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Halberg presents Finnish coats of arms to Minnesota language school


Submitted photo

Jill Halberg, Bessemer artist, displays five coats of arms she created for Salolampi Finnish Language Village in Bemidji, Minn. The village is one of several language villages in Bemidji run by Concordia College of Moorehead, Minn.

BEMIDJI, Minn. — On Mother’s day weekend, Jill Halberg, an artist from Bessemer, traveled to Salolampi Finnish Language Village in Bemidji to present a gift of five coats of arms she painted at her daughter, Dana Halberg’s, request. The coats of arms adorn the five cabins of the village.

The Halberg family enjoyed a Finnish luncheon before presenting the gift to John “Jussi” Hanson, member of Salolampi’s board of directors. Dana Halberg serves as secretary for the board.

“When asked by my daughter if I would be willing to take on this project, I knew it would be challenging, but I didn’t once hesitate. Combining my artistic abilities with my Finnish heritage seemed just like a natural thing to do,” said Jill Halberg.

Each of the coats of arms represents a historic region of Finland — Hami, Savo, Lappi, Pohjanmaa and Karjala.

Dana Halberg has been volunteering at Salolampi for 10 years. She found the camp while looking for Finnish cultural opportunities in the Twin Cities, where she lives. Her family has always embraced Finnish traditions, as her great-grandmother came from Finland.

Two years ago, Dana Halberg had the chance to visit Lapula, Finland, and met relatives while she was there. “It’s just like the Upper Peninsula,” Halberg said. “There was a lake right in the town, like Wakefield where I grew up, and there was a man-made ski jump like Copper Peak. The trees and landscape were similar, as well.”

Salolampi is one of 14 cultural and language immersion villages run by Concordia College of Moorehead, Minn., all on the same lake near Bemidji. Activities include Finnish-style baseball and loom weaving, along with canoeing and swimming.

Other language camps include Swedish, Russian, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Norwegian, Danish, Arabic and Korean.

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