Retention of ethnic culture among Thunder Bay Finns / by Michael J. Maunula. --
Maunula, Michael J.
SubjectFinns Ontario Thunder Bay.
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The thesis addresses the question: "What are the factors influencing the level of ethnic culture retention among Thunder Bay Finns?" The investigation is focused on three characteristics: residency (urban or rural), residential propinquity to other Finns, and socio-economic status. The survey instrument gathers additional respondent characteristics to allow evaluation of the influence of other factors. In measuring culture, a distinction is made between knowledge and practise of Finnish customs and culture and efforts to maintain a Finnish identity. The latter allows a response to current ethnic assimilation literature which suggests a resurging interest in selective areas of ethnic heritage. Preceeding the review of the literature, a historical perspective is given to the present situation by summarizing the history of the Finnish people, their emigration to Canada, and the experiences of the immigrants in Canada and particularly Thunder Bay. Among the young adults of Finnish descent who formed the sample population, those who were raised in an urban setting were likely to have a higher culture retention level than those raised in a rural setting. Not surprising, those raised in a neighbourhood predom-inantly Finnish also had a higher culture retention level than those raised in a non-Finnish neighbourhood. Socio-economic status proves interesting in that those respondents from families having a low socio-economic status retain more of their culture than those from families having a high socio-economic status. However, when the respondent’s own present socio-economic status is considered, those with a high socio-economic status retain more Finnish culture than the low socio-economic status respondents. It is arguable that upward mobility among this group has not resulted in abandonment of their ethnic heritage. An adjustment, where both success in the dominant society and a continued identification with one’s ethnic heritage co-exist, appears to have occurred. The bond of ethnic affinity displays considerable endurance.