My grandmother, Marja, a Saami, born in Vesisaari,Vadsø in northern Norway, near the Anni Joki
She married a Finnish fisherman and boatbuilder and moved to Kola. My father, Salomon Halonen, was born Oct. 20, 1906, in Kola (now part of Russia). His father died the night that he was born, and he moved with his mother to live in Petsamo when he was 1/12 years old.

My grandmother made traditional Saami crafts and sewed clothing. In the summer months, she would travel back to Norway to work in the fishing camps and to sell her goods. Normally, the Saami only did handcrafts during the day. My grandmother was the first person in her village to obtain an oil lamp. She was really happy about this because she could then work longer hours on her crafts. The light shone from their small cabin during the long, dark winter days of the arctic North.

When his mother died, my father was moved to an orphanage/ boarding school in Russia. This photo was taken when he attended a boarding school in Russia, age 13.
My father enjoyed music and was proud of his Saami heritage.

Petsamo Life
My father recorded some audio tapes of his life in Lapland. Here are some .mp3 file excerpts from those tapes. I am also working on a translation of his stories.

Kaarina Halonen
While visiting Finland I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Kaarina Halonen, daughter of Finnish artist Antti Halonen.

About Saami Band Weaving

Sami Books
My Karelian Heritage

My mother was from Viipuri, Karjala, (Vyborg, Karelia) and she was a weaver. During the war, she kept our family alive and fed, by weaving for her living. Once she immigrated to Canada, she no longer had a loom, but continued to love the fibre crafts. At an early age, I learned to knit, crochet and sew, from her example.

Karelian Textile Links