a film critic on this blog, this movie is so astounding that I would like to share my excitement about... [Continue Reading...]

Marja-Leena | 22/02/2004 | be the first to comment
themes: Ethnicity, Films, Folk Legends & Myths


KALEVALA and The Lord of the Rings

As a Finnish-Canadian artist, I am drawn to learning more about the very ancient roots of my family in the Old World. In writing about these discoveries on this weblog, I hope to share some of these with other... [Continue Reading...]

Rock art research

In my research into the history and art of my ancestors, a wealth of information has come from Loit Joekalda of Estonia.. He believes the best researcher of the rock art of the Fenno-Ugrians is Väinö Poikalainen, chair of... [Continue Reading...]


Continuing the story about our travels in conjuction with our Traces exhibition in Vaasa... Leaving Helsinki, a fast ferry ride across the Gulf of Finland took us to Tallinn, Estonia with its fascinating medieval walled old town, surrounded by... [Continue Reading...]

Fenno-Ugrian people

Some of my image research delves into the marks left by early humans, particularly the Fenno-Ugrian peoples. Their region includes Finland (my birth country), Karelia (now in Russia), Estonia and Lapland or Sami. The Gallen-Kallela Museum in Finland had an... [Continue Reading...]